Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/159

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By EDWARD B. TYLOR, D. C. L., F. R. S.

IN surveying modern scientific opinion, the student is often reminded of a doctrine proclaimed in the ancient hymns of the Zend-Avesta, that of Zrvána akarana, or "endless time." Our modern schemes of astronomy, geology, biology, are all framed on the assumption of past time immense in length. In fact, one reason why the latter sciences grew so slowly till almost our own day, was their being shackled by the bonds of a short chronology, allowing no room for the long successive periods through which it is now clear that the earth with its plants and animals passed into their present state. Even the science of man, though concerned with the later forms of being, belonging to times which geologists treat as almost modern, has nevertheless to deal with periods of time extending far back beyond the range of history and chronology.

Looking back four thousand to five thousand years, what is the appearance of mankind as disclosed to us by the Egyptian monuments and inscriptions? Several of the best-marked races of man were already in existence, including the brown Egyptian himself, the dark-white Semitic man of Assyria or Palestine, the Central African of two varieties, which travelers still find as distinct as ever, namely, the black or negro proper, and the copper-colored negroid, like the Bongo or Nyam-nyam of our own time. Indeed, the evidence accessible as to ancient races of man goes to prove that the causes which brought about their differences in types of skull, hair, skin, and constitution, did their chief work in times before history began. Since then the races which had become adapted to their geographical regions may

  1. Address before the Anthropological Section of the British Association, at Sheffield.