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ON THE DEFORMATIONS OF THE HUMAN CRANIUM,
SUPPOSED TO BE PRODUCED BY
HISTORY informs us that in very ancient times a belief prevailed that by mechanical means applied to the head of the infant, another form might be given to it than that intended by nature. Hippocrates was the first, I believe, who mentions the circumstance, ascribing the practice to certain people who resided near the shores of the Euxine. Like a true professor of the conjectural art, he added theory to the fact (if it really was one), that at first the deformity produced by art required to be practised on each individual child; but that afterwards, the deformity having become hereditary, the mechanical means were no longer required. It is needless for me to remark that artificial deformations never become hereditary, and, therefore, the theory of Hippocrates falls to the ground. But the facts still remain, that is, admitting them to be facts, for there are two, not one. The first is, did there live by the shores of the Euxine a race of men with deformed heads (the Macrocephali) ? Secondly, were these deformations produced by mechanical means, or were they mere exaggerations of a peculiarly-shaped skull, to which mechanical pressure might give a more distinctly marked character? I lean to the opinion that such a race existed, more especially since crania have been found near Kertch, in the Crimea, presenting well-marked deformations. So far as I can learn from the reports, they were a flat-headed race, with depressed foreheads and skulls, which bulged out tolerably, and in this resembled the Chenooks and Caribs of modern times. What gives a peculiar interest to the remarks of Hippocrates, and to the discovery of deformed crania at Kertch, is the finding similar crania in Germany associated with palæontological remains of great antiquity. Thus, a flat-headed race seems to have extended in ancient times from the shores of the Euxine, probably not a sea at that time, to the centre of Europe, coeval with races of animals which are now extinct, like the flat-headed race of men themselves. With the area or centre of their creation, the Fauna and Flora of the region have disappeared, and new forms of life, including new races of men, have taken their place; not new creations, but new forms of men and animals, adapted to, viable and reproductive in, the media surrounding them. Perhaps the most remarkable of these deformed, flatheaded crania was found in a cave at Engis, near Luthik, in Germany,* and geologists do not hesitate to ascribe it to an antiquity equal, at least, to the extinct fossils of the formation. Another cranium was found at Neanderthal, between Dusseldorf and Elberfeld, perhaps quite as old as that from the cave of Engis. I do not think them much more deformed than some crania I have seen picked up on the shores of desert islands in the Pacific Ocean, one of which was in my own museum. They have a certain resemblance to the chimpanzee, but not to the gorilla. It is stated also that the limb bones are thicker and broader than those of the present races of men, implying that they retained to their adult condition certain fætal peculiarities. These facts rest on the authority of Professor Schaaffhausen, of Bonn, and may, no doubt, be entirely depended on. A race of men coeval with that period, having round crania, resembling those of the present Lapps, but with a prominent ridge over the eyes, has been described by Lartet; and Danish naturalists speak of a race of Molluscophagi; but I have not seen their observations, nor Mr. Lubbock's memoir. They do not, however, belong to the class of deformed skulls, whether by mechanical means or otherwise.
In other regions we find deformed crania, showing that such were by no means confined to the regions I speak of. The Chenook skull has been often described ; also the Carib. These are skulls which seem as if they were flattened from before backwards ; such also was the case with the Aztec. In his remarks upon the deformed crania of Central America, Mexico, and Peru, M. d'Orbigny has the following observations :—“No head is to be found amongst the present Aymaras. They have the same form of head as the Quichuas, comparable to the flattened skulls of their ancestors, seen in tombs in the lake of Titicaca, in those of the province of Muñecos, in the wildest part of Carangas, and in the valleys of Tacna. What proves, if any proof were wanting, that this deformity is owing to a mechanical process, and is not a part of the natural structure of the race, is the fact that in the same tombs, together with the depressed skulls, others are found of a very different shape.”—P. 470, “Prichard." In this conclusion I do not agree; the fact merely ahows that two distinct races occupied the same country. On the other hand, the Peruvian skulls I have examined in this country seem to me to present a quite different deformity than that now spoken of. It consists in a highly irregular-shaped cranium, combined with a remarkable want of symmetry, and this extends to and includes the bones of the face. I have observed this to be all but constantly present in Peruvian skulls, whether ancient or modern.* Could we accept en totalité the views of the excellent Prescott, on the civilization of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, we should feel inclined to arrive at the conclusion, that the shape of the cranium, and, by inference, of the brain, has no influence over human civilization; but against this view there exists a mass of evidence which cannot be readily set aside, even admitting the view I adopt to be the correct one, namely, that all or most races are quite equal to the invention of all the social arts, which, originating in necessity, clearly follow the exigencies of each race. But such inventions are no proofs of the capability of the race for that high civilization which embraces not only the social, but the emulative or fine arts, including an ennobled literature, profound science, an abstract philosophy, as was first distinctly placed before mankind by the antique Greeks.
* No evidence of artificial compression appears to us to be present in the Engis skull; and so far from its being flat-headed, the skull exhibits a remarkably even contour. (Ev. Anthropo. Review.)
