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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 44/March 1894/Fossil Man

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 44‎ | March 1894

FOSSIL MAN.[1]
By JOHN G. ROTHERMEL.

WITHIN a comparatively short time our knowledge of man's existence upon the earth has been greatly increased. By the aid of monuments, language, man's handicraft in stone, brass, bronze, and iron in constructing implements of warfare and husbandry, the anthropologist has been able to classify prehistoric man into ages—namely, the chipped stone or palæolithic, the polished stone or neolithic, the brass, the bronze, and the iron ages.

The purpose of this paper is to deal with the evidence of the earliest of these. The records are to be found in Nature's infallible history of the world's development printed on pages of rock in fossil type. In order that those present not conversant with geology may more clearly understand what is to follow, it will perhaps be well to briefly explain the order and arrangement of these pages of rock.

To carry out the simile, we might say that this great history is written in three volumes—the first and earliest called Palæozoic or Primary; the second, Mesozoic or Secondary; and the third, Kainozoic or Tertiary. The first volume, or Palæozoic, is divided into three books, each book treating of the flora and fauna which existed at the time of which it speaks. The first book is called Silurian, and treats of that part of the age when invertebrates predominated; the second, Devonian, and treats of that part of the age when fishes predominated; the third. Carboniferous, and treats of that part of the age when coal plants predominated. The second volume, or Mesozoic, is a record of the times when reptiles predominated. The third volume, Kainozoic, is a record of the times when mammals predominated.

It must be understood that there is no clear-cut line of demarcation separating the life of these ages, some of the forms of the earliest existing to-day, others having become extinct, the orders of life named with each age being simply the predominating life of the period. All these periods are divided into many minor subdivisions. Man being a mammal, we are, however, interested only in the subdivisions of the Kainozoic or Tertiary. This period, beginning with the earliest, is divided into Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, and Post-Pliocene or Post-Tertiary, also called Quaternary. For the purposes of this subject we are interested mainly in the Post-Pliocene or Quaternary, which some geologists subdivide, beginning with the earliest, into Pleistocene, Glacial, and Recent.

The most important features of the Post-Pliocene or Quaternary period are: First, the advent of man and contemporaneous flora and fauna. Second, the great Glacial period—the period when PSM V44 D633 A skull from a neanderthal cavern.jpgFig. 1.—The Skull from the Neanderthal Cavern. A, side; B, front; and C, top view. The outlines from camera lucida drawings, one half the natural size, by Mr. Busk; the details from the cast and from Dr. Fuhlrott's photographs. a, glabella; b, occipital protuberance; d, lambdoidal suture. (From Huxley's Man's Place in Nature.) the glaciers extended over the greater part of Europe and North America, as attested by the drift formation with its immense bowlders torn from mountain sides and carried a hundred miles or more; glacial scratches—grooves made by the rocks carried by the glaciers on the surfaces upon which they moved; terminal and lateral moraines, heaps of rocks left by the melting ice marking the limits of the glaciers. This Glacial epoch separates the Post-Pliocene into the three divisions mentioned before, which may be called Preglacial, Glacial, and Post-glacial, instead of Pleistocene, Glacial, and Recent.

It will, perhaps, be of interest to briefly indicate some of the hypotheses that have been advanced to account for this Glacial epoch. In the first place, any hypothesis, in order to

satisfy the necessities of the proposition, must include two seemingly opposed conditions and explain their interaction. To form a glacier, both heat and cold are necessary; to form an ice mass, there must be something to be frozen; therefore there must exist sufficient heat to vaporize water, charging the atmosphere with aqueous vapor, which when carried to higher altitudes or subjected to cold is condensed and precipitated in the form of snow, the accumulation of which forms the glaciers. Hence, in a glacial region, if the mean temperature is comparatively high, the snowfall must be great, otherwise the heat would melt the snow faster than or as fast as it accumulated; if the mean temperature is low, the snowfall may be light and yet the glaciers accumulate, as the heat would be insufficient to melt that which did fall; but if the mean temperature is so high as to prevent the accumulation of snow, or so low as to prevent the formation of aqueous vapor, there can be no glaciers formed, the last conclusion being subject to the qualification that a vapor-laden atmosphere may be carried by prevailing winds from a warm climate to a cold one, and the vapor there condensed and precipitated.

One hypothesis is that the whole solar system passes at times through stretches of space of different temperatures, and that the Glacial period coincides with a time when the solar system was passing through a low-temperature area; another is that the heat of the sun varies, such variations being the result mainly of contact with meteorites, as the impact of bodies generates heat, the idea being that the Glacial epoch coincides with a time when

PSM V44 D634 Section through neanderthal cave.jpg
Fig. 2.—Section through Cave.

few meteorites were colliding with the sun, the heat emanating therefrom being therefore decreased. These two hypotheses agree in one particular—they can neither be proved nor disproved, consequently their only value is speculative.

