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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

OCTOBER, 1874.


 

THE FOSSIL MAN OF MENTONE.
By THEODORE GILL, M. D., Ph. D.

THE attention of all the readers of The Popular Science Monthly has doubtless been attracted by the notices of the discovery, by M. Rivière, at several times within the last three years, of more or less complete fossil skeletons of man, deep in the floors of caverns near the town of Mentone. This town, formerly tolerably well known as a watering-place on the Mediterranean, in Italy, but near the present French boundary, bids fair to be best known to the readers of our own day in connection with the primitive history of our race, and as the sepulchre from which have been exhumed the oldest skeletal remains of representatives of the genus Homo. Of the first discovered and illustrated of these skeletons, as well as still the most complete, we now present an account, accompanied by a copy of the plate attached to the special monograph, by M. Rivière,[1] descriptive of it; the present account is almost confined to a critical analysis and résumé of the facts embodied in the monograph, the consideration of the more recent discoveries being best deferred to a future time, when the new facts will doubtless be detailed in a succeeding part of the monograph, and this course seems to be the most advisable, as no additional facts have been discovered which will essentially modify the conclusions and arguments herein urged.

The monograph referred to was anticipated, to some extent, by publication in the "Archives des Missions Scientifiques," published by the French Ministry of Public Instruction, and is itself issued as a

  1. Découverte d'un squelette humain de l'époque paléolithique dans lea cavernes des Baoussé-Rousse, dites Grottes de Menton, par Emile Rivière, Avec deux photographies, par MM. Anfossi et Radiguet. Paris: J. B. Baillière et fils. Menton: chez l'auteur. 1873. The plate herewith given is a copy of one of those accompanying M. Rivière's memoir, and was engraved especially for the new edition of Prof. Dana's "Manual of Geology," to the publishers of which, Messrs. Ivison, Blakeman & Taylor, we are indebted for the use of it. 4to, 64 pp. Two plates.