The artist George Stromer had worked previously with an anthropologist
from Oceanside California, Dr, J.J. Markey, who was directing
the Indian projects centered around San Louis Rey mission area.
Mr. Stromer thought that Dr. Markey might be interested in seeing
the skull and asked Howard if he could take it to him to see
what he thought, as Dr. Markey's area of specialization was
Southern California coastal Indians. Howard of course said yes,
as he was still curious of anything he might learn about the
skull he had found as a boy, 20 years ago.
Dr. Markey's first impression on seeing the skull was how much
it reminded him of ancient aboriginal skulls from Australia
he had studied, and asked Howard's permission to study the skull
further. Using a new and somewhat imprecise technology then
called a "Wall Screen Counter" - the forerunner of
today's precise Carbon 14 dating method - Dr. Markey was shocked
when the results indicated a possible date of more then 25,000
years old! This was exciting news! The earliest known specimen
of man up till then was only 9,000 years old, yet here was a
individual that was possibly 2 1/2 times older then that!
Great excitement erupted in American archeological circles,
and Dr. Markey quickly made plans to take the skull to the "Musee
de l'Homme", The Museum of Man, in Paris France. The
greatest collection of prehistoric archeological skulls in the
world, over 20,000, were housed there for study, and Dr. Markey
wanted to have the Laguna Skull compared with them.
the scientists in Paris noticed that tiny mollusk shell fossils
and other fossils of small plants still stuck to the skull were
of a type that had become extinct over 100,000 years ago, thus
raising hopes that the skull might be of the same age.
They also agreed that the skull looked astonishingly like the
same cranial segments of certain primitive tribes of Bushmen,
who still live in Australia.
Markey stated that "The similarities are sufficiently
striking to justify the conclusion that the present day native
Australians and the Southern California a common forefather"
and that he must have crossed the land bridge between Asia and
North America from 25,000 to possibly 400,000 years ago. But
still, there was no way yet to say with absolute proof just
how old the skull was, and that was where the subject lay. Until
science invented a positive dating system, everything was just
The skull then traveled throughout Europe, to museums in Madrid,
Belgium, Holland, and eventually the British Museum in London.
After eight long years of scientific study, the skull finally
came home to Laguna in 1961 and back in it's old box on the
shelf in Howard Wilson's closet. There it stayed for many years...
Till once again, in 1967, incredible fortune came along and
changed history forever. Dr. Louis Leakey, the world famous
Archeologist was about to meet the Laguna Woman!