Again, it is supposed that the earth's axis has shifted—that during the Glacial period the north pole was in Greenland. This seems to be negatived by the slight observed shifting of the pole, and the fact that Tertiary fossil flora, immediately preceding the Glacial period, of both Greenland and the present arctic regions, indicate a temperate climate.

Adhémar the astronomer advanced the hypothesis, also advocated by the late Dr. James Croll and Prof. James Geikie, that, as the earth's orbit is elliptical and as the sun is not central to this orbit but some three million miles nearer one end than the other, this fact in connection with the precession of the equinoxes may explain the Glacial epoch; it being held that during that period when winter in the Northern hemisphere coincides with the earth's position in its orbit farthest from the sun, the mean temperature of the Northern hemisphere will be considerably lower than when the reverse conditions prevail—that is, when winter in the north coincides with the earth's position in its orbit nearest to the sun, as at present. Moreover, this change of position of the earth in its orbit would likely result in a change in direction of the trade winds, the air currents being mainly caused by the expansive action of heat creating a vacuum into which the air rushes from colder areas; therefore, as the Southern hemisphere would become the warmer, the prevailing winds would be southward, thus changing the direction of ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream, to the southward, this being a secondary cause resulting from the first and further intensifying the cold.

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that at present winter in the Southern hemisphere coincides with the earth's position in its orbit farthest from the sun, and the ice around the south pole extends much farther toward the equator than that around the north pole, the antarctic ice extending as far as the sixty-seventh degree of latitude. The antarctic summers are also said to be more humid, cold, and chilly than the arctic summers.

But the earth's orbit is not always the same; there have been periods when the orbit described resulted in a considerably greater difference than three million miles, and it is thought that if this ordinary eccentricity of the orbit is insufficient to account for the Glacial epoch, the periods of greater eccentricity would.

This hypothesis seems to explain rather overmuch, for if true, it accounts not only for the Glacial period, but for many glacial periods in the past, for, other conditions remaining the same, there would result a Glacial period for every period in the past that the earth held the proper relative position in its orbit; and if true, there should be geological evidence to sustain it, which there does not appear to be, for such evidence of earlier glaciers as the rocks of past geological ages exhibit would seem to indicate local glaciers, not any widespread glacial action; but it would be rash to maintain that the other conditions remained the same; geology can not be said to show that they did.

Still another hypothesis is that the Isthmus of Panama was in glacial times submerged, thus allowing the Gulf Stream to flow into the Pacific Ocean and thence north; also that the northern coast of British America was more elevated than at present. There is geological evidence to sustain both these propositions, but not conclusively. It is obvious that under these conditions the eastern part of the northern coast would be much colder, being more elevated and having lost the heat emanating from the Gulf Stream, while the western part would be warmer, having gained the heat of the Gulf Stream; thus for the eastern part we have cold accounted for and for the western part heat—but the glacial condition extended the whole length; therefore, while it seems possible that glaciers might form on the western part by PSM V44 D636 Superimposed drawings of skull outlines.jpg ———Neanderthal...... Spy No. 1 _ _ _ _ _ Spy No. 2
Fig. 3.—Superimposed Outline Drawings of Skulls.
reason of the snowfall being great, the case is different for the eastern part, which seems to have been entirely deprived of its vapor-making element, heat, for even under existing conditions the mean temperature of Greenland and Labrador is low and the snowfall light as compared with Alaska. The answer is made to this that western winds carried the moisture-laden atmosphere from the west coast to the east, but these winds would have to cross the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains, forcing them to higher altitudes, resulting in the condensation and precipitation of their vapor upon the mountains. This difficulty is overcome by having recourse to the immense lava outflows, covering thousands of square miles west of the Rocky Mountains, which are supposed to have taken place about the Glacial period; this molten mass is supposed to have generated so much heat as to modify the customary effect of mountain ranges and get the vapor-laden atmosphere to the needed point and thus satisfy the hypothesis, but it offers no explanation of the Glacial period in Europe.

Many leading geologists favor this view, while others think the truth will be found in a combination of the last two hypotheses, both being in some measure contributory to the result.

Fossil man has been found in certain countries associated with the remains of certain animals, among which are the mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear, fossil horse, Irish elk, cave hyena, cave tiger, reindeer, elk, musk ox, aurochs, hippopotamus, lion, and others. These animals are either now extinct or are, for climatal and other reasons, no longer inhabitants of the countries where fossil man has been found; hence, as related to those countries, they are all extinct.

