Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/883

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
863
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

nishes us what we can learn of the primitive man, and is gradually bringing us nearer to the epoch when the races started pure. History adds legends and definite movements, records the acts and voyages of antiquity, and discloses the relations of ancient to modern races. The descriptions of the Scythians by Herodotus, of the Germans by Tacitus, of the Goths by Jornandes, of the Anglo-Saxons by Amédée Thierry, are examples of its direct relation. In return, history receives a certain degree of light from anthropology, and the hereditary influence of the physiological characters of races plays an important part in the present order. Linguistics, which should not be confounded with philology, helps to fill the gaps left by history and archæology, by indicating the passage of a people through a particular region. Deductions should be made from it with careful consideration, for they are worth no more than those which may be drawn from a custom, a mythological form, or a funeral rite. A language may advance or retire without involving the question of anthropology. We pass for Aryans, because our ancestors spoke an Aryan language; but that language may have been brought to them from the East by a small, more highly civilized group. The group disappeared, the language remained with the aborigines. Demography is an anthropological science, related to ethnography. A fourth division might be added, consisting of sciences to be consulted. Among them might be included geography, as showing the distribution of peoples, and the topographical conditions of their surroundings; comparative law, as illustrating their social and legislative organizations; architecture and music, which show that all people and races have not had the same sentiments; sculpture, etc. The studies of anthropology, whose final object is to solve the problems of the evolution of the human race and man's place in nature, begin with analysis, or the examination of particular characteristics. Human characteristics may be arranged, according to their bearing on anthropology and ethnography, in five orders: External physical traits; internal physical traits; physiological traits; pathological traits; and ethnic traits. The last include all that can distinguish one people from another, whether relating to race, surroundings, tradition, or other points. Among them may be indicated polygamy, polyandry, monogamy, burial customs, the Indian custom of scalping, Polynesian taboo, the use of bows and arrows and of the boomerang, artificial deformations of the skull, etc. Thus the principal anthropological studies may be said to turn round four centers: the characteristic, the type, the race, and the human species.

 

The Great Primitive European Sea.—The theory of the former existence of a great sea embracing the basins of the Black, Caspian, and Aral Seas, has been confirmed by the recent ichthyological investigations of the Russian academician Kessler. This sea in the Miocene period, resting on a bottom of Eocene chalk and Jurassic rock, extended over a bed which, beginning in the East with the Sea of Aral, included the lowlands of the Caucasus and the plains of the Pontus, reached Volhynia, Podolia, and Galicia, the flats of the lower Danube, Hungary, and Servia, and ended in the West beyond the Vienna basin. This great sea was, at least in the latter part of its existence, brackish, and was connected (though some dispute this), as northern species among the fosils indicate, either through a strait or by overflow, with the Arctic Ocean. The area of the sea was still more extensive in the Eocene period, and in the Jurassic time it seems to have included all of central Russia and reached to Courland. The separation of the Aral and Caspian Seas from the Black Sea took place very early, probably during the Pliocene age, certainly before the beginning of the last geological period. The connection of the Black Sea with the Mediterranean through the present straits was made considerably later. The separation was accompanied with a decrease in the saltness of the Eastern seas—the Black Sea now containing 1·6 per cent., the southern part of the Caspian Sea 1·3 per cent., the Sea of Aral 1·1 per cent, of salt—and a slight modification of their fauna. The fauna of the Black Sea can not be regarded as an impoverished fraction of that of the Mediterranean, but is of independent origin, consisting of what remains from the primi-