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Skulls and Physiognomy

Nature volume 88, pages 495496 (08 February 1912) | Download Citation



AT the present time anatomists are divided as regards the possibility of reconstructing from the skull the appearance of the face and head during life. Those interested in this problem will find a recent pamphlet by Prof, von Eggeling, of Jena (“Physiognomie und Schaedel,” Fischer, Jena, 1911, price 1.20 marks), of the greatest assistance, for the author has summarised in a very clear manner the various results obtained by previous investigators, and added his own observations. Such researches were at first employed to ascertain whether the skulls, which were alleged to be those of famous men, really corresponded with their death-masks. In 1867 Prof. Welcker compared the measurements of a skull said to be that of Dante with the poet's death-mask, and found that the agreement was exact enough to warrant the authenticity of the skull. In 1893 Virchow, after comparing a skull which was found by archæologists in circumstances which led them to believe it to be that of Sophocles with busts of the poet, wras unable to give a decided opinion.

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