Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period/Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV.

BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL CHANGES IN NORTH-WESTERN EUROPE BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF MAN.—THE PLEIOCENE PERIOD.

British Pleiocene Strata.—Geography of Britain in the Pleiocene Age.—Evidence of Icebergs in the North Sea, off the Coast of Britain.—The Pleiocene Flora.—Pleiocene Climate.—Lower Pleiocene Mammalia of France.—Upper Pleiocene Mammalia of France and Italy.—Pleiocene Mammalia in Italy.—Pleiocene Mammalia in Britain.—Important Characters of Fauna.—The Development of Antlers in the Deer.—The Retreat of the Quadrumana from Europe.—Evidence of Pleiocene Man in France and Italy unsatisfactory.

We have seen in the two preceding chapters that man had no place in the Eocene and Meiocene faunas, because they present no traces of other living mammalian species. In this chapter we shall see that one living species, if not more, does occur in the Pleiocene strata of France and Italy, and that therefore the improbability of man having lived in Europe at that time is proportionally lessened. It is, however, very unlikely that he will ever be found in the Pleiocene strata of this country, because they are either purely marine, or consist of freshwater accumulations, which have been worked over and, for the most part, destroyed by the action of the waves on the beach during the depression of the land beneath the sea.

British Pleiocene Strata.

The Pleiocene strata of Britain, known as the Crags of Norfolk and Suffolk, extend over the eastern parts of those counties and over north-eastern Essex, and consist of sands and gravels more or less impregnated with iron, containing numerous shells, most of which are still living in our seas. They contain also singular accumulations of fossil bones, derived from the break-up of several different formations. In the phosphatic or coprolitic deposit, for example, of the Red Crag, there are fossil sharks, rays, and crabs from the London Clay, and fragments of land mammalia, such as the Hyænarctos, which have been derived from the destruction of Meiocene strata, in the area now occupied by the North Sea. There are also water-worn fragments of teeth, and bones of the Pleiocene mammalia, derived from the destruction of old land surfaces, in the Coralline and Red Crags, as well as in that of Norwich. These strata, therefore, are the marine equivalents of the accumulations on the borders of ancient lakes, and in the ancient river valleys, which have afforded so rich and varied a Pleiocene fauna and flora in France and Italy, although in point of time they may be referred to the later, rather than the earlier, stage of the Pleiocene, because the mammalia which they contain have been washed out of the strata in which they were originally buried. The mammalia, however, of the Norwich Crag are considered by Professor Prestwich to be[1] in part undisturbed. The lower portion of the mammaliferous deposit at Thorpe, near Norwich, seems to me to be an isolated fragment, which happens to have been spared by the waves on the submergence of that part of the Pleiocene Land.

The British Pleiocene strata[2] are divided into the following groups.

Newer Pleiocene of Lyell. Feet.
Westleton beds
Chillesford Clay.
  1. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  1. Marine
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    ?
Aldeby beds,
Norwich Crag
(Mammalia).
  1. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  1. Fluvio-Marine
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    20
Older Pleiocene of Lyell.
Red Crag
Phosphatic or
coprolite beds.
  1. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  1. Marine
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    20?
Coralline Crag
(Polyzoa).
  1. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  1. Marine
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    30

Geography of Britain in the Pleiocene Age.

The Pleiocene coast-line of Great Britain is marked by the marine deposits above mentioned in East Anglia, which were accumulated by the sea that swept over the district to the east of a line passing from the mouth of the Thames to Colchester and Ely, and extended in the direction of Holland and Belgium as in the Meiocene age (Fig. 10).

The North Sea, which was small in the Meiocene age (Fig. 6), and did not touch our present coast-line, was now gradually enlarged at the expense of the land, and ultimately a direct communication was made with the Arctic Sea, by the sinking of the land extending from the Scandinavian mountains and the British Isles to Iceland and Greenland on the one hand, and Spitzbergen on the other. This depression is proved by the presence of northern types of marine shells as far south as the coasts of Suffolk and Essex (See Fig. 10). The Pleiocene coastline touched also the eastern coast of Scotland near Aberdeen, where Red Crag strata are met with containing the characteristic shell, Voluta Lamberti.[3] This depression, by which the Arctic became continuous with the

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 10.—Geography of Britain in the Pleiocene Age.png

Fig. 10.—Geography of Britain in the Pleiocene Age.

