Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/113

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WHO WAS PRIMITIVE MAN?

little differentiated, as to be man only in the generic, not in the specific sense.

Professor Boyd Dawkins, on the other hand, argues apparently against the existence of man in any form in Miocene Europe. "There is," he says, "one important consideration which renders it highly improbable that man was then living in any part of the world. No living-species of land mammal has been met with in the Miocene fauna. Man, the most highly specialized of all creatures, had no place in a fauna which is conspicuous by the absence of all the mammalia now associated with him. . . . If we accept the evidence advanced in favor of Miocene man, it is incredible that he alone of all the mammalia living in those times in Europe should not have perished, or have changed into some other form in the long lapse of ages during which many Miocene genera and all the Miocene species have become extinct." But, if I understand M. de Mortillet aright, this is just what he means by distinguishing Tertiary from Quaternary man. Professor Dawkins argues as though the animal which split the Abbé Bourgeois's flints must either have been man or not-man; but the whole analogy of evolution would lead us to suppose that it was really a "tertium quid" or half-man; as Professor Dawkins himself suggests, a creature "intermediate between man and something else," a creature which should "bear the same relation to ourselves as the Miocene apes, such as the Mesopithecus, bear to those now living, such as the Semnopithecus"

But Professor Dawkins, who seems strangely unwilling to admit the existence of such an intermediate link, endeavors to account for the split flints of the mid-Miocene by curiously round-about ways. "Is it possible," he asks, "for the flints in question, which are very different from the palæolithic implements of the caves and river deposits, to have been chipped or the bone to have been notched without the intervention of man? If we can not assert the impossibility, we can not say that these marks prove that man was living in this remote age in the earth's history. If they be artificial, then I would suggest that they were made by one of the higher apes then living in France rather than by man. As the evidence stands at present, we have no satisfactory proof either of the existence of man in the Miocene or of any creature nearer akin to him than the anthropomorphous apes. These views agree with those of Professor Gaudry, who suggests that the chipped flints and the cut rib may have been the work of the Dryopithecus, or the great anthropoid ape, then living in France. I am, however, not aware that any of the present apes are in the habit of making stone implements or cutting bones, although they use stones for cracking nuts." And, in a foot-note, Professor Dawkins further observes: "Even if the existing apes do not now make stone implements or cut bones, it does not follow that the extinct apes were equally ignorant, because some extinct animals are known to have