Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/47

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41
SCIENTIFIC PALMISTRY.

SCIENTIFIC PALMISTRY.
By Professor HARRIS HAWTHORNE WILDER, Ph.D.,
SMITH COLLEGE.

RISING from the waters of Kejemkoojic Lake in Nova Scotia there stands a series of smooth slaty rocks which appear to one approaching in a canoe so tempting a surface for the scratching of inscriptions that they are completely covered, as far up as one can read, with pictures, names, dates and meaningless scrawls, superimposed upon one another and successively the work of the aboriginal Micmac Indians, the French and the English. The oldest of these are undoubtedly precolumbian, while at the present day additions are continually being made by vandalistic excursionists.

In spite of the superposition of these varied scrawls, Col. Garrick Mallory, who has made them the subject of special study, was able to separate the genuine Micmac inscriptions from the others and has published many of these in the United States Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Among those he found the accompanying

PSM V62 D047 Indian petroglyph from kejemkoojic rock nova scotia.png
Fig 1. Indian Petroglyph from the Kejemkoojic rocks, Nova Scotia, one half the size of the original drawing. After Mallory.

figure of the palmar surface of a human hand (Fig. 1)[1] which shows a remarkable degree of detail and must have been the result of an unusually careful observation. The figure will be better appreciated, perhaps, if the reader will first scrutinize the palmar surface of his own left hand in a strong light and compare it with his other hand and with the hands of two or three of his friends. It will be noticed, first, that the surface in question is marked by two distinct sets of markings; first, the wrinkles, which form the chief consideration of that means of amusement known as 'palmistry' and which are caused by the movements of the fingers and their muscles, and secondly the papillary ridges, which form the fundamental sculpture of the skin and run in approximately parallel directions across both the palm and the palmar surface of

  1. Tenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, p. 740, Pig. 1255.