North Sea, caused it also to become connected with the Atlantic. The Atlantic coast-line at this time may be taken to be marked by the steep slopes passing downwards from the 100-fathom line to 300 or 400 fathoms, which imply that a land barrier was in that position for a very long period. It would make but very little difference to the Map of Pleiocene Britain if we were to take the western coast-line to be marked by the 300 instead of the 100 fathom line.

It will be observed by the comparison of the Maps, Figs. 6 and 10, that the geography of Britain in the Meiocene age was modified in the Pleiocene only in two important points—the letting in of the Arctic waters into the North Sea, and their free communication with the Atlantic by the submergence of the area between the Shetlands and Iceland. In other respects, Pleiocene Britain was as it had been before, and plants and animals could migrate over the dry land then uniting France, Spain, and England together, without being confronted by a physical barrier. A geographical continuity of this kind in ancient times was considered by Professor Edward Forbes[4] necessary for the presence of certain Spanish plants such as Arabis ciliata and Pinguicula grandiflora in the south of Ireland.

The Pleiocene mountains were similar to our present mountains, but were undoubtedly higher, because of the enormous amount of denudation, which they have undergone in post-Pleiocene ages, as well as from their then rising from a base at least 600 feet above their present bases. The line of lofty volcanic cones, also, in the Hebrides probably had not altogether lost their subterranean fires in the early Pleiocene ages. Clusters of small lateral cones or puys sprang up on their flank like those on Mount Etna, but they, too, were gradually deserted by the expiring energy; and the volcanoes[5] of the Western Islands, inert and cold, became a prey to the ravages of the elements which have reduced them to their present condition. How vast this destruction was has already been placed before the reader in treating of the Meiocene mountains, p. 44.

The Pleiocene rivers in Britain were in their present positions, though they flowed at a higher level, and those on the west opened upon the Atlantic coast-line, then far away from their present mouths, as is shown in the map (Fig. 10).

Evidence of Icebergs in the North Sea, off the Coast of Britain.

The researches of Professor Prestwich[6] and Mr. Searles V. Wood into the mollusca of the British Pleiocene strata show that the temperature of the sea gradually became lowered in passing from the period of the Coralline Crag towards the upper deposits. This lowering of the temperature caused the area of the North Sea to be invaded by northern forms, and compelled the retreat of the southern species now found in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, as may be seen from the following table, constructed by Professor Prestwich, from which all the species common to the crags and the British seas of the present time are omitted.

Species now restricted to
Northern Seas. Southern Seas
  1. Norwich Crag
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    130
19 11
  1. Red Crag
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    216
23 32
  1. Coralline Crag
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    264
14 65

From this table it is clear that the southern shells were being driven away from their habitation by the depression of the temperature of the water in which they had lived, and that they were being slowly replaced by those of a northern habit; the increase in the number of the latter, as Sir Charles Lyell acutely points out, being from 5⋅0 per cent in the Coralline Crag to 10⋅7 per cent in the Red, and 14⋅6 in the Norwich Crags. This was due to a more intimate connection with the Arctic Ocean, and to the consequent invasion of the British area by currents of cold water. But we have other evidence that this was the case. Professor Prestwich calls attention to a large block of porphyry in the Coralline Crag at Sutton, which is undoubtedly ice-borne, and Sir Charles Lyell mentions unworn and angular chalk flints in the Red Crag which have been transported by the same agency. From these facts we may infer the presence of floating ice in the North Sea in the Pleiocene age, and it is very probable that this was brought about, not merely by a general lowering of the temperature in the northern regions, such as Scandinavia, but also by the submergence of the tract of land uniting Iceland with the continent of Meiocene Europe, by which currents of cold water from the Polar regions obtained free access to the North Sea of the Pleiocene age,[7] from which they had before been shut out by a barrier of land.

The Pleiocene Flora.

