Boas, Bones, and Race | Penn State University
In the 19th century, anthropologists argued that skull capacity equated directly with intelligence. Caucasians, so the theory went, had larger brains—and thus were smarter—than American Indians and people of African descent. It was a convenient, if false, viewpoint in a white-dominated society. As the 20th century dawned, early skull examiners pointed to another characteristic, cranial index, or head form, as a means of discerning races and ethnic groups.