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Thread: Carleton S. Coon on the Racial Makeup of Poland

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    Post Carleton S. Coon on the Racial Makeup of Poland

    Poland, although largely Slavic, is a nation without ethnic or linguistic unity. The Poles themselves, who are the most numerous single group, occupy most of the western half of the country, interspersed by hundreds of small German islands; the eastern half is divided between Ukrainians in the southern quadrant and White Russians in the northern, with thousands of Lithuanians living in the region of Vilna. In the Ukrainian section the Poles themselves are scattered in small communities as a minority population. (See Map 14.) Poland, and especially Galicia, is the home of the largest body of Jews in Europe; these Jews will be treated in a separate section later.

    From the geographical standpoint, Poland resembles Germany. The bulk of the country is a vast, low plain, for the most part exceptionally fertile, separated from the Baltic everywhere except at the Polish Corridor by East Prussia and Lithuania. Toward the south the land gradually rises, until the crest of the Carpathians forms a natural border, comparable to the Alps farther west. Thus, like Germany, Poland is blocked from the south but open to the north and to either side. From West Prussia to Poland to Russia is a natural progression, in which the racial transition is as gradual as the geographical. But from the north to the south of Poland the change is more rapid and more significant, since, while the plain is the home of typical Poles in the racial sense, the Carpathians hold an Alpine-Dinaric population comparable to that of southern Germany. This latter must derive part, at least, of its ancestry from the Bell Beaker people who wandered into the mountains in search of minerals, far to the north and east of most of their fellows.

    The plain of Poland was a great center for the Corded people, who hindered the expansion of the earlier agriculturalists, and whose physical type was predominant there until the adoption of cremation. When burial had once more become fashionable, Poland was largely a Nordic country, as it remained until after the rise and spread of the Slavs, when the old Danubian peasant stock broke through its Corded and Nordic chrysalis and reemerged.85 Throughout its history, however, Poland has contained minor incidences of a flat-faced brachycephalic racial type, the Ladogan, whose home lay in the forests and swamps to the north, and which was initially associated with the Kammkeramik hunting and fishing culture. In the living population of Poland, this element has assumed a position of considerable, if secondary, importance.

    No nation in Europe has shown greater activity in studying the physical anthropology of its people than has Poland; detailed surveys of many thousands give accurate data on every province, including every village in the Republic. As in parts of Germany and of Russia, we are embarrassed with a plethora of information, to all of which it is impossible to do justice. Our method will be to review the general surveys, and then to study some of the regional populations, including White Russians, Ukrainians, and Carpathian Mountaineers, which overlap the Polish frontiers.

    The mean stature for Poland is about 165-166 cm.,86 medium for Europeans, and close to that of Lithuanians and Carelian Finns. It is tallest (166-1 67 cm.) in the west, in the provinces of Poznan and Pomorz, in the region of maximum German settlement, including the famous Polish Corridor; this relatively tall stature may not, however, be entirely due to German influence, since the Polish tribes who settled there were as tall as that in the beginning. Shortest statures (164-165 cm.), are found especially in the southeast, in Ukrainian territory; in fact, nearest the supposed Slavic home-land, and in Lodz in central Poland.

    The mean weight for Polish recruits is about 140 lbs., moderately heavy for their age and stature. The heaviest live in the eastern part of the country, in White Russian and Ukrainian regions. The bodily proportions of the inhabitants of Poland are similar to those of Lithuanians; the relative span of 105 or more, and the relative sitting height of 53, indicate long arms and long bodies in relationship to leg length. Both shoulders and hips are, as a rule, broad. The western Poles show less of these lateral features than do the others.87 Similarly, the northwestern Poles are the flattest chested, the Ukrainians the least so.88

    Social differences in these characters are greater than regional differences, however; among the upper classes the stature rises to over 170 cm., and the relative span falls to the Nordic level of 102-103. Selection, which is responsible for this differentiation, has also played a great part in the migration of Poles to America; Polish immigrants in the United States have a mean stature of 170 cm., and a relative span of 103.89 Since social and economic stimuli can so readily segregate different size and bodily form elements in the Polish population, it is not surprising that submerged racial types have reappeared during the course of centuries.

    The cephalic index goes down to means of 80 and 81 in various sections of North and West Poland, and up to 85 in Galicia and Ruthenia. The common level for the nation is between 82 and 83. A rise of about 5 index points has taken place since the Slavic settlement, as we have also observed in Bohemia; but the brachycephalizing agents in the two countries are not entirely the same.90

    The mean head lengths of Poles are about 186 mm., and do not attain or surpass 190 mm. regionally except in selected upper class series;91 the inhabitants of the northern and western districts of Poland are absolutely longer headed than those of the south and east. The breadth means range from 154 to 157 mm., with a national mean of about 155.5 mm.; the broadest are in the south, especially in Galicia. The head size of the Poles, as of the Ukrainians and White Russians, is too small to be derived in any considerable measure from an unreduced Brunn or Borreby source; it is also too small for living Nordic populations, and is about equal to that of the Danubian agriculturalists, and of the Alpines and Dinarics. It is at the same time comparable to that of non-Baltic Finns, and of most Lithuanians.

