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STEATOPYGIA (Gr. oriap, fat, irvyit r...

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 861 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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STEATOPYGIA (Gr. oriap, fat, irvyit rump), an unusual accumulation of fat in and around the buttocks. The deposit of fat is not confined to the gluteal regions, but extends to the outside and front of the thighs, forming a thick layer reaching sometimes to the knee. This curious development constitutes a racial characteristic of the Bushmen (q.v.). It is specially a feature of the women, but it occurs in a less degree in the males. It is also common among the Hottentots, and has been noted among the pygmies of Central Africa. In women it is regarded among them as a beauty: it begins in infancy and is fully developed on the first pregnancy. It is often accompanied by the peculiar formation known as " the Hottentot-apron," hyper-trophy of the nymphae (Tablier). No satisfactory explanation of these malformations has been offered. Steatopygia would seem to have been a characteristic of a race which once extended from the Gulf of Aden to the Cape of Good Hope, of which stock Bushmen and pygmies are remnants. The discovery in the caves of the south of France of figures in ivory presenting a remarkable development of the thighs, and even the peculiar prolongation of the nymphae, has been used to support the theory that a steatopygous race once existed in Europe. What seems certain is that steatopygia in both sexes was fairly wide-spread among the early races of man. While the Bushmen and Hottentots afford the most noticeable examples of its development, it is by no means rare in other parts of Africa, and occurs even more frequently among Bastaards of the male sex than among Hottentot women.
End of Article: STEATOPYGIA (Gr. oriap, fat, irvyit rump)
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EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN (1833–1908)

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