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CONTENTS FOR FEBRUARY
Frontispiece, Portrait of Dr. Frederic Augustus Lucas..
Director of the American Museum of Natural History
A culture center as the point of a pyramid from which we may look down upon a historical
Nature Reflected in the Art of the Ancient
GEORGE GRANT MACCURDY
The art of the New Stone age reflects almost exclusively man's zoological environment, as illustrated by pottery from Panama
Peace Conditions .
The Method and Knowledge of Science. . . . . . .
In which the Author contends that human progress has not come by the method of intuition,
The Hoactzin-Only Survivor of an Ancient Order of
....EDWARD M. BRIGHAM
Discovery of the quadrupedal character of the young and observations on their habits and habitat
With illustrations from C. William Beebe's Tropical Wild Life in British Guiana Notes by a Collector in the Colorado Rockies...
.A. E. BUTLER
Russian Explorations of the Siberian Ocean in 1918. . . . . . .A. W. GREELY
Destruction in the Southeast. from economic causes, is already well under way, so that it is time to take action in these states for the preservation of the flora for scientific study and of the scenic features for their natural beauty
VICTOR E. SHELFORD
Millions in food and money may often be saved by accurate knowledge of the time and conditions under which various insect pests appear and develop in field and orchard
Yachting in the Seven Seas....
.F. A. G. PAPE
Strange sailing craft, faster than any modern racing yachts, invented in days when speed meant opportunity for plunder and piracy
With illustrations from original drawings by the Author, of Malay, Arab, and other racers
Additions and reorganizations in the American Museum's hall of Primates
MARY CYNTHIA DICKERSON, Editor
Published monthly from October to May, by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, N. Y. Subscription price, $2.00 a year.
Subscriptions should be addressed to the Secretary of the American Museum, 77th St. and Central Park West, New York City.
NATURAL HISTORY is sent to all members of the American Museum as one of the privileges of membership.
Entered as second-class matter February 23, 1917, at the Post Office at New York, New York, under the Act of August 24, 1912.
Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized on July 15, 1918.
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NATURAL HISTORY: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM NATURAL HISTORY, recording popularly the latest activities in natural science and exploration, is published monthly from October to May, inclusive, by the American Museum of Natural History. The subscription price is Two Dollars a year. NATURAL HISTORY is sent to all classes of members as one of the privileges of membership. Subscriptions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Museum.
A large number of popular publications on natural history, based on the exploration and research of the Museum, are available in the form of handbooks, guide leaflets, and reprints. A detailed list of these publications will be found in the Appendix to NATURAL HISPrice lists and full information may be obtained by addressing the Librarian of the Museum.
The field and laboratory researches of the American Museum of Natural History and other technical scientific matters of considerable popular interest are represented by a series of scientific publications comprising the Memoirs, Bulletin, and Anthropological Papers. A condensed list of these publications will be found on the inside back cover of NATURAL HISTORY. Price lists and complete data may be obtained from the Librarian.
Director of the American Museum of Natural History
Before coming to the American Museum as director, in 1911, Dr. Lucas had many years of museum service as curator-in-chief of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and as curator of the Division of Comparative Anatomy of the United States National Museum. He has given his labors not alone to the technical branches of zoology, but he has also furthered by his writings and his museum policies the broader fields of popular scientific education
ITS PROBABLE PLACE OF ORIGIN ON THE EARTH AND ITS MODE OF DISTRIBUTION
The time is ripe for organized interpretative work in world archæology, and such interpretation is of interest and importance, not only to students of anthropology, but also
to the students of everything else that is human
By N. C. NELSON
With illustrations from original diagrams by the Author
HE origin of human culture is a question which has challenged the thought and imagination of man since long before the days of writing. Nearly every people, whether of high or low attainments, possess myths and legends to account for the principal inventions and technical processes of which they make use. Prehistoric man evidently recognized that such ordinary things as hammerstones and houses and domestic hearth-fires had not always been; that, in short, somebody invented them or brought them from elsewhere, and the person who accomplished such a feat for the general enhancement of human life was usually immortalized as a culture-hero. Our best known and classic example is doubtless the Greek story of Prometheus, who, with the aid of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, went up to heaven to light his torch at the chariot of the sun and thus brought down fire as a gift to man. The implication is The implication is that Prometheus literally stole the sacred flame and for this crime he was duly punished. But the gods had been outwitted; and though they raged, they were doomed, for with the help of fire, man proceeded to make himself master of the earth.
