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- The Antiquity of Man - 91/91 -

Ice Age, and the solution of the problem is still apparently far off. The theories put forward may for convenience be divided into three groups, namely astronomical, geographical, and meteorological.

As examples of astronomical explanation, we may take the well-known theory of Adhemar and Crohl, which is founded on changes in the ellipticity of the earth's orbit. This is expounded and amplified by Sir Robert Ball in his "Cause of an Ice Age." The weak point of this theory, which is mathematically unassailable, is that it proves too much, and postulates a constant succession of glacial periods throughout earth-history, and for this there is no evidence. The geographical explanations are chiefly founded on supposed changes in the distribution of sea and land, with consequent diversion of cold and warm currents. Another suggestion is that the glaciated areas had undergone elevation into mountain regions, but this is in conflict with evidence for submergence beneath the sea in certain cases. Meteorological hypotheses, such as that of Harmer, founded on a different arrangement of air pressures and wind-directions, seem to offer the most promising field for exploration and future work, but it is clear that much still remains to be explained.

NOTE 38.

The reptile-bearing Elgin Sandstones are of Triassic Age, and they contain a most remarkable assemblage of strange and eccentric forms, especially Anomodont reptiles resembling those found in the Karroo formation of South Africa.

NOTE 39.

The meaning of this statement is not very clear. The Conifers are not dicotyledons: their seeds contain numerous cotyledons, up to twenty in number, and the whole plant, and especially the reproductive system, belongs to a lower stage of development. The argument here employed is therefore fallacious, and in point of fact the different groups actually appeared in the order postulated by the theory of evolution, namely: (1) Gymnosperms, (2) Monocotyledons, (3) Dicotyledons. See Arber, "The Origin of Gymnosperms," "Science Progress," volume 1, 1906, pages 222 to 237.

NOTE 40.

The part of the manuscript read to Dr. Hooker in 1844 was undoubtedly the "Essay of 1844," forming the second part of the "Foundations of the Origin of Species," a volume published by Sir Francis Darwin on the occasion of the Darwin Centenary at Cambridge in 1909. (See also Darwin's "Life and Letters," volume 2 pages 16 to 18.)

NOTE 41.

This projected larger work, which is often referred to in the "Origin of Species," was never published as such, but Darwin's views on various aspects of evolution were set forth in several later books, such as "The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," "The Descent of Man," "Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects," "Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants," "Insectivorous Plants," and others.

NOTE 42.

With this section compare the famous chapter with the same title in the "Origin of Species."

NOTE 43.

No attempt has been made to annotate this chapter, owing to the impossibility of doing so within reasonable compass. Many of the theories here quoted, and the conclusions drawn from them, have not stood the test of time, and recent philological and ethnographical research have clearly shown the danger of attempting to infer the relationships of different peoples from their languages. The modifications undergone by the languages themselves are also subject to influences of such complex character, so largely artificial in their origin, that any attempt to compare them with natural evolution in the organic world must lead to false analogies. The chapter must be regarded as an interesting exposition of one phase of Mid-Victorian scientific thought, but having little real bearing on the subjects discussed in the rest of the book.

NOTE 44.

That the prophecy here given was justified is shown by the discovery in Java in 1891, of the skull and parts of the skeleton of Pithecanthropus erectus, a form which, according to the best authorities, must be regarded as in many ways intermediate between man and the apes, though perhaps with more human than ape-like characteristics. For an account of the circumstances of its discovery and a general description of the remains, see Sollas, "Ancient Hunters," London, 1911, pages 30 to 39 (with many references). Within the last year or two interest in the ancestry of man has been greatly increased, especially by the Piltdown discovery (see Note 11). This has led to a revision of the whole subject, and the views formerly held have undergone a certain amount of modification. It now seems certain that the different types of culture as represented by the succession of stages given in Note 12 do not correspond to a continuous development of one single race of mankind. There is, undoubtedly, a great break between the Mousterian and Aurignacian. Mousterian or Neanderthal man appears to have become extinct, possibly having been exterminated by a migration of the more highly developed Aurignacian race, which may be regarded as the ancestor of modern man in Europe. It appears, therefore, that the really important line of division comes, not as was formerly thought between Palaeolithic and Neolithic, but in the middle of the Palaeolithic between Mousterian and Aurignacian. Hence it appears that our classification will in the near future have to undergo revision, since the stages of culture from Aurignacian to Azilian show a much closer affinity to the Neolithic than they do to the earlier Palaeolithic. At the present time scarcely sufficient data are available to determine the relationship of Pithecanthropus and Eoanthropus to the later types of man. For an excellent summary of the most recent views see Thacker, "The Significance of the Piltdown Discovery," "Science Progress," volume 8, 1913, page 275.

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