Biodiversity in anthropological research at Francisc Joseph Rainer

19 octombrie 2012 Adrian Majuru Science and Culture


This article is dedicated to Francisc J.Rainer and his methodes  to anthropological researchers. Francisc Rainer was born in 1874, MD Faculty of Medecine in 1903; Prof. of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medecine Jassy(1913-1920) and same in Bucharest (1920-1940). He was interested in anatomy, embryology and anthropology of the Roumanians research under way on the population of certain villages of the Carpathian mountains, on craniology of the Roumanians, on the anthropology of Roumanian students and on blood groups; field trips in the Carpathians, 1927(Drăguș), 1928(Nereju) and 1932 (Fundul Moldovei) near by Dimitrie Gusti.

Key words: Francisc J.Rainer, anthropology, craniology, ethnic diversity.


For several years, cultural and medical anthropology in the West has been going through a remarkable process of conceptual transformation, brought forth on the one hand by the society’s need to tackle new challenges of the scientific progress, and most importantly the inherent ethical dilemmas and on the other hand by the effort to update medico-social ideas and theories that will individualize national medical schools at an European level.

The ethnic diversity of Romania after 1918 not only attracted politicians and visionaries concerned with the image of the national state, but also became a focus point of cultural anthropology research developed by physicians and biologists during the interwar period.

If these aspects are relatively well known in the history of Romanian medicine, what was not really discussed is the fact that many of the theories that underlay the basis for assessing health condition and quality of life, human reproduction analysis, planning and sanitary education, promoting health, well, all these notions have had anthropological dimensions too, with a direct aperture towards issues of national identity.

The opportunity provided by the Institute of Anthropology «Francis Joseph Rainer» to study the unique archive handed down by Mrs. Rainer-Trancu to the Institute, under the title of “Rainer succession” represents to historical research the best possible circumstances to offer Romanian historiography the anthropological component as well. With original contributions in a less known social and cultural history of Eastern Europe, it focused on the Romanian realities of that time. The history of the Romanian people is also present in the details of the biodiversity studied with tools specific to medical anthropology, biology and sociology, applied in the latter case by Dimitrie Gusti and in the former cases, by anatomy professor, Francis Joseph Rainer.


Dimitrie Gusti and Francisc Rainer to Nereju Mare village

Collaboration between the two has added value to the interdisciplinary research in our country and has shown what the union of applied sciences can do, in understanding the human phenomenon in terms of its biological and cultural bipolarity from this perspective also in order to reveal a synthetic picture of the history and evolution of Romanian people. One can also go back in time with the help of biology, of laboratory analyses or the various measurement categories that medical anthropology often includes in cultural anthropology. All these details are essential in the classic study of history.

In order to provide at the beginning a synthetic image of the interdisciplinary research method that professor Francisc Rainer applies to the study of anthropology, we hereinafter offer the whole text of the conference summary presented by the prestigious professor in the lecture room of the Romanian Academy, in mid-May 1928, regarding the anthropological research made in Nerejul Mare, Vrancea county. The final study of the research made by the team led by professor Rainer was published ten years later in the volume  «Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes» (Official Journal of Romania and the National Printing House, Central Printing House, Bucharest, 1937, p. 15-28).


We then compared this scientific text with the article of journalist M. Sevastos, also present at the meeting of the Romanian Academy, occasioned by the presentation of research results in Nereju Mare, Vrancea County. At a first glance, we can notice the seriousness of writing a newspaper article, applied to a first class scientific event and the very refined filter of a civil society, which was more open at that time, rather than nowadays, to understanding the research work of its elite.  Please see below the two texts, the former still not published up to now:

„Anthropological research on the dwellers of a village (Nereju Mare) from Vrancea County”

” What we know today about the anthropology of our peasant is the result of Professor E. Pittard’s(1)  research, from Geneva. During many study campaigns he measured about 2600 individuals, most of them from various counties of the former kingdom  and given the relative exiguity of the material, he cautiously laid down the conclusions he was able to draw or foresee, leaving their consolidation or modification to future research. This was a good start. But the anthropology of the Romanian people was yet to be made.