The vegetation of central and southern France, and of northern Italy in the Pleiocene age, is intermediate in character between the wonderful evergreen flora of the Meiocene and that now living in southern Europe; and, like the former, it is composed of plants, some of which are found only in widely remote districts, such as Japan, North America, Madeira, and the Canaries. The recent investigations of the Count de Saporta[8] into the flora of Meximieux show that the forests which covered the neighbourhood of Lyons comprised bamboos, liquid-ambars, rose-laurels, tulip-trees, large-leaved maples, ilices, and glyptostrobi, together with magnolias, poplars, willows, and other familiar trees. There were no less than five kinds of laurels, among which may be noted the til and the vinatico, two trees growing in the forests of the Canaries, and no longer living in Europe. The forest composed by this vegetation was mainly evergreen, and like that of the Canaries in luxuriance.

This Pleiocene forest has been proved, by the re- searches of M. Gaudin and the Marquis Strozzi,[9] to have extended into the upper valley of the Arno, and to be composed for the most part of the same trees as those mentioned above. It probably occupied a region but little removed above the sea-level in middle Europe, since the Count de Saporta has shown that the Pleiocene vegetation of Ceyssac in Cantal, which lies buried under volcanic ash, is of a very different character, consisting, for the most part, of deciduous trees, maples, alders, poplars, willows, elms, and ashes, with an under- growth of bog-whortleberries (Vaccinium uliginosum). These are found at a height of 700 mètres above the sea, while that of Meximieux is about 200 mètres. Yet a higher zone is met with at St. Vincent in the Cantal at 1200 mètres above the sea, in a forest buried under lava, which consisted of pines, among which one (Abies pinsapo) grows in Andalusia, in regions between 1100 and 2000 mètres high.

These three zones of forest growth, so ably interpreted by M. de Saporta, were probably to be met with only in central and southern Europe where there were mountains. The evergreen forest did not extend far beyond the latitude of Paris, and the deciduous trees probably formed a belt extending over the low country of Britain and northern Germany, while the sombre forest zone of pines was to be seen still farther north. The cinnamon trees and the sabal palms (see Fig. 8), which in the Meiocene times had extended as far north as the Lower Rhine, in the early Pleiocene age were restricted to the region of Italy.

Pleiocene Climate.

The climate necessary for the growth of the flora of Meximieux is one considerably hotter, as well as more moist, than that of the neighbourhood of Lyons at the present time. The winters must have been mild and the heat of summer above 20° centigrade to allow the Nerium to flower, the bamboos to flourish, and the fruits of the pomegranate to ripen. The mean annual temperature necessary for these is estimated by M. de Saporta at 17° (62⋅6 Fahr.) centigrade, or about eight degrees more than the mean annual temperature of Palermo at the present time. Meximieux touches the 46th degree of latitude, while Palermo is in 38⋅7°.

The difference between these two latitudes gives us the means of estimating the climate with great precision. We may conclude that the isothermals in Pleiocene Europe were eight degrees farther north than they are at the present time. The climate was colder than in the preceding Meiocene age, when the evergreen forests spread as far north as the British Isles.

Lower Pleiocene Mammalia of France.

We have seen, from the study of the vegetation, that the European climate was warmer in the Pleiocene age than it is now. This conclusion is confirmed by an examination of the mammalia of France, which fall naturally into two groups,[10] namely, those of Montpellier, or the Early Pleiocene, and those of the fluviatile and lacustrine strata in the neighbourhood of Issoire and Clermont, which belong to the later division, as defined by Professors Gervais and Gaudry.[11]

In the Pleiocenes of Montpellier we have evidence of an association of animals analogous to that of the warmer regions of eastern Asia. Among others are the tapir, rhinoceros (R. megarhinus), and a deer (Cervus australis) closely allied to the muntjak of the Oriental region. Two kinds of apes inhabited the forests, and found abundant food in the pomegranates and other fruits; one (Macacus), allied to the macaque of the East Indies and northern Africa, and the other, a Semnopithecus, scarcely distinguishable from that of Southern Asia. The genus Mastodon of the preceding Meiocene age is represented by two gigantic species (Mastodon arvernensis and M. brevirostris) and the Meiocene antelopes, so abundant in southern France, by one solitary species, the Antilope cordieri. The hogs also here, as in the Meiocene age, possess small canines, apparently not having yet assumed, as Professor Gaudry remarks, the sexual character so marked in the wild boars of the succeeding ages. The carnivores consisted of a bear, a singular animal (Hyænarctos), found also in the Himalayas, as large as a grisly bear, and a cat (F. Christolii) about the size of a serval. Numerous rorquils and dolphins lived in the adjacent sea, as well as the halithere, so closely allied to the manatee of Africa and America.
Fig. 11.—Cervus cusanus, Cr. and Job., Pleiocene. Ceyssac, 1/3.

