A prominent theme of ethnology in Victorian England largely stemming from social prejudices of the time was that the Irish were racially different from the English people and thus considered inferior. Polygenism was a dominant theory, as was phrenology, and both were employed to 'prove' that Irish persons were less developed and more primitive than other 'races' of humanity. Punch cartoons often portrayed them with protruding jaws, alluding to the notion they were closer to apes than men.
John Beddoe (1826-1911), one of the most notable ethnologists in the United Kingdom, supported these concepts with his work. In The Races of Britain: A Contribution to the Anthropology of Western Europe (1862), Beddoe wrote that all geniuses were orthognathous (having the front of the skull, almost vertical, not receding above the jaws), as opposed to the Irish and Welsh whom he exaggeratedly described as prognathous. Evasive or ignorant of the pre-Saxon Celtic influence on the English and likely his own forebears, Beddoe claimed that the Celts were closely related to Cro-Magnon man, theorized by him, as being linked to the 'Africanoid'. The Races of Britain was republished in 1885, 1905, and again in 1971.
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