Infomotions, Inc.The Antiquity of Man / Lyell, Charles, Sir, 1797-1875

Author: Lyell, Charles, Sir, 1797-1875
Title: The Antiquity of Man
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): glacial; mammalia; pleistocene; species; fossil; strata; flint; gravel; extinct; glaciers; geological; peat; extinct mammalia; glacial period; ice; marine; pleistocene period; bones; shells; valley; skull; flint implements
Contributor(s): ärnefelt, Arvid, 1861-1932 [Translator]
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Title: The Antiquity of Man

Author: Charles Lyell

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The "Antiquity of Man" was published in 1863, and ran into a third
edition in the course of that year. The cause of this is not far to
seek. Darwin's "Origin of Species" appeared in 1859, only four
years earlier, and rapidly had its effect in drawing attention to
the great problem of the origin of living beings. The theories of
Darwin and Wallace brought to a head and presented in a concrete
shape the somewhat vague speculations as to development and
evolution which had long been floating in the minds of naturalists.
In the actual working out of Darwin's great theory it is impossible
to overestimate the influence of Lyell. This is made abundantly
clear in Darwin's letters, and it must never be forgotten that
Darwin himself was a geologist. His training in this science
enabled him to grasp the import of the facts so ably marshalled by
Lyell in the "Principles of Geology," a work which, as Professor
Judd has clearly shown,* contributed greatly to the advancement of
evolutionary theory in general. (* Judd "The Coming of Evolution"
("Cambridge Manuals of Science and Literature") Cambridge 1910
chapters 6 and 7.)

From a study of the evolution of plants and of the lower animals it
was an easy and obvious transition to man, and this step was soon
taken. Since in his physical structure man shows so close a
resemblance to the higher animals it was a natural conclusion that
the laws governing the development of the one should apply also to
the other, in spite of preconceived opinions derived from
authority. Unfortunately the times were then hardly ripe for a calm
and logical treatment of this question: prejudice in many cases
took the place of argument, and the result was too often an
undignified squabble instead of a scientific discussion. However,
the dogmatism was not by any means all on one side. The disciples
as usual went farther than the master, and their teaching when
pushed to extremities resulted in a peculiarly dreary kind of
materialism, a mental attitude which still survives to a certain
extent among scientific and pseudo-scientific men of the old
school. In more Recent times this dogmatic agnosticism of the
middle Victorian period has been gradually replaced by speculations
of a more positive type, such as those of the Mendelian school in
biology and the doctrines of Bergson on the philosophical side.
With these later developments we are not here concerned.

In dealing with the evolution and history of man as with that of
any other animal, the first step is undoubtedly to collect the
facts, and this is precisely what Lyell set out to do in the
"Antiquity of Man." The first nineteen chapters of the book are
purely an empirical statement of the evidence then available as to
the existence of man in pre-historic times: the rest of the book is
devoted to a consideration of the connection between the facts
previously stated and Darwin's theory of the origin of species by
variation and natural selection. The keynote of Lyell's work,
throughout his life, was observation. Lyell was no cabinet
geologist; he went to nature and studied phenomena at first hand.
Possessed of abundant leisure and ample means he travelled far and
wide, patiently collecting material and building up the modern
science of physical geology, whose foundations had been laid by
Hutton and Playfair. From the facts thus collected he drew his
inferences, and if later researches showed these inferences to be
wrong, unlike some of his contemporaries, he never hesitated to say
so. Thus and thus only is true progress in science attained.

Lyell is universally recognised as the leader of the Uniformitarian
school of geologists, and it will be well to consider briefly what
is implied in this term. The principles of Uniformitarianism may be
summed up thus: THE PRESENT IS THE KEY TO THE PAST. That is to say,
the processes which have gone on in the past were the same in
general character as those now seen in operation, though probably
differing in degree. This theory is in direct opposition to the
ideas of the CATASTROPHIC school, which were dominant at the
beginning of the nineteenth century. The catastrophists attributed
all past changes to sudden and violent convulsions of nature, by
which all living beings were destroyed, to be replaced by a fresh
creation. At least such were the tenets of the extremists. In
opposition to these views the school of Hutton and Lyell introduced
the principle of continuity and development. There is no
discrepancy between Uniformitarianism and evolution. The idea of
Uniformitarianism does not imply that things have always been the
same; only that they were similar, and between these two terms
there is a wide distinction. Evolution of any kind whatever
naturally implies continuity, and this is the fundamental idea of
Lyellian geology.

In spite, however, of this clear and definite conception of natural
and organic evolution, in all those parts of his works dealing with
earth-history, with the stratified rocks and with the organisms
entombed in them, Lyell adopted a plan which has now been
universally abandoned. He began with the most Recent formations and
worked backwards from the known to the unknown. To modern readers
this is perhaps the greatest drawback to his work, since it renders
difficult the study of events in their actual sequence. However, it
must be admitted that, taking into account the state of geological
knowledge before his time, this course was almost inevitable. The
succession of the later rocks was fairly well known, thanks to the
labours of William Smith and others, but in the lower part of the
sequence of stratified rocks there were many gaps, and more
important still, there was no definite base. Although this want of
a starting point has been largely supplied by the labours of
Sedgwick, Murchison, De la Beche, Ramsay, and a host of followers,
still considerable doubt prevails as to which constitutes the
oldest truly stratified series, and the difficulty has only been
partially circumvented by the adoption of an arbitrary base-line,
from which the succession is worked out both upwards and downwards.
So the problem is only removed a stage further back. In the study
of human origins a similar difficulty is felt with special
acuteness; the beginnings must of necessity be vague and uncertain,
and the farther back we go the fainter will naturally be the traces
of human handiwork and the more primitive and doubtful those traces
when discovered.

The reprinting of the "Antiquity of Man" is particularly
appropriate at the present time, owing to the increased attention
drawn to the subject by recent discoveries. Ever since the
publication of the "Origin of Species" and the discussions that
resulted from that publication, the popular imagination has been
much exercised by the possible existence of forms intermediate
between the apes and man; the so-called "Missing Link." Much has
been written on this subject, some of it well-founded and some very
much the reverse. The discovery of the Neanderthal skull is fully
described in this volume, and this skull is certainly of a low
type, but it is more human than ape-like. The same remark applies
still more strongly to the Engis skull, the man of Spy, the
recently discovered Sussex skull, and other well-known examples of
early human remains. The Pithecanthropus of Java alone shows
perhaps more affinity to the apes. The whole subject has been most
ably discussed by Professor Sollas in his recent book entitled
"Ancient Hunters."

The study of Palaeolithic flint implements has been raised to a
fine art. Both in England and France a regular succession of
primitive types has been established and correlated with the gravel
terraces of existing rivers, and even with the deposits of rivers
no longer existing and with certain glacial deposits. But with all
of these the actual bodily remains of man are comparatively scanty.
From this it may be concluded that primitive methods of burial were
such as to be unfavourable to the actual preservation of human
remains. Attempts have also been made to prove the existence of man
in pre-glacial times, but hitherto none of these have met with
general acceptance, since in no case is the evidence beyond doubt.

One of the most important results of recent research in the subject
has been the establishment of the existence of man in interglacial
times. When Lyell wrote, it was not fully recognised that the
glaciation of Europe was not one continuous process, but that it
could be divided into several episodes, glaciations, or advances of
the ice, separated by a warm interglacial period. The monumental
researches of Penck and Bruckner in the Alps have there established
four glaciations with mild interglacial periods, but all of these
cannot be clearly traced in Britain. One very important point also
is the recognition of the affinities of certain types of
Palaeolithic man to the Eskimo, the Australians, and the Bushmen of
South Africa. However, it is impossible to give here a review of
the whole subject. Full details of recent researches will be found
in the works mentioned in the notes at the end of the book.

Another point of great interest and importance, arising directly
from the study of early man is the nature of the events
constituting the glacial period in Britain and elsewhere. This has
been for many years a fertile subject of controversy, and is likely
to continue such. Lyell, in common with most of the geologists of
his day, assumes that during the glacial period the British Isles
were submerged under the sea to a depth of many hundreds of feet,
at any rate as regards the region north of a line drawn from London
to Bristol. Later authors, however, explained the observed
phenomena on the hypothesis of a vast ice-sheet of the Greenland
type, descending from the mountains of Scotland and Scandinavia,
filling up the North Sea and spreading over eastern England. This
explanation is now accepted by the majority, but it must be
recognised that it involves enormous mechanical difficulties. It is
impossible to pursue the subject here; for a full discussion
reference may be made to Professor Bonney's presidential address to
the British Association at Sheffield in 1910.

It will be seen, therefore, that the "Antiquity of Man" opens up a
wide field of speculation into a variety of difficult and obscure
though interesting subjects. In the light of modern research it
would be an easy task to pile up a mountain of criticism on points
of detail. But, though easy, it would be a thankless task. It is
scarcely too much to say that the dominant impression of most
readers after perusing this book will be one of astonishment and
admiration at the insight and breadth of view displayed by the
author. When it was written the subject was a particularly thorny
one to handle, and it undoubtedly required much courage to tackle
the origin and development of the human race from a purely critical
and scientific standpoint. It must be admitted on all hands that
the result was eminently successful, taking into account the
paucity of the available material, and the "Antiquity of Man" must
ever remain one of the classics of prehistoric archaeology.

This edition of the "Antiquity of Man" has been undertaken in order
to place before the public in an easily accessible form one of the
best known works of the great geologist Sir Charles Lyell; the book
had an immense influence in its own day, and it still remains one
of the best general accounts of an increasingly important branch of

In order to avoid a multiplicity of notes and thus to save space,
the nomenclature has been to a certain extent modernised: a new
general table of strata has been inserted in the first chapter, in
place of the one originally there printed, which was cumbrous and
included many minor subdivisions of unnecessary minuteness.

The notes have been kept as short as possible, and they frequently
contain little more than references to recent literature
elucidating the points under discussion in the text.



The passage of the Beresina (in verse), 1815.

Principles of Geology, being an attempt to explain the former
   changes of the earth's surface, by reference to causes now in
   operation, 1830-33
(third edition, 1834;
fourth, 1835;
fifth, 1837;
sixth, 1840;
seventh, 1847;
ninth, entirely revised edition, 1853;
tenth, entirely revised edition, 1867, 1868;
eleventh, entirely revised edition, 1872;
twelfth, edited by L. Lyell, 1875).

Elements of Geology, 1838
(second edition, 1841).

A Manual of Elementary Geology
(third and entirely revised edition of the former work, 1851;
fourth and entirely revised edition, 1852;
fifth, enlarged edition, 1855;
Supplement to the fifth edition, 1857;
second edition of the Supplement, revised, 1857).

Elements of Geology,
sixth edition, greatly enlarged, 1865.

Travels in North America, with geological observations
   on the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia, 1845.

A Second Visit to the United States of North America, 1849.

The Students' Elements of Geology, 1871
(second edition, revised and corrected, 1874;
third, revised, with a table of British fossils
   [by R. Etheridge], 1878;
fourth, revised by P.M. Duncan, with a table of British fossils
   [by R. Etheridge], 1884).

The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man,
   with remarks on theories of the origin of species
   by variation, 1863;
(second edition, revised, 1863;
third edition, revised, 1863;
fourth edition, revised, 1873).

There has also been published The Student's Lyell: a Manual of
Elementary Geology, edited by J.W. Judd, 1896 (second edition
revised and enlarged, 1911).


On a Recent Formation of Freshwater Limestone in Forfarshire
("Transactions of the Geological Society" 2nd series, volume 2,
1826, part 1).

On a Dike of Serpentine in the County of Forfar ("Edinburgh Journal
of Science" 1825).

English Scientific Societies ("Quarterly Review" volume 34; three
papers with Sir Roderick and Mrs. Murchison ("Edinburgh
Philosophical Journal," 1829; abstract in "Proceedings of the
Geological Society" 1; "Annales des Sciences Naturelles" 1829;
abstract in "Proceedings of the Geological Society" 1).

Address delivered at the Geological Society of London, 1836.

Lectures on Geology--Eight Lectures on Geology, delivered at the
Broadway Tabernacle, New York ("New York Tribune" 1842).

A Paper on Madeira ("Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society"
10, 1853).

On the Structure of Lavas which have Consolidated on Steep Slopes
("Philosophical Transactions" 1858).

Address (to the British Association) 1864.


Antiquity of Man, translated into French by M. Chaper, 1864; and
into German by L. Buchner, 1874.

Elements of Geology (sixth edition), translated into French by M.
J. Gineston, 1867.

Report, extracted from the "Aberdeen Free Press" and translated
into French, of Sir C. Lyell's address before the British
Association, 1859, under the title of Antiquities antediluviennes:
   L'homme fossile.


Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, edited by his
sister-in-law, Mrs. Lyell, 1881.

See also:

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 1887.

Life and Letters of Sedgwick, by Clark and Hughes, 1890.




Preliminary Remarks on the Subjects treated of in this Work.
Definition of the terms Recent and Pleistocene.
Tabular View of the entire Series of Fossiliferous Strata.



