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Neanderthal Man in Central Asia

Nature volume 143, page 714 (29 April 1939) | Download Citation



AN announcement of a discovery in the Uzbek republic of the U.S.S.R. of very considerable interest is announced by the Russia To-day Press Service. The skeleton and other traces of man of palaeolithic age have been found in a cave some twelve miles north-west of the town of Baisun. Stone implements found on the site are said to fix the date of the stratum, in which the discovery was made, as late Mousterian. Prof. Gerasimov, the well-known Russian archaeologist, has succeeded in restoring the skull, and a commission has been appointed, which will make a special study of the reconstructed relic. These remains are the first indisputable signs of palaeolithic man to be found in central Asia, and previously no traces of the Mousterian culture had been known to occur there. The skull, it is stated, was found lying under a single stratum, close to the wall of the cave, while the remainder of the skeleton lay scattered beside it. The remains are those of a child of about eight years of age; and as it is in a fair state of preservation, it is possible to decide that it differs markedly in structure from the human skeleton of to-day. The contour of the skull, particularly, is said to recall that of the anthropoid ape—a statement which, at first sight, seems to conflict with the further comment that it is said to refute the racial theory that present-day man developed independently of Neanderthal man. The trend of recent discovery, it may be pointed out, would certainly not necessarily be widely at variance with modernistic tendencies in a skull of such a facies, but until further details are to hand judgment one way or the other is obviously premature.

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