There are two ways to do so. One would be an exhaustive investigation made on the occasion of recruitments just as Sweden made some time ago on more than 40 000 recruits, Institute for Racial Biology, in Uppsala. As a result of this work, the general anthropological appearance of the Swedish people is unsurpassably known. The second one, complementary to the first, is the monographic study of the dwellers in as many mountain villages as possible, as remote as possible, where we are able to discover the older ethnical aspect of the population. The paper I am honoured to summarize in front of you falls under this category.

The occasion to undertake it was provided by Professor D. Gusti(2), who set himself to associate with me, for the anthropological side of the sociological exploitation campaign that he conducted in Vrancea County, more specifically in Nerejul Mare village. I warmly thank him for his great help in all respects; and especially for morally preparing the population with respect to the measurements.(3)

Therefore, for the first time in our country, it was possible for the anthropological monography of a village to be made. The number of the measured individuals is approximately 300(4), but in order to establish the results we left aside the charts of children and those of many elders. There were 253 left, namely 134 men and 119 women. The number of the measured sizes for each individual is also significantly higher than in the research published so far:  we have directly measured 12 sizes, and we calculated the thirteenth – cranial capacity – using the formulas provided by Pearson and Lee. Based on the measurements we calculated 12 indexes. I’m also adding the sociologic research regarding isoagglutinins, made by the assistant from my institute, Dr. Dumitrescu.


Francisc Rainer making anthropological measuring to Fundu Moldovei village - 1928

The measurements technique– and this is an important aspect – is the one presented in the classic anthological technique treatise of R. Martin, embraced by most researchers.(5)  I have made the presentation of the results using the methods of biometric science, which have been applied in anthropology, in most regions abroad and which will surely soon be applied in our country as well. The cranium or the braincase (from Latin cranium; commonly known as skull or headbone) is a bony structure which contains and protects the encephalon in the case of Craniata vertebrates. This is located in the superior part of the mammals’ endoskeleton. The human cranium is made of eight bones which together form an ovoid cavity with variable hardness and with a capacity of approximately 1.450 ml (in the case of adults). The head skeleton or the craniofacial skeletal structure is a bone ensemble of the cranium (in Latin ossa cranii) and of the face (in Latin ossa faciei) also known as skull or head. The latter term is improper from an anatomical point of view, as the cranium is in fact a part which constitutes the head. Nevertheless, in other fields such as embryology or biology, the cranium is considered a synonym of the head. The distinction between the cranium and the face is very clear: in essence, the cranium contains the encephalon, while the face is the area in which the mimic muscles are found, the muscles used for chewing and the series of sense organs. The inner part of the cranium is called endocranium and the outer part exocranium. On the other hand, the cranium can be segmented vertically and in this case one speaks of the superior cranium or skull cap (Latin calvaria) and the inferior cranium or base of the skull (Latin basis cranii) (Francisc Rainer, intra-page footnote).

Consequently, for each researched character we pointed out the number of cases (n), the variation amplitude (V), the arithmetic mean (M), the medium error of the arithmetic mean (m), the limits which must comprise the definitive arithmetic mean (M±3m), standard deviation (δ) and the variation quotient (v), i.e. the values requisite to characterizing a series of variants. All the variants obtained in this way are integrated in panels I and II, which can render real services – as a comparison – to future research similar to the present one. These panels will allow me to insist only upon the following aspects:

  1. The cephalic index is 81.5 in the case of men, 81.4 in the case of women. In his last paper(6), Pittard assigns the 82.52 mean values to 2246 men and the 82.75 mean values to 370 women. The  cross-reference to my cases is the following:

Dolichocephaly (x – 75.9): ♂ 10.4% ♀ 9.24%

Mesocephaly (76.0 – 80.9): ♂ 33.6% ♀39.5%

Brachycephaly (81.0 – 85.4): ♂ 36.6% ♀32.8%

Hyperbrachycephaly (85.5 – 90.9): ♂17.9% ♀18.5%

Isocephaly (91.0 – x): ♂ 1.5% ♀ 0.0%

  1. The morphological index of the face. I can’t find a number reference in Pittard’s paper; I can only find a description: „Ce sont des hommes dont le visage est relativement court et large. Peut-être ce caractère de champrosopie est-il plus encore l’apanage des Roumains de la montagne que Roumains de la plaine”.(7)

The dwellers of Nereju Mare display: in the case of men, an index of 87.0, and in the case of women, an index of 84.3, meaning mesoprosopia. In detail, the cases are grouped as follows:

Hypereuryprosopia (x – 78.9): ♂3.1% ♀8.7%

Euryprosopia (79.0 – 83.9):  ♂28.1% ♀35.7%

Mesoprosopia (84.0 – 87.9): ♂32.3% ♀24.3%

Leptoprosopia (88.0 – 92.9): ♂31.5%   ♀24.3%

Hyperleptoprosopia (93.0 – x): ♂10.0% ♀7%

Therefore, we have representations of all shapes, from the very long face to the very short face, as we had representations for all head shapes, from the shortest to the longest. It is therefore a fact that we cannot speak of an ethnically(8)  homogeneous population. We are dealing with a mixture of at least two types.

  1. The study of nasal index also points to the same conclusion. The arithmetic mean is 65.0 in the case of men, 62.7 in the case women. Pittard assigns an index of 70.14 to 2239 men, and to 365 women, an average index of 68.8%.(9) Divided into groups, the cases are presented as follows:

Hyperleptorrhine (x – 54.9): ♂6.1% ♀12.9%

Leptorrhine (55.0 – 69.9):  ♂67.9% ♀68.1%

Mesorrhine (70.0 – 84.9):  ♂25.1% ♀19.0%

Chamserrhine (85.0 – 99.9): ♂0.8% ♀ –

Hyperdamerrhine (100.0 – x): ♂ –     ♀ –


The Nereju Mare village in 1927

  1. The altitudinal-longitudinal index (which Pittard does not assign) shows a significant auricular height of the cerebral cranium. The means are 66.8 in the case of men and 68.3 in the case of women. In detail:

Chamcephaly(x – 57.9): ♂ 0.00% ♀ 0.0%

Ortocephaly (58.0 – 62.9): ♂11.2% ♀4.2%

Hypsicephaly (63.0 – x):  ♂88.8%   ♀95.8%

So there is no mixed race(10) presenting a flattened cerebral cranium.

One of the most important racial features is the quantity of the pigment from the hair, the iris and the skin. I wrote down the iris and the hair intensity of pigments in 245 adult individuals.

  1. The iris. a) of light colour in 39.6% of cases, among which blue  (in 9.0% of cases) and greenish-blue, greenish, gray, in 30.6% of the cases; b) of brown colour, dark or light, in 29.4% of the cases; c) of undecided colour, gray-brown, greenish-brown, etc. in 31.0% of the cases.
  2. The hair. Of dark-brown colour in 56.1% of the cases; fair-haired in 5.3% of the cases and of intermediate colour in 38.6% of the cases.

All nuances belong to the yellowish-reddish series. There has been an incongruity between pigmentation of the iris and of the hair (the iris generally being of a lighter colour): quite distinct (blue iris or greyish-blue, brown hair) in 7.8% of the cases; distinct in 26.9% of the cases. It’s a sign of racial intercross.


Francisc Rainer speaking about his work to peoples Nereju Mare village

Based on the standard deviation I drew up tables that allowed me to establish the limits of typicalness for each character and to build graphics for each individual which will show us at a first glance for which „type”(11) of his characters he stands out (which is located between M-δ and M+δ). I’ve brought together on the below-mentioned graphics grouped points of view: for instance, all the graphics of “c” cases, the cephalic index, hypotypical, hypertypical or typical, in order to determine a possible resemblance of anthropological structure. However, the presented charts clearly show that each group is heterogeneous.  We are entitled to draw the conclusion that the mixture of anthropological types is pushed far in the case of this population.

