Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/469

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THE FOSSIL MAN OF LANSING, KANSAS.

463

THE FOSSIL MAN OF LANSING, KANSAS.

By Professor S. W. WILLISTON,

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

CLOSE by the mouth of a small but deep ravine opening into the valley of the Missouri River eighteen or nineteen miles northwest of Kansas City, and two and a half miles east of Lansing, Kansas, a farmer and his two sons, some two or three years ago, began the excavation of a cave to be used for the storage of their farm and dairy products. In the intervals of their more active farm work, this excavation was carried further into the side of the hill, until it had reached a length of nearly seventy feet. In February, 1902, a human skeleton was exhumed at the end of this cave or tunnel, but it excited no great surprise, since many fragments of bones had been found in the progress of their work. Fortunately, however, most of the bones were saved, though some were broken up and removed with the excavated material, from which not a few were recovered later. In the latter part of March, Mr. Michael Concannon, the elder son, took with him to Kansas City a fragment of one of the jaws and showed it to a reporter of one of the daily papers, by whom a brief account of the discovery was published.

This notice attracted the attention of Mr. M. C. Long, the curator of the Kansas City Museum, a gentleman who has long been interested in things archeological. Mr. Long immediately visited the place of the discovery in company with Mr. F. Butts, and secured such parts of the skeleton as had been saved. They recognized the importance of the discovery, and, from Mr. Long's description, a more extended account was widely published by the newspapers, with more or less embellishment, as that of a glacial man. On July 18, the present writer, in company with Mr. Long, made as thorough an examination of the place of the discovery and the accessible remains as was possible at the time, the results of which were briefly published in Science of August 1. In this paper he affirmed his belief in the post-glacial age of the remains, attributing their inhumation to a time when the Missouri River flowed at an elevation of forty to fifty feet above its present bed.

Very soon thereafter the subject received the attention of a number of eminent geologists and anthropologists, those most competent to express an opinion upon the age of the deposits in which the bones