Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/504

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE AGE OF CAVE-DWELLERS IN AMERICA.
By E. T. ELLIOTT.

THE various writers and thinkers on the subject of pre-historic man generally concede that the races of to-day have radiated over the globe from some point in Asia. Indeed, the traditions of different nations lead to the conclusion that this point of dispersion was located in the high central regions of that country. There, apparently, the dog, horse, and ox were first domesticated, and can at the present time be found in their natural, wild state. Hudson Tuttle says, in his "Arcana of Nature," that "man originated near the equator, where the climate was better adapted to his defenseless condition and food abundant."

This conclusion seems to be based upon the impression that the different zones of the earth occupy the same relative positions now that they have always done, and can hardly hold good in view of recent developments. Colorado, an almost unexplored country, comparatively speaking, to the scientific world will be apt to change the logical reasonings that have so far been advanced upon this interesting subject.

Señor Altamirano, of Mexico, the best Aztec scholar living, claims the proof is conclusive that the Aztecs did not come to Mexico from Asia, as has been long universally believed, but that they were a race originated in the unsubmerged parts of America, as old as the Asiatics themselves, and that that country may even have been peopled from this. From the ruins recently found, the most northern of any yet discovered, the indications of improved architecture, the work of different ages, can be traced in a continual chain to Mexico, where they culminate in massive and imposing structures, thus giving some proof by circumstantial evidence to Altamirano's reasoning. But now, as to the antiquity of American man as shown by the yet recent discoveries in Colorado.

First it will be necessary to glance at the glacial period for an instant, or rather at the geological spring following it, when the warm rays of the sun turned the ice-covered crust of earth into a vast sheet of water, with only the extremely high ground left exposed above its surface.

From the evidences of the rocks and the deposits of the mountain valleys it is fair to deduce the conclusion that, as in time the waters gradually receded, the first part of America to assume any dimensions was the backbone of the continent, or that elevated portion known as the Rocky Mountains, which had probably never at this period been entirely covered with water, thus affording a long, continuous stretch of dry ground on which man and beast could live and wander as they listed.