In recent years special attention was paid to a blood characteristic, from which there was a tendency to create a fundamental racial character. We are talking about the isoagglutination phenomenon of the red blood cells. According to the phenomenon’s patterns – due to the presence or absence of certain chemically undefined and indirectly distinguishable substances – substances called A, B, α, ß, human individuals were divided into four groups. Out of which one contains α and ß, the second A and ß, the third B and α and the fourth A and B.

These groups are found in any population on the globe but in different proportions. And they seem to be defined for a given people. Moreover, from research made until now, it results that the greatest number of cases with A substance is found towards the North-western Europe, and the   biggest number of cases with B substance is found in the Far East, hence the tendency to acknowledge two fundamental races of humankind. We are talking about hereditary features according to the laws of Mendel.(12)

Extended research has been made all over the world, and is still being made, in this respect. In our country, Manuilă(13) and Popovici contributed to the examination of over 14.000 cases. This reaction has also been researched by Dr. Horia Dumitrescu in the case of 1031female pupils, in the institute I supervise. I’ve also checked it in 730 dwellers from Nerejul Mare. These results don’t match one another, and neither do the results of the secondary groups pertaining to the entire group, previously divided.

I compared the results of this serological examination with the anthropological appearance of the examined individuals, as it resulted from the performed measurements. It is the first detailed research of this kind. It is clearly shown that individuals pertaining to the same blood type, are undeniably heterogeneous from a somatic point of view and that the serological reaction   is not a racial character,  super-ordinate to the other anthropological characters.  What also rises from our study is the need for research on blood types to further take into account gender and age, so that their possible role can be mentioned.

Prof. Dr. Joseph Francis Rainer„

This material was not meant for publishing. It was only ten years after its elaboration that Professor Francisc J. Rainer published the results of his research in the volume «Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes».(14) There are slight differences of interpretation and layout between the material presented herein, dated 1927 and the study published in 1937(15), as a result of possible revisions and annotations especially after concluding the research in the village Fundul Moldovei (1928) and Drăguș (1932). But there are also some details that were later on developed, courageously enough in a separate study also published in 1937. We are talking about the opinions of professor Rainer regarding the lack of any connection between the „isoagglutination phenomenon of the red blood cells” and „the fundamental racial character’, presented for the first time on the occasion of the  conference in 1928 and detailed  in the study called: „Is there a correlation between blood types and other anthropological features?„(16)

Coming back to the spring of 1928 we offer below an echo on professor’s Francisc J. Rainer conference, published by one of his admirers, publicist M.Sevastos:

„The conference of Professor Dr. J. Rainer at the Romanian Academy

Yesterday, Dr. J. Rainer, professor at the faculty of medicine presented a report in the Academy’s public meeting. It is the first time when a person that is not an academician presents a report within this institution. Almost all members of the Academy participated in the meeting, including those who rarely attend its meetings. Dr. Rainer mainly pointed out that:

«Romania is one of the least known countries from an anthropological point of view. All we know about Romania’s anthropology is thanks to Swiss scientist Pittard from Geneva, who – based on research performed many years in a row– has given a general orientation on our people, a highly commendable one, – and for that we owe him our gratitude.

But now we need to perform an intensive research on as many rural population groups as possible, in order to get an idea about the somatologic composition of the Romanian people.

A step forward was made with the thorough research of the population in Nerejul Mare, located in Vrancea County, on the banks of creek Zăbala, about 80 kms from Focșani. The occasion was provided by the sociological survey performed by professor Gusti in that village, last summer – the data gathered produced a sociological and ethnographic material whose publication is yet in process.  The report presented today at the Academy is an addendum to professor’s Gusti work.