Works of Art in Danish Peat-Mosses.
Remains of three Periods of Vegetation in the Peat.
Ages of Stone, Bronze, and Iron.
Shell-Mounds or ancient Refuse-Heaps of the Danish Islands.
Change in geographical Distribution of Marine Mollusca
   since their Origin.
Embedded Remains of Mammalia of Recent Species.
Human Skulls of the same Period.
Swiss Lake-Dwellings built on Piles.
Stone and Bronze Implements found in them.
Fossil Cereals and other Plants.
Remains of Mammalia, wild and domesticated.
No extinct Species.
Chronological Computations of the Date of the Bronze and Stone
   Periods in Switzerland.
Lake-Dwellings, or artificial Islands called "Crannoges,"
   in Ireland.


   THE RECENT PERIOD--continued.

Delta and Alluvial Plain of the Nile.
Burnt Bricks in Egypt before the Roman Era.
Borings in 1851-54.
Ancient Mounds of the Valley of the Ohio.
Their Antiquity.
Sepulchral Mound at Santos in Brazil.
Delta of the Mississippi.
Ancient Human Remains in Coral Reefs of Florida.
Changes in Physical Geography in the Human Period.
Buried Canoes in Marine Strata near Glasgow.
Upheaval since the Roman Occupation of the Shores of the
   Firth of Forth.
Fossil Whales near Stirling.
Upraised Marine Strata of Sweden on Shores of the Baltic
   and the Ocean.
Attempts to compute their Age.



Earliest Discoveries in Caves of Languedoc of Human Remains
   with Bones of extinct Mammalia.
Researches in 1833 of Dr. Schmerling in the Liege Caverns.
Scattered Portions of Human Skeletons associated with Bones
   of Elephant and Rhinoceros.
Distribution and probable Mode of Introduction of the Bones.
Implements of Flint and Bone.
Schmerling's Conclusions as to the Antiquity of Man ignored.
Present State of the Belgian Caves.
Human Bones recently found in Cave of Engihoul.
Engulfed Rivers.
Stalagmitic Crust.
Antiquity of the Human Remains in Belgium how proved.



Human Skeleton found in Cave near Dusseldorf.
Its geological Position and probable Age.
Its abnormal and ape-like Characters.
Fossil Human Skull of the Engis Cave near Liege.
Professor Huxley's Description of these Skulls.
Comparison of each, with extreme Varieties of the native
   Australian Race.
Range of Capacity in the Human and Simian Brains.
Skull from Borreby in Denmark.
Conclusions of Professor Huxley.
Bearing of the peculiar Characters of the Neanderthal Skull
   on the Hypothesis of Transmutation.



General Position of Drift with extinct Mammalia in Valleys.
Discoveries of M. Boucher de Perthes at Abbeville.
Flint Implements found also at St. Acheul, near Amiens.
Curiosity awakened by the systematic Exploration of the
   Brixham Cave.
Flint Knives in same, with Bones of extinct Mammalia.
Superposition of Deposits in the Cave.
Visits of English and French Geologists to Abbeville and Amiens.



Geological Structure of the Valley of the Somme and of the
   surrounding Country.
Position of Alluvium of different Ages.
Peat near Abbeville.
Its animal and vegetable Contents.
Works of Art in Peat.
Probable Antiquity of the Peat, and Changes of Level
   since its Growth began.
Flint Implements of antique Type in older Alluvium.
Their various Forms and great Numbers.


   OF THE SOMME--concluded.

Fluvio-marine Strata, with Flint Implements, near Abbeville.
Marine Shells in same.
Cyrena fluminalis.
Entire Skeleton of Rhinoceros.
Flint Implements, why found low down in Fluviatile Deposits.
Rivers shifting their Channels.
Relative Ages of higher and lower-level Gravels.
Section of Alluvium of St. Acheul.
Two Species of Elephant and Hippopotamus coexisting with Man
   in France.
Volume of Drift, proving Antiquity of Flint Implements.
Absence of Human Bones in tool-bearing Alluvium, how explained.
Value of certain Kinds of negative Evidence tested thereby.
Human Bones not found in drained Lake of Haarlem.



Flint Implements in ancient Alluvium of the Basin of the Seine.
Bones of Man and of extinct Mammalia in the Cave of Arcy.
Extinct Mammalia in the Valley of the Oise.
Flint Implement in Gravel of same Valley.
Works of Art in Pleistocene Drift in Valley of the Thames.
Musk Ox.
Meeting of northern and southern Fauna.
Migrations of Quadrupeds.
Mammals of Mongolia.
Chronological Relation of the older Alluvium of the Thames
   to the Glacial Drift.
Flint Implements of Pleistocene Period in Surrey, Middlesex,
   Kent, Bedfordshire, and Suffolk.



Flint Implements in Cave containing Hyaena and other extinct
   Mammalia in Somersetshire.
Caves of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales.
Rhinoceros hemitoechus.
Ossiferous Caves near Palermo.
Sicily once part of Africa.
Rise of Bed of the Mediterranean to the Height of three hundred
   Feet in the Human Period in Sardinia.
Burial-place of Pleistocene Date of Aurignac in the South of France.
Rhinoceros tichorhinus eaten by Man.
M. Lartet on extinct Mammalia and Works of Art found in the
   Aurignac Cave.
Relative Antiquity of the same considered.



Question as to the Authenticity of the Fossil Man of Denise,
   near Le Puy-en-Velay, considered.
Antiquity of the Human Race implied by that Fossil.
Successive Periods of Volcanic Action in Central France.
With what Changes in the Mammalian Fauna they correspond.
The Elephas meridionalis anterior in Time to the Implement-bearing
   Gravel of St. Acheul.
Authenticity of the Human Fossil of Natchez on the Mississippi
The Natchez Deposit, containing Bones of Mastodon and Megalonyx,
   probably not older than the Flint Implements of St. Acheul.



Chronological Relation of the Glacial Period, and the earliest
   known Signs of Man's Appearance in Europe.
Series of Tertiary Deposits in Norfolk and Suffolk immediately
   antecedent to the Glacial Period.
Gradual Refrigeration of Climate proved by the Marine Shells
   of successive Groups.
Marine Newer Pliocene Shells of Northern Character near Woodbridge.
Section of the Norfolk Cliffs.
Norwich Crag.
Forest Bed and Fluvio-marine Strata.
Fossil Plants and Mammalia of the same.
Overlying Boulder Clay and Contorted Drift.
Newer freshwater Formation of Mundesley compared to that of Hoxne.
Great Oscillations of Level implied by the Series of Strata
   in the Norfolk Cliffs.
Earliest known Date of Man long subsequent to the existing
   Fauna and Flora.



Chronological Relations of the Close of the Glacial Period
   and the earliest geological Signs of the Appearance of Man.
Effects of Glaciers and Icebergs in polishing and scoring Rocks.
Scandinavia once encrusted with Ice like Greenland.
Outward Movement of Continental Ice in Greenland.
Mild Climate of Greenland in the Miocene Period.
Erratics of Recent Period in Sweden.
Glacial State of Sweden in the Pleistocene Period.
Scotland formerly encrusted with Ice.
Its subsequent Submergence and Re-elevation.
Latest Changes produced by Glaciers in Scotland.
Remains of the Mammoth and Reindeer in Scotch Boulder Clay.
Parallel Roads of Glen Roy formed in Glacier Lakes.
Comparatively modern Date of these Shelves.



Signs of extinct Glaciers in Wales.
Great Submergence of Wales during the Glacial Period
    proved by Marine Shells.
Still greater Depression inferred from Stratified Drift.
Scarcity of Organic Remains in Glacial Formations.
Signs of extinct Glaciers in England.
Ice Action in Ireland.
Maps illustrating successive Revolutions in Physical Geography
   during the Pleistocene Period.
Southernmost Extent of Erratics in England.
Successive Periods of Junction and Separation of England, Ireland,
   and the Continent.
Time required for these Changes.
Probable Causes of the Upheaval and Subsidence of the Earth's Crust.
Antiquity of Man considered in relation to the Age of the existing
   Fauna and Flora.



Extinct Glaciers of Switzerland.
Alpine Erratic Blocks on the Jura.
Not transported by floating Ice.
Extinct Glaciers of the Italian Side of the Alps.
Theory of the Origin of Lake-Basins by the erosive Action
   of Glaciers considered.
Successive phases in the Development of Glacial Action in the Alps.
Probable Relation of these to the earliest known Date of Man.
Correspondence of the same with successive Changes in the
   Glacial Condition of the Scandinavian and British Mountains.
Cold Period in Sicily and Syria.



Nature, Origin, and Age of the Loess of the Rhine and Danube.
Impalpable Mud produced by the Grinding Action of Glaciers.
Dispersion of this Mud at the Period of the Retreat of the
   great Alpine Glaciers.
Continuity of the Loess from Switzerland to the Low Countries.
Characteristic Organic Remains not Lacustrine.
Alpine Gravel in the Valley of the Rhine covered by Loess.
Geographical Distribution of the Loess and its Height above the Sea.
Fossil Mammalia.
Loess of the Danube.
Oscillations in the Level of the Alps and lower Country required
   to explain the Formation and Denudation of the Loess.
More rapid Movement of the Inland Country.
The same Depression and Upheaval might account for the
   Advance and Retreat of the Alpine Glaciers.
Himalayan Mud of the Plains of the Ganges compared to
   European Loess.
Human Remains in Loess near Maestricht, and their probable



Geological Structure of the Island of Moen.
Great Disturbances of the Chalk posterior in Date to the
   Glacial Drift, with Recent Shells.
M. Puggaard's Sections of the Cliffs of Moen.
Flexures and Faults common to the Chalk and Glacial Drift.
Different Direction of the Lines of successive Movement,
   Fracture, and Flexure.
Undisturbed Condition of the Rocks in the adjoining Danish Islands.
Unequal Movements of Upheaval in Finmark.
Earthquake of New Zealand in 1855.
Predominance in all Ages of uniform Continental Movements
   over those by which the Rocks are locally convulsed.



Post-glacial Strata containing Remains of Mastodon giganteus
   in North America.
Scarcity of Marine Shells in Glacial Drift of Canada and the
   United States.
Greater southern Extension of Ice-action in North America than
   in Europe.
Trains of Erratic Blocks of vast Size in Berkshire, Massachusetts.
Description of their Linear Arrangement and Points of Departure.
Their Transportation referred to Floating and Coast Ice.
General Remarks on the Causes of former Changes of Climate
   at successive geological Epochs.
Supposed Effects of the Diversion of the Gulf Stream in a
   Northerly instead of North-Easterly Direction.
Development of extreme Cold on the opposite Sides of the Atlantic
   in the Glacial period not strictly simultaneous.
Effect of Marine Currents on Climate.
Pleistocene Submergence of the Sahara.



Recapitulation of Results arrived at in the earlier Chapters.
Ages of Stone and Bronze.
Danish Peat and Kitchen-Middens.
Swiss Lake-Dwellings.
Local Changes in Vegetation and in the wild and domesticated
   Animals and in Physical Geography coeval with the Age of
   Bronze and the later Stone Period.
Estimates of the positive Date of some Deposits of the later
   Stone Period.
Ancient Division of the Age of Stone of St. Acheul and Aurignac.
Migrations of Man in that Period from the Continent to England
   in Post-Glacial Times.
Slow Rate of Progress in barbarous Ages.
Doctrine of the superior Intelligence and Endowments of the
   original Stock of Mankind considered.
Opinions of the Greeks and Romans, and their Coincidence with
   those of the Modern Progressionist.



Antiquity and Persistence in Character of the existing Races
   of Mankind.
Theory of their Unity of Origin considered.
Bearing of the Diversity of Races on the Doctrine of Transmutation.
Difficulty of defining the Terms "Species" and "Race."
Lamarck's Introduction of the Element of Time into the Definition
   of a Species.
His Theory of Variation and Progression.
Objections to his Theory, how far answered.
Arguments of modern Writers in favour of Progression in the
   Animal and Vegetable World.
The old Landmarks supposed to indicate the first Appearance of Man,
   and of different Classes of Animals, found to be erroneous.
Yet the Theory of an advancing Series of Organic Beings not
   inconsistent with Facts.
Earliest known Fossil Mammalia of low Grade.
No Vertebrata as yet discovered in the oldest Fossiliferous Rocks.
Objections to the Theory of Progression considered.
Causes of the Popularity of the Doctrine of Progression as
   compared to that of Transmutation.



Mr. Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.
Memoir by Mr. Wallace.
Manner in which favoured Races prevail in the Struggle for
Formation of new Races by breeding.
Hypotheses of definite and indefinite Modifiability equally
Competition and Extinction of Races.
Progression not a necessary Accompaniment of Variation.
Distinct Classes of Phenomena which Natural Selection explains.
Unity of Type, Rudimentary Organs, Geographical Distribution,
   Relation of the extinct to the living Fauna and Flora,
   and mutual Relations of successive Groups of Fossil Forms.
Light thrown on Embryological Development by Natural Selection.
Why large Genera have more variable Species than small ones.
Dr. Hooker on the Evidence afforded by the Vegetable Kingdom
   in favour of Creation by Variation.
Steenstrup on alternation of Generations.
How far the Doctrine of Independent Creation is opposed to the
   Laws now governing the Migration of Species.