To the iconoclastic scientist of the last few decades such explanations have too often been only mere nonsense. We are still trying to explain the many gifts which our rude predecessors have left us to enjoy; and our explanations, partial and imperfect as yet, are at best written in terse technical language which only the specialist is supposed to understand. But some day when the matter-of-fact investigator has finished the skeletal structure of his thought on the subject of human culture a gifted imagination will arise to clothe it and make it live. Of such poetic nature is undoubtedly much of the lore, like the Prometheus story, which has come down to us from the ancient East. Originally based at least in part on sound observation, it was adapted so that all who saw and heard might understand, each according to his capacity. We of the West with our cut-and-dried views on every subject have all too commonly insisted on literal interpretation where only suggestion to encourage original thought was intended.
And what now of our modern explanation of human culture? We of the present generation think that we have done much in building the aeroplane:
but in the process which we call culture history, the making of a simple pointed stick for digging edible roots. out of the ground, was hardly less important. If now we should attempt to name all the discoveries and inventions which lie between these two extremes we should be astonished at how much was really accomplished before our own day.
We need not, however, go to such lengths here but we may properly ask when and where the more important inventions were made. When did man actually first make use of fire? Where were our numerous domesticated plants and animals first brought under control? What people made the first loom, the first potter's wheel, the first flint knife? The answer to these and similar questions is not yet recorded in books, nor is it handed down in reliable form as oral tradition. The material for the answer is scattered all over the world, even in places where we should not have expected men to congregate. For the most part the data lie buried in ruins located on the desert and on the plain as well as in the forest and among mountain fastnesses; they occur in mounds and in cemeteries, in caves and in rock-shelters and even in
peat bogs and the muddy depths of lake bottoms. The fact of these occurrences of the record of early human life and activity has become known largely through accident and it is only of late that we have begun honestly to admit their significance and to go deliberately in search of them.
Where this search will ultimately lead we do not precisely know. But with respect to the time and place of origin of many of the fundamental elements which go to make up what we term human culture a definite opinion is slowly gaining ground. Briefly stated this opinion is, first, that the most widely distributed inventions like fire-making and flint-chipping are the oldest; and, second, that because these inventions are so nearly identical in
widely separated parts of the world, they had probably a common center of origin. This center of origin is not yet definitely located but we know at any rate that it lies much nearer the center of the earth's land formation than it does to any one of the various continental extremities. In other words, it lies nearer to the meeting place of Europe, Asia, and Africa (a great traditional center of origin, it is well to recall) than it does to the Cape of Good Hope, or to the far away island of Tasmania, or to the still more distant Cape Horn.
The whole question is one of profound interest and importance, not only to students of anthropology, but also to the students of everything else that is human. The subject is here approached from the point of view of several years' archæological work done under the auspices of the American Museum in the Pueblo region of the Southwest. Certain conclusions developed from this investigation are of such a nature that they seem to throw light not only on the archæological problem presented by the whole American continent but on the problem presented by the entire world.
Discovery in the American Southwest of the Apparent Law of Distri
bution of Human Cultures
In 1912 the writer began archæological investigation in a hitherto unexplored section of the Pueblo area known as the Galisteo basin, directly south of and adjacent to the city of Santa Fé, New Mexico. The region, which was abandoned by native settlers finally toward the end of the eighteenth century, comprises about twelve hundred square miles and contains upward of one hundred ruins, about sixty of which are small, even insignificant, while the remaining forty attain, some of them, the size of respectable towns. After having spent a whole season sampling seven of the larger settlements, it became apparent that in addition to being