It will be noticed that, of these animals as we now know them, the lion, tiger, hyena, and hippopotamus are tropical, or indigenous to warm climates. The reindeer and musk ox are arctic, and no doubt the extinct mammoth and woolly rhinoceros were arctic also. During glacial times these arctic and tropical animals appear to have occupied the same territory contemporaneously. This fact seems more particularly conspicuous with the lion, tiger, hyena, hippopotamus, mammoth, and woolly rhinoceros; the reindeer and musk ox appearing, at least abundantly, somewhat later. This fact has given rise to considerable difference of opinion. It has been argued that the tropical forms are

PSM V44 D637 Outline drawings of the symphyses.jpg
Chimpanzee. Spy Man No. 1 Spy Man No. 2 Modern Man.
Fig. 4.—Outline Drawings of the Symphyses. (From Fraipont and Lohest.)

post-glacial, and that subsequent to the Glacial period the glaciated area passed through a period of tropical conditions.

This argument seems clearly untenable from any point of view, as there is no evidence of a tropical climate intervening between the Glacial epoch and the present temperate climate. All the evidence shows a gradual amelioration of climate until the present conditions are reached. Again, as the mammoth and woolly rhinoceros, supposed to be arctic forms, appear associated with the tropical forms in the same deposit, side by side, they would have to be considered tropical. For this there is reason, as their present representatives, the elephant and rhinoceros, are tropical.

But the facts are these: the reindeer and musk ox, known arctic forms, appear later than the supposed tropical forms. In all excavations through glacial material the tropical forms with mammoth and woolly rhinoceros appear in the lower levels, never superficially; where several fossil beds are gone through, the upper or superficial beds contain the reindeer more abundantly; where the reindeer occurs in the lower levels associated with the mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, hyena, etc., it is not abundant.

It seems more reasonable to suppose that these tropical forms were adapted to the cold climatal conditions in some way, as the mammoth and woolly rhinoceros were, or that the conditions were not as severe as the immense accumulations of ice would lead us to imagine, for, as we have seen, if the precipitation is great, the mean temperature need not necessarily be very low.

Prof. James Geikie thinks that during the Glacial epoch there were periods of high temperature, when the glaciers retreated and tropical animals migrated into the glacial region. However this may be, it is evident from what has been said that these tropical animals, with the woolly rhinoceros and mammoth, were either interglacial or preglacial or both. These data are important, as they fix the age of the associated human remains.

There is considerable diversity of opinion as to the value of the evidence of man's existence prior to the Pleistocene or early Quaternary—such evidence as we have being open to criticism or at least to the objection that it is not conclusive; it is founded principally upon roughly worked flints and flint chippings, perhaps and perhaps not made by man, as their occurrence can, at least to the satisfaction of some, be otherwise accounted for; also upon fossil bones of extinct mammals that bear markings supposed to have been made by contemporaneous man. Such bones have been found in both Pliocene and Miocene formations, and their incisions differently interpreted by different naturalists. Quite recently Prof. Cope has found in the Pliocene of southwestern Oregon obsidian implements of human manufacture associated and interbedded with remains of fossil birds, but by what agency they got there has not been determined.

The argument has been advanced as to Miocene man that, as all the mammalia of this period are extinct, it does not appear reasonable that man alone should survive the causes that proved so fatal to the rest of the mammalia. Against this it may be urged that man's superior intelligence would enable him to overcome adverse circumstances that would prove destructive to other forms. In fact, this superior intelligence may have been a potent factor in the destruction of the other forms.

In 1863 M. Desnoyes found in the gravel pit of Saint Prest, near Chartres, a leg bone (tibia) of a rhinoceros. It bore marks resembling those undoubtedly made by man on other more recent bones. Reasoning by analogy, the marks on the Saint Prest bone are also supposed to have been made by man. In the Victoria cave, Yorkshire, there was found a human leg bone (fibula). Both of these deposits have been considered by competent authority to belong to the transition period between the Pliocene and Pleistocene.

In the year 1700, at Cannstadt, Würtemberg, Germany, there was found a portion of a human skull associated with animal remains. Its value was not known until 1835, when Jaeger recognized its importance as evidence of the coexistence of man with the extinct mammals. This appears to have been the first true fossil of man found.

In 1857 a human skeleton was discovered in a limestone cave in the Neanderthal gorge near Hochdal, between Düsseldorf and Elberfeld, Prussia, associated with remains of extinct mammals.

PSM V44 D639 Showing leg bones.png
Spy Modern Spy Modern Spy Modern
Man. Man. Man. Man. Man. Man.
Fig. 5.—Showing Leg Bones. (From Fraipont and Lohest).

