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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/93

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EARLIEST EVIDENCES OF MAN IN FRANCE.

So well are these implements made that we are forced to believe that this industry extended back to a still earlier period than the age of the beds in which these axes occur, and as he says, this fact 'constitutes for me the most weighty arguments that we can invoke in favor of the existence of man during the end of the Tertiary period.' Exhibiting to the members of the Anthropological Society the flints and teeth he had found, he showed that their edges were not water-worn, and that the flint axes had been abandoned by men where they were found. "Man, then, lived on the spot, and the instruments, at least in part, have also been worked out on the same ground. What proves this is that the little nuclei, like the two I exhibit, were found in the same bed. The teeth and bones of the mammals present no trace of having been water-worn. On the other hand, as the mammalian remains and the evidences of human workmanship are found at all the horizons of this lower bed, we are obliged to conclude that man inhabited this region almost continuously, or at least with very brief interruptions."[1]

Remains of man have been discovered in Kent County, England, and in Dorset in the high-level gravels, which are certainly preglacial, as they contain remains of Elephas meridionalis in beds regarded by Lyell as 'a patch of Pliocene gravel.' These beds were afterwards referred by Prestwich to the early Pleistocene. As Prestwich states, the base-line between the Pliocene and the lowest Pleistocene is somewhat arbitrary, and the two periods in England gradually merged into each other.

These beds were afterwards referred by Prestwich, certainly the best authority then living, to the early Pleistocene. As he claimed, the base line between the Pliocene and the lowest Pleistocene is somewhat indefinite, and the two periods in England gradually merged into each other. The beds in question, namely those in Kent and Dorset counties, England, were regarded by Prestwich as the English equivalent of the St. Prest (Eure et Loire) beds, situated about fifty miles southwest of Paris, and also of the so-called Pliocene beds of the Val d'Arno in Italy. These beds, as well as those at other places in France, i.e., Durfort in Gard, and Malbattu and Peyrolles in the Auvergne (Puy-de-Dome), which also contain remains of Elephas meridionalis, are now regarded as 'transitional between Pliocene and Pleistocene with prevailing affinities on the latter side.[2] The climate of this transitional preglacial epoch, when the plateau man of Southern England chased the tropical or meridional elephant, and other beasts, such as tigers, hyaenas, rhinoceros and the hippopotamus, a mixed assemblage of


  1. 'Sur le gisement de Chelles,' Bulletins de la Société d'Anthropologie (3), iv., 1881, pp. 96-101.
  2. H. F. Osborn, 'Correlation between Tertiary Mammal Horizons of Europe and America,' Annals New York Academy of Sciences, xiii., 1900, pp. 1-72.