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been extracted from the matrix by Professor Wyman, and all the circum-
stances of the find thoroughly investigated by Professor Whitney. When
the discovery was first announced, it was objected that the skull was pos-
sibly taken by the miners from some Indian grave. But this objection
disappears before the fact that it was fossilized, and embedded in a ma-
trix which no forger could have counterfeited, and even more conclusively
from the great number of instances in which human bones and imple-
ments have been discovered at different localities in similar formations,
Even the polemical imagination of the Duke of Argyll could hardly in-
vent a conspiracy of so many groups of Californian miners, at different
times, and in different localities, to hoax scientists, or to supply proofs



PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE. 77

for or against the Darwinian theory of the Descent of Man. Nor would
men intent on such a fraud have buried fragments instead of whole skulls,
and stone implements of a type different from that which, if they had
known enough on these subjects to conceive the fraud, they must have
been aware would have been expected. For the nature of these imple-
ments is an exception to the general rule, that the oldest type found
throughout the world, from South Africa to China, is everywhere the
same, consisting of rudely-chipped celts, knives, and scrapers, the Cali-
fornian implements consisting of stone plates or mortars, and pestles or
pounding stones, very like those used by some living tribes of Indians
for crushing acorns.

Quatrefages, assuming that these implements were used for pounding
corn, justly considers it highly improbable that agriculture could have
been known at such an early period, and that Pliocene man in Califorina
couid have been so far in advance of his Quaternary brother on the At-
lantic side of the continent, as shown by the rude celts, and knives of the
Trenton gravels. But if they were used for crushing acorns, the argu-
ment is not so clear, for a tribe of primitive savages, living among oak
forests, might use flat stones and pounders for the purpose, while hunt-
ing tribes might use rude celts, as the bushmen do at the present day.
Either form seems equally within the range of the early dawn of human
intelligence, and not much in advance of that of the gorilla or chimpanzee.

Equally futile is Sir J. Dawson's surmise that the skull may have been
dropped into some old mining shaft. There is no evidence for any pre-
historic mining for gold in California, such as is found in the copper re-
gion of Lake Superior, and it is certain that, if any such had existed, it
must have been confined to the superficial deposits. Nothing but an in-
trepid determination to ignore facts could have led to such a supposition.
The Calaveras skull is not a solitary instance, but one of several human
bones, and hundreds of human implements, which have been found, at
wide distances apart, in these auriferous gravels, and often underneath
beds of dense basalt, which could by no possibility have been pierced
without the aid of metal tools and blasting powder. Objections like these
prove nothing except that the objector is in the theologico-scientific frame
of mind, which sees everything relating to the origin of man through the
medium of the first chapter of Genesis.

The only serious objection to assuming these Californian discoveries
to be a conclusive proof of the existence of Tertiary man, arises from the
fact that several good American geologists dispute Professor Whitney's
conclusion that these auriferous gravels are of Tertiary origin. They
consider that such an enormous accumulation could only have been
formed during a Glacial period, when frost and ice were grinding down
the mountains, and swollen rivers, from melting snow and glaciers, sweep-
ing the debris down the valleys into the plains. This leaves doubt as to
their origin in the comparatively mild and equable climate of the Pliocene



7 8 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

period, but as regards the question of the great antiquity of man, it does
not much signify to which period we assign them. Any time subtracted
from the Pliocene has to be added to the Quaternary, for the fact remains
unquestioned that, since man existed in California, valleys have been
filled up by drifts from the waste of mountains to a depth in some cases
of 1500 feet; these covered by a succession of tuffs, ashes, and lava
streams, from volcanoes long since extinct, and finally cut down by the
present rivers through beds of solid basalt, and through this accumula-
tion of lavas and gravels. Such an operation corresponds in time with
that by which the great river systems of the Old World were sculptured
out from a table-land, standing, in some cases many hundred feet higher
than at present, as shown by the deposit of the loess, which is universally
recognized to be an accumulation of fine glacial mud.

