Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/9

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


 

APPLETONS'

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



NOVEMBER, 1898.



WAS MIDDLE AMERICA PEOPLED FROM ASIA?
By Prof. EDWARD S. MORSE.

THE controversies over the question of the origin of Central American culture are to be again awakened by the exploration organized under the direction of the American Museum of Natural History through the liberality of its president, Morris K. Jesup, Esq. The plans embrace an ethnographic survey of the races between the Columbia and Amoor Rivers. Many similarities in customs, folk-lore, etc., will doubtless be found among these northern races. How far traces of an ancient avenue will be established through which came the unique cult of middle America, and for which in a way the surveys have been instituted, remains to be seen. The question is one of perennial interest, and all honor to the scientific spirit of Mr. Jesup, whose munificence has provided the means for this work.

It may be of interest to remind those who have only a vague idea of the contention that there are many earnest scholars who insist that the wonderful architectural remains in Mexico, Yucatan, and other regions of the west coast are due to Asiatic contact in the past. As proofs of this contact are cited similarities as seen in the monuments, the facial characteristics of certain tribes, ancient customs, astronomical ideas, serpent worship, certain games, etc. Particularly is it believed by the scholars that the "land of Fusang" mentioned in early Chinese historical records is no other than Mexico or some contiguous country.

Space will not permit even the briefest mention of the evidences which have led to these conclusions, and the reader is referred to a remarkably condensed history of the whole question embodied in a