    The facial breadths, minimum frontal, bizygomatic, and bigonial, are approximately 108 mm., 143 mm., and 110 mm.; too wide for Nordics or for pure Danubian survivors, and necessitating Alpine, Dinaric, or Ladogan influences, or all three. The menton-nasion face height, with means as low as 118-120 mm. in central and eastern Poland, rises to the full Dinaric height of 127 mm. in Galicia and Ruthenia. Except for these mountainous southern regions, the facial index is uniformly eury- to mesoprosopic. The noses are leptorrhine in most of Poland but approach mesorrhiny in the south and east; there is a progression from means of about 63 in the Polish Corridor and Poznan to 68-70 on the opposite side of the country.

    There is abundant evidence to show that all but the southern section of Poland, along the Carpathian foothills, falls within the blondest pigment area of Europe.92 The skin is almost uniformly light, except in the south; the commonest hair colors are medium to dark brown, and a dark ash-blond. The incidence of truly fair hair is as great here as in Scandinavia, while the eyes are predominantly light-mixed, with gray shades commoit Brown eyes seldom exceed 10 per cent except in the very southern mountain sections. With these same exceptions, Poland is too blond a country for Alpines or Dinarics to be present in any numbers. The pigmentation of the population, by and large, is Nordic in shades and in intensity; the virtual absence of rufosity argues against the presence of many Palaeolithic survivors of the types found in western Europe.

    Although complete sets of morphological observations on Poles are not common, there is an abundance of data on the form of the nose; the profile is most commonly straight, with a large concave minority, and few in the convex category. The nasal root is usually medium in breadth, the wings medium or slightly flaring; the tip is either horizontal or inclined upward, and, in a large minority of cases, snubbed in a manner highly suggestive of Lapps and eastern Finns. Beard and body hair growth are often on the light side of the European norm, which fact again precludes a strong Alpine increment.

    The facial features which typify the Polish peasantry are quite different, as a rule, from those found among the nobility and the upper classes in general. The noblemen have less blond and less really dark hair; fewer dark eyes, and fewer instances of brunet skin color, than the peasants; their noses, however, present their greatest distinction; these are not only longer and narrower, but also frequently convex in profile, with concave forms reduced to a minimum. Old Corded and Nordic tendencies segregate themselves, at least in stature, bodily build, pigmentation, and facial features, in this superordinate class, as do Danubian and Ladogan tendencies among the peasantry.

    Contemporary Polish anthropologists have studied the population of their country by dividing it into types, and plotting the proportions of these types by regions.93 These types include what would in our present terminology be Nordic, Neo-Danubian, Lappish, Ladogan, Alpine, and Dinaric, as well as Armenoid, and both tall and short Mediterraneans. The last three, however, are admittedly much in the minority, if they are present at all. The Nordic element is strongest in the Polish Corridor, where East Baltic factors, unusual in Poland in our definition of the term,94 are also found.95 The Nordic element is also strongest on the German border, and elsewhere it is concentrated along main water courses, the highroads of migration in pre-Slavic Gothic times, as well as later. Its identity with a social and economic upper level, however, is probably stronger than its geographical differentiation. The Neo-Danubian element, which has probably gained in stature through its Nordic interlude, is as blond as the Nordic, on the whole, and this fact leads one to the conclusion that the pre-Corded peasants of eastern Europe, as of the Danube Valley, were already partly blond. The combination of ash-blond hair with gray-mixed eyes seems to be a Neo-Danubian specialty.

    Taken from:

    http://www.fikas.no/~sprocket/snpa/chapter-XII9a.htm

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    And the first paragraph already tells us this chapter is terribly out of date.

    Poland, although largely Slavic, is a nation without ethnic or linguistic unity. The Poles themselves, who are the most numerous single group, occupy most of the western half of the country, interspersed by hundreds of small German islands; the eastern half is divided between Ukrainians in the southern quadrant and White Russians in the northern, with thousands of Lithuanians living in the region of Vilna.
    In fact, Poland is one of the most homogenous nations in the world ethnically and linguistically.

    Nevertheless, I do value this piece from a historical perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polak
    And the first paragraph already tells us this chapter is terribly out of date.



    In fact, Poland is one of the most homogenous nations in the world ethnically and linguistically.

