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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Australoid race is a broad racial classification. The concept originated with a typological method of racial classification.[1][2][3] They were described as having dark skin with wavy hair, in the case of Aboriginal Australians, or hair ranging from straight to kinky in the case of Papuan, Melanesian and Negrito groups.

According to this model of classification, Australoid peoples ranged throughout Australia, New Guinea, and Melanesia, as well as different parts of Oceania, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Southern Middle East[4]. In the mid-twentieth century an argument emerged that Australoids were linked to proto-Caucasoids.

In the out of Africa theory, the ancestors of the Australoids, the Proto-Australoids are thought to have been the first branch off from the Proto-Capoids to migrate from Africa about 60,000 BCE, migrating along the now submerged continental shelf of the northern shore of the Indian Ocean and reaching Australia about 50,000 BCE.



Huxley's map of racial categories from On the geographical distribution of the chief modifications of Mankind.(1870).      1: Bushmen      2: Negroes      3: Negritoes      4: Melanochroi      5: Australoids      6: Xanthochroi      7: Polynesians      8: Mongoloids A      8: Mongoloids B      8: Mongoloids C      9: Esquimaux Huxley states: 'It is to the Xanthochroi and Melanochroi, taken together, that the absurd denomination of "Caucasian" is usually applied'.[5]

In the late nineteenth century, anthropometric studies led to a proposition of racial groups, one of which was termed "Australioid" by Thomas Huxley in an essay 'On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind' (1870), in which he divided humanity into four principal groups (Xanthochroic, Mongoloid, Negroid, and Australioid).[6]

Huxley also concluded that the Melanochroi (Peoples of the Mediterranean race) are of a mixture of the Xanthochroi and Australioids.[7] Later writers dropped the first "I" in Australioid, establishing Australoid as the standard spelling.

According to Peter Bellwood, "many of the present Southern Mongoloid populations of Indonesia and Malaysia also have a high degree of Australo-Melanesian genetic heritage."[8]

One proponent, R. Ruggles Gates, argued in 1960 that "If the Ainu are partly of Australoid origin it is also clear that they are even more nearly derived from archaic Caucasian ancestry".[9] M.K. Bhasin (2006) suggests that the "Australoids" "differentiat[ed]... perhaps from a common type before the separation of the Mongoloids and Caucasoids"[10]

Use to describe populations in India

Huxley's original model included populations in India. Some scholars still use the term Australoid denote the small populations, mainly in India and Sri Lanka, usually associated with Veddas. The American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1996, p. 382) by American Association of Physical Anthropologists. L. L. (Luigi Luca) Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza in their text, The History and Geography of Human Genes (1994, P. 241) both use the term.

Balgir (2004)[11] designates tribes as Australoid or Proto-Australoid according to language family:

It may be mentioned here that the major scheduled tribes of Orissa belong to three linguistic groups, namely, Indo-Aryan or Indo-Europeans, i.e. Non-Australoid, Austro-Asiatic (Mundari) speakers, i.e. Proto-Australoid, and Dravidian (Gondi or Kuvi) speakers, i.e. Australoid. Proto-Australoid racial group includes Bhumiz, Gadaba, Juang, Kharia, Koda, Kolha, Mahali, Mirdha, Munda, Santal and Saora tribes. Tribes like Bathudi, Bhatra, Binjhal, Bhuyan, Lodha and Saunti belong to non-Australoid racial stock while Australoid racial stock is represented by Gond, Kondh, Kissan, Oraon, Paraja and Pentia Halva tribes.

Kashyap (2006) [12] designates 23 out of 54 Indian populations studied as Australoid, of which one speaks an Indo-European language (Dhangar of Maharashtra), 4 speak Austro-Asiatic languages (Kurmi of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar Kurmi of Bihar, and Juang and Saora of Orissa), and 18 speak Dravidian languages. 7 populations were designated as Mongoloid, and the remaining 24 as Caucasoid. No Proto-Australoid category was used.

Physical features

Forensic anthropologist Caroline Wilkenson says that Australoids have the largest brow ridges "with moderate to large supraorbital arches".[13] Caucasoids have the second largest brow ridges with "moderate supraorbital ridges".[13] Negroids have the third largest brow ridges with an "undulating supraorbital ridge".[13] Mongoloids are "absent browridges", so they have the smallest brow ridges.[13] Australoids are usually dolichocephalic.[5] Their hair is usually silky, black and wavy.[5] Australoids usually have large, heavy jaws and prognathism.[5] The skin is the color of chocolate and the irises are dark brown or black.[5]

The first Americans?