It’s interesting how quickly we’ve gained the population’s trust, so that they willingly went along with all the research. The anthropological type is not unitary.  Along with a tall, blond, dolichocephalic type, with a Northern aspect that couldn’t be more characteristic to Scandinavia itself, there is also another brachycephalic type, of a shorter build and dark complexion, – as well as the intermediate type.

The considerable cranial capacity that dwellers have is interesting. Men have an average of 1350 cubic cm, the variation amplitude being that of 1200-1700 cubic cm. There are many types presenting an antique profile of the nose.

Only 29% of the population has brown, frank eyes. The others have eyes of an increasingly colour. 9% even have blue eyes. On the other hand the hair is often of a lighter colour. Only 5% are blond.

As for last years’ attempt to divide humankind into fundamental races by a certain characteristic of the blood, – this research also shows that it is not something plausible. If this hypothesis were to be true, all people who share the same blood characteristic, thus forming the same group – should also have in common other physical characteristics. But the present research showed that on the contrary, they are as heterogeneous as they can be, hence the conclusion that the serological reaction cannot be a decisive character for the diagnosis of a race.  It is undoubtedly an interesting character that should have its place along with the other characters, which have proven their value».

This report, based on calculus panels and all sorts of diagrams pointed out a huge amount of work. Among these numbers, amidst zigzags and figure ripples, there was no spirit of cold mathematician or automatic statistician– but rather an unsettling thought to feel the invigorating life of masses, extensively continued in the ascendency of individuals and peoples, up to the far formation of the worlds.

This thrill that pervaded Professor Dr. Rainer’s report, made on impression on the academicians and the unusually numerous audience, present at yesterday’s Academy meeting. (May 17, 1928)”

Professor Francisc Rainer (center distant plane) near by dr.Mina Minovici (left distant plane) and grigore Antipa(center close up)

How did Professor Rainer apply the anthropological research method? He describes it himself briefly in a letter to Professor Dimitirie Gusti. We present below the content of this short undated letter, drawn up after the publication of the volume «Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes» :

” Dear colleague,

Here is the information you requested, if I correctly understood your intentions:

The general conception of the anthropological research coincided in its essential features with the one performed at about the same time in Germany, conducted by  professor Eugen Fischer, from Berlin-Dahlem. I’ve also added the blood type research and aside from the anthropological issue, I’ve made the serological diagnosis of syphilis and I have performed a large number of medical exams, which were quite solicited as soon as the peasants realized they were not superficial.

The research was organized as it follows:

I. The subject would firstly go to the assistant in charge with taking blood samples and analyzing the reactions in order to determine the blood type and syphilis sero-diagnosis.

II. Then they would come to me in order to perform the anthropological work itself, gathering metric and descriptive data.

III. Then another assistant would make dactylograms.

IV. Then another assistant would take pictures.

V. Finally, if the case, the two clinician assistants would perform an exam.

The gathered scientific material consists of over one thousand anthropological charts, out of over 2.500 serological reactions for determining blood types,  of over 500 photographic clichés, each of them having three angles of the same person.

With respect to the syphilis issue, in Fundul Moldovei I’ve performed 746 serological reactions for its diagnosis (Meinicke’s technique), and what came up raised a lot of questions. Out of 746 reactions, 347 were positive, namely 227 (34% out of the total number of cases) frankly positive, and 120 (16%) poorly positive. Therefore a total of 46,4% from the examined population proved to be syphilitic. About two thirds of the syphilitic subjects are women, and a third are men. 146 syphilis patients accepted to be treated.

In Drăguş, the number of serological reactions for syphilis diagnosis has been 106. Only 9(8.54%) had a positive result. The period we stayed here was too short to be able to initiate a treatment. As in the case of Fundul Moldovei village, we handed to the sick patients an ad hoc printed chart with advice for treatment.

