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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/92

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

These details may be dry enough to our readers, but they are of prime importance in relation with the question whether man originated before the Quaternary, either in France, or, as is perhaps more probable, migrated there from some Asiatic or African region in company with the hippopotamus, rhinoceros and other tropical forms which were his contemporaries.

Here might be mentioned the equivalent beds exposed in the sand-pits at Montreuil, which is nearer Paris, and just north of Vincennes. As stated by Ameghino, the deposits at this place are the same as at Chelles. The lowest beds are gray sands, without boulders, and rich in mammalian bones. Above lies a bed of large rounded pebbles, but it is sterile, or destitute of any but mere fragments; directly above is a bed of sand, this being capped by the red drift with boulders. The lowest beds present the same traces of denudation and of ancient erosion as observed in the corresponding beds at Chelles. No Chellean axes have been found at this quarry, at least the workmen were unacquainted with them, but Ameghino himself found in the lowest or preglacial bed two flint flakes, with a very pronounced bulb of percussion (’concoide’) which prove the former presence of man.

In the third bed (B), i.e., that lying beneath, occur the true Moustierian implements which are entirely different in shape from the Chellean axe, being broadly triangular or pointed in outline, and only worked on one face, being flat on one side and convex on the other. In this interglacial bed occur the bones and teeth of the mammoth (Elephas primigenius) and this is the age of the cave-dwellers of the Spy or Neanderthal race, the age of the mammoth, of the Rhinoceros tichorhinus, the reindeer, musk ox, etc. With the Moustierian points occur flint knives, and also two new forms, the skin-scraper (racloir) and lance points. We see here traces of the immigration of subarctic mammals, showing that the climate was cooler than in the Chellean epoch, while the human race had either become modified, or had migrated hither from elsewhere, though these peculiar broad points do not, so far as we know, exist beyond the limits of France.

The same sequence is shown in the lowest beds at St. Acheul, near Amiens. The basal deposits, rich in Chellean almond-shaped implements contain at or below the depth of seven meters the remains of Elephas antiquus; at or below five meters Hippopotamus amphibius, while in the higher beds the straight-tusked elephant is succeeded by the mammoth, whose remains do not occur below the depth of three meters (Osborn).

Ameghino calls attention to a circumstance worthy of mention. As we have seen, flint axes of excellent workmanship occur in considerable numbers at the base of the lowest Quaternary beds lying directly upon the eroded surface of the Eocene Tertiary greenish marls.