Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/47

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37
MODERN TROGLODYTES.

tion that continuity is a universal law; that it prevails everywhere, and has prevailed throughout all time; that its present innumerable and intricate threads have been spun forth from the simplest conceivable state of matter and motion, which from the beginning have been subject to a uniform code of law—a code of law growing more complicated with time by the interaction and mutual influence of primitive principles.

The study of continuity presents many results very pertinent to the great question, "How has Nature assumed the infinite beautiful forms which engage our attention and admiration to-day?" The probabilities in favor of the solution offered by the evolution theory are much enhanced when we consider how insignificant in area, and transient in operation, are many of the bridges connecting together the islands and continents of forces and life.

As we trace out with great pains the unbroken links stretching between the most diverse facts and appearances, links which a cursory view would never discover, we find that that theory which supposes a community of origin and descent for all that now is, has a remarkable body of evidence adducible in its favor.

That Nature has arrived at its present state by the continuous action of forces such as are now at work around us, has become so widely-prevalent a conviction that Mill said, speaking of the inclusion of special laws in general ones convergently, that the question Science now asks is, "What are the fewest and simplest assumptions which, being granted, the existing order of Nature would follow?"

 
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MODERN TROGLODYTES.
By FELIX L. OSWALD, M. D.

THE Troglodytes or Cave-dwellers of ancient Nubia belonged to a tribe which seems to have formed an intermediate link between the Semitic and Ethiopian races, but which has become entirely extinct before the second century of the Christian era. Between Sidi Elgor and Port Er-nassid (the ancient Berenice), on the shores of the Red Sea, Dr. Brehm examined many of the limestone-caverns which were the favorite haunts of these singular beings, and found no difficulty in distinguishing the bones of the Coptic and Arabian burial-places from the Troglodyte skeletons, which could be recognized by their demi-simian skulls, their attenuated brachial and femoral bones, and especially their narrow chests.

These peculiarities Dr. Brehm ascribes to the unnatural habits of the wretched cave-men, who, from cowardice or constitutional sloth, passed the greater part of their existence in the penetralia of their