Sheldon recognized that most individuals show evidence of any two or all three of these components in varying degrees, and devised a system of scoring, from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 7, for the amount of each component evident in any individual. By always putting these score numbers in the same order (endomorphy first, then mesomorphy, then ectomorphy), every human body could be categorized in a significant way by a three-figure number. A pure endomorph, as shown here, would be designated a 711, a pure mesomorph a 171 and a pure ecto-morph a 117. These pure examples are not very common - about 1 in 200 of the population - and the vast majority of individuals exhibit evidence of all three components. Nevertheless, there is usually a predominance of one of them.
In the endomorph there is a predominance of fat, giving an appearance of roundness and fullness of shape, with a smooth skin. The abdomen tends to bulge, and the limbs are short and tapering, with rather delicate hands and feet. The shoulders are narrow, full, rounded, and smooth in contour. The head tends towards the spherical, with an upright forehead and small features. Internally, the gut is large and sturdy, and the bones of the skeleton are small, with all their projections being rather rounded. The spinal column appears straightened.
The mesomorph tends superficially towards squareness, with predominant muscle. The shoulders are large, the abdomen small, and the limbs large and strong. The skin and hair are rather coarse. The face is large and the cranium small. Internally, the bones are heavy and the curvature of the spine is well defined.
The ectomorphic figure is slender and fragile, and has a minimum of fat or muscle. The chest is narrow and the limbs are long and thin. The shoulders can be wide, but have a tendency to droop. The face is small but the cranium large. Internally, the bones are light and their protuberances are prominent. The spinal column has a slight lumbar and dorsal curve.
The drawings on these two pages show how the influence of all these three components, in varying degrees, gives rise to the wide range of differences in human bodies.
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