The latest contribution towards the antiquity of human remains in
California is contained in a paper read to the Anthropological Society by
Mr. Skertchley, the well-known geologist, to whom we are indebted for
the discovery of palaeolithic implements beneath the chalky boulder-clay
at Thetford, in Norfolk.

During a visit to the Spring Valley gold-mine, in one of the tributary
valleys of the Sacramento River, he ascertained the following facts: This
mine is worked by hydraulic jets 'directed on the sands and gravels of an
old river which once flowed in an impetuous course down a steep gradient
from the Sierra Nevada. It has long since ceased to flow, and the bed of
the old river is now buried under 500 feet of its own deposits, capped in
places by i oo feet of basalt, which has flowed in wide sheets from long-
since extinct volcanoes. The section given by Mr. Skertchley is

1. Basalt cap 25 to 100 feet.

2. White sands and gravels ... 450 *

3. Blue gravel, with boulders . . . 2 to 15 *

4. Blue gravel, with large boulders . 50 '

5. Bed rock metamorphoid cretaceous slates.

Stone mortars, rudely chipped, occur abundantly in the white sand
(No. 2), about 300 having been found, and one is said to have occurred
in No. 3. There can be no question of their occurring in situ, as they are
washed out of the gravel by powerful hydraulic jets, from the working
face of the mine, which forms an artificial cliff of 400 to 600 feet in
height

Nor can there be any doubt as to their human origin, for the specimen
produced by Mr. Skertchley to the Anthropological Society was uni-
versally admitted to have been artificially wrought. Their use was
probably for pounding acorns, which then afforded a great part of the
food of the savages who inhabited the district, as they did recently of the
Digger Indians.

The question, therefore, is entirely one of the age of the gravels, as to



PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE. 79

which American ""geologists differ, some assigning the upper, or white
gravels, to the Pliocene, others to the early Quaternary period. As Mr.
Skertchley says, "If the human remains had not been found in them,
geologists would never have doubted their Tertiary age. At any rate they
must be of immense antiquity. Since they were deposited, the present
river system of the Sacramento, Joaquim, and other large rivers has been
established; canons 2000 feet deep have been excavated by these later
rivers through lava, gravels, and into the bed rock; and the gravels, once
the bed of a large river, now cap hills 6000 feet high."

The definite information, conveyed by an experienced geologist like
Mr, Skertchley, gives confirmation and precision to what has been stated
from a variety of other sources, as to the frequent discovery of human im-
plements, and even, in a few instances, of human skulls, from similar
auriferous gravels over a wide range of country in California. Whether
Tertiary or not, it is evident that they must carry back the date of man's
existence, in the north-west of America, to a period vastly older than that
of 25,000 or 30,000 years assigned to him by the latest guess of Professor
Prestwich.

The other instances from America are open to the same doubt as to
their geological age. The cavern of Semidouro, in the plateau of Lagoa-
Santo, in Brazil, has yielded sixteen human skulls, associated with bones
of extinct species, such as Glyptodon, Machaerodus, Hydrochaerus,
Scalidotherium, and others, which, if found in Europe, would undoubtedly
be taken to imply a Tertiary fauna. But there remains the doubt as to
the real succession of geological periods in America, and if the Mastodon
lived on there until recent times, for which there is a good deal of evidence,
there is no conclusive reason why the Machasrodus and other Tertiary
forms might not have survived from the Pliocene or Miocene into the
Quaternary. The human implements also found in these Brazilian caves
seem, in many cases, of too advanced a type to be readily accepted as of
such extreme antiquity.

The same doubt also applies to the numerous human remains found by
two competent observers, M. Ameghino and M. Burmeister, at different
points in the pampas of Buenos Ayres. They both recognize two distinct
beds in this pampean formation an upper one, in which these remains
have been found, and a lower one, in which nothing of human origin has
yet been discovered. Ameghino, relying on the fossil remains of distinct
animals, considers the upper bed to be Tertiary ; while Burmeister con-
siders the lower one only to be Pre-Glacial, and the upper one to be Qua-
ternary. While these doubts continue, we must hold our judgment in
suspense as to the evidence from America, though undoubtedly it tends
as far as it goes to confirm the rapidly accumulating evidence from the
Old World of the existence of Tertiary man ; and the discovery of its
traces at so many widely-separated places, at such a remote antiquity,
adds to the irresistible force of the concluion that his first origin, and



80 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

subsequent diffusion by migration, must be sought in one of the geologi-
cal formations preceding the Quaternary.

