By Franz Boas
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Additional resources for Anthropology and Modern Life
Any prevail in the following genera- preferential mating, any selective brought about by differential mortality or or by change fertility, migration, must modify the genetic composition of the group. For these reasons none of our modern populations is stable from a hereditary point of view. geneous family lines in nated through migration homogeneous, the same if The hetero- a population that has will gradually origi- become more the descendants continue to reside in spot. In our cities and mixed farming com- munities, on account of changes in selective mating, constant changes in the hereditary composition are going on, even after immigration has ceased.
It be that the Swedish, German, Dutch, and north- ern French types are each of homogeneous ancestry but so variable that similar lines occur in groups; or the variations may be due all the an intermin- to gling of fundamentally different racial types, each of which If is quite stable. we assume the former alternative we must say that the hereditary characteristics are not "racially" determined, but belong to family lines that occur in all these local groups. In this case the term "racial heredity" loses its meaning.
Every organ has — to use Dr. Meltzer's Within limits it term —a margin of safety. can function normally according to THE PROBLEM OF RACE 47 environmental requirements. Even a partly disabled organ can be sufficient for the needs of the body. when these limits are ex- Inadequacy develops only ceeded. There are certain conditions that are most favorable, but the loss of adequacy when is very slight the conditions change within the margins of safety. In most cases of the kind here referred to the environmental influence acts upon different individuals in the same direction.