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Uploaded on Jun 10, 2011
Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist, best known for his measurement of human skulls, has long been held up as a prime example of scientific misconduct. According to the late Stephen Jay Gould, one of the world's preeminent evolutionary biologists and scientific historians, Morton skewed his data about cranial size to fit his preconceived and racist notions about human variation.
But a team of six anthropologists has taken another look at Morton's collection of skulls (which include 1,200 in the original collection, and 2,000 in total) and has determined that Morton did not manipulate his data to support his controversial ideas, as Gould claimed. The authors write that Morton took measurements of the skulls to determine whether human populations were separate species from multiple divine creations or a single species created once, a central question in pre-Darwinian science.