Negroid types according to Meyers Blitz-Lexicon, published in 1932

Negroid is a term sometimes used by forensic anthropologists and physical anthropologists to refer to populations that share certain phenotypic traits such as high Melanin levels (dark skin) and skeletal features associated with ancestry from Sub-saharan Africa.[1]

It was introduced by early Racial science used to refer to the "black race", one of the proposed three major races of human kind. Since the concept of race has been largely abandoned as a useful way to describe human biological variation the term have become mostly obsolete,[2] The word is formed by the base word "Negro" and the suffix "-oid" which means "resembling". Although especially Forensic anthropologists continue to use them in some contexts, outside of forensic anthropology the term mongoloid is now often considered derogatory, and racist.[3] [4]



The term has both Greek and Latin etymological roots. It literally translates as "black resemblance" from negro/niger (black), and -oeidēs, equivalent to -o- -o- + -eidēs having the form of, derivative of eîdos form.[5] The earliest recorded use of the term "Negroid" came in 1859.[6] In modern use, the term is associated with "the division of mankind represented by the indigenous peoples of central and southern Africa".[7]


The three great races according to Meyers Konversationslexikon of 1885-90. The subtypes of the Negroid race are shown in brown tones.

In the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, the traditional subraces of the Negroid race were regarded as being the Nilotic race, the Sudanic race (also called "West Africans", i.e., all those belonging the Niger–Congo peoples who are not Bantus), the Bantu race, the Pygmy race and the Khoisan (always referred to as "Hottentots and Bushmen" before the 1960s) [8] (the Khoisan by the 1960s became regarded as a separate race known as the Capoid race, as noted above).


Milkica Nešić et al. of the Department of Physiology at the University of Niš, Serbia, said the "frequency of hair" in "peoples of the Caucasus" is "significantly higher than" in "Negroid populations".[9]


Ashley Montagu lists "neotenous structural traits in which...Negroids [generally] differ from Caucasoids... flattish nose, flat root of the nose, narrower ears, narrower joints, frontal skull eminences, later closure of premaxillary sutures, less hairy, longer eyelashes, [and] cruciform pattern of second and third molars."[10] Ashley Montagu claimed that in the "extinct" "Negroid" group called the "Boskopoids" "pedomorphic traits" proceeded further than in other Negroids.[10] Montagu claimed that the Boskopoids had larger brains than modern man (1,700 cubic centimeters compared to 1,400 cubic centimeters of modern-day man) and the projection of their mouth was less than in other Negroids.[10] Montagu claimed the Boskopoids were the ancestors of the Bushmen.[10]

Use in physical anthropology

In physical anthropology the term is one of the three general racial classifications of humans — Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Negroid. Under this classification scheme, humans are divisible into broad sub-groups based on phenotypic characteristics such as cranial and skeletal morphology.

Later extensions of the terminology, such as Carleton S. Coon's Origin of Races, placed this theory in an evolutionary context. Coon divided the species homo sapiens into five groups: Caucasoid, Capoid, Congoid, Australoid and Mongoloid, based on the timing of each taxon's evolution from homo erectus.[11][12] Positing the Capoid race as a separate racial entity, and labeling the two major divisions of what he called the Congoid race as being the "African Negroes" and the "Pygmies", he divided indigenous Africans into these two distinct groups based on their date of origin, and loosened classification from mere appearance — however, this led to disagreement between approaches to dating divergence, and consequent conflicting results.[12][13] Cavalli-Sforza also accepts this twofold division, pointing out that the Pygmies are have a very different genetic signature than other Black Africans, so they must have originally had their own now unknown language, but have since adopted the language of the Bantu peoples around them. Cavaill-Sforza does not accept as Coon did that each race evolved separately; he accepts the currently dominant paradigm, the Out of Africa theory, i.e. that all human beings are descended from small bands of people that migrated out of Africa beginning about 60,000 years ago.[page needed]

Craniofacial anthropometry

In modern craniofacial anthropometry, Negroid describes features that typify skulls of Black people. These include a broad and round nasal cavity; no dam or nasal sill; Quonset hut-shaped nasal bones; notable facial projection in the jaw and mouth area (prognathism); a rectangular-shaped palate; a square or rectangular eye orbit shape;[14] and large, megadontic teeth.[15] Still widely used internationally in the identification of human remains, some have challenged its accuracy in different human populations which have developed in close proximity to one another and those of mixed ethnic heritage. For example, one recent study of ancient Nubian crania concluded:

The assignment of skeletal racial origin is based principally upon stereotypical features found most frequently in the most geographically distant populations. While this is useful in some contexts (for example, sorting skeletal material of largely West African ancestry from skeletal material of largely Western European ancestry), it fails to identify populations that originate elsewhere and misrepresents fundamental patterns of human biological diversity.[16]


The term Negroid is commonly associated with notions of racial typology which are currently being disputed by a majority of anthropologists.[17] For modern usage it is generally associated with racial notions, and is discouraged, as it is potentially offensive.[7] The term "Negroid" is still used in certain disciplines such as craniometry, epidemiology and forensic archaeology[dubious ]. Even in a medical context, some scholars have recommended that the term Negroid be avoided in scientific writings because of its association with racism and race science.[18] This mirrors the decline in usage of the term Negro, which fell out of favor following the campaigns of the American civil rights movement — the term Negro became associated with periods of legalized discrimination, and was rejected by African Americans during the 1960s for Black.[7]

Coon's evolutionary approach was criticized on the basis that such "sorting criteria" do not (in general) produce meaningful results, and that evolutionary divergence was extremely improbable over the given time-frames.[19] As Monatagu (1963) said,