Statement of Objections to the Hypothesis of Transmutation
   founded on the Absence of Intermediate Forms.
Genera of which the Species are closely allied.
Occasional Discovery of the missing Links in a Fossil State.
Davidson's Monograph on the Brachiopoda.
Why the Gradational Forms, when found, are not accepted as
   Evidence of Transmutation.
Gaps caused by Extinction of Races and Species.
Vast Tertiary Periods during which this Extinction has been going
   on in the Fauna and Flora now existing.
Genealogical Bond between Miocene and Recent Plants and Insects.
Fossils of Oeningen.
Species of Insects in Britain and North America represented by
   distinct Varieties.
Falconer's Monograph on living and fossil Elephants.
Fossil Species and Genera of the Horse Tribe in North and
   South America.
Relation of the Pliocene Mammalia of North America, Asia,
   and Europe.
Species of Mammalia, though less persistent than the Mollusca,
   change slowly.
Arguments for and against Transmutation derived from the
   Absence of Mammalia in Islands.
Imperfection of the Geological Record.
Intercalation of newly discovered Formation of intermediate Age
   in the chronological Series.
Reference of the St. Cassian Beds to the Triassic Periods.
Discovery of new organic Types.
Feathered Archaeopteryx of the Oolite.



Aryan Hypothesis and Controversy.
The Races of Mankind change more slowly than their Languages.
Theory of the gradual Origin of Languages.
Difficulty of defining what is meant by a Language as distinct
   from a Dialect.
Great Number of extinct and living Tongues.
No European Language a Thousand Years old.
Gaps between Languages, how caused.
Imperfection of the Record.
Changes always in Progress.
Struggle for Existence between rival Terms and Dialects.
Causes of Selection.
Each Language formed slowly in a single Geographical Area.
May die out gradually or suddenly.
Once lost can never be revived.
Mode of Origin of Languages and Species a Mystery.
Speculations as to the Number of original Languages or
   Species unprofitable.



Whether Man can be regarded as an Exception to the Rule if the
   Doctrine of Transmutation be embraced for the rest of the
   Animal Kingdom.
Zoological Relations of Man to other Mammalia.
Systems of Classification.
Term Quadrumanous, why deceptive.
Whether the Structure of the Human Brain entitles Man to form
   a distinct Sub-class of the Mammalia.
Intelligence of the lower Animals compared to the Intellect and
   Reason of Man.
Grounds on which Man has been referred to a distinct Kingdom
   of Nature.
Immaterial Principle common to Man and Animals.
Non-discovery of intermediate Links among Fossil Anthropomorphous
Hallam on the compound Nature of Man, and his Place in the Creation.
Great Inequality of mental Endowment in different Human Races and
   Individuals developed by Variation and ordinary Generation.
How far a corresponding Divergence in physical Structure may
   result from the Working of the same Causes.
Concluding remarks.















   Cyrena fluminalis.



FIGURE 17. Cyrena fluminalis, O.F. Muller, sp.

FIGURE 18. Elephas primigenius.

FIGURE 19. Elephas antiquus, Falconer.

FIGURE 20. Elephas meridionalis, Nesti.








FIGURE 28. Cyclas (Pisidium) amnica var.(?)






FIGURE 34. Paludina marginata, Michaud (P. minuta, Strickland).
   Hydrobia marginata.







   OF 600 FEET.

   600 FEET.



FIGURE 44. Succinea oblonga.

FIGURE 45. Pupa muscorum.

FIGURE 46. Helix hispida, Lin.; H. plebeia, Drap.

















Preliminary Remarks on the Subjects treated of in this Work.
Definition of the Terms Recent and Pleistocene.
Tabular View of the entire Series of Fossiliferous Strata.

No subject has lately excited more curiosity and general interest
among geologists and the public than the question of the Antiquity
of the Human Race--whether or no we have sufficient evidence in
caves, or in the superficial deposits commonly called drift or
"diluvium," to prove the former co-existence of man with certain
extinct mammalia. For the last half-century the occasional
occurrence in various parts of Europe of the bones of Man or the
works of his hands in cave-breccias and stalagmites, associated
with the remains of the extinct hyaena, bear, elephant, or
rhinoceros, has given rise to a suspicion that the date of Man must
be carried farther back than we had heretofore imagined. On the
other hand extreme reluctance was naturally felt on the part of
scientific reasoners to admit the validity of such evidence, seeing
that so many caves have been inhabited by a succession of tenants
and have been selected by Man as a place not only of domicile, but
of sepulture, while some caves have also served as the channels
through which the waters of occasional land-floods or engulfed
rivers have flowed, so that the remains of living beings which have
peopled the district at more than one era may have subsequently
been mingled in such caverns and confounded together in one and the
same deposit. But the facts brought to light in 1858, during the
systematic investigation of the Brixham cave, near Torquay in
Devonshire, which will be described in the sequel, excited anew the
curiosity of the British public and prepared the way for a general
admission that scepticism in regard to the bearing of cave evidence
in favour of the antiquity of Man had previously been pushed to an

Since that period many of the facts formerly adduced in favour of
the co-existence in ancient times of Man with certain species of
mammalia long since extinct have been re-examined in England and on
the Continent, and new cases bearing on the same question, whether
relating to caves or to alluvial strata in valleys, have been
brought to light. To qualify myself for the appreciation and
discussion of these cases, I have visited in the course of the last
three years many parts of England, France, and Belgium, and have
communicated personally or by letter with not a few of the
geologists, English and foreign, who have taken part in these
researches. Besides explaining in the present volume the results of
this inquiry, I shall give a description of the glacial formations
of Europe and North America, that I may allude to the theories
entertained respecting their origin, and consider their probable
relations in a chronological point of view to the human epoch, and
why throughout a great part of the northern hemisphere they so
often interpose an abrupt barrier to all attempts to trace farther
back into the past the signs of the existence of Man upon the

In the concluding chapters I shall offer a few remarks on the
recent modifications of the Lamarckian theory of progressive
development and transmutation, which are suggested by Mr. Darwin's
work on the "Origin of Species by Variation and Natural Selection,"
and the bearing of this hypothesis on the different races of
mankind and their connection with other parts of the animal


Some preliminary explanation of the nomenclature adopted in the
following pages will be indispensable, that the meaning attached to
the terms Recent, Pleistocene, and Post-Tertiary may be correctly
understood. [Note 1.]

Previously to the year 1833, when I published the third volume of
the "Principles of Geology," the strata called Tertiary had been
divided by geologists into Lower, Middle, and Upper; the Lower
comprising the oldest formations of the environs of Paris and
London, with others of like age; the Middle, those of Bordeaux and
Touraine; and the Upper, all that lay above or were newer than the
last-mentioned group.

When engaged in 1828 in preparing for the press the treatise on
geology above alluded to, I conceived the idea of classing the
whole of this series of strata according to the different degrees
of affinity which their fossil testacea bore to the living fauna.
Having obtained information on this subject during my travels on
the Continent, I learnt that M. Deshayes of Paris, already
celebrated as a conchologist, had been led independently by the
study of a large collection of Recent and fossil shells to very
similar views respecting the possibility of arranging the Tertiary
formations in chronological order, according to the proportional
number of species of shells identical with living ones, which
characterised each of the successive groups above mentioned. After
comparing 3000 fossil species with 5000 living ones, the result
arrived at was, that in the lower Tertiary strata there were about
3 1/2 per cent identical with Recent; in the middle Tertiary (the
faluns of the Loire and Gironde), about 17 per cent; and in the
upper tertiary, from 35 to 50, and sometimes in the most modern
beds as much as 90 to 95 per cent.

For the sake of clearness and brevity, I proposed to give short
technical names to these sets of strata, or the periods to which
they respectively belonged. I called the first or oldest of them
Eocene, the second Miocene, and the third Pliocene. The first of
the above terms, Eocene, is derived from Greek eos, dawn, and Greek
kainos, recent; because an extremely small proportion of the fossil
shells of this period could be referred to living species, so that
this era seemed to indicate the dawn of the present testaceous
fauna, no living species of shells having been detected in the
antecedent or Secondary rocks.

Some conchologists are now unwilling to allow that any Eocene
species of shell has really survived to our times so unaltered as
to allow of its specific identification with a living species. I
cannot enter in this place into this wide controversy. It is enough
at present to remark that the character of the Eocene fauna, as
contrasted with that of the antecedent Secondary formations, wears
a very modern aspect, and that some able living conchologists still
maintain that there are Eocene shells not specifically
distinguishable from those now extant; though they may be fewer in
number than was supposed in 1833.

The term Miocene (from Greek meion, less; and Greek kainos, recent)
is intended to express a minor proportion of Recent species (of
testacea); the term Pliocene (from Greek pleion, more; and Greek
kainos, recent), a comparative plurality of the same.

It has sometimes been objected to this nomenclature that certain
species of infusoria found in the chalk are still existing, and, on
the other hand, the Miocene and Older Pliocene deposits often
contain the remains of mammalia, reptiles, and fish, exclusively of
extinct species. But the reader must bear in mind that the terms
Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene were originally invented with
reference purely to conchological data, and in that sense have
always been and are still used by me.

Since the first introduction of the terms above defined, the number
of new living species of shells obtained from different parts of
the globe has been exceedingly great, supplying fresh data for
comparison, and enabling the palaeontologist to correct many
erroneous identifications of fossil and Recent forms. New species
also have been collected in abundance from Tertiary formations of
every age, while newly discovered groups of strata have filled up
gaps in the previously known series. Hence modifications and
reforms have been called for in the classifications first proposed.
The Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene periods have been made to
comprehend certain sets of strata of which the fossils do not
always conform strictly in the proportion of Recent to extinct
species with the definitions first given by me, or which are
implied in the etymology of those terms. These innovations have
been treated of in my "Elements or Manual of Elementary Geology,"
and in the Supplement to the fifth edition of the same, published
in 1859, where some modifications of my classification, as first
proposed, are introduced; but I need not dwell on these on the
present occasion, as the only formations with which we shall be
concerned in the present volume are those of the most modern date,
or the Post-Tertiary. It will be convenient to divide these into
two groups, the Recent and the Pleistocene. In the Recent we may
comprehend those deposits in which not only all the shells but all
the fossil mammalia are of living species; in the Pleistocene those
strata in which, the shells being Recent, a portion, and often a
considerable one, of the accompanying fossil quadrupeds belongs to
extinct species.

Cases will occur where it may be scarcely possible to draw the line
of demarcation between the Newer Pliocene and Pleistocene, or
between the latter and the recent deposits; and we must expect
these difficulties to increase rather than diminish with every
advance in our knowledge, and in proportion as gaps are filled up
in the series of geological records.

The annexed tabular view (Table 1/1) of the whole series of
fossiliferous strata will enable the reader to see at a glance the
chronological relation of the Recent and Pleistocene to the
antecedent periods. [Note 2.]


  Pleistocene and Recent.


  Devonian or old Red Sandstone.




   Restored by Dr. F. Keller, partly from Dumont D'Urville's
   Sketch of similar habitations in New Guinea.)

Works of Art in Danish Peat-Mosses.
Remains of three Periods of Vegetation in the Peat.
Ages of Stone, Bronze, and Iron.
Shell-Mounds or ancient Refuse-Heaps of the Danish Islands.
Change in geographical Distribution of Marine Mollusca
   since their Origin.
Embedded Remains of Mammalia of Recent Species.
Human Skulls of the same Period.
Swiss Lake-Dwellings built on Piles.
Stone and Bronze Implements found in them.
Fossil Cereals and other Plants.
Remains of Mammalia, wild and domesticated.
No extinct Species.
Chronological Computations of the Date of the Bronze and
   Stone Periods in Switzerland.
Lake-Dwellings, or artificial Islands called "Crannoges,"
  in Ireland.


When treating in the "Principles of Geology" of the changes of the
earth which have taken place in comparatively modern times, I have
spoken of the embedding of organic bodies and human remains in
peat, and explained under what conditions the growth of that
vegetable substance is going on in northern and humid climates. Of
late years, since I first alluded to the subject, more extensive
investigations have been made into the history of the Danish
peat-mosses. Of the results of these inquiries I shall give a brief
abstract in the present chapter, that we may afterwards compare
them with deposits of older date, which throw light on the
antiquity of the human race.

The deposits of peat in Denmark,* varying in depth from 10 to 30
feet, have been formed in hollows or depressions in the northern
drift or boulder formation hereafter to be described. (* An
excellent account of these researches of Danish naturalists and
antiquaries has been drawn up by an able Swiss geologist, M.A.
Morlot, and will be found in the "Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise
des Sci. Nat." tome 6 Lausanne 1860.) The lowest stratum, 2 to 3
feet thick, consists of swamp-peat composed chiefly of moss or
sphagnum, above which lies another growth of peat, not made up
exclusively of aquatic or swamp plants. Around the borders of the
bogs, and at various depths in them, lie trunks of trees,
especially of the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris), often 3 feet in
diameter, which must have grown on the margin of the peat-mosses,
and have frequently fallen into them. This tree is not now, nor has
ever been in historical times, a native of the Danish Islands, and
when introduced there has not thriven; yet it was evidently
indigenous in the human period, for Steenstrup has taken out with
his own hands a flint instrument from below a buried trunk of one
of these pines. It appears clear that the same Scotch fir was
afterwards supplanted by the sessile variety of the common oak, of
which many prostrate trunks occur in the peat at higher levels than
the pines; and still higher the pedunculated variety of the same
oak (Quercus robur, L.) occurs with the alder, birch (Betula
verrucosa, Ehrh.), and hazel. The oak has now in its turn been
almost superseded in Denmark by the common beech. Other trees, such
as the white birch (Betula alba), characterise the lower part of
the bogs, and disappear from the higher; while others again, like
the aspen (Populus tremula), occur at all levels, and still
flourish in Denmark. All the land and freshwater shells, and all
the mammalia as well as the plants, whose remains occur buried in
the Danish peat, are of Recent species. [Note 3.]

