DR. DIXON SAYS NEGROID GROUP DISCOVERED AMERICA
Special to The New York Times.
New York; Dec 30, 1922;
Dr. Dixon Startles Scientists by Asserting BlackTypes Were Among Indianâ€™s Ancestors.
Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 29.
A new theory of the origins of the American Indians, which puts Negroes or Negroid types among their ancestors.
Dr. Roland B. Dixon of Harvard said that a study of the earliest Indian skulls indicated that some were descended from blacks or negroids, others from primitive Australian stock, others from whites resembling the Nordics and others from Mongol or Turkish strains, all of whom crossed the Bering Straits in prehistoric time.
Many other important and interesting contributions to science were made at a score of sessions during the day.
Dr. Dixonâ€™s paper, in which he declared that negroid groups which crossed the Bering Straits were among the American Indiansâ€™ ancestors caused a great stir in the anthropology section.Â From his statement negroid peoples would appear to have been the first discoverers of America.
Others who crossed the Bering Straits thousands of years ago to become the ancestors of the American Indian were people of white stock related to the so-called Caucasian group, according to Dr. Dixon. Turkish tribes and other Mongolians and the black Australians, blended in various proportions, formed the different races of America by the infusion of white blood.
Based on Skull Measurement.
The earliest skull of the Iroquois and some other Indians show some strong negroid features, continually modified from age to age as the Iroquois extended their power and territory, taking captives from other tribes and absorbing them.
The whole theory is based on the minute measurement of skulls. The different types of man in the Old Stone Age, according to this theory, differed sharply in the shape of their skulls. The middle type, combining the characteristics of the long heads and the broad heads, was probably rare in early times and was formed by the blending of sharply differentiated ancient types, according to Dixon. His method was to measure thousands of Indian skulls of the present day and thousands of years ago in the effort to trace their characteristics to earlier Asiatic and European stock. The formation of the nasal bone played a prominent part in the inquiry.
Dr. Dixon, who is a scientist of high standing, had hardly finished his paper before two noted anthropologists, Professor Franz Boaz of Columbia University and Dr. Ales Hrdlicka of the United States national museum at Washington were on their feet to oppose him, denying that such far reaching conclusions could be adduced on the basis of skull measurements, though hailing the paper as an important contribution to anthropology.
After explaining his method of tracing racial genealogies, Dr. Dixon continued as follows:
â€œFor Europe, Asia and Africa, the outcome was, in general, in close accord with the best conclusions reached by other students, although in some instances the results were decidedly novel. It was in the new world, however, that the method led to conclusions most at variance with accepted doctrine and which may be described as revolutionary. It is therefore of these conclusions which I wish to speak briefly.â€
â€œThe current orthodox theory in regard to the aboriginal inhabitants of the American continent seems to be that they constitute a single race, allied most closely to the people ordinarily grouped together as Mongoloid and that they were derived originally from the Asiatic continent.â€
Bering Straits Migrations
Dr. Dixon asserted, however, that his investigation indicated a series of migrations across the Bering Straits. The variations of the Indian types, which had been regarded as random varieties, formed a distinct pattern and indicated something about the history of the various types, according to the speaker, who said:
â€œThey show a striking arrangement analogous to that found in Europe or Asia, in that some are relegated to extreme marginal positions or refugee areas, as if they were the surviving members of ancient groups, while others occupy central positions such as befit more recent and dominant types.
â€œHistorically , also, the several types show a definite and orderly sequence, repeated in both North and South America. On this basis, I believe we assume that the aboriginal population of America at the period of earliest European contact was the result of the blending of a series of different racial types, coming into the North American continent at different periods across Bering Straits from Asia.â€
After giving a technical description of one type of Indian skull found in different parts of the geographical pattern, the speaker continued:
â€œIn both continents thus this type is clearly an ancient one, as shown both by archaeological evidence and geographical distribution. The affiliation which is suggested for this type will, I know, meet with incredulity and strong opposition, for on the basis of the method followed its nearest relatives are to be found in the negroid and australoid populations of Melanesia, Australia and portions of Southern Asia.
â€œBy this I do not mean to imply, however, that it means a trans-Pacific drift from Melanesia to American shores, but rather that it had reached the new world at an early date by way of the Eastern Asiatic coast and the Bering Straits. While at present day there is not much superficial evidence of negroid and australoid peoples in Eastern Asia, there are, I believe, clear indications that peoples blended of them once extended all along these shores. In Neolithic times such types were present in Cambodia and Tonkin, and some of the wild tribes of Indo-China still show unmistakable evidences of their survival there. For China the data are as yet too meager to be of much value, although traces of the type seem to found. In the Ainu of Japan, and especially of Sakhalin, the evidence of its persistence is unmistakable: moreover certain supposedly ancient crania from the Aleutian Islands afford still another link.
Hopeful of Substantiation
â€œIf one follows this type geographically from Southern India, for example, east and north along the Asiatic coast to the American areas in which it occurs, a progressive weakening in the superficial negroid characteristics may be observed, the minimum pigmentation growing lighter, the hair straighter, the face less prognathous and certain well recognized negroid characteristics of the skull, such as the nasal fossae, become more and more attenuated, until they almost wholly disappear.
â€œAbsurd as the suggestion appears at first sight, I believe that with fuller archaeological material from America and Eastern Asia, the fact of a very early negroid-australoid stratum will be fully substantiated.â€ …
New York; Dec 30, 1922