Early Man in Palestine


    FURTHER information relating to the human skeletal remains found in the Mousterian strata of the Palestinian cave, Mugharet es-Sukhul (see NATURE, May 14, p. 712), as given by Miss D. A. E. Garrod in a communication to the Times of June 11, indicates that the discovery is of even greater significance than at first appeared. Now that Mr. MacCown and his assistants have been able in part to remove the breccia in which two of the skeletons were embedded, it is becoming possible to appreciate the bearing of certain incompatibilities with the Neanderthal type, which Sir Arthur Keith had noted in the Galilee skull and other remains found in the Palestine caves in association with a Mousterian culture. These two skeletons are practically complete and lie as they were buried, one on its back, the other on its left side with legs flexed and heels drawn up towards the sacrum. Although the skull has the characteristic powerfully developed supraorbital ridges, the cranial vault is higher and the head somewhat rounder than hi Neanderthal man; while viewed from behind, the greater breadth appears nearer the base and the sides are comparatively straighter, converging slightly towards the top of the head. Even more remarkable is the facial skeleton, which appears to exceed in prognathism the most prognathous of Neanderthal skulls, giving it an ape-like appearance. The lower jaw is as heavy and as squarely built as in Neanderthal man, yet it has a decided chin. The limb bones are massive, but longer than those of Neanderthal man; but it is evident that Palestine man walked with the Neanderthal slouch. In view of these facts, Sir Arthur Keith confirms the conclusion of the excavator that here we have a new race, or even a new species, of fossil man, for which Sir Arthur proposes the name Palæanthropus Palestinus.

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    Early Man in Palestine. Nature 129, 898 (1932). https://doi.org/10.1038/129898b0

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