It has been stated, that a stone implement was found under a buried
Scotch fir at a great depth in the peat. By collecting and studying
a vast variety of such implements, and other articles of human
workmanship preserved in peat and in sand-dunes on the coast, as
also in certain shell-mounds of the aborigines presently to be
described, the Danish and Swedish antiquaries and naturalists, MM.
Nilsson, Steenstrup, Forchhammer, Thomsen, Worsaae, and others,
have succeeded in establishing a chronological succession of
periods, which they have called the ages of stone, of bronze, and
of iron, named from the materials which have each in their turn
served for the fabrication of implements.

The age of stone in Denmark coincided with the period of the first
vegetation, or that of the Scotch fir, and in part at least with
the second vegetation, or that of the oak. But a considerable
portion of the oak epoch coincided with "the age of bronze," for
swords and shields of that metal, now in the Museum of Copenhagen,
have been taken out of peat in which oaks abound. The age of iron
corresponded more nearly with that of the beech tree.* (* Morlot
"Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sci. Nat." tome 6 page 292.)
[Note 4.]

M. Morlot, to whom we are indebted for a masterly sketch of the
recent progress of this new line of research, followed up with so
much success in Scandinavia and Switzerland, observes that the
introduction of the first tools made of bronze among a people
previously ignorant of the use of metals, implies a great advance
in the arts, for bronze is an alloy of about nine parts of copper
and one of tin; and although the former metal, copper, is by no
means rare, and is occasionally found pure or in a native state,
tin is not only scarce but never occurs native. To detect the
existence of this metal in its ore, then to disengage it from the
matrix, and finally, after blending it in due proportion with
copper, to cast the fused mixture in a mould, allowing time for it
to acquire hardness by slow cooling, all this bespeaks no small
sagacity and skilful manipulation. Accordingly, the pottery found
associated with weapons of bronze is of a more ornamental and
tasteful style than any which belongs to the age of stone. Some of
the moulds in which the bronze instruments were cast, and "tags,"
as they are called, of bronze, which are formed in the hole through
which the fused metal was poured, have been found. The number and
variety of objects belonging to the age of bronze indicates its
long duration, as does the progress in the arts implied by the
rudeness of the earlier tools, often mere repetitions of those of
the stone age, as contrasted with the more skilfully worked weapons
of a later stage of the same period.

It has been suggested that an age of copper must always have
intervened between that of stone and bronze; but if so, the
interval seems to have been short in Europe, owing apparently to
the territory occupied by the aboriginal inhabitants having been
invaded and conquered by a people coming from the East, to whom the
use of swords, spears, and other weapons of bronze was familiar.
Hatchets, however, of copper have been found in the Danish peat.

The next stage of improvement, or that manifested by the
substitution of iron for bronze, indicates another stride in the
progress of the arts. Iron never presents itself, except in
meteorites, in a native state, so that to recognise its ores, and
then to separate the metal from its matrix, demands no
inconsiderable exercise of the powers of observation and invention.
To fuse the ore requires an intense heat, not to be obtained
without artificial appliances, such as pipes inflated by the human
breath, or bellows, or some other suitable machinery.


(* Mr. John Lubbock published, after these sheets were written, an
able paper on the Danish "Shell-mounds" in the October number of
the "Natural History Review" 1861 page 489, in which he has
described the results of a recent visit to Denmark, made by him in
company with Mr. Busk.)

In addition to the peat-mosses, another class of memorials found in
Denmark has thrown light on the pre-historical age. At certain
points along the shores of nearly all the Danish islands, mounds
may be seen, consisting chiefly of thousands of cast-away shells of
the oyster, cockle, and other molluscs of the same species as those
which are now eaten by Man. These shells are plentifully mixed up
with the bones of various quadrupeds, birds, and fish, which served
as the food of the rude hunters and fishers by whom the mounds were
accumulated. I have seen similar large heaps of oysters, and other
marine shells with interspersed stone implements, near the
seashore, both in Massachusetts and in Georgia, U.S.A., left by the
native North American Indians at points near to which they were in
the habit of pitching their wigwams for centuries before the white
man arrived.

Such accumulations are called by the Danes, Kjokkenmodding, or
"kitchen-middens." Scattered all through them are flint knives,
hatchets, and other instruments of stone, horn, wood, and bone,
with fragments of coarse pottery, mixed with charcoal and cinders,
but never any implements of bronze, still less of iron. The stone
hatchets and knives had been sharpened by rubbing, and in this
respect are one degree less rude than those of an older date,
associated in France with the bones of extinct mammalia, of which
more in the sequel. The mounds vary in height from 3 to 10 feet,
and in area are some of them 1000 feet long, and from 150 to 200
wide. They are rarely placed more than 10 feet above the level of
the sea, and are confined to its immediate neighbourhood, or if not
(and there are cases where they are several miles from the shore),
the distance is ascribable to the entrance of a small stream, which
has deposited sediment, or to the growth of a peaty swamp, by which
the land has been made to advance on the Baltic, as it is still
doing in many places, aided, according to Puggaard, by a very slow
upheaval of the whole country at the rate of 2 or 3 inches in a

There is also another geographical fact equally in favour of the
antiquity of the mounds, namely, that they are wanting on those
parts of the coast which border the Western Ocean, or exactly where
the waves are now slowly eating away the land. There is every
reason to presume that originally there were stations along the
coast of the North Sea as well as that of the Baltic, but by the
gradual undermining of the cliffs they have all been swept away.

Another striking proof, perhaps the most conclusive of all, that
the "kitchen-middens" are very old, is derived from the character
of their embedded shells. These consist entirely of living species;
but, in the first place, the common eatable oyster is among them,
attaining its full size, whereas the same Ostrea edulis cannot live
at present in the brackish waters of the Baltic except near its
entrance, where, whenever a north-westerly gale prevails, a current
setting in from the ocean pours in a great body of salt water. Yet
it seems that during the whole time of the accumulation of the
"kitchen-middens" the oyster flourished in places from which it is
now excluded. In like manner the eatable cockle, mussel, and
periwinkle (Cardium edule, Mytilus edulis, and Littorina littorea),
which are met with in great numbers in the "middens," are of the
ordinary dimensions which they acquire in the ocean, whereas the
same species now living in the adjoining parts of the Baltic only
attain a third of their natural size, being stunted and dwarfed in
their growth by the quantity of fresh water poured by rivers into
that inland sea.* (* See "Principles of Geology" chapter 30.) Hence
we may confidently infer that in the days of the aboriginal hunters
and fishers, the ocean had freer access than now to the Baltic,
communicating probably through the peninsula of Jutland, Jutland
having been at no remote period an archipelago. Even in the course
of the nineteenth century, the salt waters have made one irruption
into the Baltic by the Lymfiord, although they have been now again
excluded. It is also affirmed that other channels were open in
historical times which are now silted up.* (* See Morlot "Bulletin
de la Societe Vaudoise des Sci. Nat." tome 6.)

If we next turn to the remains of vertebrata preserved in the
mounds, we find that here also, as in the Danish peat-mosses, all
the quadrupeds belong to species known to have inhabited Europe
within the memory of Man. No remains of the mammoth, or rhinoceros,
or of any extinct species appear, except those of the wild bull
(Bos urus, Linn., or Bos primigenius, Bojanus), which are in such
numbers as to prove that the species was a favourite food of the
ancient people. But as this animal was seen by Julius Caesar, and
survived long after his time, its presence alone would not go far
to prove the mounds to be of high antiquity. The Lithuanian aurochs
or bison (Bos bison, L., Bos priscus, Boj.), which has escaped
extirpation only because protected by the Russian Czars, surviving
in one forest in Lithuania) has not yet been met with, but will no
doubt be detected hereafter, as it has been already found in the
Danish peat. The beaver, long since destroyed in Denmark, occurs
frequently, as does the seal (Phoca Gryppus, Fab.), now very rare
on the Danish coast. With these are mingled bones of the red deer
and roe, but the reindeer has not yet been found. There are also
the bones of many carnivora, such as the lynx, fox, and wolf, but
no signs of any domesticated animals except the dog. The long bones
of the larger mammalia have been all broken as if by some
instrument, in such a manner as to allow of the extraction of the
marrow, and the gristly parts have been gnawed off, as if by dogs,
to whose agency is also attributed the almost entire absence of the
bones of young birds and of the smaller bones and softer parts of
the skeletons of birds in general, even of those of large size. In
reference to the latter, it has been proved experimentally by
Professor Steenstrup, that if the same species of birds are now
given to dogs, they will devour those parts of the skeleton which
are missing, and leave just those which are preserved in the old

The dogs of the mounds, the only domesticated animals, are of a
smaller race than those of the bronze period, as shown by the
peat-mosses, and the dogs of the bronze age are inferior in size
and strength to those of the iron age. The domestic ox, horse, and
sheep, which are wanting in the mounds, are confined to that part
of the Danish peat which was formed in the ages of bronze and iron.

Among the bones of birds, scarcely any are more frequent in the
mounds than those of the auk (Alca impennis), now extinct. The
Capercailzie (Tetrao urogallus) is also met with, and may, it is
suggested, have fed on the buds of the Scotch fir in times when
that tree flourished around the peat-bogs. The different stages of
growth of the roedeer's horns, and the presence of the wild swan,
now only a winter visitor, have been appealed to as proving that
the aborigines resided in the same settlements all the year round.
That they also ventured out to sea in canoes such as are now found
in the peat-mosses, hollowed out of the trunk of a single tree, to
catch fish far from land, is testified by the bony relics of
several deep-sea species, such as the herring, cod, and flounder.
The ancient people were not cannibals, for no human bones are
mingled with the spoils of the chase. Skulls, however, have been
obtained not only from peat, but from tumuli of the stone period
believed to be contemporaneous with the mounds. These skulls are
small and round, and have a prominent ridge over the orbits of the
eyes, showing that the ancient race was of small stature, with
round heads and overhanging eyebrows--in short, they bore a
considerable resemblance to the modern Laplanders. The human skulls
of the bronze age found in the Danish peat, and those of the iron
period, are of an elongated form and larger size. There appear to
be very few well-authenticated examples of crania referable to the
bronze period--a circumstance no doubt attributable to the custom
prevalent among the people of that era of burning their dead and
collecting their bones in funeral urns.

No traces of grain of any sort have hitherto been discovered, nor
any other indication that the ancient people had any knowledge of
agriculture. The only vegetable remains in the mounds are burnt
pieces of wood and some charred substance referred by Dr.
Forchhammer to the Zostera marina, a sea plant which was perhaps
used in the production of salt.

What may be the antiquity of the earliest human remains preserved
in the Danish peat cannot be estimated in centuries with any
approach to accuracy. In the first place, in going back to the
bronze age, we already find ourselves beyond the reach of history
or even of tradition. In the time of the Romans the Danish Isles
were covered, as now, with magnificent beech forests. Nowhere in
the world does this tree flourish more luxuriantly than in Denmark,
and eighteen centuries seem to have done little or nothing towards
modifying the character of the forest vegetation. Yet in the
antecedent bronze period there were no beech trees, or at most but
a few stragglers, the country being then covered with oak. In the
age of stone again, the Scotch fir prevailed, and already there
were human inhabitants in those old pine forests. How many
generations of each species of tree flourished in succession before
the pine was supplanted by the oak, and the oak by the beech, can
be but vaguely conjectured, but the minimum of time required for
the formation of so much peat must, according to the estimate of
Steenstrup and other good authorities, have amounted to at least
4000 years; and there is nothing in the observed rate of the growth
of peat opposed to the conclusion that the number of centuries may
not have been four times as great, even though the signs of Man's
existence have not yet been traced down to the lowest or amorphous
stratum. As to the "kitchen-middens," they correspond in date to
the older portion of the peaty record, or to the earliest part of
the age of stone as known in Denmark.


In the shallow parts of many Swiss lakes, where there is a depth of
no more than from 5 to 15 feet of water, ancient wooden piles are
observed at the bottom sometimes worn down to the surface of the
mud, sometimes projecting slightly above it. These have evidently
once supported villages, nearly all of them of unknown date, but
the most ancient of which certainly belonged to the age of stone,
for hundreds of implements resembling those of the Danish
shell-mounds and peat-mosses have been dredged up from the mud into
which the piles were driven.

The earliest historical account of such habitations is that given
by Herodotus of a Thracian tribe, who dwelt, in the year 520 B.C.,
in Prasias, a small mountain-lake of Paeonia, now part of modern
Roumelia.* (* Herodotus lib. 5 cap. 16. Rediscovered by M. de Ville
"Natural History Review" volume 2 1862 page 486.)

Their habitations were constructed on platforms raised above the
lake, and resting on piles. They were connected with the shore by a
narrow causeway of similar formation. Such platforms must have been
of considerable extent, for the Paeonians lived there with their
families and horses. Their food consisted largely of the fish which
the lake produced in abundance.

In rude and unsettled times, such insular sites afforded safe
retreats, all communication with the mainland being cut off, except
by boats, or by such wooden bridges as could be easily removed.

