Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/120

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108
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

drawn portraits, all flattering and all famous? Even so primitive man has drawn himself many times over, not indeed on this particular piece of reindeer-horn, but on several other media to be seen elsewhere, in the original or in good copies. One of the best portraits is that discovered in the old cave at Laugerie Basse by M. Élie Massénat, where a very early pre-glacial man is represented in the act of hunting an aurochs, at which he is casting a flint-tipped javelin. In this as in all other pictures of the same epoch I regret to say that the ancient hunter is represented in the costume of Adam before the fall. Our old master's studies, in fact, are all in the nude. Primitive man was evidently unacquainted as yet with the use of clothing, though primitive woman, while still unclad, had already learned how to heighten her natural charms by the simple addition of a necklace and bracelets. Indeed, though dresses were still wholly unknown, rouge was even then extremely fashionable among French ladies, and lumps of the ruddle with which primitive woman made herself beautiful forever are now to be discovered in the corner of the cave where she had her little prehistoric boudoir. To return to our hunter, however, who for aught we know to the contrary may be our old master himself in person, he is a rather crouching and semi-erect savage, with an arched back, recalling somewhat that of the gorilla, a round head, long neck, pointed beard, and weak, shambling, ill-developed legs. I fear we must admit that pre-glacial man cut, on the whole, a very sorry and awkward figure.

Was he black? That we don't certainly know; but all analogy would lead one to answer positively, Yes. White men seem, on the whole, to be a very recent and novel improvement on the original evolutionary pattern. At an}' rate he was distinctly hairy, like the Ainos, or aborigines of Japan, in our own day, of whom Miss Isabella Bird has drawn so startling and sensational a picture. Several of the pre-glacial sketches show us lank and gawky savages with the body covered with long scratches, answering exactly to the scratches which represent the hanging hair of the mammoth, and suggesting that man then still retained his old original hairy covering. The few skulls and other fragments of skeletons now preserved to us also indicate that our old master and his contemporaries much resembled in shape and build the Australian black fellows, though their foreheads were lower and more receding, while their front teeth still projected in huge fangs, faintly recalling the immense canines of the male gorilla. Quite apart from any theoretical considerations as to our probable descent (or ascent) from Mr. Darwin's hypothetical "hairy arboreal quadrumanous ancestor," whose existence may or may not be really true, there can be no doubt that the actual historical remains set before us pre-glacial man as evidently approaching in several important respects the higher monkeys.

It is interesting to note, too, that while the Men of the Time still