Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 108 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884.

B.W.  H.


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The distinguished anthropologist M. De Quatrefages has recently spoken before the Academy of Sciences in Paris, and we extract from his discourse on “Fossil Man and Savages” some notes reported in the Journal d’Hygiene:  “It is in Oceanica and above all in Melanesia and in Polynesia where I have looked for examples of savage races.  I have scarcely spoken of the Malays except to bring to the surface the features which distinguish them among the ethnic groups which they at times touch, and which in turn frequently mingle with them.  I have especially studied the Papuans and Negritos.  The Papuans are an exclusively Pelasgic race, that many anthropologists consider as almost confined to New Guinea and the neighboring archipelago.  But it becomes more and more manifest that they have had also periods of expansion and of dissemination.

“On one side they appear as conquerors in some islands of Micronesia; on the other we have shown—­M.  Hamy and myself—­that to them alone can be assigned the skulls found in Easter Island and in New Zealand.  They have hence touched the east and south, the extremities of the maritime world.

“The Negritos, scarcely known a few years ago, and to-day confounded with the Papuans by some anthropologists, have spread to the west and northwest.

“They have left unmistakable traces in Japan; we find them yet in the Philippines and in many of the islands of the Malay archipelago; they constitute the indigenous population of the Andaman Islands, in the Gulf of Bengal.  Indeed, they have formerly occupied a great part of the two peninsulas of India, and I have elsewhere shown that we can follow their steps to the foot of the Himalayas, and beyond the Indus to Lake Zerah.  I have only sketched here the history of this race, whose representatives in the past have been the type of the Asiatic pygmies of whom Pliny and Ctesias speak, and whose creoles were those Ethiopians, black and with smooth hair, who figured in the army of Xerxes.

“I have devoted two long examinations to another black race much less important in numbers and in the extent of their domain, but which possess for the anthropologist a very peculiar interest and a sad one.  It exists no more; its last representative, a woman, died in 1877.  I refer to the Tasmanians.

“The documents gathered by various English writers, and above all by Bouwick, give numerous facts upon the intellectual and moral character of the Tasmanians.  The complete destruction of the Tasmanians, accomplished in at most 72 years over a territory measuring 4,400 square leagues, raises a sorrowful and difficult question.  Their extinction has been explained by the barbarity of the civilized Europeans, and which, often conspicuous, has never been more destructively present than in

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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