Unfortunately, the value of this find was not known to the workmen who made it, and most of the skeleton was lost. Dr. Fuhlrott, however, succeeded in securing the cranium, both thigh bones, two arm bones (a right radius and a left humerus), and a hip bone (left ilium). In the same year these were described by Dr. Schaffhausen. All the facial bones were lost. The cranium consists only of that portion situated above the roof of the orbits and the superior occipital ridges. This skull has become famous, and is known as the Neanderthal skull. When first found its remarkable peculiarities gave rise to much discussion. Many naturalists considered it a special species or even genus; others considered it as intermediate between man and the apes, and at last, in order to find some place for it, it was regarded by many as the skull of an idiot. The peculiarities that gave rise to these opinions consist mainly as follows: A long, narrow skull, a low, rapidly retreating forehead, and an exceptional development of the brow ridges (superciliary ridges); these are so prominent that there is a depression behind or between them and the frontal bone. They, moreover, coalesce in the middle line, making a deep depression at the root of the nose. The bones are also unusually thick, the whole configuration remarkable and decidedly apelike and brutal. The other bones found are in keeping with the skull, being thick and characterized by the unusual development of ridges and depressions for attachment of muscles; they would indicate a stature of five feet six to five feet eight inches (1·68 to 1·72 metre). The cranial capacity has been calculated to be 74·43 cubic inches (1,220 cubic centimetres), said to be equal to that of the Malays and superior to that of the Hindus of small stature. The cranial capacity of the most capacious gorilla skull yet measured is thirty-four and a half cubic inches, while the largest human skull had a capacity of one hundred and fourteen cubic inches, the mean European skull being from ninety to ninety-six cubic inches, so that, while in capacity there is a wide difference between the Neanderthal skull and the gorilla skull, there is also a wide difference between it and the European skull. In what is known as the cephalic index this skull does not compare unfavorably with skulls of some existing races. The cephalic index is based upon the proportion between the antero-posterior and transverse diameters of the brain case. It is ascertained by multiplying the transverse diameter by one hundred and dividing the result by the antero-posterior diameter; this result is the cephalic index. When it is less than eighty the skull is said to be dolichocephalic, or long-headed; when more than eighty the skull is brachycephalic, or short-headed. The antero-posterior diameter of the Neanderthal skull is eight inches, the transverse diameter 5·75 inches; the cephalic index is therefore seventy-two, and the skull is dolichocephalic, having an index less than eighty. The mean cephalic index of the existing Eskimos is 69·3. Similar crania have been found in the tufa beds of La Denise, in Auvergne, France; at Eguisheim, in Alsace; and in the lowest gravels of the plain of Grenelle. All these are long-headed, or dolichocephalic, and correspond in other characteristics, but none are so apelike and brutal. It was therefore until recently thought that the Neanderthal man was simply a more pronounced or exaggerated specimen of a general type existing at that time.

The facial bones are wanting in all these skulls, but a skull found in the Forbes quarry near Gibraltar, unfortunately of doubtful geological horizon, but with facial bones intact, coincides very closely in craniological characters with the Neanderthal skull. These facial bones are rude and massive, the upper jawbone (superior maxillary) being sensibly prognathic, the nasal bones prominent, and the nasal orifices very broad; the dental arch is of horseshoe-shape, narrowing backward.

A lower jawbone found by Dupont in the cave of Naulette in the valley of the Lesse, Belgium, has been regarded as possibly belonging to a man of the Neanderthal type. This jaw is remarkable for thickness; the molar teeth increase in size backward, the wisdom tooth being the largest; there is also an absence of the chin prominence.

In the year 1886 MM. Fraipont and Lohest, two thoroughly competent scientific men, discovered two skeletons of the Neanderthal type (a man and a woman) at the mouth of a cave in the commune of Spy, in the Belgian province of Namur.[2]

These men of Spy were found in the terrace in front of a limestone cave or grotto (as represented on the screen, Fig. 2, by a. section through the deposit) at the point E, after cutting through the formation A, nine feet six inches (2·9 metres) thick, composed of rubble and brown clay, containing calcareous blocks of several cubic metres volume; B, a yellow argillaceous tufa, two feet seven inches (0·8 metre) thick, containing calcareous blocks and difficult to cut with a pick; C, about six inches (15 centimetres) thick, of strong red color, containing flint chippings, angular fragments of limestone, charcoal, and debris of mammoth tusks; D, also about six inches (0·15 metre) thick, a yellow calcareous clay passing into a tufa of same nature as B, at the base of which is a small vein of wood charcoal; F, brown clay, sometimes black, containing angular limestone pebbles and flint chippings, under which is the limestone in which the cave is formed, K.

There are no fossils in A, nor at the point where the opening is made were any found in B; but the bed B was found to be fossiliferous at other points, containing bones of mammoth and deer, and toward the upper part, in discontinuous layers, flint chippings. The zone C, above the human bones, is a hard breccia, resisting the blow of a hammer, and composed of fragments of mammoth ivory, flint chippings, angular calcareous pebbles, and pieces of wood charcoal. The continuity of this zone C, the fact that the human bones were contained in a very hard bed, from which they were removed with difficulty, together with the careful examinations of MM. Fraipont and Lohest at the time of finding, PSM V44 D642 Skull of the man of spy.jpgFig. 6.—Skull of the Man of Spy. From Prof. G. F. Wright's Man and the Glacial Period. (From a photograph.) preclude any hypothesis of burial or change of position due to reworking of strata. The only logical conclusion is, that the men of Spy died at the entrance of the cave that served them for a home, on the ground that was partly formed of their kitchen débris. The animal remains found on a level with and below the Spy skeletons were woolly rhinoceros (abundant), fossil horse (very abundant), red deer (rare), reindeer (very rare), aurochs (plentiful), mammoth (common), cave bear (rare), badger (rare), cave hyena (abundant). The utensils found at the side of the skeletons were two triangular pointed flint instruments dressed on one face, a thin polished sandstone, many unformed flint splinters, and a bone instrument.