The Swiss lake-dwellings seem first to have attracted attention
during the dry winter of 1853-54, when the lakes and rivers sank
lower than had ever been previously known, and when the inhabitants
of Meilen, on the Lake of Zurich, resolved to raise the level of
some ground and turn it into land, by throwing mud upon it obtained
by dredging in the adjoining shallow water. During these dredging
operations they discovered a number of wooden piles deeply driven
into the bed of the lake, and among them a great many hammers,
axes, celts, and other instruments. All these belonged to the stone
period with two exceptions, namely, an armlet of thin brass wire,
and a small bronze hatchet.

Fragments of rude pottery fashioned by the hand were abundant, also
masses of charred wood, supposed to have formed parts of the
platform on which the wooden cabins were built. Of this burnt
timber, on this and other sites, subsequently explored, there was
such an abundance as to lead to the conclusion that many of the
settlements must have perished by fire. Herodotus has recorded that
the Paeonians, above alluded to, preserved their independence
during the Persian invasion, and defied the attacks of Darius by
aid of the peculiar position of their dwellings. "But their
safety," observes Mr. Wylie,* (* W.M. Wylie "Archaeologia" volume
38 1859, a valuable paper on the Swiss and Irish lake-habitations.)
"was probably owing to their living in the middle of the lake,
(Greek) en mese te limne, whereas the ancient Swiss settlers were
compelled by the rapidly increasing depth of the water near the
margins of their lakes to construct their habitations at a short
distance from the shore, within easy bowshot of the land, and
therefore not out of reach of fiery projectiles, against which
thatched roofs and wooden walls could present but a poor defence."
To these circumstances and to accidental fires we are probably
indebted for the frequent preservation, in the mud around the site
of the old settlements, of the most precious tools and works of
art, such as would never have been thrown into the Danish
"kitchen-middens," which have been aptly compared to a modern

Dr. Ferdinand Keller of Zurich has drawn up a series of most
instructive memoirs, illustrated with well-executed plates, of the
treasures in stone, bronze, and bone brought to light in these
subaqueous repositories, and has given an ideal restoration of part
of one of the old villages (see Plate 1 above),* such as he
conceives may have existed on the lakes of Zurich and Bienne. (*
Keller "Pfahlbauten, Antiquarische Gesellschaft in Zurich" Bd. 12
and 13 1858-1861. In the fifth number of the "Natural History
Review" January 9, 1862, Mr. Lubbock has published an excellent
account of the works of the Swiss writers on their
lake-habitations.) In this view, however, he has not simply trusted
to his imagination, but has availed himself of a sketch published
by M. Dumont d'Urville, of similar habitations of the Papuans in
New Guinea in the Bay of Dorei. It is also stated by Dr. Keller,
that on the River Limmat, near Zurich, so late as the last century,
there were several fishing-huts constructed on this same plan.* (*
Keller "Pfahlbauten, Antiquarische Gesellschaft in Zurich" Bd. 9
page 81 note.) It will be remarked that one of the cabins is
represented as circular. That such was the form of many in
Switzerland is inferred from the shape of pieces of clay which
lined the interior, and which owe their preservation apparently to
their having been hardened by fire when the village was burnt. In
the sketch (Plate 1), some fishing-nets are seen spread out to dry
on the wooden platform. The Swiss archaeologist has found abundant
evidence of fishing-gear, consisting of pieces of cord, hooks, and
stones used as weights. A canoe also is introduced, such as are
occasionally met with. One of these, made of the trunk of a single
tree, fifty feet long and three and a half feet wide, was found
capsized at the bottom of the Lake of Bienne. It appears to have
been laden with stones, such as were used to raise the foundation
of some of the artificial islands.

It is believed that as many as 300 wooden huts were sometimes
comprised in one settlement, and that they may have contained about
1000 inhabitants. At Wangen, M. Lohle has calculated that 40,000
piles were used, probably not all planted at one time nor by one
generation. Among the works of great merit devoted specially to a
description of the Swiss lake-habitations is that of M. Troyon,
published in 1860.* (* "Sur les Habitations lacustres.") The number
of sites which he and other authors have already enumerated in
Switzerland is truly wonderful. They occur on the large lakes of
Constance, Zurich, Geneva, and Neufchatel, and on most of the
smaller ones. Some are exclusively of the stone age, others of the
bronze period. Of these last more than twenty are spoken of on the
Lake of Geneva alone, more than forty on that of Neufchatel, and
twenty on the small Lake of Bienne.

One of the sites first studied by the Swiss antiquaries was the
small lake of Moosseedorf, near Berne, where implements of stone,
horn, and bone, but none of metal, were obtained. Although the
flint here employed must have come from a distance (probably from
the south of France), the chippings of the material are in such
profusion as to imply that there was a manufactory of implements on
the spot. Here also, as in several other settlements, hatchets and
wedges of jade have been observed of a kind said not to occur in
Switzerland or the adjoining parts of Europe, and which some
mineralogists would fain derive from the East; amber also, which,
it is supposed, was imported from the shores of the Baltic.

At Wangen near Stein, on the Lake of Constance, another of the most
ancient of the lake-dwellings, hatchets of serpentine and
greenstone, and arrow-heads of quartz have been met with. Here also
remains of a kind of cloth, supposed to be of flax, not woven but
plaited, have been detected. Professor Heer has recognised lumps of
carbonised wheat, Triticum vulgare, and grains of another kind, T.
dicoccum, and barley, Hordeum distichum, and flat round cakes of
bread; and at Robbenhausen and elsewhere Hordeum hexastichum in
fine ears, the same kind of barley which is found associated with
Egyptian mummies, showing clearly that in the stone period the
lake-dwellers cultivated all these cereals, besides having
domesticated the dog, the ox, the sheep, and the goat.

Carbonised apples and pears of small size, such as still grow in
the Swiss forests, stones of the wild plum, seeds of the raspberry
and blackberry, and beech-nuts, also occur in the mud, and
hazel-nuts in great plenty.

Near Morges, on the Lake of Geneva, a settlement of the bronze
period, no less than forty hatchets of that metal have been dredged
up, and in many other localities the number and variety of weapons
and utensils discovered, in a fine state of preservation, is truly

It is remarkable that as yet all the settlements of the bronze
period are confined to Western and Central Switzerland. In the more
eastern lakes those of the stone period alone have as yet been

The tools, ornaments, and pottery of the bronze period in
Switzerland bear a close resemblance to those of corresponding age
in Denmark, attesting the wide spread of a uniform civilisation
over Central Europe at that era. In some few of the Swiss aquatic
stations a mixture of bronze and iron implements has been observed,
but no coins. At Tiefenau, near Berne, in ground supposed to have
been a battle-field, coins and medals of bronze and silver, struck
at Marseilles, and of Greek manufacture, and iron swords, have been
found, all belonging to the first and pre-Roman division of the age
of iron.

In the settlements of the bronze era the wooden piles are not so
much decayed as those of the stone period; the latter having wasted
down quite to the level of the mud, whereas the piles of the bronze
age (as in the Lake of Bienne, for example) still project above it.

Professor Rutimeyer of Basle, well-known to palaeontologists as the
author of several important memoirs on fossil vertebrata, has
recently published a scientific description of great interest of
the animal remains dredged up at various stations where they had
been embedded for ages in the mud into which the piles were driven.
* (* "Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz" Basel 1861.)

These bones bear the same relation to the primitive inhabitants of
Switzerland and some of their immediate successors as do the
contents of the Danish "kitchen-middens" to the ancient fishing and
hunting tribes who lived on the shores of the Baltic.

The list of wild mammalia enumerated in this excellent treatise
contains no less than twenty-four species, exclusive of several
domesticated ones: besides which there are eighteen species of
birds, the wild swan, goose, and two species of ducks being among
them; also three reptiles, including the eatable frog and
freshwater tortoise; and lastly, nine species of freshwater fish.
All these (amounting to fifty-four species) are with one exception
still living in Europe. The exception is the wild bull (Bos
primigenius), which, as before stated, survived in historical
times. The following are the mammalia alluded to:--The bear (Ursus
arctos), the badger, the common marten, the polecat, the ermine,
the weasel, the otter, wolf, fox, wild cat, hedgehog, squirrel,
field-mouse (Mus sylvaticus), hare, beaver, hog (comprising two
races, namely, the wild boar and swamp-hog), the stag (Cervus
elaphus), the roe-deer, the fallow-deer, the elk, the steinbock
(Capra ibex), the chamois, the Lithuanian bison, and the wild bull.
The domesticated species comprise the dog, horse, ass, pig, goat,
sheep, and several bovine races.

The greater number, if not all, of these animals served for food,
and all the bones which contained marrow have been split open in
the same way as the corresponding ones found in the shell-mounds of
Denmark before mentioned. The bones both of the wild bull and the
bison are invariably split in this manner. As a rule, the lower
jaws with teeth occur in greater abundance than any other parts of
the skeleton--a circumstance which, geologists know, holds good in
regard to fossil mammalia of all periods. As yet the reindeer is
missing in the Swiss lake-settlements as in the Danish
"kitchen-middens," although this animal in more ancient times
ranged over France, together with the mammoth, as far south as the

A careful comparison of the bones from different sites has shown
that in settlements such as Wangen and Moosseedorf, belonging to
the earliest age of stone, when the habits of the hunter state
predominated over those of the pastoral, venison, or the flesh of
the stag and roe, was more eaten than the flesh of the domestic
cattle and sheep. This was afterwards reversed in the later stone
period and in the age of bronze. At that later period also the tame
pig, which is wanting in some of the oldest stations, had replaced
the wild boar as a common article of food. In the beginning of the
age of stone, in Switzerland, the goats outnumbered the sheep, but
towards the close of the same period the sheep were more abundant
than the goats.

The fox in the first era was very common, but it nearly disappears
in the bronze age, during which period a large hunting-dog,
supposed to have been imported into Switzerland from some foreign
country, becomes the chief representative of the canine genus.

A single fragment of the bone of a hare (Lepus timidus) has been
found at Moosseedorf. The almost universal absence of this
quadruped is supposed to imply that the Swiss lake-dwellers were
prevented from eating that animal by the same superstition which
now prevails among the Laplanders, and which Julius Caesar found in
full force amongst the ancient Britons.* (* "Commentaries" lib 5
chapter 12.)

That the lake-dwellers should have fed so largely on the fox, while
they abstained from touching the hare, establishes, says Rutimeyer,
a singular contrast between their tastes and ours.

Even in the earliest settlements, as already hinted, several
domesticated animals occur, namely, the ox, sheep, goat, and dog.
Of the three last, each was represented by one race only; but there
were two races of cattle, the most common being of small size, and
called by Rutimeyer Bos brachyceros (Bos longifrons, Owen), or the
marsh cow, the other derived from the wild bull; though, as no
skull has yet been discovered, this identification is not so
certain as could be wished. It is, however, beyond question that at
a later era, namely, towards the close of the stone and beginning
of the bronze period, the lake-dwellers had succeeded in taming
that formidable brute the Bos primigenius, the Urus of Caesar,
which he described as very fierce, swift, and strong, and scarcely
inferior to the elephant in size. In a tame state its bones were
somewhat less massive and heavy, and its horns were somewhat
smaller than in wild individuals. Still in its domesticated form,
it rivalled in dimensions the largest living cattle, those of
Friesland, in North Holland, for example. When most abundant, as at
Concise on the Lake of Neufchatel, it had nearly superseded the
smaller race, Bos brachyceros, and was accompanied there for a
short time by a third bovine variety, called Bos trochoceros, an
Italian race, supposed to have been imported from the southern side
of the Alps. (Caesar "Commentaries" lib 5 chapter 12.) This
last-mentioned race, however, seems only to have lasted for a short
time in Switzerland.

The wild bull (Bos primigenius) is supposed to have flourished for
a while in a wild and tame state, just as now in Europe the
domestic pig co-exists with the wild boar; and Rutimeyer agrees
with Cuvier and Bell,* (* "British Quadrupeds" page 415.) in
considering our larger domestic cattle of northern Europe as the
descendants of this wild bull, an opinion which Owen disputes.* (*
"British Fossil Mammal." page 500.)

In the later division of the stone period, there were two tame
races of the pig, according to Rutimeyer; one large, and derived
from the wild boar, the other smaller, called the "marsh-hog," or
Sus scrofa palustris. It may be asked how the osteologist can
distinguish the tame from the wild races of the same species by
their skeletons alone. Among other characters, the diminished
thickness of the bones and the comparative smallness of the ridges,
which afford attachment to the muscles, are relied on; also the
smaller dimensions of the tusks in the boar, and of the whole jaw
and skull; and, in like manner, the diminished size of the horns of
the bull and other modifications, which are the effects of a
regular supply of food, and the absence of all necessity of
exerting their activity and strength to obtain subsistence and
defend themselves against their enemies.

A middle-sized race of dogs continued unaltered throughout the
whole of the stone period; but the people of the bronze age
possessed a larger hunting-dog, and with it a small horse, of which
genus very few traces have been detected in the earlier
settlements--a single tooth, for example, at Wangen, and only one
or two bones at two or three other places.

In passing from the oldest to the most modern sites, the
extirpation of the elk and beaver, and the gradual reduction in
numbers of the bear, stag, roe, and freshwater tortoise are
distinctly perceptible. The aurochs, or Lithuanian bison, appears
to have died out in Switzerland about the time when weapons of
bronze came into use. It is only in a few of the most modern
lake-dwellings, such as Noville and Chavannes in the Canton de Vaud
(which the antiquaries refer to the sixth century), that some
traces are observable of the domestic cat, as well as of a sheep
with crooked horns and with them bones of the domestic fowl.