    Nevertheless, I do value this piece from a historical perspective.
    Of course, this is because there have been no scholarly physical anthropological works of the same class as Coon's after him, because of the political sensitivities involved, political correctness and the ideas of Franz Boas gone wild -- social anthropology effectively displacing and replacing physical anthropology. This is the dilemma we are having at the moment.

    However we are intelligent enough to interpret Coon's works in a modern perspective, knowing the geographical and political changes that have occurred over the past 50 years. This we will have to do until enough data becomes available to build on the works of Coon and those before him. We already have a lot of new discoveries and ideas, but they haven't been so intensely studied and verified as yet. Coon's work was pretty exhaustive. No man alive has studied European types as thoroughly as he has. Give the man the credit he deserves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    Of course, this is because there have been no scholarly physical anthropological works of the same class as Coon's after him, because of the political sensitivities involved, political correctness and the ideas of Franz Boas gone wild -- social anthropology effectively displacing and replacing physical anthropology. This is the dilemma we are having at the moment.

    However we are intelligent enough to interpret Coon's works in a modern perspective, knowing the geographical and political changes that have occurred over the past 50 years. This we will have to do until enough data becomes available to build on the works of Coon and those before him. We already have a lot of new discoveries and ideas, but they haven't been so intensely studied and verified as yet. Coon's work was pretty exhaustive. No man alive has studied European types as thoroughly as he has. Give the man the credit he deserves.

    I've given him all the credit he deserves. Unfortunately, that isn't very much.

    I don't really care how much work he put into that book, the real test is how accurate the work is. And it's terribly inaccurate.

    Not sure if anyone here is aware of the fact that he wrote books after the war. I read two of them, and they basically refuted everything he'd said in Races of Europe. And that isn't surprising, considering what we have learned since 1939.

    It seems to me you're under the impression that we're now beginnging to learn new things and so it's looking like Coon's speculations may not be true.

    That's certainly not the case. His theories have been totally pulled apart. Anyone still believing in them may wish to also be informed that the earth revolves around the sun, and not vice verser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polak
    His theories have been totally pulled apart.
    Apart from the fact that your post (not very much unlike your others) is sadly lacking in humility, it is also far-fetched and untrue.

    The only people I have heard of who have "totally pulled apart" Coon's theories, have been Russian nationals, Slavic supremacists (like yourself) and a few other wannabe oddballs who have identity crises. Most of these have self-esteem problems, suffer from schizophrenia and other oddities of character.

    I would like you to come and show me where a credible, scholarly critique of Coon's works has been published, that shows that all his works have been "totally pulled apart".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    Apart from the fact that your post (not very much unlike your others) is sadly lacking in humility, it is also far-fetched and untrue.

    The only people I have heard of who have "totally pulled apart" Coon's theories, have been Russian nationals, Slavic supremacists (like yourself) and a few other wannabe oddballs who have identity crises. Most of these have self-esteem problems, suffer from schizophrenia and other oddities of character.

    I would like you to come and show me where a credible, scholarly critique of Coon's works has been published, that shows that all his works have been "totally pulled apart".


    Oh dear.

    Not sure what you know about history or biology, but even so, you should realize that the world has come a long way in the past 60 years.

    Are you trying to say Coon foresaw all those archeological finds and scientific discoveries that have been made since 1939, and then chose to ignore them?

    You should seriously do some reading. And I'm talking about books published during our lifetime. There are plenty of excellent links on this forum too.

    If you do that, you will realize that a hell of a lot of it goes against Coon's "groundbreaking" ideas on race and European ethnogenesis.

    And most is not Russian or Slavic. It comes from respected scholars from around the world, including the west.

    You should try it. I found it very enlightening, and I'm sure you will too.

    The only good thing about Coon's book is the raw data, and that's it. Get over it.

    One extremely old book is not going to give you all the answers. Unless you're a Christian, of course, and we're talking about the bible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polak
    Oh dear.

    Not sure what you know about history or biology, but even so, you should realize that the world has come a long way in the past 60 years.

    Are you trying to say Coon foresaw all those archeological finds and scientific discoveries that have been made since 1939, and then chose to ignore them?

    You should seriously do some reading. And I'm talking about books published during our lifetime. There are plenty of excellent links on this forum too.

    If you do that, you will realize that a hell of a lot of it goes against Coon's "groundbreaking" ideas on race and European ethnogenesis.

    And most is not Russian or Slavic. It comes from respected scholars from around the world, including the west.

    You should try it. I found it very enlightening, and I'm sure you will too.

    The only good thing about Coon's book is the raw data, and that's it. Get over it.

    One extremely old book is not going to give you all the answers. Unless you're a Christian, of course, and we're talking about the bible.
    So much for your "evidence". The only thing you have provided is some snotty remarks about my knowledge of history and biology. Now you better grow up quickly little boy, for I am losing my patience with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    So much for your "evidence". The only thing you have provided is some snotty remarks about my knowledge of history and biology. Now you better grow up quickly little boy, for I am losing my patience with you.

