Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/628

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610
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

lately opened at Lanesboro, in Fillmore County, Minnesota. For this I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. II. G. Day, who states that the image was found in the same mound with stone arrow-heads, one copper arrow-head, clay-burned pipes, and the remains of a large number of human skeletons. This piece of burned clay, about three inches in height, represents the human face, and is certainly not evidence of greater skill than the Mandan pottery made by the women of that tribe, but shows that the burning of clay was a practice common to both peoples.

There was a time, recently, when the flattening of the shin-bone was claimed to be a striking peculiarity of the mound-builders. This view was very fully set forth by Mr. Henry Gillman, in his papers on the contents of several Michigan mounds, particularly those on the Rouge and Detroit Rivers, explored by him in 1869 and 1870 ("Smithsonian Report," 1873). This view has also been advocated by Dr. A. E. Johnson, before the Minnesota Academy of Sciences, in a description of bones taken from a mound at Palmer Lake, near Minneapolis. If this distinction could be fully established, it would be one of the most valuable and one of the most remarkable ethnological discoveries of American scientists, and would form a basis for future investigations that might fully establish the distinctness of the mound-builder among the dynasties of North America. But, according to Mr. Gillman's own observations, made at a later date, this peculiarity is not uniform nor constant in the tibiæ taken from the Michigan mounds, and in some mounds it is wanting. The same is true of the perforation of the humerus, which has also been regarded as peculiar to the mound-builder. Of six humeri taken by the waiter from mounds at Big Stone Lake, Minnesota, but one was perforated. Both these osteological variations are found occasionally in the present Indian, and the former is very common in the negro and in the ape. Dr. Jeffries Wyman informs us, according to Professor J. D. Dana, that the platycnemic tibia is a common fact among the American Indians, as well as in the prehistoric remains of Europe. More lately a platycnemic tibia from the Lanesboro mound was submitted to Professor Leidy, of Philadelphia, who, in reply to a question as to its significance, stated that it was now regarded as of no special significance, but was a common occurrence in the early races.[1]

We come now to consider the most interesting as well as the most difficult points in the genetic relationship of the Indian and the mound-builder. These are the existence of the mounds, the mining

  1. the international boundary, but the Sioux use the Catlinite of the celebrated pipestone region, in southwestern Minnesota. By trade the Catlinite sometimes finds its way into the northern part of the State, and is employed as inlaid ornaments in the dark slate, in the same manner as lead is used for a similar purpose.

  2. For a knowledge of this correspondence I am indebted to Rev. E. D. Neill, of the Minnesota Historical Society.