After the sixth century, no extinction of any wild quadruped nor
introduction of any tame one appears to have taken place, but the
fauna was still modified by the wild species continuing to diminish
in number and the tame ones to become more diversified by breeding
and crossing, especially in the case of the dog, horse, and sheep.
On the whole, however, the divergence of the domestic races from
their aboriginal wild types, as exemplified at Wangen and
Moosseedorf, is confined, according to Professor Rutimeyer, within
narrow limits. As to the goat, it has remained nearly constant and
true to its pristine form, and the small race of goat-horned sheep
still lingers in some alpine valleys in the Upper Rhine; and in the
same region a race of pigs, corresponding to the domesticated
variety of Sus scrofa palustris, may still be seen.

Amidst all this profusion of animal remains extremely few bones of
Man have been discovered; and only one skull, dredged up from
Meilen, on the Lake of Zurich, of the early stone period, seems as
yet to have been carefully examined. Respecting this specimen,
Professor His observes that it exhibits, instead of the small and
rounded form proper to the Danish peat-mosses, a type much more
like that now prevailing in Switzerland, which is intermediate
between the long-headed and short-headed form. (Rutimeyer "Die
Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz" page 181.)

So far, therefore, as we can draw safe conclusions from a single
specimen, there has been no marked change of race in the human
population of Switzerland during the periods above considered.

It is still a question whether any of these subaqueous repositories
of ancient relics in Switzerland go back so far in time as the
kitchen-middens of Denmark, for in these last there are no
domesticated animals except the dog, and no signs of the
cultivation of wheat or barley; whereas we have seen that, in one
of the oldest of the Swiss settlements, at Wangen, no less than
three cereals make their appearance, with four kinds of domestic
animals. Yet there is no small risk of error in speculating on the
relative claims to antiquity of such ancient tribes, for some of
them may have remained isolated for ages and stationary in their
habits, while others advanced and improved.

We know that nations, both before and after the introduction of
metals, may continue in very different stages of civilisation, even
after commercial intercourse has been established between them, and
where they are separated by a less distance than that which divides
the Alps from the Baltic.

The attempts of the Swiss geologists and archaeologists to estimate
definitely in years the antiquity of the bronze and stone periods,
although as yet confessedly imperfect, deserve notice, and appear
to me to be full of promise. The most elaborate calculation is that
made by M. Morlot, respecting the delta of the Tiniere, a torrent
which flows into the Lake of Geneva near Villeneuve. This small
delta, to which the stream is annually making additions, is
composed of gravel and sand. Its shape is that of a flattened cone,
and its internal structure has of late been laid open to view in a
railway cutting 1000 feet long and 32 feet deep. The regularity of
its structure throughout implies that it has been formed very
gradually, and by the uniform action of the same causes. Three
layers of vegetable soil, each of which must at one time have
formed the surface of the cone, have been cut through at different
depths. The first of these was traced over a surface of 15,000
square feet, having an average thickness of 5 inches, and being
about 4 feet below the present surface of the cone. This upper
layer belonged to the Roman period, and contained Roman tiles and a
coin. The second layer, followed over a surface of 25,000 square
feet, was 6 inches thick, and lay at a depth of 10 feet. In it were
found fragments of unvarnished pottery and a pair of tweezers in
bronze, indicating the bronze epoch. The third layer, followed for
35,000 square feet, was 6 or 7 inches thick and 19 feet deep. In it
were fragments of rude pottery, pieces of charcoal, broken bones,
and a human skeleton having a small, round and very thick skull. M.
Morlot, assuming the Roman period to represent an antiquity of from
sixteen to eighteen centuries, assigns to the bronze age a date of
between 3000 and 4000 years, and to the oldest layer, that of the
stone period, an age of from 5000 to 7000 years.

Another calculation has been made by M. Troyon to obtain the
approximate date of the remains of an ancient settlement built on
piles and preserved in a peat-bog at Chamblon, near Yverdun, on the
Lake of Neufchatel. The site of the ancient Roman town of
Eburodunum (Yverdun), once on the borders of the lake, and between
which and the shore there now intervenes a zone of newly-gained dry
land, 2500 feet in breadth, shows the rate at which the bed of the
lake has been filled up with river sediment in fifteen centuries.
Assuming the lake to have retreated at the same rate before the
Roman period, the pile-works of Chamblon, which are of the bronze
period, must be at the least 3300 years old.

For the third calculation, communicated to me by M. Morlot, we are
indebted to M. Victor Gillieron, of Neuveville, on the Lake of
Bienne. It relates to the age of a pile-dwelling, the mammalian
bones of which are considered by M. Rutimeyer to indicate the
earliest portion of the stone period of Switzerland, and to
correspond in age with the settlement of Moosseedorf.

The piles in question occur at the Pont de Thiele, between the
lakes of Bienne and Neufchatel. The old convent of St. Jean,
founded 750 years ago, and built originally on the margin of the
Lake of Bienne, is now at a considerable distance from the shore,
and affords a measure of the rate of the gain of land in seven
centuries and a half. Assuming that a similar rate of the
conversion of water into marshy land prevailed antecedently, we
should require an addition of sixty centuries for the growth of the
morass intervening between the convent and the aquatic dwelling of
Pont de Thiele, in all 6750 years. M. Morlot, after examining the
ground, thinks it highly probable that the shape of the bottom on
which the morass rests is uniform; but this important point has not
yet been tested by boring. The result, if confirmed, would agree
exceedingly well with the chronological computation before
mentioned of the age of the stone period of Tiniere. As I have not
myself visited Switzerland since these chronological speculations
were first hazarded, I am unable to enter critically into a
discussion of the objections which have been raised to the two
first of them, or to decide on the merits of the explanations
offered in reply.


The lake-dwellings of the British isles, although not explored as
yet with scientific zeal, as those of Switzerland have been in the
last ten years, are yet known to be very numerous, and when
carefully examined will not fail to throw great light on the
history of the bronze and stone periods.

In the lakes of Ireland alone, no less than forty-six examples of
artificial islands, called crannoges, have been discovered. They
occur in Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan, Down, Monaghan, Limerick,
Meath, King's County, and Tyrone.* (* W.M. Wylie "Archaeologia"
volume 38 1859 page 8.) One class of these "stockaded islands," as
they have been sometimes called, was formed, according to Mr. Digby
Wyatt, by placing horizontal oak beams at the bottom of the lake,
into which oak posts, from 6 to 8 feet high, were mortised, and
held together by cross beams, till a circular enclosure was

A space of 520 feet diameter, thus enclosed at Lagore, was divided
into sundry timbered compartments, which were found filled up with
mud or earth, from which were taken "vast quantities of the bones
of oxen, swine, deer, goats, sheep, dogs, foxes, horses, and
asses." All these were discovered beneath 16 feet of bog, and were
used for manure; but specimens of them are said to be preserved in
the museum of the Royal Irish Academy. From the same spot were
obtained a great collection of antiquities, which, according to
Lord Talbot de Malahide and Mr. Wylie, were referable to the ages
of stone, bronze, and iron.* (* W.M. Wylie "Archaeologia" volume 38
1859 page 8, who cites "Archaeological Journal" volume 6 page 101.)

In Ardekillin Lake, in Roscommon, an islet of an oval form was
observed, made of a layer of stones resting on logs of timber.
Round this artificial islet or crannoge thus formed was a stone
wall raised on oak piles. A careful description has been put on
record by Captain Mudge, R.N., of a curious log-cabin discovered by
him in 1833 in Drumkellin bog, in Donegal, at a depth of 14 feet
from the surface. It was 12 feet square and 9 feet high, being
divided into two stories each 4 feet high. The planking was of oak
split with wedges of stone, one of which was found in the building.
The roof was flat. A staked enclosure had been raised round the
cabin, and remains of other similar huts adjoining were seen but
not explored. A stone celt, found in the interior of the hut, and a
piece of leather sandal, also an arrow-head of flint, and in the
bog close at hand a wooden sword, give evidence of the remote
antiquity of this building, which may be taken as a type of the
early dwellings on the Crannoge islands.

"The whole structure," says Captain Mudge, "was wrought with the
rudest kind of implements, and the labour bestowed on it must have
been immense. The wood of the mortises was more bruised than cut,
as if by a blunt stone chisel."* (* Mudge "Archaeologia" volume 26.
) Such a chisel lay on the floor of the hut, and by comparing it
with the marks of the tool used in forming the mortises, they were
found "to correspond exactly, even to the slight curved exterior of
the chisel; but the logs had been hewn by a larger instrument, in
the shape of an axe. On the floor of the dwelling lay a slab of
freestone, 3 feet long and 14 inches thick, in the centre of which
was a small pit three quarters of an inch deep, which had been
chiselled out. This is presumed to have been used for holding nuts
to be cracked by means of one of the round shingle stones, also
found there, which had served as a hammer. Some entire hazel-nuts
and a great quantity of broken shells were strewed about the

The foundations of the house were made of fine sand, such as is
found with shingle on the seashore about 2 miles distant. Below the
layer of sand the bog or peat was ascertained, on probing it with
an instrument, to be at least 15 feet thick. Although the interior
of the building when discovered was full of "bog" or peaty matter,
it seems when inhabited to have been surrounded by growing trees,
some of the trunks and roots of which are still preserved in their
natural position. The depth of overlying peat affords no safe
criterion for calculating the age of the cabin or village, for I
have shown in the "Principles of Geology" that both in England and
Ireland, within historical times, bogs have burst and sent forth
great volumes of black mud, which has been known to creep over the
country at a slow pace, flowing somewhat at the rate of ordinary
lava-currents, and sometimes overwhelming woods and cottages, and
leaving a deposit upon them of bog-earth 15 feet thick.

None of these Irish lake-dwellings were built, like those of
Helvetia, on platforms supported by piles deeply driven into the
mud. "The Crannoge system of Ireland seems," says Mr. Wylie, "well
nigh without a parallel in Swiss waters."



Delta and Alluvial Plain of the Nile.
Burnt Bricks in Egypt before the Roman Era.
Borings in 1851-54.
Ancient Mounds of the Valley of the Ohio.
Their Antiquity.
Sepulchral Mound at Santos in Brazil.
Delta of the Mississippi.
Ancient Human Remains in Coral Reefs of Florida.
Changes in Physical Geography in the Human Period.
Buried Canoes in Marine Strata near Glasgow.
Upheaval since the Roman Occupation of the Shores of the Firth of Forth.
Fossil Whales near Stirling.
Upraised Marine Strata of Sweden on Shores of the Baltic and the Ocean.
Attempts to compute their Age.


Some new facts of high interest illustrating the geology of the
alluvial land of Egypt were brought to light between the years 1851
and 1854, in consequence of investigations suggested to the Royal
Society by Mr. Leonard Horner, and which were partly carried out at
the expense of the Society. The practical part of the undertaking
was entrusted by Mr. Horner to an Armenian officer of engineers,
Hekekyan Bey, who had for many years pursued his scientific studies
in England, and was in every way highly qualified for the task.

It was soon found that to obtain the required information
respecting the nature, depth, and contents of the Nile mud in
various parts of the valley, a larger outlay was called for than
had been originally contemplated. This expense the late viceroy,
Abbas Pasha, munificently undertook to defray out of his treasury,
and his successor, after his death, continued the operations with
the same princely liberality.

Several engineers and a body of sixty workmen were employed under
the superintendence of Hekekyan Bey, men inured to the climate and
able to carry on the sinking of shafts and borings during the hot
months, after the waters of the Nile had subsided, and in a season
which would have been fatal to Europeans.

The results of chief importance arising out of this inquiry were
obtained from two sets of shafts and borings sunk at intervals in
lines crossing the great valley from east to west. One of these
consisted of no fewer than fifty-one pits and artesian borings,
made where the valley is 16 miles wide from side to side between
the Arabian and Libyan deserts, in the latitude of Heliopolis,
about 8 miles above the apex of the delta. The other line of
borings and pits, twenty-seven in number, was in the parallel of
Memphis, where the valley is only five miles broad.

Everywhere in these sections the sediment passed through was
similar in composition to the ordinary Nile mud of the present day,
except near the margin of the valley, where thin layers of
quartzose sand, such as is sometimes blown from the adjacent desert
by violent winds, were observed to alternate with the loam.

A remarkable absence of lamination and stratification was observed
almost universally in the sediment brought up from all points
except where the sandy layers above alluded to occurred. Mr. Horner
attributes this want of all indication of successive deposition to
the extreme thinness of the film of matter which is thrown down
annually on the great alluvial plain during the season of
inundation. The tenuity of this layer must indeed be extreme, if
the French engineers are tolerably correct in their estimate of the
amount of sediment formed in a century, which they suppose not to
exceed on the average 5 inches. When the waters subside, this thin
layer of new soil, exposed to a hot sun, dries rapidly, and clouds
of dust are raised by the winds. The superficial deposit, moreover,
is disturbed almost everywhere by agricultural labours, and even
were this not the case, the action of worms, insects, and the roots
of plants would suffice to confound together the deposits of two
successive years.

