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- The Antiquity of Man - 20/91 -

contemporaneous with, or later than, the makers of the 'refuse-heaps' of that country. In other words, they were subsequent to the last great physical changes of Europe, and were contemporaries of the urus and bison, not of the Elephas primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, and Hyaena spelaea.

"Supposing for a moment, what is not proven, that the Neanderthal skull belonged to a race allied to the Borreby people and was as modern as they, it would be separated by as great a distance of time as of anatomical character from the Engis skull, and the possibility of its belonging to a distinct race from the latter might reasonably appear to be greatly heightened.

"To prevent the possibility of reasoning in a vicious circle, however, I thought it would be well to endeavour to ascertain what amount of cranial variation is to be found in a pure race at the present day; and as the natives of Southern and Western Australia are probably as pure and homogeneous in blood, customs, and language, as any race of savages in existence, I turned to them, the more readily as the Hunterian museum contains a very fine collection of such skulls.

"I soon found it possible to select from among these crania two (connected by all sorts of intermediate gradations), the one of which should very nearly resemble the Engis skull, while the other should somewhat less closely approximate the Neanderthal cranium in form, size, and proportions. And at the same time others of these skulls presented no less remarkable affinities with the low type of Borreby skull.

"That the resemblances to which I allude are by no means of a merely superficial character, is shown by the accompanying diagram (Figure 6), which gives the contours of the two ancient and of one of the Australian skulls, and by the following table of measurements.

TABLE 5/1.


COLUMN 2 (A): The horizontal circumference in the plane of a line joining the glabella with the occipital protuberance.

COLUMN 3 (B): The longitudinal arc from the nasal depression along the middle line of the skull to the occipital tuberosity.

COLUMN 4 (C): From the level of the glabello-occipital line on each side, across the middle of the sagittal suture to the same point on the opposite side.

COLUMN 5 (D): The vertical height from the glabello-occipital line.

COLUMN 6 (E): The extreme longitudinal measurement.

COLUMN 7 (F): The extreme transverse measurement.* (* I have taken the glabello-occipital line as a base in these measurements, simply because it enables me to compare all the skulls, whether fragments or entire, together. The greatest circumference of the English skull lies in a plane considerably above that of the glabello-occipital line, and amounts to 22 inches.)

Engis : 20 1/2 : 13 3/4 : 12 1/2 : 4 3/4 : 7 3/4 : 5 1/4. Australian, Number 1 : 20 1/2 : 13 : 12 : 4 3/4 : 7 1/2 : 5 4/10. Australian, Number 2 : 22 : 12 1/2 : 10 3/4 : 3 8/10 : 7.9 : 5 3/4. Neanderthal : 23 : 12 : 10 : 3 3/4 : 8 : 5 3/4.

"The question whether the Engis skull has rather the character of one of the high races or of one of the lower has been much disputed, but the following measurements of an English skull, noted in the catalogue of the Hunterian museum as typically Caucasian (see Figure 4) will serve to show that both sides may be right, and that cranial measurements alone afford no safe indication of race.

English : 21 : 13 3/4 : 12 1/2 : 4 4/10 : 7 7/8 : 5 1/3.

"In making the preceding statement, it must be clearly understood that I neither desire to affirm that the Engis and Neanderthal skulls belong to the Australian race, nor to assert even that the ancient skulls belong to one and the same race, so far as race is measured by language, colour of skin, or character of hair. Against the conclusion that they are of the same race as the Australians various minor anatomical differences of the ancient skulls, such as the great development of the frontal sinuses, might be urged; while against the supposition of either the identity, or the diversity, of race of the two arises the known independence of the variation of cranium on the one hand, and of hair, colour, and language on the other.

"But the amount of variation of the Borreby skulls, and the fact that the skulls of one of the purest and most homogeneous of existing races of men can be proved to differ from one another in the same characters, though perhaps not quite to the same extent, as the Engis and Neanderthal skulls, seem to me to prohibit any cautious reasoner from affirming the latter to have been necessarily of distinct races.


a. The glabella. b. The occipital protuberance, or the point on the exterior of each skull which corresponds roughly with the attachment of the tentorium, or with the inferior boundary of the posterior cerebral lobes. e. The position of the auditory foramen of the Engis skull.)

