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Jack Cuozzo answers Colin Groves

Cuozzo’s response to Groves’ critical review of Cuozzo’s book, Buried Alive.
© Jack Cuozzo.  All Rights Reserved. 

I would like to reply to the critique of my book Buried Alive by the distinguished Australian anthropologist and expert in Macaca research Colin P. Groves.  I realize that a book reviewer, as knowledgeable as he may be, does not have the privilege of living out the experiences of the author of the book under scrutiny.  Therefore his obvious skepticism about our personal adventures in France are quite understandable.  All I can say is that I have given an eyewitness account of the events that occurred in reaction to our research and it really happened just that way.  All seven of us lived through it.  It is with this in mind that I make the following comments about Dr. Groves’ review.

First, let me say it was an honor to be commended by Dr. Groves for “my descriptions and basic assessments of the fossils” being “almost uniformly excellent.”  I also thank him for his appreciation of my radiographic reconstruction of the subadult skull from Le Moustier.  I would also note here that I was recently asked to make a contribution to an upcoming German museum and university anthropology publication based on my cephalometric examination of Le Moustier.

My response to the charges brought against my technical diagnosis of the material will be limited and to the point because I believe the book speaks for itself.

1. The Broken Hill skull from Zambia cries out disease!  I have enumerated on pages 279 and 280 fourteen reasons why this is so.  It is a first-hand report that Chris Stringer could reply to if he so desired.  It is up to the British Museum to refute this and no book review or argument on the Internet can settle the issue.  The answer is the same for the second hole or exit wound on the occipital bone of the skull.  No one seems to want to discuss it either.  Let them prove there is no exit wound.  Then there is the missing anterior clinoid process in Ronald Singer’s 1958 cranial x-ray and its sudden appearance in my cephalometric x-ray in 1981.  Was this piece of bone glued in to dispel any notion of pathology?  I had a top-notch neurosurgeon in NYC, and a radiologist at our hospital, examine my material.  The neurosurgeon said, “I wish it weren’t there,” meaning its absence spelled pathology.  The radiologist agreed.  But, it is there.  Now you see it, now you don’t!  This is supposed to be science not magic tricks.

Also, what happened to the missing bone from the left and only mastoid process?  All these things are very suspicious.  Could the British Museum please answer my findings?!  This is serious business!  It’s not just creation vs. evolution; it’s tampering with evidence, if true.

Concerning Montgomery and Stringer’s article:  I saw no evidence of healing of the bone around the entrance hole as they had concluded.

2. As for my supposed ignorance of the recent research results on the remains in the Spitalfields, London crypt containing 63 children from (1759-1859) and the piece on it in De Roussseau’s book in 1990 by Chris Stringer and his colleagues, I refer you to Chapter 28, note 13 and 14, the discussion on page 170, and research note 5 on page 297.  I assure you that I had a personal letter (more recent than De Rousseau) dated Nov. 9, 1993 from one of the main workers on this project and have also discussed the full implications of this very same material from the Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. article from 1993 (more recent) on the developmental levels of Spitalfield’s children in relation to Gibraltar I.  See above pages.

3. The chin of La Quina V is also a point of contention, but I recommend those that believe the original chin on the book cover was a lump of reinforcing plaster and not bone to look at the outline of the whitish surface pattern that Dr. Groves said was plaster.  It does not cover the root of the mandibular left cuspid except at the apex.  If it were truly holding the “teeth in place,” it should have covered this tooth too.  It is not doing anything for this tooth with no labial alveolar bone on its root.  Also, almost three-fourths of the first bicuspid root is exposed and forms a close to normal bony alveolar margin for the second bicuspid.  I think it’s bone and that there once was a mental protuberance shown in this photo.  It is a far cry from the same mandible of figure 6 on page 42.

4. Concerning Le Moustier slide purchased at the souvenir counter and Le Moustier model in the display case at the Museum in Berlin:

The slide was just like figure 32 shows it to be with the mandible 30mm out of the TM fossa (normal articulation socket).  This is a dislocated jaw in any oral surgeon’s office.  This malposition made it necessary to place the maxilla also 30 mm forward of its normal position.  Inaccurate drawings may be one thing but unanatomical relationships is quite something else.  As for the model of Le Moustier:  It is right there in the glass case labeled Le Moustier, not Pithecantropus IV, unless, of course, it has already been removed because of my book.  The Germans seemed very concerned about this, and for good reason.  I hope I can help them with my article.

