Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/368

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The absence of all traces of a marine fauna, and the occasional presence of land and fresh-water shells in these beds, are circumstances on which much stress is laid by the author; but, when fully considered, they hardly seem to warrant the inferences drawn from them. A marine fauna requires a marine flora for its sustenance, and, unless the submergence had been of long duration, this could not have existed. We find extensive marine deposits of older date, in which no marine organisms are ever seen; and, if marine fossils are wanting in drift-beds, those of the land and fresh water are usually equally wanting. We have, probably, hundreds of square miles of quaternary gravels, in which not a single specimen has ever been discovered. In those instances, comparatively rare, in which they occur in the implement-bearing beds, they are usually lying above the gravel, and may thus be ascribed to a later date; or, if of an earlier date in some instances, their occurrence would not of necessity exclude diluvial action, as regards the gravels.

There is one interesting topic connected with these drifts, which Mr. Evans has not dealt with at any length, as, indeed, it barely came within the design of his work; but he seems to share the general opinion that the men who made and used the drift-implements were contemporary with the hippopotamus, elephant, rhinoceros, and other animals, with whose remains they are often found associated. At present this is but a possibility, and it is an assumption founded on the fact of the bones and implements being often found in close proximity; but, if, as seems probable, the implements were formed from stones found in the gravels in which they now rest, it can hardly be doubted that the bones were already in that gravel, and may have lain there for centuries. From their shattered and way-worn condition, they have evidently been subjected to much rougher usage than that which some of the flint implements have met with. But, however this may have been, there can be no doubt, as Sir Charles Lyell has observed in the "Antiquity of Man," that "the fabrication of the implements must have preceded the reiterated degradation which resulted in the formation of the overlying beds;" a process for which vast periods must be allowed, and one which must have involved important geological changes. Among others we have very strong reasons to believe was the severance of our island from the Continent, an event, indeed, which, however brought about, could hardly have been unattended with important changes in the contour of the adjacent districts, and the courses of their rivers. When we contemplate the vast changes, geological, paleontological, and geographical, which our race seems to have survived, we are surprised to learn how very old we are, or, as Mr. Evans has better expressed it, the mind is almost lost in amazement at the vista of antiquity thus displayed.

It would seem, as might be expected, that, notwithstanding the cosmopolitan character of these objects—for, as Mr. Evans's researches