Skulls of peoples with Australoid morphologies have been found in the Americas, leading to speculation that peoples with phenotypical similarities to modern Australoids may have been the earliest occupants of the continent.[14][15][16] These have been termed by some Pre-Siberian American Aborigines.

Christy Turner notes that "cranial analyses of some South American crania have suggested that there might have been some early migration of "Australoids."[17] These early Americans left signs of settlement in Brazil which may date back as many as 50,000 years ago. However, Turner argues that cranial morphology suggests "Sinodonty" in all the populations he has studied.

One of earliest skulls recovered by archaeologists is a specimen scientists have named Lucia.[3] According to archaeologist Walter Neves of the University of São Paulo, detailed measurements of the skull revealed that Lucia "was anything but Mongoloid." Further, when a forensic artist reconstructed Lucia's face, "the result was surprising: 'It had all the features of a Negroid face"....[18]

Some scientists believe these Australoid first Americans later were displaced relatively recently by peoples with more Mongoloid, or East Asian, characteristics approximately 7,000 to 9,000 years ago. Such scientists argue that a small number of Australoid peoples living in Tierra del Fuego are thought to be the only remaining survivors of these earliest known Americans.

The pre-European Fuegeans, who lived stone age-style lives until this century, show hybrid skull features which could have resulted from intermarrying between mongoloid and negroid peoples. Their rituals and traditions also bear some resemblance to the ancient rock art in Brazil."....[18]

See also


  1. ^ O'Neil, Dennis. "Biological Anthropology Terms." 2006. May 13, 2007. Palomar College.[1]
  2. ^ Does Race Exist? A proponent's perspective by George W. Gill.
  3. ^ Moore, Ruth Evolution (Life Nature Library) New York:1962 Time, Inc. Chapter 8: "The Emergence of Modern Homo Sapiens" Page 173--First page of picture section "Man and His Genes": The Australoid race is identified as one of the five major races of mankind, along with the Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid, and Capoid races (pictures of a person typical of each race are shown)
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e Huxley, T. H. "On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind" (1870) Journal of the Ethnological Society of London
  6. ^ Huxley, Thomas On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind. 1870. August 14, 2006
  7. ^ Huxley, Thomas. On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind. 1870. August 14, 2006. <>
  8. ^ Bellwood, Peter (1985). Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. Australian National University. pp. 92. ISBN 9781921313110.,M1. 
  9. ^ Ruggles Gates, R. "The Australian Aboriginals in a New Setting", Man, April 1960, pp. 53-6, [2]
  10. ^ Bhasin, M.K. (2006). "Genetics of Caste and Tribes of India: Indian Population Milieu". Int J Hum Genet (Kamla Raj) 6 (3): 233–274. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  11. ^ Balgir, RS and Dash, BP and Murmu, B. (2004). "Blood groups, hemoglobinopathy and G-6-PD deficiency investigations among fifteen major scheduled tribes of Orissa, India". Anthropologist 6: pp. 69--75. 
  12. ^ Kashyap, VK and Guha, S. and Sitalaximi, T. and Bindu, G.H. and Hasnain, S.E. and Trivedi, R. (2006). "Genetic structure of Indian populations based on fifteen autosomal microsatellite loci". BMC Genetics 7: pp. 28. 
  13. ^ a b c d Wilkenson, Caroline. Forensic Facial Reconstruction. Cambridge University Press. 2004. ISBN 0521820030
  14. ^ Ancient voyage of discovery, Independent, The (London), Apr 8, 1996 by David Keys
  15. ^ Scientific American, Skulls Suggest Differing Stocks for First Americans, December 13, 2005
  16. ^ National Geographic, Americas Settled by Two Groups of Early Humans, Study Says, Dec 12, 2005
  17. ^ Turner, Christy (2002). "Teeth, Needles, Dogs and Siberia: Bioarchaeological Evidence for the Colonization of the New World". The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World'. University of California Press. p. 138. 
  18. ^ a b ."First Americans were Australian." BBC News, Sci/Tech. August 26, 1999. Accessed 01-07/2007.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. (anthropology) A member of the racial classification that includes Veddahs, Negritos, New Guineans, Melanesians, Micronesians and Australian aborigines.

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