What Happened to the Hominids Who Were Smarter Than Us?
By GARY LYNCH AND RICHARD GRANGER - DISCOVER
Added: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to SPS for the link.
The Boskops had big eyes, child-like faces, and an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens.
In the autumn of 1913, two farmers were arguing about hominid skull fragments they had uncovered while digging a drainage ditch. The location was Boskop, a small town about 200 miles inland from the east coast of South Africa.
These Afrikaner farmers, to their lasting credit, had the presence of mind to notice that there was something distinctly odd about the bones. They brought the find to Frederick W. FitzÂSimons, director of the Port Elizabeth Museum, in a small town at the tip of South Africa. The scientific community of South Africa was small, and before long the skull came to the attention of S. H. Haughton, one of the countryâs few formally trained paleontologists. He reported his findings at a 1915 meeting of the Royal Society of South Africa. âThe cranial capacity must have been very large,â he said, and âcalculation by the method of Broca gives a minimum figure of 1,832 cc [cubic centimeters].â The Boskop skull, it would seem, housed a brain perhaps 25 percent or more larger than our own.
The idea that giant-brained people were not so long ago walking the dusty plains of South Africa was sufficiently shocking to draw in the luminaries back in England. Two of the most prominent anatomists of the day, both experts in the reconstruction of skulls, weighed in with opinions generally supportive of Haughtonâs conclusions.
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