[update 10am GMT-7 - the problem with page 3 of the comments not displaying has been corrected. Click on page 3 below is now working. /Mike
One of the most widely read articles in the discipline of Anthropology last year was the following
One of the most startling papers in the collection reviewed in this article contained information on forensic anthropology that might startle some of you not familiar with the discipline. I quote:
"...The authors highlight just how many social differences could be discerned by forensic anthropologists. Given an original sample of bones classified into social groups, a forensic anthropologist can with high probability predict to which group another case of bones belong. They can separate Japanese from Chinese from Vietnamese, or northern Japanese from southern Japanese. Or, and perhaps most incredibly, “white males born between 1840 and 1890 can be separated from white males born 1930 to 1980 very well, and they are distinguished by time, and would appear to qualify as different races” (1992:74). Group bones by birth-year, run the statistics, and then introduce a new sample: the sample can be accurately classified, and a new race born every fifty years!…"
There have been various references on this site to the possible significance of racial differences in the past, and I have tried to discuss these with reference to my own professional training and paradigms, but there still appears to be some hint in both public discourse and on this forum that racial distinctions are really biological and on a par with almost sub-species differences.
I am challenging that. I invite people who are curious about this issue to read this article, which is full of excellent links to original reports of research, and become familiar with the cutting-edge thinking among those most familiar with human population genetics. No matter which side of the fence you are sitting on right now, it is a fascinating article.