If we adopt the classification of Quaternary man, based on the associated fauna and archæological remains, proposed by M. de Mortillet, this man of Spy belongs to the Moustieriennes period. M. de Mortillett recognizes a Quaternary human station earlier than this, but from it there have been no human bones reported.

The two fossiliferous beds, C and B, above the skeletons, also contained archæological remains. Without taking time to describe these, it may be stated that both beds contained flints of the same type as those in the bed with the skeletons; also bone and ivory instruments. The flint instruments were more elaborate in workmanship and finish, progressively so, being more so in B than in C.

MM. Fraipont and Lohest regard the men of Spy as being of the same age and type as the Neanderthal and Cannstadt men.

The superimposed outline drawings (upon the screen) of a side and top view of the skulls, in which the solid line represents the Neanderthal, the dotted line Spy man No. 1, and the broken line Spy man No. 2, show how closely they coincide, especially in the case of Spy man No. 1, which is scarcely distinguishable from the Neanderthal. The skull of Spy man No. 2, while retaining the general characteristics of the Neanderthal, is more arched and higher in the frontal region. The cephalic index of Spy No. 1 is seventy; that of Spy No. 2, seventy-four to seventy-six.

The immensely developed brow ridges (superciliary crests) are not known in any existing race, nor is the rapidly retreating forehead, except in rare and isolated cases. Both are well-known characters in the Simiidæ. The characters exhibited by the lower jaw are remarkable, and are presented by no existing human race. The angle formed by the anterior face of the mandibular symphysis with the inferior border of the horizontal ramus (that is, the angle between the chin and the lower jaw) is an obtuse angle, while in all existing races it is an acute angle. There is no chin prominence in the Spy men.

The posterior face of the mandibular symphysis (that is, separating the lower jaw at the chin and exposing the separated faces) presents characters approaching an outline intermediate between the anthropoid apes and existing man, as illustrated on the screen by outline drawings of the symphyses of the chimpanzee. PSM V44 D643 Skull of a cro magnon old man from les eyzies.jpgFig. 7.—Skull or the Old Man of Cro-Magnon, Eyzies. (Reindeer epoch. ) Spy No. 1, Spy No. 2, and modern man. By comparing the corresponding parts as represented by the letters this will be evident. Thus the concavity P exists in the chimpanzee and Spy No. 1 and No. 2, but is scarcely discernible in existing man; the prominence G exists in the chimpanzee. Spy No. 1 and No. 2, and is scarcely discernible in existing man. The concavity T has the same relation;

the prominence B, for the insertion of the genioglossal muscles, exists in all; and from this point the outline slopes rapidly forward in existing man and Spy No. 1 and No. 2, while less so and to a less defined termination in the chimpanzee. The upper part of the outline, except that it is more vertical, corresponds more nearly with the chimpanzee, while the lower part corresponds more nearly with existing man.

The absence of the chin prominence is also shown in these views. As will be noticed, the line A C, let fall from the anterior superior angle of the symphyses, falls entirely outside of the rest of the anterior outline in the chimpanzee. Spy No. 1, and Spy No. 2, while in modern man it cuts the outline, leaving a considerable prominence anterior to it.

The molar teeth increase in size posteriorly. Prof. Cope, from an examination of the teeth from casts furnished him by M. Lohest, points out many interesting peculiarities in dentition, prominent among which is the fact that the superior molar teeth are quadrituberculate. In Europeans they are generally trituberculate. In some lower races—Malays, Polynesians, and Melanesians—they are quadrituberculate, as they are also in the anthropoid apes. The bones of the forearm, radius, and ulna are so curved as to produce a wide interosseous space, not observed in any existing race, but common in apes.

The thigh bone, or femur, is round in section and curved anteriorly. This is only known among existing races in the Negritos of the Philippine Islands. It is normal among apes.

The tibia has an oval section, and is shorter in relation to the femur than in any existing race. This is also a simian character.

The condyles of the femur are wide, and are more produced posteriorly than in any existing race.

The articulation between the femur and tibia is such that the men of Spy must have walked with a fixed bend at the knees. Moreover, the body must have been bent forward in order to preserve equilibrium. These men were of short, powerful build.

