Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/86

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changes in climate and geography, and in the wild animals of Europe, as well as of the succession of the various races and the development of civilization, which, so far as our experience goes, could not have been swift.

The discoveries cited above prove that the lion and the river-drift hunter lived in the valley of the lower Thames, along with many animals now only to be found in temperate climates, with some which are now to be sought in warm climates, and with others that are extinct. We have noted also the presence of a few Arctic stragglers. In the long course of ages the climate gradually became colder in the valley of the Thames, and vast numbers of reindeer wandered over the area which had formerly been occupied by stags, uri, and the other animals already mentioned. Their remains lie scattered through the river gravels and loams at various heights above the level of the Thames, from Oxford and Abingdon down to London. The numerous remains, for example, found in digging the new cavalry barracks at Windsor, belonged one half to the reindeer and the rest to bisons, horses, bears, and wolves. They had evidently been washed down from a ford higher up stream, which these animals were in the habit of using year by year. The vast herds of migrating reindeer in Siberia and of bisons in North America cross the rivers very generally at the same points year after year, and are followed by the same kinds of beasts of prey, which bring up the rear and prey upon the stragglers. The lion, too, is proved, by the discovery of his remains in the gravel-beds of London along with reindeer, to have shared in the attack on the reindeer, horses, and bisons, as it is now to be seen among the antelopes in tropical Africa. Could we follow it to its haunts in the woodlands then occupying the site of London we should see it springing upon other animals, such as the Irish elk or the young of the woolly rhinoceros, mammoth, or hippopotamus. And could we penetrate to the banks of the streams, guided by a thin column of smoke rising above the tops of the trees at Hackney or Gray's Inn, we should come upon the rude shelters of the river-drift hunters—the men selecting blocks of flint and chipping implements out of them, the women preparing the meal of flesh, and the children looking on and breaking the silence of the evening with their shouts, on those very spots where now is to be heard day and night the voice of our great city. Man is here, as before, the rival of the lion in the chase.

The lion, along with the above-mentioned group of animals, has been discovered in the river deposits over the whole of Southern England, and as far to the north as Bielbecks in the North Riding of Yorkshire. It lived in the areas of Cambridge, Bedford, and Salisbury. It is, however, far more abundant in the caves, into which, in most cases, it has been dragged by the hyenas. The pack of hyenas inhabiting the Cave of Kirkdale, in the Vale of Pickering, fed upon reindeer in the winter, and at other times on horses and bisons, and were