Crania Americana; or, A Comparitive View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America: To which is Prefixed An Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species

Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839


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ANATOMICAL MEASUREMENTS. 251

and ready application, which has received so many additions from the suggestions of different individuals, that its invention cannot be ascribed to any one person.The original idea, however, originated with my friend Dr. Turnpenny; and I have much pleasure in explaining it, inasmuch as it appears to me to supersede

These embrace all the gradations, from the head of the Negro to the sublime beauty of the ancient Greek models. If we descend below 70° we have an orang outang, or a monkey; if we descend still lower we have a dog or a bird—a snipe, for example, of which the facial line is almost parallel with a horizontal plane."—(Dissertation sur les difference reelles, &c., p. 42, &c.)

Professor Blumenbach has denied that the genuine antique heads present an angle of 95° or 100°, and supposes that such measurements could only be derived from incorrect copies. Dr. Wiseman, on the other hand, remarks, "that whoever will examine the heads of Jupiter in the Vatican Museum, particularly the bust in the large circular hall, or the more defaced heads of the Elgin marbles, will be satisfied that Camper is accurate in this respect."—( Twelve Lectures, &c., p. 105.)

Another mode of comparing skulls was devised by Professor Blumenbach, called the norma verticalis, or vertical method;. and consists in supporting the head on the lower jaw, and then looking down upon it from above and behind. If, however, several skulls are to be compared, they are to be stood each one on its occiput, the jaw being vertical and resting against a board or other plane surface. To make the comparison complete, the occipital ends should be so elevated as to bring the cheek bones on a line, as in the following diagram,-which is copied from Blumenbach.—(De Generis Humani Var. Nat. p. 204, et tab. 1.)

The first of these figures represents a Negro head, elongated, and narrow in front, with expanded zygomatic, arches, projecting cheek bones, and protruded upper jaw. The second is a Caucasian skull, in which those parts are nearly concealed in the more symmetrical outline of the whole head, and especially, by the full development of the frontal region. The third figure is taken from a Mongol head, in which the orbits and cheek bones are exposed, as in the Negro, and the zygomae arched and expanded; but the forehead is much broader, the face more retracted, and the whole cranium larger. Having been at much pains to give the norma verticalis of the skulls figured in this work, the reader will have ample opportunity to compare for himself. He will see that the American head approaches nearest to the Mongol, yet is not so long, is narrower in front, with a more prominent face and such more contracted zygomae.



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