Recent Discoveries Attributed to Early Man in America

By Ales Hrdlicka | Go to book overview

ADDENDA

MINERALIZATION OF THE BONES

The "fossilization" of the human bones from the Vero deposits is, as already mentioned, somewhat unequal. On attaining permission from Dr. Sellards, two fragments of fair size, one from the Vero Skeleton I, designated No. 5201, and the other from Skeleton II, designated No. 6957, were subjected for chemical analysis to Dr. E. T. Wherry, assistant curator, Department of Geology, United States National Museum. Besides these, Dr. Wherry was given part of a recently received Indian humerus from the Perico Island, Tampa Bay, Florida; part of a rib from the mineralized skeleton from near Osprey, west coast of Florida, for many years in the possession of the National Museum; and part of an ulna from an old surface communal burial on one of the keys off Little Sarasota Bay, Florida. This last specimen, taken entirely at random, was to serve as a "trial horse" for Dr. Wherry: but as its analysis proved to be uncommonly interesting, it is included in the report.

The results of the analyses show a difference in mineralization between the bones representing the two Vero skeletons. They show the presence in both of considerable organic matter. They differ quite markedly from those made for Dr. Sellards.

A comparison of the results with those pertaining to the three bones of undoubted Indian derivation and antiquity measurable only by a few hundreds of years, shows that one of these is much more mineralized than either of those from Vero; one, that taken at random from our collection, very closely approximates the bone from Skeleton II; while the third shows somewhat lesser changes.

It is plain there is nothing in the results of these analyses that would point to any great antiquity of the Vero specimens.


REPORT ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE BONES, BY EDGAR T. WHERRY

"The fragments submitted showed more or less admixture of sand and clay; these impurities were removed as fully as possible without destroying any notable amount of bone substance, and the bones were powdered in an agate mortar and analyzed as follows:

"For determination of all constituents except fluorine a 0.4-gram sample of each specimen was weighed out, heated for 2 or 3 hours at 110°, and the loss in weight recorded as moisture. The sample was then ignited for an hour over a complete combustion burner, and the

-61-

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Recent Discoveries Attributed to Early Man in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Letter of Transmittal 3
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations 7
  • Recent Discoveries Attributed to Early Man in America 9
  • The "Ancient Man of Cuzco," Peru 10
  • The la Brea Skeleton, California 17
  • The "Fossil" Man of Vero, Flortda 23
  • Addenda 61
  • Index 67
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