In both Fundul Moldovei and Drăguș, the number of performed medical exams exceeded 700, and it was approximately equal to the two villages, although in  Fundul Moldovei we stayed three or four times longer. I basically performed 705 exams in Fundul Moldovei and 703 in Drăguţ. In Drăguţ we benefited from the acknowledgement provided by the experience gained in Fundul Moldovei, and perhaps to a  greater extent by means of the good will of the import facility for medicine,   they were able to distribute various and sometimes expensive specialties to the patients.

On the following page, I made bold to add a few excerpts from the review on the volume comprising the results of the anthropological surveys, which wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for your work. I’ve particularly chosen the reviews published in the top anthropological magazines in France, Germany, and Great Britain.

My dear colleague, please accept my sincere and devoted considerations. Fr. I. Rainer”.

Excerpts from a few review on the volume of the surveys performed in Nereju, Fundul Moldovei and Drăguș:

I. Professor H.V.Vallois, in „L’Anthropologie”, T.48, p.607; thus concludes his exhaustive report:” Une très belle série de photographies illustre cette intéresante monographie dont la présentation matérielle est impeccable et, qu’on ne peut que souhaiter de voir suivie d’une série d’autre portant sur les diverses régions du pay roumain”…(A very beautiful series of pictures illustrates this interesting monography whose presentation material is impeccable and I can only wish that it is followed by other works describing other regions of the country).

II.Also, in the same magazine, T.49, p.170:

„J’ai donné, il y a peu de temps, le compte-rendu du beau travail de Rainer”. (I’ve recently handed in the abstract of Rainer’s beautiful work).

III.J.Schwidetzky în Zeitscher.f.Rassenkunde, T.VIII îşi începe astfel recenzia: „eine ausserordentlich sorgfaltige und ungewohnlich reich ausgestattete Untersuchung…” (An extremely careful and unusually gifted research).

IV. In the monthly magazine „Man”, published by The Royal Anthropological Institute, London, vol.38, p.114, G.M.Morant concludes his review as follows: „ (…) investigation of a few English villages as comprehensive as this one would be very welcome).

At the lecture room of the Romanian Academy, Professor Dimitrie Gusti made in his turn a “warm and insightful characterization of Professor Francisc J. Rainer’ personality”: ”Rarely have there been qualities such as scientific thoroughness, organizing skilfulness and spiritual nobleness so felicitously embodied altogether as there were in him.  Professor Rainer was a genuine philosopher who practiced wisdom without flaunting – unlike many who flaunt it without practicing it. Professor Rainer was also a pioneer in respect of the Romanian people anthropology, laying the scientific bases through the research he made on the field for the very first time, in three Romanian villages, which are in fact the first anthropological rural monographs in world science! The Academy’s acknowledgement gives back to the one who created the anatomy of the living being the righteous position among the world’s top scientists”.

„ This paper has been laid down within the project „ Valorification of cultural identities in global processes„, co-financed by the European Union and the Government of Romania from the European Social Fund through the Sectoral Operational  Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013, financing agreement no. SOPHRD/89/1.5/S/59758


(1) In 1899, Eugène Pittard (1867-1962) obtained his Ph.D. in Science at the University of Geneva, by presenting the first anthropology thesis „Alma mater: Recherche d’anatomie comparative sur diverses séries de crânes anciens de la vallée du Rhône (Valais)”. Being gained over by anthropology, he will devote most of his life to it. Two major anthropological surveys, one on the skulls in Rhone valley and the other on the inhabitants from the Balkan Peninsula, will be the subject of publications in specialized journals, and that of two major works: «Crania Helvetica» and then later «Les Peuples des Balkans». These memories will have a roaring success as the science of anthropology was at its beginning. Pittard opened new horizons and brought light on the issues of race.

He then quickly became known international y. Henri Beer, chairman of Synthesis Historical Library, invited him to write for the series: « Évolution de l’Humanité » an ethnological introduction of history. So in 1924, his work of synthesis appeared «Les Races et l’Histoire». It was translated in several languages. In this work, Eugène Pittard is one of the first who scientifically infirmed the notion of human race.