In general the man of Spy presents many simian characters, but he is still distinctively a man. To use the words of MM. Fraipont and Lohest, between him and the highest apes there is "an abyss"; to which Prof. Cope adds, "though, from a zoölogical point of view, it is not a wide one."

On the other hand, this man of Spy presents characters that seem to distinctly define and separate him specifically from all other known races of men. In recognition of this fact, the name Homo neanderthalensis has been proposed for him.

MM. Quatrefages and Hami regard the Cannstadt man and the Neanderthal man as being of the same age and type, and have classified with them the crania found at La Denise, Eguisheim, and in the lowest gravels of the plain of Grenelle, under the name of the Cannstadt race. As before stated, MM. Fraipont and Lohest consider the Spy man to be of the same age and type, referring it also to the Cannstadt race. Of this race Quatrefages says: "It disputed the ground with the great extinct mammals, with the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the cave bear, and the cave hyena; it belongs, therefore, to the earliest ages of the Quaternary." Dr. Schaffhausen thinks it can be traced to an earlier period still. In view of the discovery of the Spy man with its better definition of the Cannstadt race, it is possible that the men of La Denise, Eguisheim, and the lowest gravels of Grenelle will have to be separated from this race.

In the valley of the Vézère, in the southwest of France, in that of the Somme in the northwest of France, at Grenelle near Paris, in the Gourdon grotto in the middle of the central Pyrenees, in the department of the Basses-Pyrénées, in the valley of the Meuse in Belgium, and in several other localities needless to

PSM V44 D645 Skull from the cave of engis.jpg

Fig. 8.—The Skull from the Cave of Engis viewed from the right side, a, glabella, b, occipital protuberance (a to b, glabello-occipital line); c, auditory foramen. (From Huxley's Man's Place in Nature.)

repeat here, there has been found a fossil man, morphologically much different from the Cannstadt man.

To this man MM. Quatrefages and Hami have given the name of the Cro-Magnon race, from the rock shelter of this name in the valley of the Vézère, near the village of Les Eyzies, where in the year 1858 the bones of three men, one woman, and a child were found.

This race is regarded as more recent than the Cannstadt race. The evidence to sustain this view is quite convincing.

In the Grenelle basin, near Paris, the Cannstadt man, the CroMagnon man, and a skeleton approaching a type known as the Furfooz man (to be described later) appear in chronological order. superimposed one upon the other, the Cannstadt race occupying the lowest gravels, the Cro-Magnon race the alluvial beds at a depth of ten to thirteen feet, and the Furfooz race at a depth of five to eight feet.

The Cro-Magnon skull is similar to the Cannstadt in one particular only—they are both dolichocephalic, long-headed—the cephalic index of that of the old man of Cro-Magnon being 73·76, that of the Engis skull from the Meuse, Belgium, being 70·52; so that we have in both races long, narrow skulls, but here the resemblance ceases. The forehead of the Cro-Magnon skull is well proportioned, rising above brow ridges (superciliary ridges), but slightly marked in some instances, better defined in others, but never excessively prominent and apelike as in the Cannstadt skull. The vault presents fine proportions, tne calculated capacity being 96·99 cubic inches (1,590 cubic centimetres). This is higher than the mean capacity of existing European skulls.

The facial bones indicate the type of heads called by Pruner Bey disharmonic—that is, a head with a skull elongated from before backward and a face elongated from above downward is harmonic. When there is a disagreement in these proportions it is disharmonic. In this case the face is broad while the head is long. The eyes were small, the nose bold and narrow. The maxillary bones projected outward, so as to produce decided prognathism; the chin projects forward; in stature they were tall, measuring from five feet ten to six feet eight inches. All the bones of the skeleton are solid, thick, and indicate a powerful people.

In the valley of the Vézère within a distance of seven or eight miles there have been found eight settlements of this race. I will not detain you to enumerate these or describe them separately. Suffice it to say that, while the remains are all undoubtedly of the same race, the associated animal and archæological remains indicate clearly that they are not of the same age, but rather those of successive periods of development; thus the eight settlements give, as it were, an epitomized history of the race.

The most ancient, being connected by its fauna with the lower alluvium of Grenelle, the men of this period were probably little superior to the Cannstadt race. In the next settlement, that of Cro-Magnon itself, the arms and implements were more numerous and varied, though lighter and made of flint; the large animals—mammoth, bear, and hyena—were still killed for food. In other more recent settlements the cutting of flints was developed to a marvelous perfection; arrowheads, spear and lance points were made with much care and finish.

