Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
North-west America1 (S433: 1891)
The size of the heads varies from eight to ten inches in total height, and from five and three-quarters to six and a half inches in width. The three are so different from each other that they appear to represent three distinct animals; and, so far as I can judge, they all differ considerably from the heads of any known anthropoid apes. In particular, the nostrils are much farther from the eyes and much nearer to the mouth than in any of the apes. In this respect they are more human; yet the general form of the head and face, the low and strongly-ridged forehead, and the ridges on the head and cheeks seem to point to a very low type of anthropoid. In a letter to Mr. Terry, Mr. Condon suggests "that they were copied from the figure-head of some Malay proa that may have been wrecked on the coast;" but such a supposition is quite inadmissible, since nothing at all resembling these heads is ever carved on Malay proas, and there is no reason to believe that if such a carving did come into the possession of the natives they would ever think of copying it in stone; while these sculptures were found two hundred miles from the coast on the east side of the Cascade Mountains.
Taking into consideration the enormous antiquity of the stone mortars and human remains found in the auriferous gravels of California buried under ancient lava streams and associated with a flora and fauna altogether different from that of any part of America at the present time, Mr. Terry's own conclusion appears the more probable. It is, "either that the animals which these carvings represent once existed in the Columbia valley, or that, in the remote past, a migration of natives from some region containing these monkeys reached this valley, and left one of the vivid impressions of their former surroundings in these imperishable sculptures." The latter alternative appears to me, for many reasons, to be highly improbable; and though the former will seem to many persons to be still more improbable, I am inclined provisionally to accept it.
1. "Sculptured Anthropoid Ape Heads found in or near the Valley of the John Day River, a tributary of the Columbia River, Oregon." By James Terry. (New York, 1891.)