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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/37

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PALEOLITHIC MAN IN AMERICA.

relic-bearing deposits of central France; but, as shown in the accompanying table, the records are not accordant in their entirety, and can only be reduced to common terms by juxtaposing the earliest recognized Quaternary episode of the lowlands with one of the episodes of the later Quaternary in the mountains. This allocation harmonizes the evidence as to the antiquity of man on opposite sides of the Atlantic, but runs counter to current opinion and appears inconsistent with certain cavern phenomena, and can therefore be set forth as only a possible one. In this as in other cases, paleontologic correlation is incompetent if not utterly meaningless, since the episodes dealt with were so brief that chorologic diversity among the higher animals was unquestionably more important than chronologic variation—indeed, the latest lacustral (and relic-bearing) deposits of the Great Basin, which are referred to the Pliocene upon paleontologic grounds,[1] appear to have an older facies than the oldest relic-bearing river-deposits of France.

 
II.

The chipped implements found by Aughey appear to have been dropped on the bottom of the shallow lake or muddy swamp within which the loess was accumulated; since the loess itself consists of glacial mud, and since the basin in which it was deposited was bounded on the north by the Quaternary mer de glace, the climate must have been cold; and the associated elephantine remains prove the association of man and mammoth. The relics themselves throw little light upon the habits of their makers, but suggest that they were well advanced in the fabrication of chipped implements. If the obsidian implement from the Nevada lake-beds was really in situ (as all appearances indicated), it must have been dropped in a shallow and quiet bay of the saline and alkaline lake Lahontan, and gradually buried beneath its fine mechanical sediments and chemical precipitates; as indicated by the associated fossil bones and teeth, its makers must have been contemporary with the indigenous horse, an elk or deer, an elephant or mastodon, the camel, a gigantic ox, and other extinct animals commonly referred to the later Pliocene; but the single implement tells little of the habits and customs of the people it represents, save that they had advanced far in the art of stone-chipping. Gilbert's hearth was located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, when it was greatly expanded by continental tilting and obstruction of its present outlet by the later Quaternary glacier, and was buried beneath lacustral deposits when further tilting of the land altered the position of the lake-shore; and since the lake was confined on the north and east by the mer de glace, the temperature of the times must have been low and the surface of the water dotted

  1. "American Naturalist," xxi, 1887, pp. 458, 459.