In the most recent settlements when the reindeer predominated the industry underwent a change. Bones and the antlers of reindeer were fashioned into weapons, while flint appears to have been used for tools only. They made harpoons, barbed arrowheads, and needles not much longer than our. own, with pierced eyes. Burned wood and ashes are evidence of their knowledge of fire and perhaps cooking, though no vessels for this purpose have been found. From the needles it is a fair inference that they made clothes out of the skins of animals. They also carved with flints on the bones of animals, some of these of fair artistic merit;

PSM V44 D647 Delineations on pieces of antler.jpg

Fig. 9.—Delineations on Pieces of Antler (La Madelaine). 1. Drawing of a fish on reindeer horn. 2. Representation of a squatting stag on stag horn. 3. Running reindeer on reindeer horn. 4. Piece of reindeer horn, showing on one side two heads of the aurochs, and on the other a human figure, an eel (?), two horse heads, and three rows of marks. The portions which would not be visible, owing to the roundness of the piece of horn, have been drawn beyond its contour.

most of the representations are of animals, few attempts being made at the human form, and these not good. They visited the seashore, as marine shells are found, and from the character of the burial places the inference is fair that they had some idea of a future existence.

The skeleton found in the cave of Mentone in the Mediterranean (just east of Nice) was probably of this race.

Toward the latter part of the time of the predominance of the reindeer there is a decrease in the bone implements found, and a greater finish is noted in the flint implements; no doubt, with the amelioration of climate, retreat of the glaciers, and consequent moving northward of the reindeer, the conditions of existence materially changed. It is maintained by some naturalists that the man of Cro-Magnon followed the reindeer north, that the settlements remained for a long time uninhabited, and that the man who made the polished flint implements is another and distinct race—neolithic man, the earliest man of the present period. On the other hand, it is held that the polished flint race is but a development of the Cro-Magnon. In support of this it is claimed that in the upper levels of a rock shelter at Sorde, in the department of the Basses-Pyrénées, human bones of the Cro-Magnon type and cut flints were found, but with them a narrow, thin

PSM V44 D648 Prehistoric man from the cave of mentone.jpg
Fig. 10.—Prehistoric Man from the Cave of Mentone. (From Dana's Manual of Geology.)

blade and a triangular dagger, which are very similar to the finest productions of the neolithic age. The most plausible conclusion would seem to be that many, but not all, of the Cro-Magnon men followed the reindeer and retreating ice northward, and that those remaining amalgamated with the neolithic immigrants, accepting in a measure their industries; thus we have the mixtures of the implements of palæolithic and neolithic man.

The most recent of the races of fossil man have been grouped by MM. Quatrefages and Hami under the name of the Furfooz race, from Furfooz in the valley of the Lesse, Belgium; here a complete station, comprising a grotto where they lived and a burial grotto, was found. As before mentioned, a race allied to this is found in the Grenelle basin near Paris. Grouping on craniological characters, and considering a head found at La Touchère in a bank of the Seille as an allied form, we have in this group four types. They are all short heads (brachycephali), the first Furfooz race having a cephalic index of 79·31; the second, 81·39; that of Grenelle, 83·53; that of La Touchère, 84·33. The La Touchère skull is remarkable for a disharmony the inverse of that of the Cro-Magnon. In this case the skull is broad and short while the face is long.

The two races of Furfooz have a family resemblance, but are distinctive types: in the first the head is harmonic, the forehead retreating, the face broad, a sufficiently prominent nose, square orbits, and an almost orthognathous superior maxillary; in the second Furfooz race the forehead rises somewhat perpendicularly, the orbits and the face are longer, and the superior maxillary projects forward, producing a decided prognathism. In the Grenelle race the brow ridges are full and give a slightly oblique direction to the base of the forehead, but the arc soon rises and is regular, the head is harmonic, the cheek bones are prominent, the orbits approach the square form, the nose is sufficiently prominent, and the maxillary bones are prognathous. The men of Grenelle and Furfooz were of small stature, five feet four to five feet six inches. The bones of the limbs and trunk are strong.

Some investigators are disposed to regard these Furfooz races as neolithic or belonging to recent times, but the associated animal forms seem to place them among the Quaternary forms, though perhaps near the close of the Glacial period. The remains of their handicraft would indicate a peaceable people. Their implements were made of flint and reindeer horn. Knives, saws, scrapers, and bodkins were made of the former, and lances or javelins of the latter. The workmanship was inferior to that of the most recent Cro-Magnon men. Skins were used for clothing, and their burial places indicate a belief in another life.

It is probable that this race met with the same fate as the Cro-Magnon; with the retreating ice the animals upon which they lived moved northward and to higher altitudes, the majority of the Furfooz men following, others remained stationary, and these were eventually absorbed by long-headed and short-headed men of the neolithic or polished stone period.

Pruner Bey advanced the hypothesis that this brachycephalic race were the ancestors of a so-called Mongoloid type of man, he considering that a type of man exists uniting the characters of the Mongol proper and the white races, and extending over the greater portion of the north of the old continent and even into America.

