Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Boas, Franz

US physicist (Ph.D.), ethnologist, the father of American anthropology; known for careful use of Kwakiutl informants in the American northwest; also known for a pioneering study of the inheritance of the cephalic index (CI) in American immigrants, in which he showed that offspring possessed CIs substantially different from those of their foreign-born parents (1912), thus undermining the supposed high heritability of the CI and its habitual use as a race marker. Remembered for the cultural relativism embodied in his historical particularism.

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