In infants, long before birth, the skin on the soles of the feet is thicker than on any other part of the body; (28. Paget, 'Lectures on Surgical Pathology,' vol. ii, 1853, p. 209.) and it can hardly be doubted that this is due to the inherited effects of pressure during a long series of generations.
It is familiar to every one that watchmakers and engravers are liable to be short-sighted, whilst men living much out of doors, and especially savages, are generally long-sighted. (29. It is a singular and unexpected fact that sailors are inferior to landsmen in their mean distance of distinct vision. Dr. B.A. Gould ('Sanitary Memoirs of the War of the Rebellion,' 1869, p. 530), has proved this to be the case; and he accounts for it by the ordinary range of vision in sailors being "restricted to the length of the vessel and the height of the masts.") Short-sight and long-sight certainly tend to be inherited. (30. 'The Variation of Animals under Domestication,' vol. i. p. 8.) The inferiority of Europeans, in comparison with savages, in eyesight and in the other senses, is no doubt the accumulated and transmitted effect of lessened use during many generations; for Rengger (31. 'Saugethiere von Paraguay,' s. 8, 10. I have had good opportunities for observing the extraordinary power of eyesight in the Fuegians. See also Lawrence ('Lectures on Physiology,' etc., 1822, p. 404) on this same subject. M. Giraud-Teulon has recently collected ('Revue des Cours Scientifiques,' 1870, p. 625) a large and valuable body of evidence proving that the cause of short-sight, "C'est le travail assidu, de pres.") states that he has repeatedly observed Europeans, who had been brought up and spent their whole lives with the wild Indians, who nevertheless did not equal them in the sharpness of their senses. The same naturalist observes that the cavities in the skull for the reception of the several sense- organs are larger in the American aborigines than in Europeans; and this probably indicates a corresponding difference in the dimensions of the organs themselves. Blumenbach has also remarked on the large size of the nasal cavities in the skulls of the American aborigines, and connects this fact with their remarkably acute power of smell. The Mongolians of the plains of northern Asia, according to Pallas, have wonderfully perfect senses; and Prichard believes that the great breadth of their skulls across the zygomas follows from their highly-developed sense organs. (32. Prichard, 'Physical History of Mankind,' on the authority of Blumenbach, vol. i. 1851, p. 311; for the statement by Pallas, vol. iv. 1844, p. 407.)
The Quechua Indians inhabit the lofty plateaux of Peru; and Alcide d'Orbigny states (33. Quoted by Prichard, 'Researches into the Physical History of Mankind,' vol. v. p. 463.) that, from continually breathing a highly rarefied atmosphere, they have acquired chests and lungs of extraordinary dimensions. The cells, also, of the lungs are larger and more numerous than in Europeans. These observations have been doubted, but Mr. D. Forbes carefully measured many Aymaras, an allied race, living at the height of between 10,000 and 15,000 feet; and he informs me (34. Mr. Forbes' valuable paper is now published in the 'Journal of the Ethnological Society of London,' new series, vol. ii. 1870, p.193.) that they differ conspicuously from the men of all other races seen by him in the circumference and length of their bodies. In his table of measurements, the stature of each man is taken at 1000, and the other measurements are reduced to this standard. It is here seen that the extended arms of the Aymaras are shorter than those of Europeans, and much shorter than those of Negroes. The legs are likewise shorter; and they present this remarkable peculiarity, that in every Aymara measured, the femur is actually shorter than the tibia. On an average, the length of the femur to that of the tibia is as 211 to 252; whilst in two Europeans, measured at the same time, the femora to the tibiae were as 244 to 230; and in three Negroes as 258 to 241.