Mystery of the skull “Child from Town”

A photo from open sources

Happy is the scientist in whose hands a large scientific find. Thanks to this, you can not only make any discovery, but also forever go down in history. Raymond Dart belongs to the number of such lucky ones. But the artifact he discovered turned out to be so controversial that the fate of the find was the most in an unexpected way. Once a certain young woman from South Africa saw on the fireplace in her friend’s house something reminiscent of her skull is an extinct baboon. The lady was interested in fossils and not could pass by a strange “exhibit”. She asked a friend where he got the remains of a baboon. He answered: from belonging to him quarries, which are 10 km from Taung, which was then part of protectorate of Bechuanaland. When limestone exploded in a quarry, sometimes fossils are exposed. The skull was one of them. Only unlikely, the friend added, it belongs to the humanoid monkey, because in South Africa no one has ever found them the remains. The woman turned out to be especially meticulous and the first opportunity I told about what I saw to my friend, Professor of Anatomy Dr. Raymond Darth. Scientist at that time taught at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Dart agreed with a female friend regarding apes “They really never met in South Africa.” But As for the baboons, he was ready to argue as much as desired: these large monkeys are well adapted to the ground (not arboreal) image living in an arid region, which is the land. They are inhabited South Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago and are found and to this day. Valuable parcel Dart set about trying to see fossilized eyes. He asked the owner of the quarry do him a favor: if new fossils come across, forward them by mail. Time passed and one of the days of 1924 Dart received a weighty package – two large boxes with debris limestone. In the first, Dart did not find anything interesting, but when opened the second, his joy knew no bounds. In the box was a round piece of limestone that stood out against the backdrop of uneven debris. Dart recognized him as an endocrane. So in the language of scientists called relief on inside of the cranium reflecting a large furrows, convolutions and cerebral vessels. It was obvious that this endocran formed naturally: once molten the rock fills the internal cavity of the skull and hardens in it, in accurately reproducing the size and shape of a long-gone brain. By According to Darth, “on the surface of the stone were clearly visible gyrus and brain grooves, blood vessels. “Raymond Dart knew what said: a native of Australian Queensland studied in Sydney University and University College London anthropology. His the experienced eye immediately determined: the skull broke in an explosion during limestone mining. That is, until recently, he was safe and sound. Jewelry work To begin with, the anthropologist decided that before him endocran baboon. But he soon realized that he was in a hurry with conclusions. Brain was too big for a baboon; moreover, he was different in form. Then to whom did he belong? Chimpanzee or gorilla? Not excluded. After all, these anthropoid apes are more developed in compared to baboons intelligence and a larger brain. And suddenly Darth dawned: why not assume that in the distant past hitherto unknown, now inhabited the territory of South Africa extinct apes? He began frantically rummaging through box with stones, trying to find a piece that matches cast of the brain. If he succeeded, he would have disposed himself the skull. But then there was a loud and persistent knock on the door of his office. This knock returned Darth from heaven to earth. He remembered what exactly on Today is appointed the wedding of his best friend, on which Dart volunteered to act as best man. With difficulty looking up from of his favorite fossils, Raymond was forced to hurry on wedding ceremony. But in the evening, returning from the wedding, rushed into the office and literally a minute later held in his hands a piece a breed that exactly matched the endocrane. Staring at this the second fossil, the scientist realized that he was looking inside a small heads. Turning the fossil to the other side to see the front part, Dart found that it was covered with a crust of limestone mixed with sand and gravel. This tight a cement-like material called breccia did not allow consider the features of the facial skeleton. But Dart knew: face can will see if you remove from it the hardened remains of the rock. Anthropology is not paleontology. Dart is only approximately imagined how to remove breccia. But he desired what no matter what he got to the bottom of the truth, and therefore armed himself with the necessary tool and set to work. As it turned out later, he was walking in the right direction. Not imagining how fragile it turns out the skull, fearing to damage it with sharp blows of the chisel, Dart placed fossilized sandbox for stability and cushioning. Then took a small chisel and began, like a sculptor, carefully cut off all unnecessary. When Dart beat off the coarsest pieces, the spoke went into action wife, which he honed, making on one side trihedral. FROM with the help of this needle, Raymond chipped piece by piece, and through seventy-three days the fossil was completely cleared.

