Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/705

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as to the then climate of Europe by thinking of that of the present habitat of the elephant and rhinoceros. Even now the Bengal tiger traverses Asia as far north as latitude 52°, and the lion and tiger are frequently met with when snow and ice are present.

The tools and weapons of the man of this age were simple indeed, but no mean skill was employed in their manufacture and use. Even with our many and marvelous inventions, one of us, cast away upon some uninhabited shore, could hardly manifest more self-helpfulness. And the manner in which the dead were buried—one of the common modes of expressing a race's faith in a future life—shows the possession of some degree of spiritual development.

Such are "the earliest traces of man in Europe," the slight, sparse indications of his existence in the Tertiary or next preceding formation excepted. These traces of man in the Diluvium belong to the period geologically the most recent indeed, yet even it is separated from our own time by a gulf of many thousands of years. The rhinoceros, primitive ox, giant-elk (Megaceros Hibernicus), and cave-bear, are prominent among the contemporaries of this primitive man, but the characteristic animal of the time was the mammoth. Hence the name of the first age of Man the—"Age of Mammoths."

We will vainly seek in this earliest man for evidences of that creaturely perfectness which, according to the common view, he must have inherited from his first parents in paradise—the charming paradise of Genesis, of art, and of poetry. For the geologist, the fruits of the truly paradisaic epoch grew in a far remoter past, when Europe was adorned with the palm and cinnamon-tree, and all the exuberant vegetation of the middle Tertiary period, whence our peat-beds are formed; when, instead of man, the ape, or possibly a man not much superior to the ape, stood at the head of God's earthly creatures.

Having answered the question as to man's first traces in Europe, we might now bring our treatise to a close. But, to gain an adequate notion of the antiquity of our race, and of its progress during the successive ages, we proceed to a cursory review of the succeeding eras of prehistoric human existence.



II.—Action of Hail and Rain.

IN the first part of this article it was demonstrated that the optic transparency and acoustic transparency of our atmosphere were by no means necessarily coincident; that on days of marvelous optical clearness the atmosphere may be filled with impervious acoustic clouds,