Quote: Ales Hrdlicka on the future of anthropology

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Aleš Hrdlička, in the concluding paragraphs of The Most Ancient Skeletal Remains of Man, his 1914 review of the fossil evidence of human evolution:

The gradually accumulating finds which throw light on the physical past of man, have naturally stimulated further exploration in the same lines; and the various failures and uncertainties connected with some of the finds in the past have impressed all investigators in the field with the necessity of the most careful and properly controlled procedure. Besides men of science, the educated public, engineers controlling public works, and even many among the workmen in Europe have been impressed by these remarkable discoveries, and in hundreds of instances are doubtless watching for new treasures. Under these conditions we are justified in hoping that from time to time we shall receive additions to the precious material already in our hands; that these additions will fill the existing vacua, and gradually extend farther back to the more strictly intermediary forms between man and his ancestral stock, and perhaps eventually even to the source of these link-forms themselves, to the peculiar morphologically unstable family of the anthropogenous primates.
While the anthropologist is thus painfully and slowly reconstructing the past physical history of man, he is also with every new fact adding another imperishable block to the foundation upon which will stand not only the knowledge of the future in regard to man himself, but also the laws of his further physical development, and radically even those of his beliefs and his moral behavior. This is a part of the service of anthropology to humanity.

I think I’m going to take that phrase, “another imperishable block”. Seems ripe for mischief-making…