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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/652

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

neers of the migrating Aryans, and existing Europeans are no doubt the descendants of the union of the two—the Aryan language having in great measure or entirely replaced the mother tongue, perhaps a very crude one, of fossil man. It is, however, maintained by some investigators that palæolithic or fossil man died out, and that a period or hiatus existed between his time and the peopling of Europe by neolithic man.

In America we have one skull reported from Brazil, the Lagoa Santa skull, but of doubtful geological horizon. It is, however, figured as of the Cannstadt type. In the United States we have one skull from the gold sands under Table Mountain, California, known as the Calaveras skull. This find has met with much criticism.

Weapons and implements of palæolithic man have been reported from the Pacific coast, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and the Atlantic coast in the Delaware River Valley. Investigators regard this man, whose existence is proved by weapons and implements rudely fashioned of argillite, as being interglacial. Prof. Holmes has within the past two months severely criticised the Minnesota and Ohio finds. The question here also arises, What became of him? Did he follow the retreating ice northward? for it seems pretty generally agreed that the American Indian, come from where he may, is not the descendant of palæolithic man.

We saw in the first part of this paper that there was no positive evidence of man prior to the Pleistocene period; nevertheless, man must have existed before that time, for during that period his known fossil remains covered a wide area, and when we take into consideration the few fossils that are preserved by the rocks in comparison to the whole number of any species that perish, it is evident that Pleistocene man must have been numerous; and, as he must have descended from antecedent man, there can be little doubt that he existed in Pliocene and perhaps Miocene times.

There have been many attempts made to measure the age of geological strata—none, however, that can be said to be satisfactory. Not only are any experimental data that can be used very uncertain indices of what actually took place in the remote past, but the bias of the experimenter in favor of this or that hypothesis is apt to be impressed on the result attained. It may be stated, however, that scientific opinion, based on careful observations and comparative computations from these observations, the details of which our time will not permit us to go into, seems now generally agreed that the Glacial period closed from ten to fifteen thousand years ago.

We must remember that fossil man existed in preglacial or interglacial times, long anterior to the close of the Glacial period.