"The marked resemblances between the ancient skulls and their modern Australian analogues, however, have a profound interest, when it is recollected that the stone axe is as much the weapon and the implement of the modern as of the ancient savage; that the former turns the bones of the kangaroo and of the emu to the same account as the latter did the bones of the deer and the urus; that the Australian heaps up the shells of devoured shellfish in mounds which represent the "refuse-heaps" or "Kjokkenmodding," of Denmark; and, finally, that, on the other side of Torres Straits, a race akin to the Australians are among the few people who now build their houses on pile-works, like those of the ancient Swiss lakes.

"That this amount of resemblance in habit and in the conditions of existence is accompanied by as close a resemblance in cranial configuration, illustrates on a great scale that what Cuvier demonstrated of the animals of the Nile valley is no less true of men; circumstances remaining similar, the savage varies little more, it would seem, than the ibis or the crocodile, especially if we take into account the enormous extent of the time over which our knowledge of man now extends, as compared with that measured by the duration of the sepulchres of Egypt.

"Finally, the comparatively large cranial capacity of the Neanderthal skull, overlaid though it may be by pithecoid bony walls, and the completely human proportions of the accompanying limb-bones, together with the very fair development of the Engis skull, clearly indicate that the first traces of the primordial stock whence Man has proceeded need no longer be sought, by those who entertain any form of the doctrine of progressive development, in the newest Tertiaries; but that they may be looked for in an epoch more distant from the age of the Elephas primigenius than that is from us."

The two skulls which form the subject of the preceding comments and illustrations have given rise to nearly an equal amount of surprise for opposite reasons; that of Engis because being so unequivocally ancient, it approached so near to the highest or Caucasian type; that of the Neanderthal, because, having no such decided claims to antiquity, it departs so widely from the normal standard of humanity. Professor Huxley's observation regarding the wide range of variation, both as to shape and capacity, in the skulls of so pure a race as the native Australian, removes to no small extent this supposed anomaly, assuming what though not proved is very probable, that both varieties co-existed in the Pleistocene period in Western Europe.

As to the Engis skull, we must remember that although associated with the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, tiger, and hyaena, all of extinct species, it nevertheless is also accompanied by a bear, stag, wolf, fox, beaver, and many other quadrupeds of species still living. Indeed many eminent palaeontologists, and among them Professor Pictet, think that, numerically considered, the larger portion of the mammalian fauna agrees specifically with that of our own period, so that we are scarcely entitled to feel surprised if we find human races of the Pleistocene epoch undistinguishable from some living ones. It would merely tend to show that Man has been as constant in his osteological characters as many other mammalia now his contemporaries. The expectation of always meeting with a lower type of human skull, the older the formation in which it occurs, is based on the theory of progressive development, and it may prove to be sound; nevertheless we must remember that as yet we have no distinct geological evidence that the appearance of what are called the inferior races of mankind has always preceded in chronological order that of the higher races.

It is now admitted that the differences between the brain of the highest races of Man and that of the lowest,* (* "Natural History Review" 1861 page 8.) though less in degree, are of the same order as those which separate the human from the simian brain; and the same rule holds good in regard to the shape of the skull. The average Negro skull differs from that of the European in having a more receding forehead, more prominent superciliary ridges, and more largely developed prominences and furrows for the attachment of muscles; the face also, and its lines, are larger proportionally. The brain is somewhat less voluminous on the average in the lower races of mankind, its convolutions rather less complicated, and those of the two hemispheres more symmetrical, in all which points an approach is made to the simian type. It will also be seen, by reference to the late Dr. Morton's works, and by the foregoing statements of Professor Huxley, that the range of size or capacity between the highest and lowest human brain is greater than that between the highest simian and lowest human brain; but the Neanderthal skull, although in several respects it is more ape-like than any human skull previously discovered, is, in regard to volume, by no means contemptible.

Eminent anatomists have shown that in the average proportions of some of the bones the Negro differs from the European, and that in most of these characters, he makes a slightly nearer approach to the anthropoid quadrumana;* but Professor Schaaffhausen has pointed

The Antiquity of Man - 20/91

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