5. As to mix-up vs. conspiracy theories as stated by Dr. Groves:  I would love to be able to trust paleoanthropologists more than I do at this point because honesty is the only basis on which we can build relationships and being a skeptic is no fun, but unfortunately that’s the position in which I find myself.  It is not with glee that I write about these things, but with tears for our fellow scientists who have had a sacred trust and have let us down.  Thinking they were doing the best for humanity, they reconstructed bony parts according to their assumptions.

I have a terrible feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Richard Leakey will not allow me to study any of the Kenyan material in Nairobi.  They keep it all in a place called “The Chapel.”  And they say we are the religious scientists.  I have been totally rejected by Richard when I was accepted by the office of the President, Permanent Secretary/Provincial Administration and Internal Security.

Now what do you think of that?  What is he hiding?  Keeping researchers from seeing your fossils is not what I call free-flow of information.  I call for a dialogue between those of us in both worldviews not a hate relationship, for the sake of mankind and for the fact that Jesus Christ didn’t just die for scientists who are creationists but for the entire world.  One of the things Christ died for is forgiveness of sins.  He forgave the Romans and the Jews who put Him to death.  Should we creationists be the last people to give forgiveness?  Who is there without sin?

6. “And now finally, to what Cuozzo deduces to be ‘The Truth about Neanderthal Man,’ they were extremely, incredibly old.  Using modern standards-itself a little surprising considering his continual tirades about uniformitariansm—he extrapolates...”

I always qualified my use of uniform standards in the book by making it clear that there was no other way to do the research and yet at the same time knowing that the rates or velocity of growth were probably slower in the past then our modern ones.  In the conclusions of Chapter 28 (page 181) I go into this in some detail plus in numerous other places I mention it.  I also used this method to show that the uniform ages previously assigned to the Neanderthals would not fit with the uniform rates of growth of modern man.  And that for the ages to fit with the actual Neanderthal craniofacial remains the growth velocities would have to be ape-like (2X) in the children (actually 5X between the ramus of Pech and that of Gib II) and supersonic speed (8 to 12X) in the adult.  This is abundantly clear and even Dr. Groves admitted to this logical conclusion, when he wrote, “and if part of this lay in somewhat overall faster rates, so what?”

7. Concerning the internal inconsistencies of the data:

This is a problem that is hard to conquer with such a small sample, however it should lead us in the direction of doing other series of closely related specimens so as to overcome such particular problems as loss of posterior teeth by La Chapelle-aux-Saints, his probable thumb-sucking habit, strong maxillary posterior forces due to tool use on La Ferrassie I anterior teeth, mandibular condylar erosion on both adults, gonial angle damage etc.  More cephalometrics of Neanderthal craniofacial remains will tell us where to make allowances for these local factors.  However, different modern rates for the same measurements are also a problem.  For example, the entire facial height variable growth rate is 0.18mm/yr in the British Museum work from Spitalfields as compared to the 0.101 mm/yr from Dr. Behrents’ University of Michigan study.  Of course, these produce different ages.

What I think that I have achieved in the overall structure of my cephalometric diagnosis of Neanderthal craniofacial remains are three things.  1) Demonstrated that continuing adult growth is a valid concept by which to judge Neanderthal morphology.  2) Made the scientific and non-scientific communities aware that late maturation and longevity are better explanations for Neanderthal growth than faster rates.  3) Shown all the data, even that which was inconsistent.

8. A further internal inconsistency:  Tooth enamel attrition (wear).  I think I have amply shown by my measurements of tooth enamel height starting with two unworn Neanderthal 1st mandibular molars, to Le Moustier’s partially worn 1st mand. molar, to the La Ferrassie I first mand.  molar, that was completely devoid of enamel, that the occlusal wear has to proceed at a significantly slower rate than the adult growth of the face.  This is what my American Association of Orthodontists critic said was impossible.  But I think you can see this in other Neanderthal research.  Just compare the Zilberman and Smith figure of 0.014 mm/yr for Neanderthal enamel wear on the occlusal surface of adult Neanderthal mand. 1st molars to every one of Dr. Behrents’ eight craniofacial growth rates on page 306.  Using Zilberman’s and Smith’s own rates you arrive at 125 to 159 years between Le Moustier and La Ferrassie I.

