"Keith on Reconstruction"

Nature October 29, 1914

Arthur Keith



[240] Prof. Arthur Keith publishes in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute for January-June, 1914, his presidential address on the reconstruction of fossil human skulls. This is, to a large extent, the outcome of the controversy which arose on the reconstruction of the Piltdown skull, in which his scheme differed from that suggested by Dr. Smith Woodward. As a practical test of his methods Prof. Keith invited Dr. Douglas Derry to furnish him with fragments of a specimen skull, which he engaged to reconstruct and to publish the results of his experiiment, whatever might be the result. The reconstruction of this skull by Prof. Keith so closely, in his opinion, resembles the cast of the original skull from which the fragments were taken as to confirm the validity of his methods. He is thus led to deny that the architecture of the human skull lies outside the limits of true science. He asserts that it is framed according to definite principles, that all its parts are correlated, and that it is possible from a part—if our knowledge is accurate and full—to reconstruct the whole. The address marks a decided advance in our knowledge of the science of craniometry.




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