Afterlife: The "Glasgow" skull

In 1949, a 'new' skull appeared in the literature. Robert Broom published a letter in the scientific journal, Nature, announcing the presence of a blue buck skull in the Hunterian Museum. An eminent scientist, born in Scotland but living in South Africa, Broom was confident "that this Hunterian specimen is a good skull of the extinct blue buck."


Click on the image of the skull for more photographs and information about this discovery

Erna Mohr's monograph (1967) sceptically reviewed blaubok specimens. She conducted a correspondence with Miss E Macartney, Museum Assistant in the Hunterian Zoology Museum at the at time.

envelope back

Click on the image of the envelope to see more about the skull's object history

Doubt was cast on Broom's assignation by Klein (1974), an American archaeologist working with the South African Museums. His paper reiewed the implications of osteological remains found in South Africa. With respect to the "Glasgow" skull, Klein noted that it was difficult to compare it on the basis of its teeth, as 'intact molar and premolar rows are poorly represented in fossil samples' (1974:110). He deduced, correctly, that Erna Mohr's monograph contained a misprint with respect of the length of the upper premolar row - it should have read 45mm, not 35 mm.

Click on the image of the toothrow below to read Klein's conclusion:


In 1995, Groves and Westwood responded to Klein's work with some new research:

"We are convinced they [the skulls in Glasgow and Amsterdam] are genuine skulls of the extinct blaauwbok." (Groves and Westwood, 1995:317)

Click on the image of the toothrow below to see how they drew this conclusion:


Erna Mohr's monograph represents the most complete study of the Blue Antelope to date.
Click on the pdf logo below for her text about the 'Glasgow' skull:

Erna Mohr text