Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/316

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302
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of the theological side as the Duke of Argyll has been forced to yield to the evidence.

Of attempts to make an exact chronological statement throwing light on the length of the various prehistoric periods, the most notable have been those by M. Morlot, on the accumulated strata of the Lake of Geneva; by Gilliéron, on the silt of Lake Neufchâtel; by Horner, in the delta deposits of Egypt; and by Riddle, in the delta of the Mississippi. But while these have failed to give anything like an exact result, all these investigations together point to the one great truth so amply established, of the vast antiquity of man, and the utter inadequacy of the orthodox chronology based by theologians upon our sacred books. The period of man's past life upon our planet, which has been fixed by the universal Church, "always, everywhere, and by all," is thus perfectly proved to be merely trivial compared with those vast geological epochs during which man is now known to have existed.[1]


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GREENLAND AND THE GREENLANDERS.[2]

By ELISÉE RECLUS.

TILL recently Hooker, Payer, and others supposed that the interior of Greenland presented vast spaces free of ice, grassy valleys where herds of reindeer grazed, and popular legends were appealed to in support of this view. Nordenskjöld also suggested that the phenomenon might be explained by the action of the winds, which after crossing the inland ranges descended in warm currents like the föhn of Switzerland, and thus melted the snows of the valleys. But the systematic researches made in recent years have failed to discover any of these inland oases. The whole land appears, on the contrary, to be covered with a continuous ice-cap fringed by glaciers which move down the outer valleys to the neighborhood of the sea, or to the fiords of the periphery. The valleys themselves have disappeared, and, despite local irregu-

  1. As to the evidence of man in the Tertiary period, see works already cited, especially Quatrefages, Cartailhac, and Mortillet. For a summary, see Laing, as above, pp. 103-105. See also, for a summing up of the evidence in favor of man in the Tertiary period, Quatrefages, Histoire Général des Races humaines, in the Bibliothèque Étymologique, Paris, 1887, chap. iv. As to the earlier view, see Vogt, Lectures on Man, London, 1864, lecture xi. For a thorough and convincing refutation of Sir J. W. Dawson's attempt to make the old and new Stone periods coincide, see H. W. Haynes, in chap, vi of the History of America, edited by Justin Winsor. For development of various important points in the relation of anthropology to the human occupancy of our planet, see Topinard, Anthropology, London, 1890, chap. ix.
  2. From advance sheets of North America, by Elisée Reclus, soon to be published by D. Appleton & Co., being the fifteenth volume of The Earth and its Inhabitants.