The notion that five subspecies or geographic races of Homo erectus [...] "evolved independently into Homo sapiens not once but five times" at different times and in different places, seems to me a very far-fetched one. Coon has striven valiantly, to make out a case for this theory, but it simply does not square with the biological facts. Species and subspecies simply do not develop that way. The transmutation of one species into another is a very gradual process [...][13]

See also


  1. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (2007-07-03). "Modern Human Variation: Glossary of Terms". Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  2. ^ Relethford, John. The Human Species: An introduction to Biological Anthropology, 8th ed, p 368 McGraw-Hill: New York, 2003.
  3. ^ Keevak, Michael (2011). Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691140315. 
  4. ^ Company, Houghton Mifflin (2005). The American Heritage guide to contemporary usage and style. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 512. ISBN 0618604995. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Harper, Douglas (November 2001). "Online Etymological Dictionary". Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  7. ^ a b c "Ask Oxford – Definition of Negroid". Oxford Dictionary of English. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  8. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, L. Luca; Menozzi, Paolo; and Piazza Alberto The History and Geography of Human Genes Princeton, New Jersey: 1994 Princeton University Press Page 168—See Table “A Summary of Hiernaux’s Classification (Hiernaux 1975) of the Sub-Saharan African Peoples"
  9. ^ Nešić, M. et al. (2010). Middle phalangeal hair distribution in Serbian high school students. Arch. Biol. Sci., Belgrade, 62 (3), 841-850, DOI:10.2298/ABS1003841N
  10. ^ a b c d Montagu, Ashley Growing Young Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1988 ISBN 0-89789-166-X
  11. ^ Jackson Jr., John (June 2001). ""In Ways Unacademical": The Reception of Carleton S. Coon's The Origin of Races". Journal of the History of Biology 34 (2): 247–285. doi:10.1023/A:1010366015968. 
  12. ^ a b Keita, S.O.Y.; Rick A. Kittles (September 1987). "The Persistence of Racial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence". American Anthropologist 99 (3): 534–544. doi:10.1525/aa.1997.99.3.534. 
  13. ^ a b Dobzhansky, Theodosius; Ashley Montagu; C. S. Coon (1963). "Two Views of Coon's "Origin of Races" with Comments by Coon and Replies". Current Anthropology 4 (4): 360–367. doi:10.1086/200401. 
  14. ^ Forensic Anthropology – Ancestry
  15. ^ Brace CL, Tracer DP, Yaroch LA, Robb J, Brandt K, Nelson AR, Clines and clusters versus "race:" a test in ancient Egypt and the case of a death on the Nile, (1993), Yrbk Phys Anthropol 36:1–31, p.18
  16. ^ L’engle Williams, Frank; Robert L. Belcher, George J. Armelagos (April 2005). "Forensic Misclassification of Ancient Nubian Crania: Implications for Assumptions about Human Variation" (PDF). Current Anthropology 46 (2): 340–346. doi:10.1086/428792.$/fwilliams/CurrAnth%202005%20Williams%20et%202.pdf. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Agyemang, Charles; Raj Bhopal, Marc Bruijnzeels (2005). "Negro, Black, Black African, African Caribbean, African American or what? Labelling African origin populations in the health arena in the 21st century". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 59 (12): 1014–1018. doi:10.1136/jech.2005.035964. PMC 1732973. PMID 16286485. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  19. ^ Carlson, David; Armelagos, George (September 1971). "Problems in Racial Geography". Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61 (3): 630–633. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1971.tb00812.x. 

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  • negroid — negroíd s. m., adj. m. (sil. gro ), pl. negroízi; f. sg. negroídă, g. d. art. negroídei, pl. negroíde Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  NEGROÍ//D negroiddă (negroidzi …   Dicționar Român

  • Negroid — UK / US or Negroid UK [ˈniːɡrɔɪd] / US [ˈnɪˌɡrɔɪd] adjective someone with negroid features has the physical appearance of a black person …   English dictionary

  • negroid — UK / US or Negroid UK [ˈniːɡrɔɪd] / US [ˈnɪˌɡrɔɪd] adjective someone with negroid features has the physical appearance of a black person …   English dictionary

  • Negroid — [nē′groid΄] adj. [ NEGRO1 + OID] designating or of one of the major traditional geographic groupings of human beings, including the majority of the peoples of Africa, and peoples of Melanesia, New Guinea, etc. who are generally characterized by a …   English World dictionary

  • Negroid — Ne groid, a. [Negro + oid.] 1. Characteristic of the negro. [1913 Webster] 2. Resembling the negro or negroes; of or pertaining to those who resemble the negro. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Negroid — Ne groid, n. [Negro + oid.] A member of any one of several East African tribes whose physical characters show an admixture with other races. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • negroid — (adj.) 1844, a hybrid, from NEGRO (Cf. Negro) and Greek suffix oeides like, resembling (see OID (Cf. oid)). As a noun from 1859 …   Etymology dictionary

  • negroid — negròīd m <G negroída> DEFINICIJA antrop. 1. pripadnik negroida 2. (mn) ogranak negro australoidne rasne skupine ETIMOLOGIJA negro + oid …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Negroid — referring to the peoples of central and southern Africa, is one of a set of terms used by 19c anthropologists to classify human races. They are now outdated and potentially offensive, and the names of specific peoples or nationalities should… …   Modern English usage

  • Negroid — Negride oder Negriden (v. lat. niger, schwarz) ist eine nicht mehr gebräuchliche rassensystematische Bezeichnung für eine Reihe dunkelhäutiger afrikanischer Bevölkerungen, die den überwiegenden Teil des afrikanischen Kontinentes, mit Ausnahme… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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