Reports of Medical Societies

1862 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
is wanted, we must say that nothing could exceed the excellence and efficiency of the perchloride of iron. [To be continued.] Reports of Medi calS o c i e t i e s . EXTRACTS FROM THE RECORDS OF THE BOSTON SOCIETY FOR MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT. BY FRANCIS MINOT, M.D., SECRETARY. Nov. 25th. African Idiot.-Dr. Jackson gave some account of the individual who is now being exhibited in this city, and who came from Barnum's Museum, New York. The attendant states that he was brought from about 500 miles up
more » ... bout 500 miles up the Gambia river, Africa. A colored, showman's lithograph was exhibited, which, Dr. J. said, gave a very faithful representation of his general appearance ; his stunted condition, which belongs to him as a perfect idiot, being well contrasted with the height of the visitors who surround him. His color is a dark-brown ; his features well developed and African, though not strongly so ; his expression happy, with a look of perfect health, as if he was well cared for ; his tongue often protruding from his half-open mouth, as is frequently seen in the acephalous foetus ; and his cranium one of the smallest, and formed as usual in such cases. He has all his teeth but his " wisdom teeth," as in the case of a young adult, his age, of course, being a matter of inference only ; and he has this very remarkable peculiarity, that, when he closes his jaws, the incisor teeth do not come together by about half an inch, but leave an elliptical opening, as in the Chimpanzee. Without pretending to support Mr. Barnum's theory, that the individual forms a link between man and the monkey, and of which he probably knows full well the value, scientific as well as pecuniary, it may be further stated that, as in the higher simiaî, though not to the same extent, the elbow-and the kneejoints cannot be fully exteuded, and the calves of the legs, as is well shown in the figure, are remarkably deficient. In regard to his habits and developments, the attendant states that he never makes any articulate sounds, that he takes chiefly vegetable food, but is fond of raw meat ; that he has to be taken out every two or three hours to urinate or evacuate his bowels; that he sleeps well; and that he has hair about the pubes, with an occasional erection of the penis ; he has, however, never known him to have an emission, nor to show any tendency to masturbation. The following measurements were taken with callipers, &c. ; and are the more satisfactory, as the head seems to be kept shaved. As these were reported, corresponding measurements were taken of the cast of the head of an idiot from the Society's Cabinet, and it will be seen that the individual now on exhibition is decidedly the most remarkable of the two ; the cast was that of a girl, aged 17 years, from Cork. The measurements of this last will be, for distinction, in brackets. From between the eyebrows to the most prominent part of the back of the head, 4¡ [5¿] inches. Between the orifices of the ears, 3J- [4¿] inches ; this measurement is large, as the callipers would open on being removed, if they were fairly introduced even into the conchas.
doi:10.1056/nejm186201090652303 fatcat:23657zmsajalrh4ojg4zl2qp7i