While, so far as our knowledge goes, the long-headed races antedated the short-headed, there is no evidence that the latter descended from the former. As we have seen, the long-headed Cro-Magnon and the short-headed Furfooz both had representatives in the reindeer period. No doubt these fossil races, modified by intercrossing and other causes, persisted up to present times.

In this connection it may be well to refer briefly to the contention now prevailing as to the origin and original habitation of the ancestors of the present inhabitants of Europe. This subject, very interesting, is full of difficulties, which open it up to speculation and give full play to that class of scientists whom Prof. Huxley has called the Uhlans of science. Philology seems to take precedence in these investigations. The long-recognized similarity in the so-called romance languages—French, Italian, and Spanish—led Sir William Jones, about a century ago, to point out the alliance between Sanskrit, Zend, Armenian, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Slavonian, German, Celtic, etc. Inasmuch as the similarity of French, Italian, and Spanish would be unintelligible if it were not for Latin, so the relation between all of the above named tongues is unintelligible without a root tongue and a people who spoke it.

At first this honor was given to Sanskrit and the inhabitants of the valley of the Ganges. Subsequent investigations demonstrated that Zend and Sanskrit were modifications of an IndoIranian tongue, of which Zend and Sanskrit were offshoots. Then the region of the Hindu Koosh and Pamir was thought to be the original seat; this idea crystallizing, as it were, long held sway. As the people spread northwest into Europe and southeast into India, they were called the Indo-Germanic race, and have now come to be called the Aryan race, said to be the name by which the Persians and Hindus knew themselves before their separation.

More recently speculation as to the original seat of the Aryans has, we might say, run wild. Russia, Finland, the shores of the Baltic, Scandinavia, and the Caucasian region all have or have had their advocates. The claims made for the Caucasian region and Russia appear to be the most plausible. They are, moreover, to some extent complementary to each other.

For the first locality the principal reason advanced is philological. It is held that the root language would necessarily contain names for the familiar objects of the environment. As there appear to be no words in Aryan to represent certain animals—camel, lion, and tiger—it is supposed these forms did not exist in the locality; being unknown to the people, they had no names for them. Hence, by studying the confines of animal life, a locality where the unnamed life did not exist would fill the linguistic requirement. The Caucasian region is said to do this. This reasoning is, however, of the negative kind, and is open to the objections that all negative reasoning is.

The argument for the Russian locality is known as Latham's Sarmatian hypothesis. It takes for a starting point the position that one important prerequisite for the development of the Aryan race was that in its nascent stages at least it should be kept pure. It is well known to geologists that at a not very remote period Europe and Asia Minor were continuous across the Bosporus, the barrier being about two hundred feet above the sea. Going east from this point we encounter the Black Sea, at present on a level with the Mediterranean; the Caspian, eighty-five feet above; and the Aral, one hundred and fifty-seven feet above. Therefore, at the time that Europe and Asia Minor were continuous, all this area represented by the above-mentioned seas and the intervening land was one vast sheet of water, which in connection with the mountain ranges would effectually bar the progress of a non-maritime people, thus preserving it from contamination with other races and at the same time leaving it a vast area in which to develop. If the Aryan race existed at this time, this was no doubt an ideal place for its development. Moreover, the wide area covered gave room for considerable differentiation in language before it began to spread over India and the rest of Europe, as many dialects must have prevailed, with considerable difference between those of the central tribes and those of the periphery.

When by the erosion of the Bosporus the land was drained and assumed its present condition, the race is supposed to have spread in all directions. This spreading from a central point appears, in view of the great diversity of the Aryan languages, yet all with an Aryan root, as more reasonable than the hypotheses, like that of the Caucasian region, which necessitate their spreading in successive migratory waves.

As to the origin of the Aryan race all is as yet speculation. On this point the Uhlans have the field. That there was a race or a people speaking the root tongue of all the Indo-European tongues is beyond dispute, but that all the Indo-European people speaking the so-called Aryan languages are of this race is not so clear. Whatever the truth may be as to the original seat of the Aryan race and as to its origin, they seem to be a distinct people and not to have developed from fossil or palæolithic man, as we know him, unless perhaps Pruner Bey's idea (alluded to before) may prove to be true, viz., that the Furfooz man developed into a so-called Mongoloid race, and the Aryans are a division of this race.

We have seen in some of the abodes of fossil men described that there was evidence that they had mixed and acquired some of the customs of another, more advanced, so-called neolithic race. These neolithic men may have been and possibly were the pioneers 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. All or some part of that period, when North America and Europe were for the most part covered with glacial ice, intervenes between the time of man's undoubted existence—the time of the Cannstadt, Cro-Magnon, and Furfooz races—and the beginning of the time figured by these savants.

 

  1. A lecture delivered May 12, 1893, in the Popular Course before the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
  2. Rech. ethnograph. sur des ossiments humaines, par Julien Fraipont et Max Lohest. Archives de Biologie, vii, 1886.