The questions discussed in this memoir naturally lead to others, such as the origin of species, the antiquity of man on the earth, and the development of all living forms from a primitive, original, living molecule—in a word, to the philosophy of zoology, or the system of nature. Prior to Cuvier's great discovery no true philosophy of zoology could ever be imagined; the system most in vogue at present was invented by Goethe; it belongs wholly to him, and probably could not have originated with any other race than that to which he belonged—the race which produced Leibnitz and Kant, Gall and Wolff, Niebuhr and Schelling. Translated into English it has assumed a very plain and practical character, and has even been mistaken for science. But philosophical speculation is not science, nor did Goethe ever mistake the one for the other.
• D'Orbigny's observations on the whole subject are very confused. The skulls which we term “ Quichua" are the so-called “ Inca" skulls from Pachacamac, and are essentially short-headed (brachycephalic), exhibiting a cranial type wholly distinct from the extinct long-beaded races of Lake Titicaca. Whether those latter races were the ancestors of the existing Aymarás is entirely a different question, and one to which the state of our knowledge precludes as yet any definite answer. (Ed. Anthropo. Review.)
VOL. 1.-NO. II.
REVIEW OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANTHROPO.
LOGICAL SOCIETY OF PARIS.*
By M. PAUL BROCA, SECRETARY GENERAL;
Delivered June 4th, 1863.
GENTLEMEN,-Called upon to address you on this solemn occasion, when the Anthropological Society, after an existence of four years, celebrates, for the first time, the anniversary of its foundation, I purpose to retrace the history of your labours, to show what you have done for the progress of our science, and the great and legitimate part you have taken in the promotion of ideas and studies, which have been too long neglected.
Anthropology, as you conceive and cultivate it, is the youngest of all sciences; and we may well feel surprised at its late birth. Is there among subjects accessible to scientific investigations, one which can compare in interest or importance with the science which attracts you to this hall ?
Would it not appear that man, before inquiring into the objects which surround him, should rather follow the precept of the wisest of Greeks, and endeavour to know himself? But humanity in its evolution resembles the child, which at first careless of his own being, is only curious in regard to surrounding phenomena ; and who, at a later period, proud though ingenuous, more attentive to external objects than to the process of his thoughts, admires himself, without taking the trouble of self-observation, and remaining in ignorance of his own self, perceives, when he arrives at adult age, that he has seen, scrutinized, and analyzed every thing except his own nature. Such, and slower still, is the progress of knowledge in humanity, which has studied everything excepting itself.
As humanity had, even before the commencement of civilization, lost the remembrance of her humble origin, and found herself already at the first dawn of the sciences, the queen and mistress of this planet, she was apt to believe that she was born in all her force and splendour; that the earth was her patrimony and not her conquest;
Having been favoured with a copy of M. Broca's admirable address, we have much pleasure in inserting a translation of it in extenso, though we are from its length compelled to omit several interesting articles intended for this number. EDITOR.
that the three kingdoms of nature had only been created for her service and pleasure: the stars to furnish her with light; the days and nights to divide her time; and the seasons to secure her harvests ;in one word, she was apt to believe that the universe had only been created for her; and so long as she conserved that illusion, she feared to disgrace and to lower herself to the level of brutes, by submitting to description, classification, and to the methods of investigation of natural history.
It was only in the last century that, guided by a sounder philosophy, men of science ventured to take up anthropological studies. Whilst Linnæus assigned to man a place in his zoological classification, Buffon wrote his Natural History of Man, and the first monument of our science became one of the masterpieces of our literature. But we should in vain, in these immortal pages, look for the precise and rigorous facts which we now exact. Though Buffon describes, as well as it was then possible, the physical characters of peoples, and the varieties of form, stature, and colour which distinguish them, still he was, from the want of sufficient authorities, unable to group and classify these varieties, and to arrive at a proper notion of race. This was the work of Blumenbach, who, with more ample means of information and taking the new science of craniology as a basis, established in the genus homo methodical divisions, and gave, for the first time, that, without which no science can be established, viz., a nomenclature. Buffon had laid the foundations of a Natural History of Man, and of Ethnography, or description of peoples ; Blumenbach laid down the basis of Ethnology, or the science of races.
The distinction of races being admitted, an immense field for investigation opened at once. It was not merely requisite to complete or to rectify the classification and the descriptions of Blumenbach, but to inquire into the origin of permanent varieties, hereditary types,-characters so diversified, and yet so graduated, which distinguish the races. For this purpose, it was first necessary to study the influence of external conditions, such as climate, alimentation, mode of life, etc., on the human organism; to inquire how far these different agents were capable of modifying the individual or the race; and within what limits the laws of heredity and atavism maintained these varieties. It was then requisite to determine the filiation of the peoples, to trace the course of their migrations and intermixture, to interrogate their monuments, history, and traditions ; to follow them up beyond the historical period, so as to arrive at