Taking the cephalometric results and using an avg. age of 300 years for our two adult Neanderthals would produce an enamel wear rate of approximately 0.006mm/yr.  I think that this would be significantly slower than the adult growth rates.

All of Chapter 31 is devoted to this subject.  There are three tables in the research notes section with my measurements of Neanderthal molars and one table of modern standards for molars.

My postulated mechanism for this slow rate of enamel wear is as follows:  If we are degenerating, as is consistent with modern research and also consistent with Biblical absolutes, then enamel repair via the enamel pellicle is also degenerating.  In the book I call it devolution.  By just hypothetically stepping up the present fractional enamel repair system (pages 222-225) to a time in the past when it was more powerful and efficient, there would be “extra rubber for the tire” so to speak.  This, of course, requires a different set of assumptions that modern science will not allow in the door.

9. “Now, I have no quarrel at all with the proposition that Neandertals may have lived to high ages”
            — Thank you very much, Dr. Groves!

10. Neanderthals were consistently different from us, at any age.  Infants as well as adults have a whole suite of characters which are distinct from modern humans (Schwartz and Tattersall 1996).

Please see my comments on Schwarz and Tattersall’s 1996 work on Neanderthal apomorphies on page 243-244.  Also see (page 76) that I sent an outline for a proposed publication of my findings (up to 1985) to Dr. Tattersall for his review because of the recommendation by the late Dr. Harry Shapiro of the American Museum in NYC, in 1985, who thought it was worthy.  Dr. Ian Tattersall did not disagree with any of my results in his letter back to me dated April 24,1985.  This is what he said, “I found your outline on the Neanderthals most interesting.  Unfortunately, the Museum publication series is dedicated to publishing studies by staff scientists or on the Museum’s collection, and I do not think that our publication committee would find your work within scope.”  He continued about the potential interest of this material and that I should contact a friend of his at the Am. Journ. of Phys. Anthrop.  He did not disagree with any of my findings in that letter.

One more fact ought to be made more obvious here.  I wrote a paragraph in the research notes on page 285 about an illustration that appeared in Tattersall’s new book on page 79, The Last Neanderthal (1995).  On that page is a picture of the Engis II child’s partial cranium from a side view.  Under the skull is a sentence, “The extreme length of the skull is 7.7 inches, and as its extreme breadth is not more than 5,25, its form is decidedly dolichocephalic.”  This 7.7 inch length is 195.58mm.  This photograph and sentence were taken from Charles Lyell’s book, Antiquity of Man.

I now refer you to page 91 in Buried Alive where I have a complete side view of the Engis II child with a mm ruler under the mastoid process.  The extreme length of the skull is 164 mm.  Lyell, Schmerling and Tattersall are all about 31 mm off.  I really think Tattersall trusted Schmerling and Lyell more than I did.  Or perhaps he just forgot about my measurement of Engis II.

We must get rid of this prejudice against Christians who want to do scientific work.  I have read Tattersall, he has read me.  I hope he reads Buried Alive.  We need better dialogue; all of us make mistakes.

Let me answer this charge about suites of characters another way.  No one has ever done a cephalometric study of Neanderthals before mine; therefore it is logical for Dr. Groves never to have heard of them before.  I have found new suites of radiographic characters which change the whole picture of Neanderthal children but I also dispute those characters that have typically been distorted from museum to museum to give the typical idea of a “full-faced Neanderthal child as portrayed in National Geographic in computerized models (Jan/1996) (Nature cover 375:6529, 1995).  I am speaking about the infantile characters related to prolonged maturation:

  1. Facial retrusion due to hard palate angulation over 14 to FH.

  2.  
  3. A small ramus of the mandible (like Pech de l'Aze) at four SDs below the mean of modern two year olds.

  4.  
  5. Medially-tilted immature condyles that no longer tip medially because of misconstruction, like GibraltarII.

