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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1863

CHAPTER V - POST-PLIOCENE PERIOD: FOSSIL HUMAN SKULLS OF THE NEANDERTHAL AND ENGIS CAVES

Summary

Fossil human Skeleton of the Neanderthal Cave near Düsseldorf.

BEFORE I speak more particularly of the opinions which anatomists have expressed respecting the osteological characters of the human skull from Engis, near Liege, mentioned in the last chapter and described by Dr. Schmerling, it will be desirable to say something of the geological position of another skull, or rather skeleton, which, on account of its peculiar conformation, has excited no small sensation in the last few years. I allude to the skull found in 1857, in a cave situated in that part of the valley of the Diissel, near Düsseldorf, which is called the Neanderthal. The spot is a deep and narrow ravine about seventy English miles north-east of the region of the Liege caverns treated of in the last chapter, and close to the village and railway station of Hochdal between Dtisseldorf and Elberfeld. The cave occurs in the precipitous southern or left side of the winding ravine, about sixty feet above the stream, and a hundred feet below the top of the cliff. The accompanying section will give the reader an idea of its position.

When Dr. Fuhlrott of Elberfeld first examined the cave, he found it to be high enough to allow a man to enter. The width was seven or eight feet, and the length or depth fifteen. I visited the spot in 1860, in company with Dr. Fuhlrott, who had the kindness to come expressly from Elberfeld to be my guide, and who brought with him the original fossil skull, and a cast of the same, which he presented to me.