To sum up the evidence, there are at least ten instances of the alleged
discovery of human remains in Tertiary strata, of each of which it may be
safely said that if the remains had been those of any other Mammalian spe-
cies, no doubt would have been entertained of their Tertiary origin by any
geologist. Four of these are in France, those of St. Prest and of Puy-
Courny in the Pliocene, and of Thenay and Pouance* in the Miocene;
three in Italy, in the Pliocene of Monte Aperto, St. Olmo, and Castelne-
dolo ; one in Portugal, in the Miocene of the Tagus ; in North America,
the skull of Calaveras and other numerous human remains in the presum-
ably Pliocene auriferous gravels of California ; and in South America, in
the pampean remains of Buenos Ayres. Of these, the discoveries at Puy-
Courny, Monte Aperto, St. Olmo, and Castelnedolo seem to be un-
doubted, both as regards the human nature of the remains, and the Terti-
ary character of the deposits. Those of St. Prest and of the Californian
gravels are doubtful only as regards the question whether the deposits
may not be of the earliest Glacial or Quaternary period, rather than Ter-
tiary, the evidence from the associated fossil remains being strongly in
favor of their Tertiary origin. There remain three cases of alleged discov-
eries in the Miocene, viz. : at Thenay, Pouance", and in Portugal, the evi-
dence for which, especially for the two former, is extremely strong and
almost conclusive, while the objections to them are obviously based on a
reluctance to admit such an extension of human origins, rather than on
scientific evidence.

In none of these cases, as further evidence has accumulated, has it
tended to shake the conclusions of the first discoverers as to the human
character of the implements and the Miocene age of the formations. On
the contrary, the most cautious authorities, such as M. Quatrefages, who
held their judgment in suspense when the first implements were produced,
have been converted by subsequent discoveries, and expressed their con-
viction that doubt is no longer possible. And the latest Congress of
French geologists has expressed the decided opinion that the existence of
Tertiary man is fully proved.

On the whole, we may say with confidence of the problem of Tertiary
man that, if not completely solved, it is very near solution, and that
there is little doubt what the solution will be.

The next generation will probably accept it as an obvious fact, and
wonder at the doubts now entertained, very much as we wonder at the
incredulity with which the discovery of palaeolithic implements in the
Quaternary gravels of the Somme by M. Boucher de Perthes was received
by the scientific world, when it was first announced.



CHAPTER VI.
THE MISSING LINK.

OF all the problems which have been raised, but not solved, the most
important is that of the origin of man. It is important, not only as
a question of the highest scientific interest, but from its bearings on the
deepest mysteries of philosophy and religion. Is man, like the rest of the
animal creation, a product of evolution acting by natural laws, or is he an
exception to the general rule, and the product of some act of secondary
supernatural interference ? Or to put it in theological language, is man a
consequence of that "original impress," which Bishop Temple pro-
nounces to be more in accordance with the idea of an omniscient and
omnipotent Creator; to whom "a day is as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as a day," than the traditional theory of a Creator con-
stantly interposing to supplement and amend His original creation by
miracles ? Or is he an exceptional supplement and amendment to such
original creation, miraculously introduced at one of its later stages ? It
is a question which has to be solved by facts, and not by theories or pre-
possessions.

As regards the physical universe, and the whole of the world of life,
with the possible exception of man, it may be taken as already solved in
the sense of evolution and original impress. But in the case of man, the
question is still sttb judice ; the missing links have not yet been discovered
which connect him with primitive forms, and scientific authorities are not
yet agreed whether the time which has elapsed since his first appearance
on earth is sufficient to afford a possibility of his being a creature of evo-
lution. The problem is of such importance that it may be well to state
its conditions in some detail.

