Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lisa M. Paciulli & Sara R. Hegge
Human variation, historically a topic of much opinion, debate, and fallacy, is ruled today by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology that was absent from early classification systems. Before the onset of European exploration in the late 15th century, it was believed that humans were descended from a single pair and should not be placed into different categories as other animals were. However, the discovery of diverse cultures on different continents prompted scientists such as Linneaus, Buffon, Blumenbach, and Cuvier to distinguish Homo sapiens by physical and cultural characteristics. Carolus Linneaus, the first of these scholars, added temper, behavior, and dress to the already traditional division of skin color. Comte de Buffon, the next scientist to describe the human “race,” did so by categorizing different peoples by their geographic location. However, Buffon did not separate people into different species as Linneaus did. In 1781, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach moved away from cultural In ...