Q:

How many races are there in the world?

A:

Most anthropologists recognize that there are four major race classifications in the world, which include caucasian, mongoloid or asian, negroid or black and australoid. The race classification was created by Carleston S. Coon in 1962. The four major races can then be further subdivided into 30 subgroups.

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Although all races share over 99% of the same genetic material, the classification and division of races is largely subjective, and all races belong to the same species - Homo sapiens. Scientifically, races are defined as a group of people that are separated and grouped together due to the fact that they have common inherited traits that distinguishes them from other groups.

The notion of race is also divided based on geographic separation, social and cultural differences and distinguished physical differences. Human typologies are commonly differentiated based on the following physical axes:

  • skin color
  • hair texture
  • jaw size
  • facial angle
  • cranial capacity
  • frontal lobe mass
  • brain mass
  • brain surface fissures
  • body lice
  • These physical attributes do not necessarily have a strong correlation with genetic variations. As a result, the United Nations has opted to drop the term "race" and replace it with "ethnic groups" instead. According to a 1998 study published in the Scientific American, there are more than 5,000 ethnic groups in the world.

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