Upper Pleiocene Mammalia of France.

The mammalia of the Upper Pleiocenes of Auvergne present many points of contrast with the preceding group. We find, indeed, the same mastodon and rhinoceros (Fig. 18); a species of tapir also is present, a hog, and a kind of bear (Ursus arvernensis) of the size of the common brown bear of Europe; but here they are associated with Elephas meridionalis (Fig. 18), the earliest of the true elephants discovered in Europe, and characterised by the possession of teeth intermediate in

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 12-14.png
  1. Fig.
    12.—Cervus perrieri, Cr. and Job., Mont. Perrier,
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1/9
  1. 12a.—C. issiodorensis
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1/8.
  1. 13.—C. etueriarum
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1/9.
  1. 14.—C. pardinensis
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1/9.

structure between those of the mastodon and the Indian elephant. A hippopotamus is present also (H. major), which I am unable to distinguish from the numerous varieties of the river horse (Hippopotamus amphibius) of Africa. The hipparion also, an upper Meiocene genus, is found at Malbattu, but is very rare. In place

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 15.—Cervus tetraceros, Peyrolles.png

Fig. 15.—Cervus tetraceros, Peyrolles, 1/8.

of antelopes there is a most remarkable assemblage of different kinds of deer,[12] one of which (Cervus cusanus) possessed antlers similar to those of the roe (Fig. 11); while others, such as Cervus perrieri and the variety C. issiodorensis (Figs. 12, 12a), are closely allied to the C. taivanus of eastern Asia, while others, again (Cervus etueriarum and C. pardinensis, Figs. 13, 14), can scarcely be distinguished from the axis or spotted deer of India. Some of them (Cervus tetraceros) are wholly unlike any living form of deer in the shape of their antlers (Fig. 15). These were the prey of bears and wolves and felines allied to the panther and lynx, as well as of the great sabre-toothed Machairodus, the most formidable of all the carnivora. At night the Pleiocene forests of central France echoed with the weird laughter of the hyæna, belonging to two extinct species, H. perrieri and H. arvernensis.

Upper Pleiocene Mammalia of Italy.

The mammalia inhabiting the Pleiocene forests of the Val d'Arno, and recently classified by Dr. Forsyth Major, are more closely allied to the fauna of Auvergne than to that of Montpellier. In them the Elephas meridionalis and Mastodon arvernensis, and the hippopotamus, lived side by side. We also meet with a bear (Ursus etruscus) which differs very slightly from that of Auvergne; the Machairodus, the fossil hyæna, and two deer of the oriental forms above mentioned, are common to both regions. Very possibly also the hog (Sus Strozzi) may be merely a local race of that of Auvergne. Besides these animals, however, common both to France and Italy, there are some peculiar to the latter possessed of very remarkable characters. An ox (Bos etruscus of Falconer) presents us with the first instance of polled cattle. A horse (Equus Stenonis), intermediate in the structure of its feet and teeth between the common horse and the hipparion, may perhaps indicate that Pleiocenes of the Val d'Arno belong to a later stage of evolution than those of Auvergne, in which the Hipparion is discovered unaccompanied by its descendant the horse. The third is a deer (Cervus dicranios of Nesti), with antlers so complicated that they almost defy description (See Fig. 16). The view that these strata are of a later age than those of Auvergne is rendered probable by the fact that a rhinoceros (R. etruscus) and an elephant, identified by Dr. Falconer in the former, are not known to be present in the latter. Two kinds of monkeys, allied to the macaque of Barbary,[13] lived in the forests of the Val d'Arno, and two kinds of beavers inhabited the streams.

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 16.—Cervus dicranios, Nesti, Val d'Arno.png

Fig. 16.—Cervus dicranios, Nesti, Val d'Arno, 1/32.

Pleiocene Mammalia in Britain.

