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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/324

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion of the best preserved specimens to be nothing more than a monkey of an inferior order.

At any rate, the general laws of the geographical distribntion of beings, and especially that of progressive cantonment, permit us to affirm that man primarily occupied only a very limited part of the globe; and that, if he is now everywhere, it is because he has covered the whole earth with his emigrant tribes.

I know that this thought of the peopling of the globe by migrations troubles many minds. It puts us in the face of an immense unknown; it raises a world of questions, a large number of which may appear to be inaccessible to our research. Thus, I have often been asked: "Why create all these difficulties? It is much more natural to confine ourselves to the popular movements attested by history, and accept autochthonism, especially in the case of the lowest savages. How could the Hottentots and the Fuegians reach their present countries, starting from some undetermined point which you place in the north of Asia? Such voyages are impossible; these peoples were born at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn."

To these conclusions, if not received, I will first answer by an anecdote borrowed from Livingstone, the bearing of which is easy to comprehend. The illustrious traveler tells how in his youth he used to make with his brothers long excursions devoted to natural history. "In one of these exploring tours" he says, "we went into a limestone quarry, long before the study of geology had become as common as it has since. It is impossible to express with what joy and astonishment I set myself to picking out the shells which we found in the carboniferous rock. A quarryman looked at me with that air of compassion which a kindly man takes on at the sight of a person of unsound mind. I asked him how the shells came in the rocks. He answered, 'When God created the rocks, he made the shells and put them there'" Livingstone adds: "What pains geologists might have spared themselves by adopting the Ottoman philosophy of that workman!" I will ask, in turn, Where would geology have been if men of science had adopted that philosophy? I ask the anthropologists to imitate the geologists; I invite them to inquire how and by what way the most distant peoples have radiated from the center of the first appearance of man to the extremities of the globe. I am not afraid to predict brilliant discoveries to those who will set themselves seriously to the study of numerous well-marked migrations. In this the past permits a glimpse into the future.

Some years ago, when they talked to me in such language as I have just repeated, they did not fail to add Polynesia to the list of regions which men destitute of all our perfected arts could not reach. You know how completely such assertions have been