The work of ET Hamy, on the anthropology of Mexico, operates in so many respects so remarkable, is vitiated in good part of its results by the acceptance of specious theories drawn from the traditions. Instead we will see that the recent results of linguistics can be harmonized well and can find their explanation in the results of the most modern anthropological analysis. The task of seeing what were the anthropological realities that determined the three main phases or cycles of Mexican civilization is very interesting: Toltec, Chichimec and Aztec, phases that criticism tends to restore after a period of doubt.
The data on the living, which we have thanks to F. Starr, refer to the southern part of Mexico. However, since this is the most inhabited and the most important, this limitation is less serious than what appears at first, especially since other data, not very extensive, however, those of A. Hrdliěka help us for the northern parts. Starr examined about 100 males and 25 females for each of the following ethnic groups: Otomi, Tarasco, Tlaxcalteco, Aztec, Mixteco, Triqui, Mitla Zapotec, Mixe, Tehuantepec Zapotec, Juave, Chontal, Cuicateco, Chinanteco, Chocho, Mazateco, Tepehua, Totonaco, Huaxtec, Maya, Zoque, Tzotzil and Chol.
Unfortunately, however, among the measurements he took, the height of the head was not found, which proved to be a much higher analytical character than all the others; however, to use this data help the skulls. However, also in this regard, Starr’s data are indirectly useful, since for the principle of correlation of the three dimensional diameters, in the high forms of the skull the diameters on the horizontal plane (length and width) are not equal in their absolute values to the homonymous diameters. of the low forms; and precisely the aforesaid diameters in the former are in absolute value less than the homonymous diameters of the latter, even if they have the same horizontal index. The Starr data thus allow us to establish that the Huaxtecs and the Maya, despite having the same horizontal index, (about 85), have, the former, a relatively tall skull, the second a low one. In fact, the differences in the absolute values cannot be attributed to height, since the former are higher than the latter. The Totonacos that are geographically interspersed between the two, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, have intermediate values that indicate mixtures of the two elements, a fact confirmed by the examination of the skulls. The relative metric values also allow us to suspect the presence of brachiplates (v. cephalic, indexes) in the Chocho. The examination of the tables for the nasal and facial indices then allows us to arrive at other conclusions: the more dolichocephalic series do not behave equally for the nasal and facial indices. That is, there are dolichocephalics with a more platyrrine nose and with low faces and dolichocephalics with a less platyrrine nose, but still such, and high faces. For the nasal index the totality of the series is arranged as follows: the low brachi, whether high or mixed, have the smallest values, often of true leptorynia, then the dolico with high face, finally the dolico with low face. For the facial indexes, on the other hand, the lower faces are given by the brachi and by a group of dolichos, the other group being at the opposite extreme. This means that in the dolicos with the lengthening of the face the nose does not grow proportionally in height. This conclusion is very important, as we will see immediately. The brachischelia index and the other indices do not give clear results, as Starr himself points out.
The Triqui, the Tzendal, the Tzotzil, the Otomí certainly belong to the group of the low-faced dolichos; on the other the Aztecs, the Tarascus and the Tlaxcalteco. The judgment on the other more or less dolicoid groups (under 80) is very dubious. It should be noted that in the 1st dolic type, the nose, although well raised at the root, is rather low in the back, aquiline and broad at the tip. In the 2nd the root is higher and the back well raised.
The data of the Hrdlička on the Indians of the north-west and above all of the Sonora allow us to establish a very important point.
Whatever their cephalic index, they very often exhibit a singular association between relatively tall faces and relatively low noses, as the photographs and numerical data indicate.
Some of these Indians, also for the cephalic index, approach the dolic group with high face mentioned above (Pima, Papago, and to a lesser extent Yaqui). It is therefore in this direction that we find the affinities with the high-faced dolic group, which we have seen in the Starr data. The craniological data of Hamy’s work allow much more remarkable clarifications, achievable thanks to the three-dimensional analysis technique (see cephalic, indices) and thanks to the fact that the Hamy very often gives the values of the three dimensions for single cases. A result of the greatest importance achieved by the Hamy is that of the great antiquity, in the southern part of the plateau and especially in the territory around Mexico, of a brachycephalic type. The two skulls found in good condition in the oldest tombs of Santiago Tlaltelolco confirm this. The same fact is demonstrated by the less ancient skulls of the same locality, that of Belem, those of Tuyahualco.
According to Hamy, the skulls attributed to ancient Otomí fall into the same category, but the thing seems less certain, just as the said ethnographic attribution does not seem certain. The three-dimensional analysis, however, allows us to affirm that these forms predominant in ancient times on the plateau were orthocephalic. This fact, certainly, causes all the approximations asserted by Hamy to fall with the brachycephalic forms of neighboring territories, approximations with which he tried to illuminate the presence of these forms on the plateau. Thus we can absolutely refuse that the brachycephaly of certain Sonorian lineages (Mayo, part of the Yaqui, etc.) has anything to do with this, since these lineages have a high skull; on the contrary, the brachycephaly of the Yucatán is also different, because the Yucateco and Mayan series are low and very wide.