This rich and varied mammalian fauna is represented very scantily by the water-worn fragments in the English Pleiocenes; among which may be recognised the Mastodon arvernensis, the Elephas meridionalis, and the bear of Auvergne. A deer allied to the axis, or spotted deer of India (Cervus suttonensis, Fig. 17), is one of the most abundant mammals of the Red Crag, and it has been met with also in the French Pleiocenes; a second species of deer (Cervus falconeri), of an extinct type, has not been met with in any of the continental deposits. A third (C. issiodorensis, Fig. 12a) is found also in France. There were also hyænas and beasts of prey allied to the leopard. The Hipparion and the tapir and Hyænarctos, in the same strata, are as likely to have been derived from the break up of strata of the same age as the upper Meiocenes of Darmstadt as from the destruction of the equivalents of the Pleiocenes of France and Italy.

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 17.—Cervus suttonensis, Dawk., Red Crag, Sutton.png

Fig. 17.—Cervus suttonensis, Dawk., Red Crag, Sutton, 1/2.

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 18.—Upper Pleiocene Mammalia.png

Macaque.

Cervus pardinensis.
Cervus tetraceros.

Elphas meridionalis.
Rhinoceros megarhinus.

Fig. 18.—Upper Pleiocene Mammalia.

Important Characters of Fauna.

The most important facts to be observed in our study of the Pleiocene mammalia, so far as relates to the association of living with extinct genera, are as follows:— In the lower Pleiocene two kinds of ape, the Macaque and Semnopithecus (Fig 18), make their appearance, as well as the genus bear; while in the Upper Pleiocene period the marmots (Arctomys), voles (Arvicola), elephants (Elephas), oxen (Bos), and dog family (Canis), also appear for the first time. The hippopotamus is the first living species of placental mammal of which we have any record in the European strata.[14] It must also be remarked that the oxen (Bos etruscus) were sometimes devoid of horns, as may be seen in a specimen pointed out to me by Dr. Forsyth Major in the Museum at Florence. It seems very likely that horns were originally a mere sexual character peculiar to the males, and transferred ultimately, like other sexual characters, to the females. This was brought about before the beginning of the Pleistocene age, since all the oxen of that era possessed horns. If this view of the origin of horns be accepted, it is easy to explain the singular ease with which, in a comparatively short time, the horns have been bred out of some of the domestic cattle, by selection[15] carried on through a few generations, and our polled cattle may be looked upon as a reversion to an ancestral type. The small size also of the tusks of the domestic hogs, as compared with those of the wild boar, may be explained in the same manner.

In Fig. 18 five upper Pleiocene animals are grouped together, two deer respectively of extinct and living types, the big-nosed rhinoceros, the southern elephant, and the ape; the last being here, as in the Meiocene age (Fig. 8), the most highly specialised form.[16]

The Development of Antlers in the Deer.

It is not out of place here to call attention to the history of the development of antlers in the deer. In the lower Meiocenes no member of the family possessed antlers. In the mid Meiocene strata of the age of the Sables de l'Orléanais, Professor Gaudry[17] notes small, erect, branching antlers persistent through life of Procervulus aurelianensis of Thenay. This most remarkable antler, characterised by the absence of a burr or rose, is identical with that figured and described by Professor Leidy[18] from Niobrara, and considered by him intermediate between the antlers of the deer and the horns of the antelopes. It may fairly claim to be the most rudimentary form of antler belonging to a type which is no longer represented. The true starting-point of the antlered deer of the post- Meiocene ages is presented by the simple forked crown of the C. dicroceros of the mid Meiocene (Fig. 8). The cervine antler in the upper Meiocene becomes more complex, but is still small and erect like that of the roe. In the Pleiocene it becomes larger and longer, and altogether more complex and differentiated, some forms, such as the Cervus dicranios (Fig. 16) of Nesti, being the most complicated antlers known either in the living or fossil state. These successive changes are analogous to those which are to be observed in the development of the antlers in the living deer, which begin with a simple point, and increase the number of tynes until their limit is reached. It is obvious, from the progressive diminution in size and complexity of the antlers in tracing them back from the Pleiocenes into the mid Meiocenes of Europe, that in the latter period we are approaching the zero of antler development. In the lower Meiocenes I have failed to meet with evidence that the deer possessed any antlers.