In Albania, he also astonished by discovering a Neolithic site near Lake Prespa and later in Turkey where he discovered a Palaeolithic resort at Adi-Yaman, close to Malatya.

In 1901, he created Geneva Museum of Ethnography, in 1912 he created the Swiss Institute of Anthropology and in1914 he created a scientific journal « Les Archives suisses d’anthropologie générale», in 1916 he founded the University’s department of anthropology and prehistory. During his stays in Romania he studied the Skoptsy sect and he wrote «La Castration chez l’homme et les modifications morphologiques qu’elle entraîne». He will then publish in 1932 a book about gypsies «Bohémiens».

(2) Dimitrie Gusti (1880-1955)  sociologistphilosopher and remarkable aesthetician, member of the Romanian Acadmy since 1919  and chairman of the Romanian Academy between 1944-1946. He initiated and coordinated monographic research  of teh Romanian villages (1925-1948), the most important research being performed in collaboration  with professor Francisc Rainer in the villages Nereju Mare(1927), Fundul Moldovei(1928) and Drăguș(1932). In 1939, Dimitrie Gusti managed to have the social service legalized and institutionalized, meaning that for the first time sociological research was combined with practical social action and social pedagogy. He founded many world-known institutions, such as: the Romanian Social Institute (1921-1939 and 1944-1948), the Romanian Institute for Social Sciences (1939-1944) and the Exhibition Romanian Village (1936) opened within the celebration of „Lunii Bucureștilor” which was later named the Village Museum”Dimitrie Gusti”.

(3) The scientific association of the two important figures was based on the desire of understanding human beings in their bio-cultural complexity. The common concern of anatomist and anthropologist Francis Rainer and the creator of sociologic school Dimitrie Gusti was the link between these two human sides, usually studied and analyzed in a separate way.

(4) Village Nerejul Mare had 1874 inhabitants in 1927. Choosing Nerejul Mare  as a location, was due to its geographical isolation in Vrancea Mountains and the continuity of living in the area since Palaeolithic. The socioeconomic characteristics of the local population consisting of peasants, farmers and the high level of endogamy constituted the reason for choosing the village. In this respect and in addition to research in 1927, we mention the field research conducted in Vrancea Mountains for over 30 years and whose results were published in the remarkable study: Recherches  anthropologiques dans une région relativement isolée des Carpathes Orientales: Le pays de Vrancea, de Olga Necrasov, Suzana Pop, Th.Enăchescu și C.Rișcuția, Annuaire Roumain D, Anthropologie, tome 1, 1964, Edtitions de L.Académie de la République Populaire Roumaine, pp. 45-54).

(5) A technique still used nowadays (WHO directive1995.

(6) E.Pittard, Etude sur l’indice céphalique en Roumanie, Journal of the Geographical Society, year XLV, 1926

(7) E.Pittard, Les races et l’histoire, 1924, p. 348 „(…) There are men whose face is relatively short and broad. It is possible that this feature of the face is more common to Romanian people from mountain areas, rather than to those from plain areas.”

(8) In the paper Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes, from 1937, professor Rainer uses the term”typologic”.

(9) E.Pittard, L’indice nasal des Roumains et c., Journal of the Geographical Society, year XLVI, 1927

(10) ”race” is the term used up to 1950 for” anthropologic type”.

(11) The term ”type” is used here by Francisc Rainer in order to place  the individual in the statistic variability of its series, and not in the sense of an anthropologic type.

(12) Johann Gregor Mendel (July 22, 1822 –  January 6, 1884)  was an Augustinian friar  and a scientific researcher, known as founder of genetics. Gregor Mendel was born in Heizendorf bei Odrau, Czech Republic, in an ethnic German family.  Mendel was inspired by both his professors at the university and his colleagues at the monastery to study variation in plants, conducting his research in the monastery’s garden. Between 1856-1863 he cultivated and studied pea plants, his experiments leading to generalizations later known as „Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance”:

* first law: law of uniformity in first generation hybrid  (F1);

* second law: law of segregation of characters in the second generation  (F2) or gametes purity law

* third law: law of independent assortment of characters in the second generation  (F2).