Hamy’s data allow us, if not certainties, assumptions that are also valid for other regions. Thus three Totonac skulls are perfect brachiplates. The Hamy says that the Totonaco are mixed; this is confirmed by Starr’s data and we can therefore induce that the totonac population results from a superimposition of rather high forms to the aforementioned low ones. A Mixtec skull, brachiortus, with data from Starr, suggests that this population results from a mixture of dolico alto and brachiortus.
The skulls of the ancient Chichimeco are brachyoid hypsycephalics, but very close to the borderline with the dolichos. They are also characterized by a high nasal index and a low facial index and finally by an absence of prognathism. The figure on pl. XIV of the Hamy allows to establish the characters of the nasal skeleton that are interesting for the comparison with the living ethnic groups. The nasal opening is not very narrow at the top and the bridge is, transversally, convex, uniformly, while in the lateral norm it is not very prominent, although always well formed. In a nutshell, the conformation is what we have seen in the low-faced dolic type of the Starr groups. The face of the Triqui that Starr figures is the face that the bearer of the skull might have had in pl. XIV of the Hamy. physiognomy, XV, p. 488 et seq.).
This type has an acute-sixth nasal bridge, that is narrow seen from the face, but the height of the nose is always small, hence a relatively high index. This type is well presented in pl. XXI of the Hamy and clearly corresponds to the dolic type with a high face, which we have distinguished in the living. For Mexico religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
The facts exposed concur, according to Sera, the following anthropological arrangement. For a period, the duration of which is not necessary for the moment to fix, but which was probably not the first period of human occupation of the plateau, this was inhabited by brachiorto. It is very likely that these were the bearers of the so-called Toltec civilization. This, as is known, lasted until around the century. X d. C. Some natural event of far-reaching and lasting duration (long droughts in the plateau, epidemics, facts of which the rest of the traditions speak) had to determine the mass exodus of the brachiorts towards the surrounding regions. We see them in actuality precisely in these secondary locations for them, in the pure state for the Huaxtecs, mixed with the Totonaco, the Mixtecs, to say only of those groups in which this is already more probable. The creation of free space on the plateau, the ethnic pressure generated by the exodus of the brachiorts towards the south on the masses of the low-faced dolichos who lived in the south of the plateau pushed the latter, perhaps through the Atoyac valley (or through valleys parallel), on the plateau. It is in fact near the upper outlet of this valley that we find the oldest Chichimeco. These suppositions alone can explain the singular fact that the civilization phase of the Lhichimeco was marked, according to the unanimous testimony of historians, by the presence of a people who, at least in the early days, were completely wild and uneducated. How could such a people have rejected the highly civilized Toltecs, however decadent? But, very important deduction, we must also admit that the dolic element with a low face, certainly of southern origin, had to arrive on the plateau before the other dolic with a high face, which we can certainly call Nahuat, which must have culminated with the arrival of the Aztecs from the north; we could not explain otherwise how the former could arrive on the plateau when this was already occupied by the Nahuat element, so culturally superior. The singular wedging of the linguistic group from the Schmidt called Otomí-Mangue on the plateau is explained by the fact that the dolichos with low faces are the bearers of the said language, hence we can call them dolichocephalic otomí.
But what is the arrangement of the Yucatec and Maya ethnic groups, which we have seen to be brachiplates? To arrive at an explanation we need to recall similar facts found in the Andes. In Bolivia the brachiorts are not the only residents of the plateau, but in the higher areas of it, on the Royal Cordillera, which is like a plateau superimposed on the lower plateau, they are brachiplates.
Other brachiplates are found on the Atlantic side. Now Sera supposed that the brachiortus had partly rejected the brachiplates who first inhabited the plateau on the higher inhabited area and partly rejected them on the Atlantic side. In Mexico we do not have elevated territories of great extension (however, some skulls found in Tenenepanco, at 4000 meters on Popocatepetl, are perhaps precisely brachiplates, but the future research will have to give more evidence in this regard), and therefore the brachiplates had to be rejected. in all or almost on the Atlantic side where we find them in the current Yucatecs and Maya. These, according to Sera, would be the real first residents of the plateau and the creators of the most ancient Mexican civilization (and perhaps of America), the Mayan civilization. One last fact of great anthropogeographic significance should be remembered, which however will appear elsewhere. In Mexico even the brachiplates which in South America show manifest characters of the first human type (Tibetoy or Polynesian) do not present them at all. The Maya are characterized by strongly Europeanizing physiognomies.