Archive for May 9th, 2009


A Guide to Human Types

May 9, 2009

There’s this website link making the rounds today that purports to be a guide to human types for artists. At first, I thought it would be the usual exomorph/mesomorph diagrams, so I was dismissive. It turned out to be very different: a breakdown of human physical characteristics based on area of origin.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t about race. Too many people think of race as Arab vs. Jew, or French vs. English. But those aren’t races. This intensive set of diagrams explores how we differ based on where our ancestors originated, not their racial group.

Again, I was dismissive. How can there be any one diagram for, say, Greeks? Or Scandinavians? But the more I looked over the chart, the more I realized there was something to it … to a limited extent.

Take me, for instance. My ancestors came from Ireland, Scotland, Africa and North America, but according to this chart, I bear the physical characteristics of the Levantines. Height, head shape, colouring … it all fits, as does the line “inclined to corpulence when occupation is sedentary,” which is intello-speak for “couch potato potential.”

The match doesn’t surprise me. Among my ancestors were Melungeons, many of whom claim to be descended from Levantine slaves abandoned in North America centuries ago. Other forebears were black slaves owned by the Creek Nation, intermingling like mad, with the odd white face joining the mix.

When you think about it, people of the Levant, which straddles three continents, would carry characteristics of European, African and Asiatic people … just like I do.

The Sami Finn entry was illuminating, too. On their mother’s side, my children are descended from Sami Finns, Russians and Polish Jews. That sketch of a Sami face looks just like a lot of their relatives. It’s quite remarkable.

My kids, though, don’t look like anything on this chart. Not entirely. But with their United Nations genetic mix, I suppose anything is possible. Once in a while, you hear some scientist (or pseudoscientist, or pundit) claim that as world populations shift, humanity is shifting toward a blended one-world look. Maybe that’ll happen. Maybe it won’t.

But we’re off to a good start at the Weather Station.