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    Naturevolume 13page198 (1876) | Download Citation



    Bulletins de la Saciété d'Anthropologie de Paris, fascicules 2, 3, 1875.—The former of these numbers gives the discussion which followed the reading of a paper by M. Pommerol, on the rock-excavations, basins, rocking-stones, and holes observable in many of the rocks of Puy-le-Dôme. Contrary to the view which he had advanced in regard to their connection with prehistoric or early historic races, and their formation by man for domestic or religious purposes, the society generally concurred in the opinions maintained by MM. Leguay, Hamy, and Mortillet, that such formations are for the most part the results of natural causes, and that flint implements would have been incapable of acting upon the hard granite of which they usually consist. They admitted, however, that some of the depressions and holes may in a few instances have been enlarged in process of time through human agency, after having become the scene or object of superstitious veneration.—M. Morice laid before the Society a report of the various races which now occupy Cochin China, the most numerous and characteristic of which are the Annamites and Cambodians. Next in point of numbers stand the Chains and the Mois, or mountain-men, and beside these a hybrid race, half-castes between Annamites and the Chinese settlers, and known as Minuongs, is rapidly attaining consideration as a distinct class.—M. Hamy gave a brief summary of a memoir, which he will soon publish in extenso, on the craniological characters of the race that now occupies the Island of Timor, and which he considers to be not far removed from the Papuan Negritos. His examination of a number of Timorian skulls has led him to accept as proved the distinctive characteristics assigned to the race by Owen, Busk, and De Quatrefages.—M. Topinard's paper on Australian hybrids gave rise to a long discussion, but can scarcely be said to have contributed directly or indirectly to the elucidation of any of the difficulties involved in the subject.—M. piette's communication of the result of his exploration of the Gourdan and Lortel caverns is interesting from the fact that, in addition to the ordinary reindeer-lion, aurochs and other animal remains found in such caves, he discovered parts of two human jaws. One of these—the lower maxillary bone of an adult man, to which several much-worn teeth were still attached—was found at Gourdan in close proximity to bones referred by the author to Cervus canadensis, or a closely allied form. The other jaw, apparently that of a child of seven, who had died during dentition, was excavated from the floor of the Lortel cavern at a depth of 6 metres.—M. Condereau laid a paper before the Society, and explained the elaborate series of tables which he has constructed to illustrate his system of the classification of articulate sounds, and which he hopes to see accepted by anthropologists as the basis of some uniform phonetico-physio-logical alphabet, by which writers of different nationalities may be brought on a common ground for the comparison of the different articulate sounds of which the human voice is capable.—M. Broca brought under the notice of the Society a negro skull belonging to their museum, where it forms the fifteenth in the Gannal collection, in order to show how the normal parietal foramina may present such unusually large dimensions as to assume after death the appearance of artificially produced parietal per-forations. At a previous meeting of the Society, on March 18, M. Broca had exhibited a skull taken by M. de Palmas from an ancient cemetery in the Canary Islands, which presented a double parietal opening.—A very interesting and important paper was read by M. Broca on May 20, when he laid before the Society a résumé of the “Craniometrical Instructions” which they had commissioned him to draw up for the guidance of anthropologists. In accordance with the directions of the Commission these instructions are preceded by a description of the anatomy of the head, in which an entirely new anatomical nomenclature has been adopted, for which M. Broca craved the approval of his confrères on the ground of the obscure terminology hitherto in use in craniology. Among a number of novel terms we may instance such words as endocranium and exocranium; pteron and discus for the ascending and the horizontal parts of the greater ala; inion for the external protuberance of the occipital; and basion, opisthion, staphanion, pterion for distinctive portions of the occipital, frontal, and temporal fossa. M. Broca announces that this new system of cranial terminology will be soon published in extenso in the “Memoires” of the Society.—M. Collineau, in connection with the subject of arrest of development in the osseous and other parts of the brain, as shown by M. Broca in his paper on parietal perforations, drew attention to the extraordinary spread of religious mania in France, of which he gave numerous instances amongst the higher as well as lower classes, and appealed to medical and other scientific men to devote themselves to the elucidation of this important subject.

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