The Lansing Skull And The Early History Of Mankind -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 060:237 (Jan 1903)
Article: The Lansing Skull And The Early History Of Mankind
Author: G. Frederick Wright


The Lansing Skull And The Early History Of Mankind

G. Frederick Wright

The skeleton at Lansing, an account of which was given by Mr. Warren Upham in the October number of the Bibliotheca Sacra (see pp. 730-743), continues to be one of the most prominent topics of discussion in scientific circles, and attracted special attention at the recent international meeting of Americanists in New York. Since the discovery, other portions of human skeletons have been found immediately adjacent to the original tunnel. There is now absolutely no ground to question the undisturbed character of the deposit of loess beneath which the skeleton was buried.

In the American Journal of Geology, Professor T. C. of Chamberlin has given a detailed discussion of the situation, with the result of making the date of the deposit consider- ably more recent than that given by Mr. Upham, though of this he is by no means positive. According to him probably the antiquity of the burial is to be measured merely “by the time occupied by the Missouri River in lowering its bottom, two miles more or less in width, somewhere from fifteen to twenty-five feet, a very respectable antiquity, but much short of the close of the glacial invasion.” But, as this question is to receive ample discussion at the convocation of scientific societies in Washington the first week in January, we will reserve further consideration of the point until it can be done in the fuller light shed upon it by that occasion. From the facts already in hand,

however, and the character of many of the objections which have been urged against the interpretation given by Mr. Upham, it will be profitable to consider a few of the theoretical aspects relating to the natural forces involved in the phenomena.

It will probably be a surprise to most of our theological readers to be told that the most persistent a priori objections to a recognition of this skeleton as of glacial age come from the anthropologists. The skull does not differ, in its shape and capacity, to any appreciable extent, from that of some of the modern Indian tribes, or at any rate from individuals of those tribes. The bone, however, is in a partially fossilized condition, so as utterly to preclude the idea of its burial within a very recent time.

But, in considering the presumptions against a great antiquity with which the anthropologists approach the subject, no undue reflections upon their honesty or ability should be made. A preliminary question arising in connection with every new fact is, How is it related to other facts of which we are cognizant, or theories which we are supposed to have good grounds for cherishing? It is always important to remember th...

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