Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/700

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We can reach almost the same conclusion by a little different reasoning. The abundance of large-flaked instruments in the contiguous valleys of the Somme and the Seine marks the existence at that point of external conditions evidently favorable to the diffusion of man, whose race was then multiplying for the first time. The flora of that epoch, as observed near Fontainebleau, indicates the presence of conditions similar to those now existing in the south of France, near the forty-second degree of latitude. Now, to reach, starting from the forty-second degree, the nearly tropical regions where palm, camphor, and southern laurel trees are associated together, we have to go twelve or fifteen degrees south, to the thirtieth or twenty-eighth degree of latitude, where we see the same climatological conditions existing as prevailed in Miocene Europe when it was hardly warm enough for the anthropomorphic apes. Between these conditions and those which seem to have been first favorable to the growth of the human race, there existed a space of twelve or fifteen degrees of latitude. But when palm-trees were growing near Prague, and camphor-trees grew as far north as Dantzic, man, if he existed then, might have lived without inconvenience beyond or around the Arctic Circle, within equal reach of North America and Europe, which he was destined to people. If it be objected to this view that man now lives in the hottest regions as well as in temperate ones, we answer that that shows simply that he has developed a capacity of adapting himself to them; but he flourishes best and has reached his highest development in temperate latitudes.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.


THE idea of representing the surface of the earth, or even a part of it, by a map, implies a considerable advance in knowledge. Every map, even the crudest one, is in a certain sense a concentrated representation, a kind of distillation of physical and politico-geographical knowledge. The clearer and more comprehensive this knowledge, the higher is the degree of accuracy with which it can be portrayed. We are not only taught this by the history of the peoples with which we have had the most to do, that is, of the civilized nations, but it is obvious to any one who is acquainted with the lower races. The same practical reasons which urged Europeans to the pictorial representation of geographical facts have also made their influence felt in the prairies of America and the islands of Australasia; and I have seen maps prepared by Polynesian or Indian hands that would compare favorably with mediæval representations of the same kind.