It is also a point of singular interest to observe that the nearest living analogue of the Meiocene deer is the muntjak, now only found in Asia along with the tapir. Cervus dicroceros also co-existed with that animal in the upper Meiocene forests of Germany. With one exception, all the Pleiocene deer which can be brought into relation with living forms are closely allied to the Axes, Rusæ, or others, which also are dwellers in the Oriental region. They belong to a fauna now met with only in the forests of India, China, Japan, and the Malay Archipelago. The exception is the Cervus cusanus, which possessed an antler not very far removed from that of the roe, an animal now so widely spread over Europe and northern and central Asia. I should infer from this that the Oriental region has offered a secure place of refuge to the Axeidæ, so abundant in the Pleiocenes of France and Italy, from those changes in their environment which compelled them to retreat from Europe. The fact of the presence, in this quarter of the world, of a group of animals now met with only in warm regions, confirms the conclusions as to the warm climate of Pleiocene Europe, which M. de Saporta has recently arrived at from a study of the vegetation.

The Retreat of the Quadrumana from Europe.

The disappearance of the apes from Europe at the close of the Pleiocene age is one of the most important facts to be recorded in the history of the mammalia. In the upper Meiocene the apes ranged as far north as Eppelsheim, in the lower Pleiocene they were restricted to the forests of the south of France, and in the upper Pleiocene to those of Italy. Their gradual southern retreat and final extermination in Europe[19] are probably due to a change in climate,—to a lowering of the temperature, which arrived at its maximum in the Pleiocene age.

Evidence of Pleiocene Man in France and Italy unsatisfactory.

In dealing with the question of the presence of man in Europe, we have seen that he could not reasonably have been expected to have been a member of faunas in which the mammalia were represented solely by extinct species. In the Pleiocene age there is no inherent improbability of man having been present, seeing that at least one living animal shows that living forms had a footing among those which have become extinct. The family of lemurs made its appearance both in Europe and in America in the Eocene; the apes, or Simiadæ, in the Meiocene. Did the next family in the classification of the naturalists, or that of man, appear in Europe in the Pleiocene? An affirmative answer to this question is considered, by several eminent observers, to be given by the discovery of human remains in Italy.

The first to be noticed is a human skull, discovered by Professor Cocchi in a railway cutting at Olmo,[20] near Arezzo, at a depth of about 15 mètres from the surface. It is preserved in the museum at Florence; is well formed and long, and of a high type. The conditions, however, of its discovery seem to me to be very unsatisfactory. It was found after a slip in the sides of the cutting, and there is no evidence that the stratum in which it had been imbedded had not been disturbed. A flint implement was found with it, which is pronounced by Mr. Evans to belong to a well-known Neolithic type. This stamps the age of the skull to be Neolithic and not Pleiocene; a conclusion which, indeed, might have been arrived at from its identity with a type of skull extremely common in Europe at that time.

Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period - Fig. 19.—Fragment of Cut Rib from the Tuscan Pleiocenes.png

Fig. 19.—Fragment of Cut Rib from the Tuscan Pleiocenes.

A second case of the reputed occurrence of traces of man in Pleiocene strata is founded on a series of cut bones obtained from the Pleiocenes of Tuscany by Mr. Lawley, and preserved in the Museum at Florence. These specimens, which have been figured and described by Professor Capellini,[21] to whose kindness I owe the opportunity of examining them in 1876, seem to me to have been notched artificially. In one case, a bone had been partially cut through and broken off at the line of cutting (Fig. 19), in the same way as many cut antlers of stag obtained from the Swiss lake-dwellings. The cuts have been made before the mineralisation of the fragments, one of them in particular being covered with an incrustation of sulphate of barytes. Now they are so hard that they could not be scratched by any stone implement. Along with them were flint flakes and a fragment of rude pottery. It is not, however, to my mind satisfactorily shown that these were obtained from undisturbed strata. Nor is the mineralisation a proof of their high antiquity, since we know how rapidly deposits of sulphate of barytes have sometimes been formed in the the wooden pipes of coal mines. It seems to me more prudent to wait for further proof of the presence of man in Europe at this time, for although it be allowed that the cuts are artificial and made by flint flakes, there is no proof that the mineralisation of the bones may not have taken place in comparatively modern times. Pottery was unknown in Europe in the Pleistocene, and therefore is unlikely to have been known in the Pleiocene age.

