Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/696

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the whole physical conformation of the country was totally different from that which characterizes it now. Whether the evidence we now possess justifies us in going back further, or not—that we can get back as far as the epoch of the drift is, I think, beyond any rational question or doubt; that may be regarded as something settled—but when it comes to a question as to the evidence of tracing back man further than that—and recollect drift is only the scum of the earth's surface—I must confess that to my mind the evidence is of a very dubious character.

Finally, we come to the very interesting question—as to whether, with such evidence of the existence of man in those times as we have before us, it is possible to trace in that brief history any evidence of the gradual modification from a human type somewhat different from that which now exists to that which is met with at present. I must confess that my opinion remains exactly what it was some eighteen years ago, when I published a little book[1] which I was very sorry to hear my friend Prof. Flower allude to yesterday, because I had hoped that it would have been forgotten among the greater scandals of subsequent times. I did there put forward the opinion that what is known as the Neanderthal skull is, of human remains, that which presents the most marked and definite characteristics of a lower type—using the language in the same sense as we would use it in other branches of zoölogy. I believe it to belong to the lowest form of human being of which we have any knowledge, and we know from the remains accompanying that human being that, as far as all fundamental points of structure were concerned, he was as much a man—could wear boots just as easily—as any of us, so that I think the question remains pretty much where it was. I don't know that there is any reason for doubting that the men who existed at that day were in all essential respects similiar to the men who exist now. But I must point out to you that this conviction is by no means inconsistent with the doctrine of evolution. The horse which existed at that time was in all essential respects identical with the horse which exists now. But we happen to know that going back further in time the horse presents us with a series of modifications by which it can be traced back from an earlier type. Therefore it must be deemed possible that man is in the same position, although the facts we have before us with respect to him tell in neither one way nor the other. I have now nothing more to do than to thank you for the great kindness and attention with which you have listened to these informal remarks.—Nature.

  1. "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature."