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mason] anthropologic LITERATURE 773 

But in his last three chapters the author is at his best. The anthro- 
pologist becomes the instructor of the legislator, the jurist, the econo- 
mist, and the sociologist. Agriculture, manufactures and trade, divorce 
and suicide, distribution of intellectuality, competition, migration, 
crowding of urban centers, color and stature in relation to city life, and 
(most important in view of the recent acquisition by the United States 
of an enormous tropical area) acclimatization and the government of 
the dark races are discussed in the light of ethnology. 

Few works on anthropology published in 1899 represent more con- 
scientious labor or will deserve a larger audience. The Supplement, 
a handy volume of one hundred and sixty pages, is a list of all books 
and papers quoted, the arrangement being alphabetic by names 
of authors, and chronologically by titles thereunder. The index, 
occupying thirty pages, is a list of regions and topics in alphabetic order, 
the authorities on each being arranged chronologically. The author 
justly acknowledges the liberal help of the Public Library of the City of 
Boston in preparing the bibliography and in procuring the works. 

O. T. Mason. 

Experimental Study of Children. By Arthur Mac Donald. (From 
the Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1897-98, chapters 
xxi, XXV.) Washington : 1899. 8°, pp. 987-1204, 128 1-1390. 

Dr Mac Donald has taken a series of measurements of the school 
children of Washington, D.C., and in the present paper gives the results 
of his inquiries. Most important among these are the results relating 
to the circumference of the head. The author finds that the circum- 
ference of the head increases with mental ability as judged by the teacher. 
The circumference of the head is also larger among the non-laboring 
classes than it is among the laboring classes. These results are in line 
with Venn's observations on students at Cambridge, England ; and also 
with the selective series obtained by Porter in St Louis. The author 
also finds that colored children have a larger circumference of head than 
white children. This may be due to two reasons : The head of the 
negro, being more elongated, would have a larger circumference if it 
had the same size on the level on which the circumference is taken. 
Furthermore, the stiffness of the hair would probably cause an apparent 
increase in the size of the head of the negro child. Dr Mac Donald finds 
that white children are taller, but not so heavy as colored children, and 
that their height sitting is much larger than that of colored children. 
This agrees with the well-known fact that negroes have relatively longer 
limbs than whites, but is of interest as showing that this relation between 



774 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [n. s., i, 1899 

the two races prevails in early youth. Another series of observations 
shows that colored children are much more sensitive to heat than white 
children. 

Unfortunately the method used by Dr Mac Donald in presenting 
the results of his statistical inquiries is such that it would be impossible 
to form an idea as to their value, if the variability of the phenomena 
discussed were not fairly well known from other sources. He gives in 
his tables the grand totals from which his averages were calculated. 
These are entirely unnecessary, while the variability of each series and 
the error of the average, which are essential, are not mentioned at all. 
As a consequence of this omission a number of the conclusions drawn 
by the author cannot be considered valid. The following seem doubt- 
ful : " Children are more sensitive to locality and heat on the skin before 
puberty than after ; and those of non-laboring classes more than those 
of the laboring classes." Others cannot be considered as proved : 
such are, that dolichocephalism increases with decreasing ability ; that 
boys are less sensitive to locality and more sensitive to heat than girls ; 
the statements regarding the relation of height, weight, and height 
sitting of dull and bright boys ; that mixture of nationalities seems to 
be unfavorable to the development of mental ability. It seems to me 
likely that all the conclusions bearing upon the changes of mental 
ability with age are based on the fact that the judgments of the teachers 
as to mental ability at different ages are not comparable. The teachers 
judge by the attitude of children toward their lessons. When these 
are easily grasped they are considered bright. Therefore, if the author 
shows that dulness becomes more frequent with increasing age, I think 
he proves that the curriculum of the higher grades is relatively more 
difficult than that of the lower grades, but not a peculiarity of mental 
development. The slight differences found in height and weight of dull 
and bright children are important, because they contradict the validity 
of Dr Porter's results which were obtained by a different method of 
classification, namely, by comparing children of the same age in 
different grades and classing those in advance of the age as bright, 
those who are retarded as dull. This method of classification is open 
to the objection of introducing an element of artificial selection due 
to promotion from grade to grade. 

Besides the results of his own studies Dr Mac Donald gives a 
summary of observations of others, without any attempt at criticism, 
and a list of instruments for anthropometrical and psychological studies 
which may be useful to those who have no access to the catalogues of 
the makers. 



boas] anthropologic litera ture 775 

Chapter xxv of the Report contains a summary of child study in 
the United States which is also given in the form of brief extracts from 
the papers in question. Franz Boas. 

Die W eltanschauuitg der Naturvolker. Von L. Frobenius. Weimar : 
1898. 8°, 427 pp., ill. 

Judging from the author's opinion expressed in the introduction to 
this book, we have here one of the most important contributions to 
ethnology that has ever been pubHshed. Dr Frobenius informs us 
that he has solved the whole question of the origin of African culture, 
and that it will be an easy matter for him to discover the origins of 
American culture. It seems almost cruel to disturb the serene com- 
placency of the author and to subject to a critical review his magnifi- 
cent assertions, which brush aside previous researches of many " good 
people " with a majestic sweep of the hand ; but it is the painful duty 
of the reviewer to scrutinize the methods even of Dr Frobenius. 

Following the advice of the author, we begin reading his book at the 
end — like a modern novel. We first find a few remarks regarding the 
significance of primitive religion which would be quite appropriate in a 
popular exposition of this subject ; but they hardly convey any new idea 
to ethnologists — and notwithstanding Dr Frobenius' argument, I vent- 
ure to continue to use the term " primitive religion " as signifying the 
whole range of transcendental ideas and practices of primitive man. 
He then asserts that what he calls " animalism," i. e., animal anthropo- 
morphism, is the lowest form of mythology. Ancestor worship, which 
he calls "manism," is another but later form of primitive religion. 
The mythology of the heavenly bodies develops from the latter, the 
setting of moon or sun being the symbols of death. All creation 
myths are of later origin, being inversions of the myth of death. An 
inversion is found in the ideas that man after death goes to the sun, 
and that man descended from the sun ; that the body is buried in a 
box, and that the sun in the beginning came out of a box (page 396^.). 
Another law is formulated by Frobenius as the law of "the transfor- 
mation of motives." Ideas and objects which serve one purpose in one 
area will assume a new significance when transplanted to a new region. 
His third law is that of "interpolation" — by which he means that 
when two ideas in the course of their development become similar in 
name or in form, one of them tends to be assimilated by the other. 
This phenomenon has been called by others convergent evolution. 
Finally, the author enlarges upon the method that he has pursued and 
wishes to see pursued in researches bearing upon primitive religions.