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Engis

ENGIS, a cave on the banks of the Meuse near Liége, Belgium, where in 1832 Dr P.C. Schmerling found human remains in deposits belonging to the Quaternary period. Bones of the cave-bear, mammoth, rhinoceros and hyena were discovered in association with parts of a man's skeleton and a human skull. This, known as "the Engis Skull," gave rise to much discussion among anthropologists, since it has characteristics of both high and low development, the forehead, low and narrow, indicating slight intelligence, while the abnormally large brain cavity contradicts this conclusion. Of it Huxley wrote: "There is no mark of degradation about any part of its structure. It is a fair average human skull, which might have belonged to a philosopher, or might have contained the thoughtless brains of a savage." Dr Schmerling concluded that the human remains were those of man who had been contemporary with the extinct mammals. As, however, fragments of coarse pottery were found in the cave which bore other evidence of having been used by neolithic man, by whom the cave-floor and its contents might have been disturbed and mixed, his arguments have not been regarded as conclusive. There is, however, no doubt as to the great age of the Engis Skull. Discoveries of a like nature were made by Dr Schmerling in the neighbourhood in the caves of Engihoul, Chokier and others.

See P.C. Schmerling, Recherches sur les ossements découverts dans les cavernes de la province Liège (1833); Huxley, Man's Place in Nature, p. 156; Lord Avebury, Prehistoric Times, p. 317 (1900).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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