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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/735

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

considerable respect for those animals. Many of the ornaments, the handles of the vessels, and the skill with which the reliefs were finished, reminded the discoverers of Greek patterns. Some of the vessels, too, bore figures which were thought to be inscriptions or hieroglyphics, and a remarkable resemblance was traced between these characters and the letters of the Greek alphabet. This leads our Dutch antiquary to consider the question whether there may not have been some kind of a connection between these Caribs and the ancient Greeks. Ch. Rümelin is quoted as having suggested the possibility of looking for the origin of the northern tribes of Colombia, through the Guanches of the Canary Islands, to the Foulahs of the Soodan. Cyries also speaks of having seen hieroglyphic figures representing the sun, moon, and various animals, roughly cut on the granite rocks of Guiana at such heights that ladders had to be used to reach them.

 

The Stone Age in Africa.—Herr Richard Andree has accumulated a large mass of evidences of the existence of a stone age in Africa a point which has hitherto been involved in much doubt. The Djurs, on the White Nile, still hammer their iron with a block of granite; smoothed stones are still used for hammer and anvil between the east coast and the Tanganyika Lake; the Hottentots and Bushmen dig roots with perforated stones; the Arabs in Egypt curry their shorn sheep with flint; the Bushmen tip their arrows with bone, and the Gabiri, in Bagirmi, with clay. Stories, which are reminiscences of the days of stone instruments, are told among the Hereros, and among the Bazimba of Madagascar. When the Europeans discovered the Canary Islands, they found the Guanches in the midst of a stone age. This much we know of the present use of stone. The historical evidences are scarce. Diodorus Siculus says the Libyans threw stones at their enemies, and Agatharcides says that the Ethiopians tied stone points to their arrows, while Strabo says they tipped them with antelope-horn. Vessels and implements of stone have become quite common among the "finds" of Egypt, and in all the countries and the deserts to the western border of Morocco. While not more is known about the stone evidences than about the other features of the intermediate countries, flints and stone vessels, of both crude palæolithic and more highly-finished forms are found at numerous places in the southern point of Africa, from the mouth of the Orange River to Delagoa Bay. The implements are very similar in form and material to the European finds, and present the same puzzle in the occurrence of nephrite among them. Assuming that evidences will be found at least as abundantly in the countries which have not yet been examined for them, the conclusion is drawn that the Africans, although they have been using iron as far back in historical times as our knowledge extends, had also a stone age.

 

Indistinctness of Race Divisions.—Professor Léon Rosny, in his forthcoming work on the "Danubian Principalities," says, speaking of the nationality of the Roumanians, that that people confirms a view which he has held for years, and which is also M. Renan's view, that the matter of nationality is very largely a question of feeling. Many different elements may have contributed to the formation of a Roumanian nationality, but the chief one has been the fancy that the people of Moldavia and Wallachia were descended from a mixture of the ancient Dacians with Trajan's soldiers, and were, therefore, the Romans of the East, whose mission it was to guard the interests of the Latin race in that part of Europe. Reminiscences of Roman antiquity are still current in the country, as, for example, in a popular dance, the Kalusar, which represents the rape of the Sabine women. Conversely, the Tartars of the Dobrudja are composed of a great variety of types, from that of the pure European to that of the most pronounced Mongolian, but they all pass alike for Tartars. These things suggest, again and again, the thought that the characteristic traits which are held to be most decisive in determining the differences between the groups of mankind are in reality very flexible and changeable. Physical tokens are of service only for the establishment of two or three grand divisions among men, and the value even of these divisions is becoming more and more subject to criticism. Linguistic