All the remains of organic bodies, such as land-shells, and the
bones of quadrupeds, found during the excavations belonged to
living species. Bones of the ox, hog, dog, dromedary and ass were
not uncommon, but no vestiges of extinct mammalia. No marine shells
were anywhere detected; but this was to be expected, as the
borings, though they sometimes reached as low as the level of the
Mediterranean, were never carried down below it--a circumstance
much to be regretted, since where artesian borings have been made
in deltas, as in those of the Po and Ganges, to the depth of
several hundred feet below the sea level it has been found,
contrary to expectation, that the deposits passed through were
fluviatile throughout, implying, probably, that a general
subsidence of those deltas and alluvial formations has taken place.
Whether there has been in like manner a sinking of the land in
Egypt, we have as yet no means of proving; but Sir Gardner
Wilkinson infers it from the position in the delta on the shore
near Alexandria of the tombs commonly called Cleopatra's Baths,
which cannot, he says, have been originally built so as to be
exposed to the sea which now fills them, but must have stood on
land above the level of the Mediterranean. The same author adduces,
as additional signs of subsidence, some ruined towns, now half
under water, in the Lake Menzaleh, and channels of ancient arms of
the Nile submerged with their banks beneath the waters of that same

In some instances, the excavations made under the superintendence
of Hekekyan Bey were on a large scale for the first 16 or 24 feet,
in which cases jars, vases, pots and a small human figure in burnt
clay, a copper knife, and other entire articles were dug up; but
when water soaking through from the Nile was reached the boring
instrument used was too small to allow of more than fragments of
works of art being brought up. Pieces of burnt brick and pottery
were extracted almost everywhere, and from all depths, even where
they sank 60 feet below the surface towards the central parts of
the valley. In none of these cases did they get to the bottom of
the alluvial soil. It has been objected, among other criticisms,
that the Arabs can always find whatever their employers desire to
obtain. Even those who are too well acquainted with the sagacity
and energy of Hekekyan Bey to suspect him of having been deceived,
have suggested that the artificial objects might have fallen into
old wells which had been filled up. This notion is inadmissible for
many reasons. Of the ninety-five shafts and borings, seventy or
more were made far from the sites of towns or villages; and
allowing that every field may once have had its well, there would
be but small chance of the borings striking upon the site even of a
small number of them in seventy experiments.

Others have suggested that the Nile may have wandered over the
whole valley, undermining its banks on one side and filling up old
channels on the other. It has also been asked whether the delta
with the numerous shifting arms of the river may not once have been
at every point where the auger pierced.* (* For a detailed account
of these sections, see Mr. Horner's paper in the "Philosophical
Transactions" for 1855 to 1858.) To all these objections there are
two obvious answers:--First, in historical times the Nile has on
the whole been very stationary, and has not shifted its position in
the valley; secondly, if the mud pierced through had been thrown
down by the river in ancient channels, it would have been
stratified, and would not have corresponded so closely with
inundation mud, we learn from Captain Newbold that he observed in
some excavations in the great plain alternations of sand and clay,
such as are seen in the modern banks of the Nile; but in the
borings made by Hekekyan Bey, such stratification seems scarcely in
any case to have been detected.

The great aim of the criticisms above enumerated has been to get
rid of the supposed anomaly of finding burnt brick and pottery at
depths and places which would give them claim to an antiquity far
exceeding that of the Roman domination in Egypt. For until the time
of the Romans, it is said, no clay was burnt into bricks in the
valley of the Nile. But a distinguished antiquary, Mr. S. Birch,
assures me that this notion is altogether erroneous, and that he
has under his charge in the British Museum, first, a small
rectangular baked brick, which came from a Theban tomb which bears
the name of Thothmes, a superintendent of the granaries of the god
Amen Ra, the style of art, inscription, and name, showing that it
is as old as the 18th dynasty (about 1450 B.C.); secondly, a brick
bearing an inscription, partly obliterated, but ending with the
words "of the temple of Amen Ra." This brick, decidedly long
anterior to the Roman dominion, is referred conjecturally, by Mr.
Birch, to the 19th dynasty, or 1300 B.C. Sir Gardner Wilkinson has
also in his possession pieces of mortar, which he took from each of
the three great pyramids, in which bits of broken pottery and of
burnt clay or brick are embedded.

M. Girard, of the French expedition to Egypt, supposed the average
rate of the increase of Nile mud on the plain between Assouan and
Cairo to be five English inches in a century. This conclusion,
according to Mr. Horner, is very vague, and founded on insufficient
data; the amount of matter thrown down by the waters in different
parts of the plain varying so much that to strike an average with
any approach to accuracy must be most difficult. Were we to assume
six inches in a century, the burnt brick met with at a depth of 60
feet would be 12,000 years old.

Another fragment of red brick was found by Linant Bey, in a boring
72 feet deep, being 2 or 3 feet below the level of the
Mediterranean, in the parallel of the apex of the delta, 200 metres
distant from the river, on the Libyan side of the Rosetta branch.*
(* Horner "Philosophical Transactions" 1858.) M. Rosiere, in the
great French work on Egypt, has estimated the mean rate of deposit
of sediment in the delta at 2 1/4 inches in a century;* (*
Description de l'Egypte "Histoire Naturelle" tome 2 page 494.) were
we to take 2 1/2 inches, a work of art 72 feet deep must have been
buried more than 30,000 years ago. But if the boring of Linant Bey
was made where an arm of the river had been silted up at a time
when the apex of the delta was somewhat farther south, or more
distant from the sea than now, the brick in question might be
comparatively very modern.

The experiments instituted by Mr. Horner at the pedestal of the
fallen statue of King Rameses at Memphis, in the hope of obtaining
an accurate chronometric scale for testing the age of a given
thickness of Nile sediment, are held by some experienced
Egyptologists not to be satisfactory, on the ground of the
uncertainty of the rate of deposit accumulated at that locality.
The point sought to be determined was the exact amount of Nile mud
which had accumulated there since the time when that statue is
supposed by some antiquaries to have been erected. Could we have
obtained possession of such a measure, the rate of deposition might
be judged of, approximately at least, whenever similar mud was
observed in other places, or below the foundations of those same
monuments. But the ancient Egyptians are known to have been in the
habit of enclosing with embankments the areas on which they erected
temples, statues, and obelisks, so as to exclude the waters of the
Nile; and the point of time to be ascertained, in every case where
we find a monument buried to a certain depth in mud, as at Memphis
and Heliopolis, is the era when the city fell into such decay that
the ancient embankments were neglected, and the river allowed to
inundate the site of the temple, obelisk, or statue.

Even if we knew the date of the abandonment of such embankments,
the enclosed areas would not afford a favourable opportunity for
ascertaining the average rate of deposit in the alluvial plain; for
Herodotus tells us that in his time those spots from which the Nile
waters had been shut out for centuries appeared sunk, and could be
looked down into from the surrounding grounds, which had been
raised by the gradual accumulation over them of sediment annually
thrown down. If the waters at length should break into such
depressions, they must at first carry with them into the enclosure
much mud washed from the steep surrounding banks, so that a greater
quantity would be deposited in a few years than perhaps in as many
centuries on the great plain outside the depressed area, where no
such disturbing causes intervened.


As I have already given several European examples of monuments of
prehistoric date belonging to the Recent period, I will now turn to
the American continent. Before the scientific investigation by
Messrs. Squier and Davis of the "Ancient Monuments of the
Mississippi Valley",* (* "Smithsonian Contributions" volume 1 1847.
) no one suspected that the plains of that river had been occupied,
for ages before the French and British colonists settled there, by
a nation of older date and more advanced in the arts than the Red
Indians whom the Europeans found there. There are hundreds of large
mounds in the basin of the Mississippi, and especially in the
valleys of the Ohio and its tributaries, which have served, some of
them for temples, others for outlook or defence, and others for
sepulture. The unknown people by whom they were constructed,
judging by the form of several skulls dug out of the burial-places,
were of the Mexican or Toltec race. Some of the earthworks are on
so grand a scale as to embrace areas of 50 or 100 acres within a
simple enclosure, and the solid contents of one mould are estimated
at 20 million of cubic feet, so that four of them would be more
than equal in bulk to the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which comprises
75 million. From several of these repositories pottery and
ornamental sculpture have been taken, and various articles in
silver and copper, also stone weapons, some composed of hornstone
unpolished, and much resembling in shape some ancient flint
implements found near Amiens and other places in Europe, to be
alluded to in the sequel.

It is clear that the Ohio mound-builders had commercial intercourse
with the natives of distant regions, for among the buried articles
some are made of native copper from Lake Superior, and there are
also found mica from the Alleghenies, sea-shells from the Gulf of
Mexico, and obsidian from the Mexican mountains.

The extraordinary number of the mounds implies a long period,
during which a settled agricultural population had made
considerable progress in civilisation, so as to require large
temples for their religious rites, and extensive fortifications to
protect them from their enemies. The mounds were almost all
confined to fertile valleys or alluvial plains, and some at least
are so ancient that rivers have had time since their construction
to encroach on the lower terraces which support them, and again to
recede for the distance of nearly a mile, after having undermined
and destroyed a part of the works. When the first European settlers
entered the valley of the Ohio, they found the whole region covered
with an uninterrupted forest, and tenanted by the Red Indian
hunter, who roamed over it without any fixed abode, or any
traditionary connection with his more civilised predecessors. The
only positive data as yet obtained for calculating the minimum of
time which must have elapsed since the mounds were abandoned, have
been derived from the age and nature of the trees found growing on
some of these earthworks. When I visited Marietta in 1842, Dr.
Hildreth took me to one of the mounds, and showed me where he had
seen a tree growing on it, the trunk of which when cut down
displayed eight hundred rings of annual growth.* (* Lyell's
"Travels in North America" volume 2 page 29.) But the late General
Harrison, President in 1841 of the United States, who was well
skilled in woodcraft, has remarked, in a memoir on this subject,
that several generations of trees must have lived and died before
the mounds could have been overspread with that variety of species
which they supported when the white man first beheld them, for the
number and kinds of trees were precisely the same as those which
distinguished the surrounding forest. "We may be sure," observed
Harrison, "that no trees were allowed to grow so long as the
earthworks were in use; and when they were forsaken, the ground,
like all newly cleared land in Ohio, would for a time be
monopolised by one or two species of tree, such as the yellow
locust and the black or white walnut. When the individuals which
were the first to get possession of the ground had died out one
after the other, they would in many cases, instead of being
replaced by the same species, be succeeded (by virtue of the law
which makes a rotation of crops profitable in agriculture) by other
kinds, till at last, after a great number of centuries (several
thousand years, perhaps), that remarkable diversity of species
characteristic of North America, and far exceeding what is seen in
European forests, would be established."


I will next say a few words respecting certain human bones embedded
in a solid rock at Santos in Brazil, to which I called attention in
my "Travels in North America" in 1842.* (* Volume 1 page 200.) I
then imagined the deposit containing them to be of submarine
origin--an opinion which I have long ceased to entertain. We learn
from a memoir of Dr. Meigs that the River Santos has undermined a
large mound, 14 feet in height, and about 3 acres in area, covered
with trees, near the town of St. Paul, and has exposed to view many
skeletons, all inclined at angles between 20 and 25 degrees, and
all placed in a similar east and west position.* (* Meigs
"Transactions of the American Philosophical Society" 1828 page 285.
) Seeing, in the Museum of Philadelphia, fragments of the
calcareous stone or tufa from this spot, containing a human skull
with teeth, and in the same matrix, oysters with serpulae attached,
I at first concluded that the whole deposit had been formed beneath
the waters of the sea, or at least, that it had been submerged
after its origin, and again upheaved; also, that there had been
time since its emergence for the growth on it of a forest of large
trees. But after reading again, with more care, the original memoir
of Dr. Meigs, I cannot doubt that the shells, like those of eatable
kinds, so often accumulated in the mounds of the North American
Indians not far from the sea, may have been brought to the place
and heaped up with other materials at the time when the bodies were
buried. Subsequently, the whole artificial earthwork, with its
shells and skeletons, may have been bound together into a solid
stone by the infiltration of carbonate of lime, and the mound may
therefore be of no higher antiquity than some of those above
alluded to on the Ohio, which, as we have seen, have in like manner
been exposed in the course of ages to the encroachments and
undermining action of rivers.


I have shown in my "Travels in North America" that the deposits
forming the delta and alluvial plain of the Mississippi consist of
sedimentary matter, extending over an area of 30,000 square miles,
and known in some parts to be several hundred feet deep. Although
we cannot estimate correctly how many years it may have required
for the river to bring down from the upper country so large a
quantity of earthy matter--the data for such a computation being as
yet incomplete--we may still approximate to a minimum of the time
which such an operation must have taken, by ascertaining
experimentally the annual discharge of water by the Mississippi,
and the mean annual amount of solid matter contained in its waters.
The lowest estimate of the time required would lead us to assign a
high antiquity, amounting to many tens of thousands of years
(probably more than 100,000) to the existing delta.

Whether all or how much of this formation may belong to the recent
period, as above defined, I cannot pretend to decide, but in one
part of the modern delta near New Orleans, a large excavation has
been made for gas-works, where a succession of beds, almost wholly
made up of vegetable matter, has been passed through, such as we
now see forming in the cypress swamps of the neighbourhood, where
the deciduous cypress (Taxodium distichum), with its strong and
spreading roots, plays a conspicuous part. In this excavation, at
the depth of sixteen feet from the surface, beneath four buried
forests superimposed one upon the other, the workmen are stated by
Dr. B. Dowler to have found some charcoal and a human skeleton, the
cranium of which is said to belong to the aboriginal type of the
Red Indian race. As the discovery in question had not been made
when I saw the excavation in progress at the gas-works in 1846, I
cannot form an opinion as to the value of the chronological
calculations which have led Dr. Dowler to ascribe to this skeleton
an antiquity of 50,000 years. In several sections, both natural in
the banks of the Mississippi and its numerous arms, and where
artificial canals had been cut, I observed erect stumps of trees,
with their roots attached, buried in strata at different heights,
one over the other. I also remarked, that many cypresses which had
been cut through, exhibited many hundreds of rings of annual
growth, and it then struck me that nowhere in the world could the
geologist enjoy a more favourable opportunity for estimating in
years the duration of certain portions of the Recent epoch.* (*
Dowler cited by Dr. W. Usher in Nott and Gliddon's "Types of
Mankind" page 352.)