When I say that evolution has become the accepted law of the whole
animate and inanimate universe, with the possible exception of man, why
do I say this ? The old theory of special miraculous interpositions to
account for all unexplained phenomena was the most natural and the
most obvious. It was, in fact, the inevitable result of the first attempts
of the human mind to connect effects with causes, or, in other words, to
reason. Take the case of thunder. What could the first savage who
reasoned on the subject infer except that, the noise being like the roar of
an angry wild beast or enemy, and the flash like that of the darting of an
arrow or javelin, there was probably a sort of magnified man like himself
tn the clouds, full of wrath and very capable of doing him an injury ?

81



82 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

The savage who reasoned thus, and the early priests and astronomers
who, whenever they saw motion in the sun and planets, inferred life, were
natural philosophers, who reasoned correctly from their premises, only
their premises were wrong. In course of time, it came to be demonstrated
that phenomena formerly supposed to be isolated miraculous acts of an
Anthropomorphic power, were linked together by that invariable sequence
which we call law, and that their real first cause or origin must be pushed
vastly further back in space and time, and relegated more and more from
the known to the unknown.

The establishment of Newton's law of gravity as the pervading princi-
ple of all celestial movements, gave the first great blow to the old mirac-
ulous theory, and introduced the conception of Natural Law. Geology
did for time what astronomy had done for space, and since the publica-
tion of Ly ell's principles no serious thinker has doubted that the successive
stages by which the earth was brought to its present state were due to
evolution, acting by natural laws over immense periods of time. The
discoveries of modern chemistry have confirmed the impression of the uni-
formity and invariability of Law, by showing it extending from the infi-
nitely great to the infinitely small, from stars to atoms; while the spectro-
scope shows the identity of matter and energy throughout this extreme
range. Above all, the establishment of the laws of the indestructibility
of matter and energy, and their mutual transformation into new forms
and new modes of action, have placed special causes altogether out of
court, and reduced all the phenomena of the inorganic universe to one
law of universal simplicity and generality. Instead of speculating with
ancient sages who may be the God who flashes lightnings from the skies,
or drives the chariot of the sun ; or even as late as Kepler, assigning a
spirit to each planet to direct its harmonious movement, the question for
modern science is reduced to the ultimate stage of What mean these
atoms and energies into which everything can be resolved? Whence
came they, and how did they become endowed with those laws which
have enabled them to build up the universe by an irresistible evolution ?

But the miraculous theory died hard. Based as it was on popular
apprehension and on theological prepossession, when driven from the
outwork of the inorganic universe, it held out stoutly in the inner citadel
of life. Were not species distinct, and if so how could they have come
into existence unless by a series of special acts of miraculous creation ?
Above all, was not man a miracle, with his high faculties, " only a little
lower than the angels ; " and did not all records and traditions describe
him as a recent creation, who had fallen from a high state of perfection
by an act of original sin ? Nay more, did not science itself confirm this
view, and had not Cwier laid down the axiom that no human remains
had been found in connection with any extinct animals, or in any but the
most superficial deposits ? The discovery of innumerable human imple-
ments and remains in all quarters of the globe, in caves and river drifts



PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE. 83

of immense antiquity, and associated with extinct animals, has shattered
this theory into fragments, and it is now as impossible to believe in man's
recent origin and fall, as it is in the sun's daily journey round the earth,
or the notion that it might be as big as the Peloponnesus.

Still, the difficulty as to the creation of distinct species remained, and
until the publication of Darwin's celebrated work on the Origin of Species,
the miraculous theory, though driven back, could hardly be said to be
routed. But evolution was in the air and Darwin's book produced the
effect of a fragment of crystal dropped into a saturated solution. In an
incredibly short time, all the floating elements crystallized about it, and
the speculations of science took a definite form, the evidence for which
has gone on strengthening and increasing from that day to this, until, as
I have said, with the solitary exception of human origins, evolution or
original impress has become the axiom of science, and is admitted by
every one who has the slightest pretensions to be considered a competent
authority.

