Articles

There Were Giants in Those Days... Page 10
There Were Giants in Those Days... Page 10

SOUTHERN UTAH MAN

Xpeditions Magazine was recently sent the follow information exchange between scientists. The discovery of an odd skull, thousands of years old and of an unknown race, has prompted quite an inquiry. We invite interested parties to contact the researchers for more information. Their information is included below. It is interesting this skull was discovered in the same area as the giants and other unusual artifacts are being found.

Southern Utah Skull from XpeditionsMagazine.com.

To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 200003:25:40 -0700
Reply-To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Sender: HAPP-L-owner@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us

Colleagues, I have gotten word back on that skull discovered in St. George. Turns out that it's a quite significant find, according to one expert, "the most unique skull I've ever seen." She says it appears to be thousands of years old, has a couple of healed skull fractures, and strangely seems to be sort of a mixture of African and Native American (which really makes no sense, right?). She was unable to point out strong differences between the skull and some sort of undiscovered Neanderthal, other than the size of the mandible and the size of the (missing) teeth. She agreed that it was male and died around age late 40s or early 50s. No osteological diseases were apparent. So what is it? It has not been dated, so the next step seems to be getting it into the hands of a physical anthropology expert (our expert is a forensic anthropologist) for dating, either from U of Utah or perhaps the Smithsonian Institution, if they are interested. Amazing that I held it in my own hands, and showed it to all of my students last Friday. It is the poorly understood remains of someone who lived where I do, yet lived a vastly different (much more difficult!) life than my own here. And what was the ancestry of this person? The questions continue....
Curt Walker, PhD Dixie College St.George, UT

To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: "Melinda L. Carter" <mcarter@museum.state.il.us>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 200011:02:46 -0600
Reply-To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Sender: HAPP-L-owner@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us

Curt, Thanks for keeping us up-to-date. I hope your "expert" is a physical anthropologist. What about the cranium's "2-inch-thick" occipital bone? That's not normal even for a Neanderthal. Where did it come from, again? I would be VERY hesitant to accept such a narrow age range (late 40s to early 50s) from looking only at the cranium. (It's just a cranium, right? A "skull" is the cranium and mandible.) Also, metric data are imperative for judging "race" (ethnic affinity), not simply gross morphological observations. A radiocarbon date is what you're looking for, next. Let us know! Melinda

[Someone asked for a pic.] Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 200000:52:17 -0700

dixie college and landscape

...Dixie College and St. George, Utah Landscape.

Sorry, I do not have a pic. There is a picture of the skull in our local paper, but I don't have a scanner. Perhaps over the holiday break I can get it scanned on my colleague's scanner and send it around. I suppose it's possible that The Spectrum, our local paper, has a website with the picture, but I don't have time to look for it (final exams, meetings, sleep, etc.). By the way, my own pet (wishful thinking) theory that it was some sort of undiscovered North American Neanderthal seems about as farfetched as ever. I studied some skull descriptions and pics last night, and this skull is missing some of the classic Neanderthal features. Cheers, Curt

Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 200001:01:53 -0700

Melinda, The first expert was actually a forensic anthropologist. The physical anthropologist, probably Pat Lambert from Utah State U, gets next crack at it. She plans to date it. OK, the occipital bun was probably more like an inch thick (according to the forensic expert), but that's still pretty amazingly thick! It came from a dry creek bed on the edge of town, on private land. Recent rains probably exposed it in the edge of the creek bed. The age estimation is based on the sagittal suture starting to fade, as well as arthritis on the atlas. The mandibles are both partial, each missing the anterior portions of the body. The ME consultant based her observations on measurements and gross morphology, it's just easier to talk about morphology, since most folks (including me) don't know a lot about metric differences among "races."

Assuming that it is Native American in origin, the Utah tribes tend to work well with state archaeologists, and will likely allow study of the skull, even destructive analysis, prior to repatriation. Thanks for the advice, Curt

Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: "Melinda L. Carter"
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 200017:34:09 -0600

Thanks, Curt. It's very difficult to get accurate age estimation from the skull. Many osteologists use the degree of cranial suture closure to estimate age, but this is very inaccurate and wouldn't hold up in a court of law. Utah is fortunate to have a good relationship with the local Tribes. Illinois, in general, also has good relations with ancestral groups, but destructive analysis (for chemical or genetic testing) is frowned upon (but not illegal). The Powers That Be currently follow the wishes of the Tribes with regards to invasive sampling. This is unfortunate for biological anthropology in Illinois, in my opinion. Melinda

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 200019:49:17 -0700

OK, I'll take a risk and jump in here. A local citizen here in southern Utah brought me in a skull that he found locally. I know a good bit about cranial osteology and this is not just an old Native American skull, nor an African, Asian, or Caucasian. Does anyone know of a bone disorder that causes huge brow ridges and a sloping forehead, just like a Neanderthal skull? By the way, the skull came from a mature adult, perhaps 50 or so. This one's a real stumper! I'm sending it to the CA Pound Human ID lab at U of Florida, but thought one of you might have a clue.

