Alternate Perceptions Magazine, October 2015
More Neanderthals in Ancient America: Denisovan Hybrids?
by: Dr. Greg Little
In the last issue of AP, several cases of supposed Neanderthal-like skulls that were recovered in America during archaeological excavations were detailed. Archaeologist Clement Webster reported excavating three “Neanderthaloid” skulls from a mound in Iowa in 1888. He published his findings in “The American Naturalist.” At another Iowa mound Webster uncovered a female Neanderthaloid. He also published these results in “The American Naturalist” (March 1889). Another similar report came from the Smithsonian (1879). Samuel Evans excavated the Ely Ford Mounds in Iowa and reported finding a “neanderthaloid” skull. However, as I continue to search through old reports, there are far more of these accounts popping up.
One newspaper report was issued by the “Kansas City Star” and the “Marion Daily Star” on April 7, 1902. The article, entitled, “Glacial Man’s Bones: Important Scientific Discovery on a Kansas Farm,” related that on a farm north of Lansing, Kansas an unusual skull was uncovered. According to the article, farmers were digging a tunnel on a hill to construct an underground storage room for fruit. About 60-feet under the surface they found a skull and other skeletal remains. M.C. Long, the curator of the Kansas City public museum went to see the skull along with a civil engineer who worked for the railroad. In the newspaper article, Long was quoted as saying that the skull was similar to the Neanderthal skull found in Belgium.
While I’m I don’t take the old newspaper reports at face value, a lot of articles were subsequently published about the find. For example, much longer account from Long appeared in “The World Today” (1902), an annual encyclopedia published by the Current Encyclopedia Company. The 3-pages devoted to the Lansing skeleton in the book also contained several photographs of it. Long, the author of the entry, related that the skull was taken to the Kansas City Museum of the Public Library. Long wrote that the skull and skeletal remains were actually found at a depth of 23 feet under a layer of flat stones.
A total of six scientists (most were associated with universities) eventually investigated the skull. They included a paleontologist, geologist, and history professor. Their investigation of the skeletal remains estimated the height of the individual between 5’8” to 6’. They did not describe the skull as appearing Neanderthal, however, they related that the person was, “in some ways dissimilar from men living at the present day. The head was of the dolichocephalic. or long-skulled type, the forehead receding, the supraorbital and especially the supraciliary ridges of the skull prominent” (p. 1938).
The 6-member team investigating the skull all published separate papers on it including in the “Journal of Geology,” “Science,” and two separate articles were published in the “American Geologist.” Shortly after this article, W. H. Holmes published a 9-page article on it in the “American Anthropologist” (4/4, 1902). All of the writers agreed that the burial of the skeletal remains was not intrusive and dated to prehistoric times. The skull, which came to be known as the Lansing Skull, was subsequently sent to the U. S. National Museum. The article also included several high quality photographs of the skull, which does have some obvious similarity to Neanderthal skulls.
According to the Wikipedia entry on the skull (Lansing Man; See: View History section), carbon dating placed it between the dates of 2660-5020 B.C. and it represents the oldest skeletal remains found in Kansas. The skull was in the possession of the Smithsonian, however I suspect it was repatriated decades ago. In what some might view as an attempt to conceal the significance of the skull, the Lansing skull was discussed in the Smithsonian’s “Bureau of American Ethnology-Bulletin 33” (1907). The article related that the only difference between it and skulls from other Native Americans was more development in the frontal region, which is evident in the photos. It is accepted in mainstream archaeology that it is simply an early Native American burial.
Still more reports of Neanderthal skulls found in America are in “Pre-Historic America” (Marquis De Nadaillac, 1895). In 1872 J. W. Foster called attention to the resemblance of certain skulls found near Chicago, at Merom, Indiana, and at Dubuque, Iowa to Neanderthals. “Thus the examination of a skull found at Dubuque, that of another from Dunleith mound, Illinois, with the study of numerous cranial fragments found at Merom, and at Chicago, show the well-known characteristics of the Neanderthal skull… “ (pp. 482-483). Nadaillac then added, “We may mention the great mound of the Red River, in which were found the fragments of a skull in bad state of preservation, reminding us, in its massive proportions, of that of Neanderthal” (p. 485). Here, Nadaillac is referring to an archaeological report by Gillman (1875).
John Foster’s book, “Pre-historic Races of the United States of America” (1878), mentioned a skull excavated from the Kennicott Mound near Chicago. He also published an illustration of the skull, which in overall appearance, looks Neanderthal. Foster wrote, “No one, I think, can view this fragment of a skull, with the superciliary ridges projecting far beyond the general contour, both laterally and in front, and the low, flat forehead, with its thick, bony walls, without coming to the conclusion that its possessor was a ferocious brute” (p. 280). Foster also published a report on the similarity between the Dunleith Mound skull and a Neanderthal skull in an 1873 issue of the “American Association for the Advancement of Science.”
The American Geologist (1892, vol. 9) devoted a page to the reports of Neanderthal skulls from American mounds. “The skull from ‘Kennicott’s mound’, near Chicago, had it been found in Europe, would be regarded as a fairly typical cranium of the Neanderthal or Canstadt race. A cranium from the region of Dubuque, Iowa is equally as flat and as destitute of forehead as the famous Neanderthal skull” (p. 52).
Denisovan Hybrids in Ancient America?
In Path of Souls http://www.amazon.com/Path-Souls-American-Skeletons-Smithsonian/dp/0965539253 Andrew Collins wrote an extensive Foreword and Afterword. He mentioned that “Neanderthal traits” had been found in skeletal remains from California’s Blossom Mound in 2014 and noted that traces of Neanderthal DNA has been identified in modern humans. A year earlier, Andrew was the first to suggest that the myths of ancient American giants and the “giant” archaeological remains excavated from American mounds represent a type of hybrid. This hybrid came from a combination of Neanderthal, Denisovan, and more modern strains of human.
Collins related: “So in conclusion it seems unlikely that the giants of the American continent are a race, or human sub-species, separate to that of anatomical modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens). Almost certainly they are human hybrids that have resulted from interbreeding between three, and possibly even four, different human sub-species. They are the Neanderthals, Denisovans, archaic humans (Homo sapiens) and species-x, who were very probably either surviving pockets of Homo heidelbergensis or, more likely, Homo erectus, a very exciting prospect indeed. The coming together of all these different peoples-whose descendents existed in and around the Altai Mountains of southern-central Siberia around 40,000 to 50,000 years ago-no matter how brief or how intimate, almost certainly changed human evolution in ways we cannot even begin to understand at this time (and see Collins, 2014, in which the current author explores the impact Neanderthal-human hybrids had on the rise of civilization).”
In Path of Souls, several Native American myths of giants, brutish clans, and cannibalistic invaders were reviewed. It is clear that there were many extremely tall individuals in ancient America, most of which were apparently tribal leaders, shaman, or medicine men. There are also numerous reports from excavations of powerful, brutish skeletal remains recovered from mounds. Does this small but important group of people represent a genetic trace of Denisovans, Neanderthals, or earlier strains of humans? Andrew is currently working on a followup book detailing his findings.