United by Similarities, Separated by Differences
“Man has been studied more carefully than any other organic being, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity among capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two, as three...or as sixty-three” (Darwin, 83). In The Descent of Man Darwin argues whether humans are one species or if the races of the world make up their own respective species. Darwin considers both the differences and similarities between races, and using both biological and social observations, he concludes that the different races put together make up one species--homo sepiens.
When determining whether the separate races make up one species or not, Darwin heavily considers the biological differences and similarities between them. The biological factors that Darwin considers are mainly physiological such as: hair color, shape of the skull, skin color, and body proportions. People of African descent have dark skin and hair whereas people of European descent have light skin and generally lighter hair. People descended from Africa have a more elongated skull whereas people descended from Europe have a more square or flat skull. These differences would seemingly set the races apart from each other, but Darwin states “Although the existing races of man differ in many respects...they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these points are of so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races” (Darwin, 83). He explains that the characteristic differences between the different races cannot be correlated to differences in habitat or conditions of life, but by natural and sexual selection (Darwin). Darwin also explains that we must be of the same species because two people of different races are able to produce offspring which is the definition of a species. Sure...
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