Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 6th, 2010
Toronto Globe & Mail
February 12, 1935
Race of Lilliputians Revealed by Fossils
Toronto Expert Doubts Story of 15-Inch Man and 18-Inch Cow
(Associated Press Cable.)
Vadnagar, Baroda, India, Feb. 20.
Discovery of fossil remains, apparently those of a human being but fifteen inches tall, and a diminutive cow only three inches taller, led to the belief today that perhaps a race of pygmies once dwelt in India. Should the find be authenticated, it was considered likely the discovery would have some effect on the current theories regarding the early dwelling place of the human race.
The remains excavated include a walking stick ten inches long. Investigators expressed the opinion that a new field had been opened for study of a long-extinct race of men much smaller than the Obongo, Akka and Batwa tribes of pygmies in Central Africa, who measure between four and five feet.
Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, famous anthropologist, said in London that, if the reports were true, the pygmies would be the smallest race of people ever known. He declared, however, that a long check would be necessary, saying, “I do not recall ever hearing of a man as tiny as this. The smallest people I know of are the Akkas of Central Africa, who still exist.
“Pygmy cows, however, are not uncommon. I have seen some preserved at Trinity College, Dublin, which are bigger. They were freak cows born a long time ago. Another reason why the reports from India must be checked is that the find may be a dwarf.”
“Unless they are the bones of infants, it is entirely impossible,” was the opinion of T. F. McIllwraith, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, regarding the reported find of fossil remains of human beings fifteen inches tall, in India. ”Either the remains are not human, or the report has been grossly exaggerated,” he said. “There are races of pygmies in various parts of the world, ranging in height from 4 feet, 4 inches to 4 feet 6 inches, but these are the smallest races we have discovered thus far.”
Sometimes, Professor McIllwraith explained, the height of early human remains was wrongly estimated because of the fact that during thousands of years in the ground the skull and the bones of the feet shifted in such a way that the space between them became larger or smaller than it was originally.
[Courtesy of W. Ritchie Benedict and Jerome Clark.]