A photo from open sources

The missing link for two months of painstaking Raymond Dart’s works kept wondering whose skull would appear in front of him at the end. The result exceeded all expectations! Skull rather everything belonged to a six-year-old child! His mouth was full of dairy teeth. The molars, which a person usually appears at six years, just started to erupt. That the skull belonged baboon, there was no question. He was too tall and round, while the face was more like humanity. Yes, and fangs characteristic of both baboons and gorillas with chimpanzees, were absent. Turning over the find, Dart turned his attention to interesting feature: large occipital foramen, which serves to exit of the spinal cord, was located on the underside of the skull. A this clearly indicated that the child walked upright, on two legs. In baboons and chimpanzees this hole is located closer to the back of the head – this structure of the skull happens only in animals, moving on four legs. So maybe it’s just upright monkey But this contradicted all scientific submissions! The habitat of anthropoid primates was two thousand miles from Taung. Then what is it? And then Raymond it dawned on: in his hands – the missing link, the transitional stage from monkeys to man! Not to be joked Which scientist does not dream about grand opening? That Raymond Dart in his 30s and a little dreamed of the worldwide fame of the discoverer. And suddenly fate itself sent him a grand find. It was just bursting desire to tell the whole world about its discovery. The anthropologist sat down and wrote an article in Nature – an authoritative English magazine in which The most important research findings were published. Dart later admitted that in those days it was accepted about such finds not to be distributed; they could be made public only for years ten after the council of scientists from the British Museum or another no less reputable organization will express its judgment on them. “However, I was convinced that my conclusions were irrefutable.”

A photo from open sources

The magazine accepted for publication an article by a young scientist, and soon readers learned about a new creature – “Australopithecus africa.” What started here! The resonance was crazy. New creature christened “baby from Taung”, and Darth himself – his dad or the godfather. About the “child from Taung” did not speak only lazy. But when scientists expressed their doubts about Darth’s findings, society attacked the young scientist, like a boa constrictor on a rabbit. “Baby” overnight became a symbol of ugliness, and reporters, more recently dreamed of an interview with his discoverer, practiced in wit the “monsters from Taung”. Entered into the contest even the respectable London weekly Spectator (“Witness”) and the conservative newspaper Mogning Post (Morning Post). Entertainer played scenes with each other on the stage music halls of Britain: “Listen, who is this girl with whom I saw you last night? She’s not from Taung? “Composers composed songs dedicated to the monkey from Transvaal. In parliament who met in Johannesburg, one of the deputies, incandescent by discussion, addressed his opponent with the following words: “If this is true, as the honorary member of Taung said …” The insulted parliamentarian resolutely protested the chairman, who seriously urged honorary members to apply to other honorary members, given their appearance. ” Australopithecus has become so famous that even Prince of Wales traveling through South Africa voiced gracious desire to inspect the skull from Taung. In Johannesburg he patronizingly stated: “In South Africa I seem to be talking about nothing no longer hear about the “baby” of Professor Darth! “Raymond blaspheme Darth took up the church. Angry priests fall upon him and religious fanatics. Here is one sample Darth post of those days: “How can you, with the gift of a genius invested in you by God, and not monkey, change the creator and become an accomplice of the devil, as well his obedient weapon? “The case finally came to calls to place Darth in the madhouse … In 1936, anthropologist Robert Broome discovered the skull of another “Australopithecus africanus” in the grotto Sterkfontein, near Johannesburg. The skull was incomplete (absent lower jaw), it belonged to a female aged 15-16 years, therefore the remains were given the name “Miss Place”. Geological age of the find was about 2.5 million years old. “Child from Town” and “Miss Place” were as if fashioned from one dough. Small head right set on a short, strongly extended forward neck, not wide shoulders, narrow low forehead, small flattened nose – it all said about their kinship. From that moment, the existence of Australopithecus was recognized by official science. New hit by Dart opponents finally shut up, he could rest on his laurels. However recently doubts reappeared. Ron Clark and Lee Berger from the same the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have been trying all this time solve the riddle of a strange creature by conducting research on him the remains. As a result, they came to the conclusion that these remains do not belong to man. In their opinion, Dart discovered … an alien skull. The poor fellow did not die his own death, as evidenced by the characteristic damage to his skull. Such traces remain after falling on sharp stones. Ron Clark and Lee Berger are also 100 percent convinced that the humanoid was an adult, not a child. Quite it is likely that his interplanetary ship landed unsuccessfully or the humanoid himself took an unsuccessful first step on an unknown to him the planet. It is possible that the “child from Taung” died as a result of attacks of a large bird of prey. Others are pushing for this conclusion. the remains are the bones of monkeys found in the same area. If the theory Ron Clark and Lee Berger are correct, given the age of the find (2.5 million years), we can conclude that the “child from Taung” – the oldest alien discovered so far. Max OIL Steps №25 (December) 2012

Africa Time Stones

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