Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
164
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

upon its cutting edge; and, what is of special significance, that it had been sharpened not by the more modern processes, described by the speaker in a previous paper, in which the chips were broken from the edge by pressing against it with a piece of bone, but by the older process of striking against the edge with another stone. The type of the implement also was pronounced by Mr. Gushing to be the earliest known, although from the convenience of the form it has always continued in use. It was one, however, which appeared at the very dawn of human development.

Thus the circumstantial evidence connected with the implement itself confirms in a remarkable degree the direct evidence respecting it. And it deserves to be placed, as it doubtless will

PSM V48 D176 Views of sharpened stone implement.jpg
Fig. 5.—Face View of the Implement. Fig. 6.—Face View. Fig. 7.—Diagonal View of Sharpened Edge.

be, among the most important discoveries heretofore made connecting man with the Glacial period.

In closing, I can not refrain from a few remarks concerning the conditions of life at that period, especially since the prolonged visits which I have made to the retreating ice front in Alaska and in Greenland have rendered it so much easier for me to believe in glacial man than it would have been without those experiences. The neighborhood of the ice border during the Glacial period was probably not an uncomfortable place in which to live. Even in Greenland, where there is no timber, the Eskimos manage to live in a great degree of comfort, and that too with no implements but those of stone and bone which they have made with their own hands. The importation of firearms and of iron implements has been of doubtful advantage to the Eskimos. From all accounts, they flourished better before their contact with Europeans than they have since.

Substantially the same may be said of the tribes in Alaska. There the conditions are in one respect even more closely similar to those which existed on the Delaware and Ohio Rivers where the remains of glacial man have been found in America. Like