Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/117

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN. 105

Somme of the Seine, the Thames or the ancient Solent. In the valley of the Euphrates implements of the same kind have also been found, and again farther east in the lateritic deposits of southern India they have been obtained in considerable numbers. It is not a little re- markable, and is at the same time highly suggestive, that a form of implement almost, peculiar to Madras reappears among imple- ments from the very ancient gravels of the Manzanares at Madrid. In the case of the African discoveries we have as yet no definite paleontological evidence by which to fix their antiquity, but in the Narbada Valley of western India palaeolithic implements of quartzite seem to be associated with a local fauna of Pleistocene age, compris- ing, like that of Europe, the elephant, hippopotamus, ox, and other mammals of species now extinct. A correlation of the two faunas with a view of ascertaining their chronological relations is beset with many difficulties, but there seems reason for accepting this Indian Pleistocene fauna as in some degree more ancient than the Euro- pean.

Is this not a case in which the imagination may be fairly invoked in aid of science? May we not from these data attempt in some degree to build up and reconstruct the early history of the human family? There, in eastern Asia, in a tropical climate, with the means of subsistence readily at hand, may we not picture to our- selves our earliest ancestors gradually developing from a lowly origin, acquiring a taste for hunting, if not indeed being driven to protect themselves from the beasts around them, and evolving the more complicated forms of tools or weapons from the simpler flakes which had previously served them as knives? May we not imagine that when once the stage of civilization denoted by these palaeolithic implements had been reached the game for the hunter became scarcer, and that his life in consequence assumed a more nomad character? Then, and possibly not till then, may a series of migra- tions to " fresh woods and pastures new " not unnaturally have en- sued, and these following the usual course of " westward toward the setting sun " might eventually lead to a palaeolithic population finding its way to the extreme borders of western Europe, where we find such numerous traces of its presence. How long a term of years may be involved in such a migration it is impossible to say, but that such a migration took place the phenomena seem to justify us in believing. It can hardly be supposed that the process that I have shadowed forth was reversed, and that man, having originated in northwestern Europe,' in a cold climate where clothing was neces- sary and food scarce, subsequently migrated eastward to India and southward to the Cape of Good Hope. As yet our records of discov- eries in India and eastern Asia are but scanty; but it is there that

�� �