  6.  
  7. Sharply angulated zygomas like Gibraltar II with adults like Gibraltar I having forward-sloped zygomas.

  8.  
  9. Open tympanomastoid fissures of Engis II and fetal tympanic bones (mentioned by Fraipont).

  10.  
  11. Protracted primary taurodont molar tooth eruption.

  12.  
  13. Delayed mandibular symphyseal closure in Pech de l'Aze.

  14.  
  15. Huge difference between height of younger Pech ramus and older Gibraltar I ramus supposedly only a year apart in age, yet requiring five times the rate of modern growth to attain such size.

  16.  
  17. Extensive enamel wrinkling of unerupted permanent first molars which produces more enamel square mm.

  18.  
  19. Taurodont primary molars never to be seen again in the human race (we have devolved primary cynodont molars).

  20.  
  21. Adolescent vertical foreheads with no supraorbital enlargement that progresses to backward-sloping adult foreheads with huge supraorbital ridges.
Then we must consider:  Who has done a cross-sectional cephalometric study to compare angulations and measurements among a closely related group like the classic Neanderthals?  We cannot argue about things they never saw in the adults or children until they see them in the cephalometric radiographs and actual fossils and then reply to me.

My work in this book is out there not for people to argue about on the internet (though this is inevitable) but to change the way paleoanthropologists think about Neanderthals and ultimately mankind in general.

11. Menarche today and in the past.  Did I cavalierly dismiss Aristotle and his evidence?

I cited over forty references for menarcheal decline and precocious puberty increases in females.  Again, I even cited those articles or book references that differed from my conclusions concerning these “downhill” changes.  In the true scientific spirit, this is a necessity.

Aristotle may have said that the fourteenth year was the beginning of catamenia  (menstrual bleeding), however there may be a problem with this observation because of the “twice seven years old” Greek terminology that he used.  The number seven was a “mystical number” in ancient Greece.  The word “puberty” is also a problem in antiquity.  In all likelihood it did not carry the same meaning as it does today.

Will Durant had both praise and scorn for Aristotle:  “He rejects the view of Pythagoras that the sun is the center of our system; he prefers to give that honor to the earth.”  (The Story of Philosophy, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1953, p. 53).  “Indeed, Aristotle makes as many mistakes as possible for a man who is founding the science of biology” (p. 54).  “Yet he makes a greater total advance in biology than any Greek before or after him” (p.55).  After careful consideration of Aristotle, I decided to believe what Durant had said about him.  I don’t think that it was cavalier to do that.  I probably should have been clearer about this in the book and am grateful for Dr. Groves pointing this out.  Next time something like that comes up, I will explain myself more fully.

12. Biblical Inerrancy:  This is a battle that volumes have been written about and I prefer to believe the facts that have endured for ages and ages.  It has often been said, and I believe to be true that Luke’s genealogy contains a copyist error and that in the original writing it was identical to the Old Testament writings.  Let’s face it, Luke was not illiterate.  He had the Old Testament writings as did many first century Jews.  This was their Bible.  Why would he write a contradictory account when he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-4.)

He claims to communicate exact truth and then contradicts the very Scriptures that Jesus proclaimed as truth.  “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) I don’t think so.

Finally I wish to thank Dr. Groves for his compliments about my competence as a forensic anthropologist and that I could make an important contribution to the scientific literature.  I hope not too many people pass over that sentence too quickly.  He did qualify that remark by requiring me to “lay aside my paranoid fantasies.”

I thought I had done that in the book when I wrote, “Some of the scientists were open-minded and some were not.  I am certainly not condemning all paleoanthropologists” (p.12).  At the end of the book I wrote, “Let us strive together to open up the pathways of research so they can carry young minds toward the mind of God, not away from Him” (p.269).

If, as he said, I can make an important contribution to the scientific literature, then this is a big step forward for those willing to do the hard work of original research, regardless of their source of inspiration.  The Germans have also made a step in this direction.  This is truly a liberal attitude, and a tribute to the sharp foresight of one brilliant anthropologist from Australia.  I hope I prove worthy of this confidence.  To those who believe in a just and loving personal God, please pray for me.

 Jack Cuozzo
Jan 2000


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