Page images

has certainly undergone many great revolutions, and there has been ample time for migration on the largest scale." 1

The extinct mammals found with the paleolithic implements of the earliest known men are mostly of an African type. The elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and lion, whose fossil remains appear in Quaternary deposits in Europe, have all lineal descendants in Africa at the present day; but whether they came to Europe from Africa, or were driven to Africa from Europe by the change of climate consequent upon the glacial epoch, may perhaps be doubtful. At all events, it seems probable that early man, being before all things a hunter, followed in the track of the game upon which he subsisted, and at a period when a land connection still existed between Europe and Africa, for there is nothing to show that paleolithic man was acquainted with even the rudiments of the art of navigation.

With regard to the two forms of skulls found in connection with the earliest human remains known, a curious fact is noticed by M. Hovelacque in his work entitled Nôtre Ancêtre. He writes-"A very striking fact is this, the anthropomorphic apes of Africa (gorilla and chimpanzee) are dolichocephalic, as are the African negroes and the Bushmen; whilst the anthropomorphics of the extreme East are brachycephalic, as are the Negritos of the Andaman Isles, the inhabitants of the interior of the peninsula of Malacca, and of certain parts of Melanesia."

This observation would appear to localize the two distinctive forms of skull, and to suggest a possible geographical area for each from the remotest pre-historic times to the present day; and it would seem also to denote some local causes, tending to the production of a dolichocephalic type in Africa, and of a brachycephalic in Asia. It is also worthy of remark that the strongly-marked brow-ridges so prominent in the gorilla and chimpanzee, and apparently characteristic of the earliest known paleolithic races, as also of the extinct

1 Descent of Man, p. 155.

Tasmanians, and in a less degree of the Australian and Papuan of to-day, are not found in the orang-utan of Asia, which has a broad, flat face, to a certain extent comparable with that of the Mongol dwelling in the same land.

But whether we belong to the old orthodox school, and believe mankind to have sprung from a single pair brought into being miraculously in a high state of civilization, somewhere in Central Asia, and thence dispersed over the world to become degraded into the lowest of savages in remote lands; or whether, with monogenists of the Darwinian school, we trace man to a tribe of highly-developed Simians, gradually rising into men in the vast continent of Africa, and thence dispersed over the globe by means of stepping-stones long since swallowed up by the restless, ever-surging ocean, and forming in their isolation new varieties of man; or whether, again, with polygenists, we believe these various races to have originated at various times and in different parts of the world, either by development from some lower form, or by special acts of creation-the problems attendant upon their present and past habitat, mode of life, and relationship to each other are full of intense interest.

It is evident that primeval man in his lowest state of barbarism, having for his sole weapons of offence and defence the rude flint implements of the drift and the breccia, supplemented probably by branches of trees, must have crept slowly over the earth's surface, and could never have crossed the ocean to inhabit the remote lands in which he has been found in almost the same savage state in which we may suppose the makers of the paleolithic flint implements to have been, although at the present day there does not appear to be a single tribe so utterly devoid of all knowledge of the arts of civilization as would seem to be represented by the archaic implements of Kent's Cavern; but it is a significant and suggestive fact that some of the lowest races, as the Australians of the north-east coast, the Bushmen, Hottentots, and Northern Esquimaux, are

are to

still without canoes. Now although the three latter races might have reached their present habitat, even in the present state of the world, without any means of water transport, it is quite impossible that the Australians could have done so; hence, if we maintain a belief in the unity of the human race, we must suppose them to have crept to their present position with the singular and ancient fauna and flora of that far-off land, from the common centre, at a time when Australia formed part of a vast continent, since submerged. There are many who hold the belief that in this submerged continent was the cradle of the human race; that there, beneath a tropical or semitropical sky, some tribe allied to, but not identical with, the present anthropoid apes (who, it may be observed, seem all to radiate from a point of which this buried land would be the centre) gradually developed into men, at first only one step removed from the brutes, but slowly advancing in the arts which distinguish men, and that in the Australians we see the first steps of that development checked from further progress by gradual isolation, consequent upon the slow submergence of the continent of which it once formed a part. And here we are brought face to face with the intricate problems of geographical distribution, of some of which we must treat in another chapter.

1 See Pre-historic Man, p. 541.



Importance of the Subject-Effects of Climate, Soil, and Food not sufficiently studied-The Peopling of Oceanic IslandsDarwin and Wallace on Permanence of existing ContinentsThe Hypothetical Lemuria-Huxley and Flower on the Classification of Modern Races-Latham on the Effects of Climate and Soil on different Races-Isolation as a Preservative of Type-Pigmy Races-The small Dark Race of EuropeHuxley's Four Types-Probable Route of Migration of Australioids General Pitt-Rivers on Early Modes of Navigation-Distribution of the Great Mongoloid Race.

MURRAY'S Encyclopædia of Geography, published in 1834, contains a chapter on the geographical distribution of man and animals, in which the writer treats of the importance of investigating the subject of the distribution of plants and animals in connection with that of man; and after pointing out the many peculiarities of botanical distribution, and that these peculiarities extend, although in a lesser degree, to animals, proceeds thus-"The powerful effect produced on animals by temperature, food, and locality are known to all, whether as regards the range of any particular species, or the numbers of which it may be composed. The effect of these agencies is indeed so great, that some writers have looked upon them as primary causes, and have imagined that by such laws alone has Nature regulated the distribution of the whole animal creation.

The geographic distribution of man is connected in our survey with that of animals; not so much in compliance with the popular notion by which the noblest work of God is classed as a genus next to the


brute, but because we may fairly presume, from the great diversity observed among the human species, that their variation and dispersion is regulated by some general plan; and that such plan may be analogous to that which is apparent in the distribution of animals. It may be urged, indeed, that such a remarkable coincidence, if proved, might tend to sanction the modern theory of classing man and brutes together; but the only legitimate construction which we think could be fairly drawn from such a fact, would be that there is but one plan of geographic distribution, and of creation, throughout Nature."

In treating of the causes that have led to the variations of the human race, the writer rejects the theory that particular climates, food, and modes of life have gradually operated through long ages to produce the variations observed, pointing out that whilst the negro in a particular latitude is black, the Indian of Parà in the same latitude is reddish-brown; that the Gold Coast negroes inhabiting a pestilential region are strong and athletic, whilst the Australians and Bushmen in salubrious climates are lean, emaciated, and scarcely human, and that Europeans long settled in America and South Africa have not begun to change their complexion. "Still less," he adds, "can it be supposed that this departure from one common standard has been effected by civilization, a consequent development of the mental faculties, or even by diversified modes of life. . . . If food, raiment, and moral improvement have such a powerful effect in modifying the human frame, it would naturally follow that tribes living nearly in a state of nature, would all show a close approximation to one common type; that they would, in short, retain more of the lineaments and characters which must have belonged to our first parents, than if they had deviated from their primitive simplicity; yet the very reverse of this is the fact. The apparent aborigines of every nation are those in which the leading characters of their own tribe are most conspicuous, and which exhibit the strongest contrast to those of others.

« PreviousContinue »