Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/326

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while I set out a few details to show the several factors whose influence should be numerically indicated by such a mode of measurement.

The parts composing the skull may be resolved into four sets: there is, first, the brain-case; secondly, the parts which subserve mastication and the preparation of the food for digestion; thirdly, the cavities containing the organs of the senses of hearing, sight, and smell; and, fourthly, those connected with the production of articulate speech. If our measurements are to mean anything, they should give us a series of definite numbers indicating the forms, modifications, and relative size of these parts, and their settings with regard to each other and to the rest of the body.

To take the last point first, it needs but a small consideration to show that the parts of the skull are arranged above and below a certain horizontal plane, which is definite (although not easily ascertained) in every skull, human or animal. This is the plane of vision. The familiar lines of Ovid—

"Pronaque cum spectent animalia cetera terram,

 Os hornini sublime dedit; cœlumque tueri

 Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus"[1]

are anatomically untrue, for the normal quadruped and man alike, in their most natural position, have their axis of vision directed to the horizon. Systems of measurement based upon any plane other than this are essentially artificial. There are at the outset difficulties in marking the plane accurately on the skull, and it is to be deplored that the anthropologists of different nations should have allowed themselves to be affected by extraneous influences, which have hindered their unanimous agreement upon some one definite horizontal plane in craniometry.

The Frankfort plane, drawn through the upper margins of the auditory foramina and the lowest points of the orbital borders, has the advantage of being easily traced, and differs so little from the plane of vision that we may without substantial error adopt it.

The largest part of the skull is that which is at once the receptacle and the protector of the brain, a part which, when unmodified by external pressure, premature synostosis, or other adventitious conditions, owes its form to that of the cerebral hemispheres which it contains. Speaking in this city of George and Andrew Combe, I need not do more than indicate in this matter that observation and experiment have established on a firm basis certain fundamental points regarding the growth of the brain. The

  1. While other animals look down upon the earth, he has given an upward face to man; and has ordered him to look at the sky and to raise his eyes to the stars.