Mendel read his paper „Versuche uber Pflanzen-Hybriden” („Experiments on Plant Hybridization”) at two meetings of the Natural History Society in Moravia in 1865. The publication of his paper in the society’s journal in 1866 had little impact and was only quoted three times over the next 35 years.

After completing his work about peas he returned to experimenting with honeybees in order to extend his research regarding animal genetics. He produced a hybrid strain of bees, but was unable to generate a clear picture of their heredity due to difficulties in controlling the behaviour of queen bees. He also described new plant species that were named with the abbreviation „Mendel”.

During his life, his results were rejected, Mendel died being ignored by the scientific community, at the age of 61, on January 6, 1884 in Brünn (Brno), Czech Republic, from chronic nephritis. The acknowledgement of his discoveries was made at the beginning of the 2oth century, when Hugo de Vries, Carl Erich Correns and Erich von Tschermak independently reached the same conclusions as Mendel, thus rediscovering the laws of inheritance.

(13) Sabin Manuilă (February19, 1894, Sâmbăteni, Arad – November 20, 1964, New York) was a Romanian doctor, demographer and statistician, corresponding member (1938) of the Romanian Academy. He was a member of the Romanian Academy at only 44, he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Budapest, he was a representative of the student society at the Grand National Assembly on December 1, 1918, MD of  University of  Cluj, scholar of the Foundation Rockefeller, founder of the Central Institute of Statistics, head of Section within the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, General Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Romania (1936), director of the Institute of Demography and Census, head of the Statistical Department within the  Romanian Social Institute, coordinator of the 1941 census, collaborator of Dimitrie Gusti in writing the well-known paper “Census of Romanian population” (1930, in 9 volumes). Sabin Manuila leaves Romania and establishes in the U.S. in 1948. Here, he continues his scientific work, playing a special part in organizing the Centre for Research through statistics; he is a member of the League of Nations’ Commission on Population, member of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Statistics, in Hague, advisor of the World Health Organization, Vice President of the International Union for population- study, with headquarters in Berlin. He died in New York on November 20, 1964.

(14) Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes, avec 34 planches, dont 20 photographiques, Official Journal of Romania and the National Printing House, Central Printing House, Bucharest 1937, pp. 15-28

(15) The volume was published as „tribute to the 17th  International congress of anthropology and prehistoric archaeology, hosted by the University of Bucharest between  1 – 8 September,  1937„.

(16) Francisc J.Rainer, Is there a correlation between blood types and other anthropolgical features?,excerpt from Medical Journal, July 1-15, 1937, Institute of Graphic Art «Eminescu» SA, Bucharest, 1937


author: Dr.Majuru Adrian, Assistant Professor Phd, Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism – Bucharest, Faculty of Urbanism


Pittard, Eugene, 1926, «Etude sur l’indice céphalique en Roumanie», Journal of the Geographical Society, year XLV

Pittard, Eugene, 1924, Les races et l’histoire

Pittard, Eugene, 1927, «L’indice nasal des Roumains et c.», Journal of the Geographical Society, year XLVI

Rainer, J.Francisc, 1937, Enquêtes Anthropologiques dans trois villages roumains des Carpathes, avec 34 planches, dont 20 photographiques, Bucharest, Official Journal of Romania and the National Printing House, Central Printing House.

Rainer, J.Francisc, 1937, «Is there a correlation between blood types and other anthropolgical features?»,Bucharest, excerpt from Medical Journal, July 1-15, 1937, Institute of Graphic Art «Eminescu» SA.

Rainer J.Francisc, 1945, Drăguș, un sat din Țara Oltului (Făgăraș) – Tipul antropologic, București, Biblioteca de sociologie, etică și politică, București, Institutul de științe sociale.

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