Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Somatology

Study of the body of an organism, usually taken to mean the fluids and other soft tissues rather than the skeleton. Somatology thus includes the measurement and/or descriptions of skin color, hair form and distribution, the shape of features such as the eyes and nose, dermatoglyphics, and features of blood such as blood types, taster/nontaster determination, presence/absence of sicklemia, measurements of body parts and proportions, etc. Although somatologists may be involved with investigating the relationships of such information with environmental variables, somatologists in general do not involve themselves with the identification of a limited number of morphological types, i.e. they are not aligned with the principles of biotypology.

See constitutional typology, Bergmann’s rule, Gloger’s rule, Allen’s rule.

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