Atavistic Stigmata refers to a key element in early biological theories of criminality; physical characteristics, believed to represent an earlier stage of human evolution, which could be used to differentiate the criminal from normal people.
Atavistic stigmata refer to physical features of a human being at an earlier stage of development , which according to Cesare Lombroso that which distinguish a born criminal from the general population.
"Atavistic stigmata" is a term that was coined by Italian physician and criminologist Cesare Lombroso in the late 19th century. Lombroso believed that some people were born with physical features or "stigmata" that resembled those of primitive or "atavistic" humans and animals, which he believed were associated with criminal behavior. This theory was part of Lombroso's larger theory of "born criminals" and was widely discredited by modern psychology and criminology.
Examples of the physical features Lombroso believed were associated with criminal behavior included a prominent jaw, low forehead, receding hairline, sloping shoulders, and asymmetrical facial features. He believed that individuals with these features were more likely to engage in criminal behavior and were less evolved than the "normal" population.
Lombroso's theory of atavistic stigmata was based on flawed assumptions about the relationship between biology and behavior and has been widely criticized for its lack of empirical evidence. Modern research suggests that there is no single physical characteristic or set of characteristics that can reliably predict criminal behavior. Instead, factors such as childhood experiences, social environment, and mental health are believed to play a much more significant role in shaping behavior.