This predisposition to accept Darwin's views arose from various causes.
The establishment of evolution as a fact in the material universe had
familiarized men's minds with the idea of Natural Law, and the discov-
eries of astronomy and geology had proved to demonstration that the
accounts of creation, formerly taken to be inspired truths which it was
impious to question, could only be considered as vague poetical versions
of the ideas which were current among Eastern nations in the infancy of
science. The last remnant of respect for these narratives as literal records
of actual events vanished when the discoveries of M. Boucher de Perthes
were confirmed, and it became apparent that man was not a recent cre-
ation who had fallen from a high estate, but the descendant of palaeolithic
savages, who had struggled slowly up to civilization through immense
periods of time. As a knowledge of natural history increased, it became
apparent that the earth had not been peopled recently from a single
centre, but that it was divided into numerous vegetable and zoological
provinces, each with its own separate flora and fauna ; and a better ac-
quaintance with the zoological record showed that this had been the case
for millions of years, and through the vast succession of strata of which
the earth's crust is composed. Finally,. the multiplication of species, both
now existing and in past geological ages, reached a point which, on
any theory of separate supernatural creations, required an amount of mir-
acle which was plainly absurd and impossible. When it came to this,
that 1 60 separate miracles were required to account for the 160 species
of land shells found to exist in the one small island of Maderia, and that
1400 distinct species of a single shell, the Cerithium, had been described
by conchologists, the miraculous theory had evidently broken down under
its own weight and ceased to be credible.

In this state of things, Darwin not only supplied a vast number of in-
stances, drawn from his own observation, of graduation of species into



84 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

one another, and the wide range of varieties produced and rendered per-
manent by artificial selections, but what was more important, he showed
the existence of a vera causa operating in nature, which could not fail to
produce similar effects. If a pigeon-fancier could, by pairing birds
which showed a tendency to variation in a particular direction, produce
in a few generations races as distinct from the original blue-rock as the fan-
tail or the pouter, it is evident that nature could do the same in a longer
period. Nay, not only that nature could, but that nature must, do this,
for in the struggle for existence, variations, however slight, which gave an
advantage to individuals, must tend to survive, and become extended and
fixed by the operation of heredity. This was the famous theory of
"Natural Selection " and "Survival of the Fittest," which at once con-
verted the chaos of life into a cosmos, and extended the domain of har-
monious law to the organic as well as the inorganic universe. Attract-
ive, however, as the theory was from the first to thinking men, its uni-
versal acceptance at the present day is due mainly to the immense
amount of confirmation which it has since received. This confirmation has
come from two independent sources the discovery of Missing Links and
Embryology.

When Darwin's theory was first propounded, the objection was raised
that if species were not created distinct, but gradually evolved from one
another by slight variations, geology ought to show us the intermediate
forms which must have existed before the permanent types were established.
The objection was reasonable, and Darwin was the first to admit it, but he
pleaded the imperfection of the geological record, and predicted that with
fuller knowledge of it, the gaps would be filled up and the missing links
discovered. The truth or falsehood of his theory was thus staked on the
discovery of missing links. The case was almost similar to that of the
truth of Halley's calculations as to the orbit of his comet, being staked on
its return at the predicted period. The comet did return, and the missing
links have been discovered, or so many of them that no doubt remains in
the minds of scientific men that evolution has been the real law of the
animal and vegetable kingdoms.

In fact, the discovery of missing links has gone so far, that Professor
Cope, one of the latest and highest authorities on the subject, and who
has done so much for it by his discoveries of the wonderfully rich fossil
fauna of the Tertiary formations of the Rocky Mountains and California,
says " We have attained the long-since extinct ancestor of the lowest
vertebrates. We have the ancestor of all the reptiles, of the birds, and
of the mammals. If we consider the mammals separately, we have traced
up a great many lines to their points of departure from very primitive



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