Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/118

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skeletons], "more frequently present structures which resemble those of the lower animals than do the modern races, is interesting. One chief cause seems to be that ancient races stand somewhat nearer than modern races in the long line of descent to their remote animal-like progenitors." We must not be led away by identifications of race in too absolute a sense. We ourselves are, of course, the lineal descendants either of the cave-men or of their contemporaries in some geologically unexplored region; yet it does not follow on that account that our late Pleistocene ancestors were white-skinned people with regular Aryan features. Granting that the Esquimaux are nearer representatives of the cave-men than any other existing race (which is by no means certain), it may yet be true that the earlier cave-men themselves were black-skinned, hairy savages, with skulls and brains of the low and brutal Neanderthal pattern. The physical indications certainly go to show that they were most like the Australian savages.

With the cave-men our inquiry ceases. The next inhabitants of Europe were the comparatively modern and civilized neolithic Euskarians—a race whom we may literally describe as historical. I trust, however, that I have succeeded in pointing out the main fallacy which, as it seems to me, underlies so much of our current reasoning on "primitive man." This fallacy lies in the tacit assumption that man is a single modern species, not a tertiary genus with only one species surviving. The more we examine the structure of man and of the anthropoid apes, the more does it become clear that the differences between them are merely those of a genus or family, rather than distinctive of a separate order, or even a separate sub-order. But I suppose nobody would claim that they were merely specific; in other words, it is pretty generally acknowledged that the divergence between man and the anthropoids is greater than can be accounted for by the immediate descent of the living form from a common ancestor in the last preceding geological age. Mr. Darwin even ranks man as a separate family or sub-family. Therefore, according to all analogy, there must have been a man-like animal, or a series of man-like animals, in later, if not in earlier tertiary times; and this animal or these animals would in a systematic classification be grouped as species of the same genus with man. In the Abbé Bourgeois's mid-Miocene split flints we seem to have evidence of such an early human species; and I can conceive no reason why evolutionists should hesitate to accept the natural conclusion. To speak of palæolithic man himself—a hunter, a fisherman, a manufacturer of polished bone needles and beautiful barbed harpoons, a carver of ivory, a designer of better sketches than many among ourselves can draw—as "primitive," is clearly absurd. A long line of previous evolution must have led up to him by slow degrees. And the earliest trace of that line, in its distinctively human generic modification, we seem to get in the very simple flint implements and notched bones of Thenay and Pouancé.—Fortnightly Review.