There is an argument against the probability of man having lived in Italy in Pleiocene times that seems to me unanswerable. Twenty-one fossil mammalia have been recently proved by Dr. Forsyth Major to have inhabited Tuscany in the Pleiocene age: of these there is only one species, the hippopotamus, now alive on the earth. It is to my mind to the last degree improbable that man, the most highly specialised of the animal kingdom, should have been present in such a fauna as this, composed of so many extinct species. They belong to one stage of evolution, and man to another and a later stage.

The same objections may be made to the so-called fossil man of Denise[22] in France, in the Museum of Le Puy, found in volcanic tufa, and who is supposed to have fallen a victim to showers of ashes from a Pleiocene volcano. In this case, as in the rest, we cannot be certain that the deposit has been undisturbed since its first formation, nor is its precise geological horizon well ascertained.

As the evidence stands at present the geological record is silent as to man's appearance in Europe in the Pleiocene age. It is very improbable that he will ever be proved to have lived in this quarter of the world at that remote time, since of all the European mammalia then alive only one has survived to our own days. Nevertheless, the arrival of one solitary living species marks the dawn of that order of nature to which man belongs, and in which, in the succeeding Pleistocene age, he formed the central and most imposing figure.

  1. Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxvii. p. 479.
  2. See Prestwich, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxvii. pp. 115, 325, 452.
  3. Jamieson, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxi. p. 474.
  4. "Geological Relations of Fauna and Flora of the British Isles." Memoirs of Geological Survey, i, p. 348.
  5. Judd, Quart. Geol. Journ. Lond. xxx. p. 274.
  6. Quart. Geol. Journ. Lond. xxvii. p. 474. Crag Mollusca, Palæont. Soc.
  7. For a full statement of the arguments see Lyell, Antiquity of Man, 1873, p. 248 et seq.; Prestwich, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxvii.; Searles Wood, Crag Mollusca, Palæont. Soc. 1873, and Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxii. p. 541.
  8. De Saporta, Recherches sur les Végétaux Fossiles de Meximieux, Archives du Museum d'Histoire Nat. de Lyon. 4to, t. 1, 1875-6.
  9. Lyell's Student's Elements, 2d edit., p. 190. Gaudin and Strozzi, Feuilles fossiles de la Toscane. Contributions à la Flore fossile Italienne.
  10. For lists of these animals, see Appendix III.
  11. Gervais, op. cit.; Gaudry, Animaux Fossiles de Mont Lébéron, 4to, p. 86.
  12. For an account of the Pleiocene and Meiocene deer, see Dawkins, Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. Lond. xxxiv. p. 402.
  13. Macacus florentinus. Cocchi, Aulaxinus Bolettino Geologico, 3 and 4. March and April 1872. Act. Soc. Ital. des Sc. Nat. xv. 1872.
  14. It is by no means certain that some of the Pleiocene deer of the section Axeidæ are not specifically identical with the Axis and Cervus taivanus of southern and eastern Asia. See Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. xxxiv. 402.
  15. On this point see a letter of the Earl of Selkirk, published in my Preliminary Treatise, British Pleistocene Mammalia. Palæont. Soc. 1878, p. xiv.
  16. In this group the Macacus inuus of Barbary represents the upper Pleiocene apes.
  17. Gaudry, Les Enchainements, p. 87.
  18. Leidy, Extinct Mammalian Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska, 4to. Acad. Nat. Sc., Philadelphia, second series, vii. Pl. xxviii. Fig. 8.
  19. The Barbary ape has been introduced into Gibraltar.
  20. Cocchi, Mem. della Soc. Ital. di Sc. Nat. ii. No. 7. Milano, 1867. Forsyth Major, Soc. Ital. di Antropologia e di Etnologia, 20 April 1876.
  21. L'uomo Pliocenico in Toscana, Letta alla Reale Acad. dei Lincei. 7 May 1876.
  22. See Lyell, Antiquity of Man, 4th edit., 1873, p. 228.