    Well I'm sorry you don't like what I have to say, but I'm really not saying anything unreasonable.

    I've never read a scholarly critique of Coon's Race of Europe, but I can't see why anyone would do one at this stage.

    Like I said, the man himself changed his mind on such issues as what defines race.

    Anyway, I can give you examples of the most serious flaws of Races of Europe, and then show you current material that backs up what I'm saying.

    This wil take a little time, however...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polak
    Well I'm sorry you don't like what I have to say, but I'm really not saying anything unreasonable.
    I don't mind hearing what you have to say, but it is your infantile, snotty attitude that is getting up my nose. I am not your bum-buddy, so start showing some respect.

    With regard to Coon, the value of his work is not in ethnogenesis theories etc, but anthropometric data, listing and describing of European subtype, and collecting of information on Euro ethnicities. In this, he is still far ahead of others. Of course, pre-historical "theories" have always been evolving, and will still evolve. So one shouldn't read Coon if you want to find out about pre-historical ancestral influences, but rather on his description of certain types and subraces. Certainly not worth binning his works just because you disagree with some of his theories, which are of secondary importance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    I don't mind hearing what you have to say, but it is your infantile, snotty attitude that is getting up my nose. I am not your bum-buddy, so start showing some respect.

    With regard to Coon, the value of his work is not in ethnogenesis theories etc, but anthropometric data, listing and describing of European subtype, and collecting of information on Euro ethnicities. In this, he is still far ahead of others. Of course, pre-historical "theories" have always been evolving, and will still evolve. So one shouldn't read Coon if you want to find out about pre-historical ancestral influences, but rather on his description of certain types and subraces. Certainly not worth binning his works just because you disagree with some of his theories, which are of secondary importance.

    Bum-buddy?

    Anyway, here's a little bit about Coon's Races of Europe that I (largely) agree with, but didn't write...

    Much of what Coon wrote does not make sense in the light of modern genetic evidence - evidence which sheds new light on which ethnies are more related to other ethnies, and on the ethnoracial ancestry of various groups - and thus Coon's interpretations and conclusions must be modified. In addition, Coon depended too much on subjective analyses of phenotype. His use of the racial term "Mediterranean" to mean a transcontinental grouping of peoples, extending from Britain to India is absurd. Of course, Coon's confusion of Europeans with non-Europeans is not confined to so-called "Mediterraneans"; Coon also thought he saw Afro-Asiatic "Nordics" and "Alpinids", as well as North African "Upper Paleolithic survivors" that Coon linked to North European Swedish/Irish phenotypes. Instead of lumping together such disparate groups, we more properly group peoples based on genetics, ancestry, history, and overall phenotypic characteristics, not just on a superficial phenotypic similarity in skull/facial dimensions or body form. Coon's analyses are also weak in the sense that his implied definition of race is suspect. In the section on Alpinids, he states that the "territorial distribution" of the "Alpine race" is not due to invasions or expansions, but due to a "parallel set of emergences." Thus, Coon placed groups together as a "race" due to his view of their phenotypic similarity, even though he thought that they had different ancestral origins - i.e., that Alpinids from different parts of Europe (and Asia!) look alike due to convergent evolution ("parallel emergences"), rather than from a common ancestry. This view of race is wrong. One does not view species classification in this manner; e.g., one would not say that two types of bird, unrelated as regards their ancestral origins, are the same species, just because they have a superficial phenotypic similarity. We do not say that a sperm whale is the same species as a bottle-nosed dolphin, just because both look more similar to each other than either to a rhinoceros. The concept or race ("subspecies") needs to include some idea of a common genetic and ancestral affinity. Such an affinity can be at some time in the past, but groups which are less related to each other cannot be lumped together as the same "race", based merely on vague similarities in body build and facial features. In reality, a British "Mediterranean" is racially (in the broad sense) more similar to a British "Nordic", than the "Mediterranean" Briton is to a "Mediterranean" Arab or Afghan. Such is obvious from genetics, as well as from the ethnic history of the British people. European peoples are more similar to each other in genes and ancestry than they are to non-Europeans (Mol. Biol. Evol. 10: 927-943, 1993). This is in essence Coon's biggest flaw: that he judges "race" on the basis of phenotype rather than on the basis of shared ancestry.

    Now, I have just spoken to someone about his other two books, and apparently, they're not exactly crach hot either. But it seems he did try to modify his theories to fit in with new info.

    In regards to the data in his book, I've already said that I do find it useful. But I still only see it as a historical guide. I really can't accept data from the 1930s and before, and use it as something even approaching current. Too much has happened since then.

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