Curt Walker, PhD Dixie College St.George, UT

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: "Melinda L. Carter"
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 200009:24:30 -0600

Acromegaly, or pituitary gigantism, can cause gross enlargement of brow ridges and facial features, but usually the changes are REALLY extreme. Some males are naturally very robust. Sending it to the Pound Lab is a good thing to do. There are other board-certified forensic anthropologists closer to home. See the following link: http://www.csuchico.edu/anth/ABFA/ Melinda Carter

Melinda L. Carter, M.A. Human Osteology
Program Director Illinois State Museum Research and CollectionsCenter
1011 East Ash Springfield, IL 62703
Phone: (217) 557-8609
FAX: (217) 785-2857
E-mail: mcarter@museum.state.il.us

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 200021:00:06 -0700

Melinda, Acromegaly is certainly a possibility, does not explain it all, though. Would an occipital bone be 2 inches thick at the back? Also, the forehead slopes dramatically backward, there really is no forehead, any ideas? Curt

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: "Melinda L. Carter"
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 200011:02:43 -0600

I've only handled one acromegalous skull in my life. One thing to look for is an enlarged pituitary fossa on the endocranial aspect of the sphenoid bone. Do you have a mandible or is it just a cranium? Two inches thick? That's REALLY thick. Could by hyperplasia, as in Paget's disease. As someone else recommended, you might send the cranium to the University of New Mexico. My doctoral committee chair, Dr. Jane Buikstra, is department head there, and Dr. Joe Powell is there, who, I believe, does most of the forensics. Look over the link I posted. I can't remember if there's a board-certified forensic anthropologist in Utah. Best of luck, Melinda

Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Southern Utah man [HAPP-L]
From: Curt Walker
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 200003:25:40 -0700

Colleagues, I have gotten word back on that skull discovered in St. George. Turns out that it's a quite significant find, according to one expert, "the most unique skull I've ever seen." She says it appears to be thousands of years old, has a couple of healed skull fractures, and strangely seems to be sort of a mixture of African and Native American (which really makes no sense, right?). She was unable to point out strong differences between the skull and some sort of undiscovered Neanderthal, other than the size of the mandible and the size of the (missing) teeth.

She agreed that it was male and died around age late 40s or early 50s. No osteological diseases were apparent. So what is it? It has not been dated, so the next step seems to be getting it into the hands of a physical anthropology expert (our expert is a forensic anthropologist) for dating, either from U of Utah or perhaps the Smithsonian Institution, if they are interested. Amazing that I held it in my own hands, and showed it to all of my students last Friday. It is the poorly understood remains of someone who lived where I do, yet lived a vastly different (much more difficult!) life than my own here. And what was the ancestry of this person? The questions continue....
Curt Walker, PhD
Dixie College
St.
George, UT

RE: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: "'HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us'"
Subject: RE: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: "O'Loughlin, Valerie Dean"
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 200011:16:16 -0500

I believe University of Arizona and University of New Mexico still have some excellent forensic anthropologists on staff - I would contact the Dept. of Anthropology at either of these institutions (they also may be more familiar with the skeletal material in the SW, since both have good skeletal collections...)

Valerie Dean O'Loughlin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Director of UndergraduateHumanAnatomyMedicalSciences
IndianaUniversity

Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-7723 (812) 855-4436 (fax)
vdean@indiana.edu

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: ,
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: "David Evans"
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 200012:30:40 -0500

Check out Paget Disease as a possibility. They have a website. Sometimes they have enlarged brow ridges. The sloping brow ridge one sometimes sees on the street: especially here in darkest, deepest Pennsylvania...

Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
To: HAPP-L@scimath.imperial.cc.ca.us
Subject: Re: Southern Utah Man Skull [HAPP-L]
From: IPaul@MtRoyal.AB.CA
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 200014:44:17 -0700

Curt, I once had the opportunity to study a skull with very prominent supraorbital margins and a severely sloping forehead. It was the skull of a man who (I was told) was a member of a Peruvian Indian tribe which had the custom of tightly binding the heads of young children in order to induce development of the skull in this way.

Source:Xpeditions Magazine

S8int.com contacted Curt Walker, Phd to determine if this story was true: his reply:"Yes, There really was a strange skull. Appeared to my very amateurish eye to be similar to a Neanderthal, which of course is just about impossible. Probably a black man with a somewhat strangely shaped head. Died of unclear causes a fairly long time ago here in the St. George area. I'm not sure where the skull ended up."

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