Adventures with the Missing Link

Adventures with the Missing Link

Adventures with the Missing Link

Adventures with the Missing Link

Excerpt

Dear Professor Dart:

It was in 1929 that I first met you and your Taungs baby, Australopithecus, in your laboratory. Then you alone had the clarity of vision to diagnose it as an anthropoid form closer to mankind than any primate hitherto known.

Later discoveries at Sterkfontein, Kromdraai and Swartkrans by Dr. Broom brought you complete justification and amazingly amplified the genius of your original insight into the Taungs baby.

To these discoveries you have added those at Makapansgat, where I was taken by the late van Riet Lowe shortly after my arrival in South Africa. He showed me the layers that had been uncovered and already partly destroyed--as at Sterkfontein--by the workings in the stalagmitic formations of that ancient shelter at the threshold of the Pliocene Age, and the astonishing heaps of bones accumulated by the anthropoids and their human successors.

At Makapansgat I saw the imposing succession of layers ranging in time from the age of Australopithecus to those of the Old and Middle Stone Ages. One could establish there the evolution of the one into the other, and not only the birth of human types but the development of their implements from the earliest, faltering beginnings. Your excavations have already established the presence of a Pebble Culture, appearing a little before the flowering of the most ancient, classical Old Stone Age. Discoveries at Sterkfontein and Kromdraai have confirmed it since then.

Inspired, as you yourself have confessed, by my investigations into the bone and antler industry of Sinanthropus at Choukoutien (China), you have labored to establish that Australopithecus was capable of an osteodontokeratic industry, employing in an only slightly altered state horns, jaws and bones.

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