Professor Agassiz has described a low portion of the peninsula of
Florida as consisting of numerous reefs of coral, which have grown
in succession so as to give rise to a continual annexation of land,
gained gradually from the sea in a southerly direction. This growth
is still in full activity, and assuming the rate of advance of the
land to be one foot in a century, the reefs being built up from a
depth of 75 feet, and that each reef has in its turn added ten
miles to the coast, Professor Agassiz calculates that it has taken
135,000 years to form the southern half of this peninsula. Yet the
whole is of Post-Tertiary origin, the fossil zoophytes and shells
being all of the same species as those now inhabiting the
neighbouring sea.* (* Agassiz in Nott and Gliddon ibid. page 352.)
In a calcareous conglomerate forming part of the above-mentioned
series of reefs, and supposed by Agassiz, in accordance with his
mode of estimating the rate of growth of those reefs, to be about
10,000 years old, some fossil human remains were found by Count
Pourtales. They consisted of jaws and teeth, with some bones of the


I have shown, in the "Principles of Geology," where the recent
changes of the earth illustrative of geology are described at
length, that the deposits accumulated at the bottom of lakes and
seas within the last 4000 or 5000 years can neither be
insignificant in volume or extent. They lie hidden, for the most
part, from our sight; but we have opportunities of examining them
at certain points where newly-gained land in the deltas of rivers
has been cut through during floods, or where coral reefs are
growing rapidly, or where the bed of a sea or lake has been heaved
up by subterranean movements and laid dry.

As examples of such changes of level by which marine deposits of
the Recent period have become accessible to human observation, I
have adduced the strata near Naples in which the Temple of Serapis
at Pozzuoli was entombed.* (* "Principles of Geology" Index
"Serapis.") These upraised strata, the highest of which are about
25 feet above the level of the sea, form a terrace skirting the
eastern shore of the Bay of Baiae. They consist partly of clay,
partly of volcanic matter, and contain fragments of sculpture,
pottery, and the remains of buildings, together with great numbers
of shells, retaining in part their colour, and of the same species
as those now inhabiting the neighbouring sea. Their emergence can
be proved to have taken place since the beginning of the sixteenth
century. [Note 5.]

In the same work, as an example of a freshwater deposit of the
Recent period, I have described certain strata in Cashmere, a
country where violent earthquakes, attended by alterations in the
level of the ground, are frequent, in which freshwater shells of
species now inhabiting the lakes and rivers of that region are
embedded, together with the remains of pottery, often at the depth
of fifty feet, and in which a splendid Hindoo temple has lately
been discovered, and laid open to view by the removal of the
lacustrine silt which had enveloped it for four or five centuries.

In the same treatise it is stated that the west coast of South
America, between the Andes and the Pacific, is a great theatre of
earthquake movements, and that permanent upheavals of the land of
several feet at a time have been experienced since the discovery of
America. In various parts of the littoral region of Chile and Peru,
strata have been observed enclosing shells in abundance, all
agreeing specifically with those now swarming in the Pacific. In
one bed of this kind, in the island of San Lorenzo, near Lima, Mr.
Darwin found, at the altitude of 85 feet above the sea, pieces of
cotton-thread, plaited rush, and the head of a stalk of Indian
corn, the whole of which had evidently been embedded with the
shells. At the same height, on the neighbouring mainland, he found
other signs corroborating the opinion that the ancient bed of the
sea had there also been uplifted 85 feet since the region was first
peopled by the Peruvian race. But similar shelly masses are also
met with at much higher elevations, at innumerable points between
the Chilean and Peruvian Andes and the sea-coast, in which no human
remains have as yet been observed. The preservation for an
indefinite period of such perishable substances as thread is
explained by the entire absence of rain in Peru. The same articles,
had they been enclosed in the permeable sands of an European raised
beach, or in any country where rain falls even for a small part of
the year, would probably have disappeared entirely [Note 6.]

In the literature of the eighteenth century, we find frequent
allusion to the "era of existing continents," a period supposed to
have coincided in date with the first appearance of Man upon the
earth, since which event it was imagined that the relative level of
the sea and land had remained stationary, no important geographical
changes having occurred, except some slight additions to the deltas
of rivers, or the loss of narrow strips of land where the sea had
encroached upon its shores. But modern observations have tended
continually to dispel this delusion, and the geologist is now
convinced that at no given era of the past have the boundaries of
land and sea, or the height of the one and depth of the other, or
the geographical range of the species inhabiting them, whether of
animals or plants, become fixed and unchangeable. Of the extent to
which fluctuations have been going on since the globe had already
become the dwelling-place of Man, some idea may be formed from the
examples which I shall give in this and the next nine chapters.


It has long been a fact familiar to geologists, that, both on the
east and west coasts of the central part of Scotland, there are
lines of raised beaches, containing marine shells of the same
species as those now inhabiting the neighbouring sea.* (* R.
Chambers "Sea Margins" 1848 and papers by Mr. Smith of Jordan Hill
"Memoirs of the Wernerian Society" volume 8 and by Mr. C. Maclaren.
) The two most marked of these littoral deposits occur at heights
of about 50 and 25 feet above high-water mark, that of 50 feet
being considered as the more ancient, and owing its superior
elevation to a continuance of the upheaving movement. They are seen
in some places to rest on the boulder clay of the glacial period,
which will be described in future chapters.

In those districts where large rivers, such as the Clyde, Forth,
and Tay, enter the sea, the lower of the two deposits, or that of
25 feet, expands into a terrace fringing the estuaries, and varying
in breadth from a few yards to several miles. Of this nature are
the flat lands which occur along the margin of the Clyde at
Glasgow, which consist of finely laminated sand, silt, and clay.
Mr. John Buchanan, a zealous antiquary, writing in 1855, informs us
that in the course of the eighty years preceding that date, no less
than seventeen canoes had been dug out of this estuarine silt, and
that he had personally inspected a large number of them before they
were exhumed. Five of them lay buried in silt under the streets of
Glasgow, one in a vertical position with the prow uppermost as if
it had sunk in a storm. In the inside of it were a number of marine
shells. Twelve other canoes were found about 100 yards back from
the river, at the average depth of about 19 feet from the surface
of the soil, or 7 feet above high-water mark; but a few of them
were only 4 or 5 feet deep, and consequently more than 20 feet
above the sea-level. One was sticking in the sand at an angle of 45
degrees, another had been capsized and lay bottom uppermost; all
the rest were in a horizontal position, as if they had sunk in
smooth water.* (* J. Buchanan "Report of the British Association"
1855 page 80; also "Glasgow, Past and Present" 1856.)

Almost every one of these ancient boats was formed out of a single
oak-stem, hollowed out by blunt tools, probably stone axes, aided
by the action of fire; a few were cut beautifully smooth, evidently
with metallic tools. Hence a gradation could be traced from a
pattern of extreme rudeness to one showing great mechanical
ingenuity. Two of them were built of planks, one of the two, dug up
on the property of Bankton in 1853, being 18 feet in length, and
very elaborately constructed. Its prow was not unlike the beak of
an antique galley; its stern, formed of a triangular-shaped piece
of oak, fitted in exactly like those of our day. The planks were
fastened to the ribs, partly by singularly shaped oaken pins, and
partly by what must have been square nails of some kind of metal;
these had entirely disappeared, but some of the oaken pins
remained. This boat had been upset, and was lying keel uppermost,
with the prow pointing straight up the river. In one of the canoes,
a beautifully polished celt or axe of greenstone was found, in the
bottom of another a plug of cork, which, as Mr. Geikie remarks,
"could only have come from the latitudes of Spain, Southern France,
or Italy."* (* Geikie, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological
Society" volume 18 1862 page 224.)

There can be no doubt that some of these buried vessels are of far
more ancient date than others. Those most roughly hewn, may be
relics of the stone period; those more smoothly cut, of the bronze
age; and the regularly built boat of Bankton may perhaps come
within the age of iron. The occurrence of all of them in one and
the same upraised marine formation by no means implies that they
belong to the same era, for in the beds of all great rivers and
estuaries, there are changes continually in progress brought about
by the deposition, removal, and redeposition of gravel, sand, and
fine sediment, and by the shifting of the channel of the main
currents from year to year, and from century to century. All these
it behoves the geologist and antiquary to bear in mind, so as to be
always on their guard, when they are endeavouring to settle the
relative date, whether of objects of art or of organic remains
embedded in any set of alluvial strata. Some judicious observations
on this head occur in Mr. Geikie's memoir above cited, which are so
much in point that I shall give them in full, and in his own words.

"The relative position in the silt, from which the canoes were
exhumed, could help us little in any attempt to ascertain their
relative ages, unless they had been found vertically above each
other. The varying depths of an estuary, its banks of silt and
sand, the set of its currents, and the influence of its tides in
scouring out alluvium from some parts of its bottom and
redepositing it in others, are circumstances which require to be
taken into account in all such calculations. Mere coincidence of
depth from the present surface of the ground, which is tolerably
uniform in level, by no means necessarily proves contemporaneous
deposition. Nor would such an inference follow even from the
occurrence of the remains in distant parts of the very same
stratum. A canoe might be capsized and sent to the bottom just
beneath low-water mark; another might experience a similar fate on
the following day, but in the middle of the channel. Both would
become silted up on the floor of the estuary; but as that floor
would be perhaps 20 feet deeper in the centre than towards the
margin of the river, the one canoe might actually be twenty feet
deeper in the alluvium than the other; and on the upheaval of the
alluvial deposits, if we were to argue merely from the depth at
which the remains were embedded, we should pronounce the canoe
found at the one locality to be immensely older than the other,
seeing that the fine mud of the estuary is deposited very slowly
and that it must therefore have taken a long period to form so
great a thickness as 20 feet. Again, the tides and currents of the
estuary, by changing their direction, might sweep away a
considerable mass of alluvium from the bottom, laying bare a canoe
that may have foundered many centuries before. After the lapse of
so long an interval, another vessel might go to the bottom in the
same locality and be there covered up with the older one on the
same general plane. These two vessels, found in such a position,
would naturally be classed together as of the same age, and yet it
is demonstrable that a very long period may have elapsed between
the date of the one and that of the other. Such an association of
these canoes, therefore, cannot be regarded as proving synchronous
deposition; nor, on the other hand, can we affirm any difference of
age from mere relative position, unless we see one canoe actually
buried beneath another."* (* Geikie, "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" volume 18 1862, page 222.)

At the time when the ancient vessels, above described, were
navigating the waters where the city of Glasgow now stands, the
whole of the low lands which bordered the present estuary of the
Clyde formed the bed of a shallow sea. The emergence appears to
have taken place gradually and by intermittent movements, for Mr.
Buchanan describes several narrow terraces one above the other on
the site of the city itself, with steep intervening slopes composed
of the laminated estuary formation. Each terrace and steep slope
probably mark pauses in the process of upheaval, during which low
cliffs were formed, with beaches at their base. Five of the canoes
were found within the precincts of the city at different heights on
or near such terraces.

As to the date of the upheaval, the greater part of it cannot be
assigned to the stone period, but must have taken place after tools
of metal had come into use.

Until lately, when attempts were made to estimate the probable
antiquity of such changes of level, it was confidently assumed, as
a safe starting-point, that no alteration had occurred in the
relative level of land and sea, in the central district of
Scotland, since the construction of the Roman or Pictish wall (the
"Wall of Antonine"), which reached from the Firth of Forth to that
of the Clyde. The two extremities, it was said, of this ancient
structure, bear such a relation to the present level of the two
estuaries, that neither subsidence nor elevation of the land could
have occurred for seventeen centuries at least.

But Mr. Geikie has lately shown that a depression of 25 feet on the
Forth would not lay the eastern extremity of the Roman wall at
Carriden under water, and he was therefore desirous of knowing
whether the western end of the same would be submerged by a similar
amount of subsidence. It has always been acknowledged that the wall
terminated upon an eminence called the Chapel Hill, near the
village of West Kilpatrick, on the Clyde. The foot of this hill,
Mr. Geikie estimates to be about 25 or 27 feet above high-water
mark, so that a subsidence of 25 feet could not lay it under water.
Antiquaries have sometimes wondered that the Romans did not carry
the wall farther west than this Chapel Hill; but Mr. Geikie now
suggests, in explanation, that all the low land at present
intervening between that point and the mouth of the Clyde, was
sixteen or seventeen centuries ago, washed by the tides at high

The wall of Antonine, therefore, yields no evidence in favour of
the land having remained stationary since the time of the Romans,
but on the contrary, appears to indicate that since its erection
the land has actually risen. Recent explorations by Mr. Geikie and
Dr. Young, of the sites of the old Roman harbours along the
southern margin of the Firth of Forth, lead to similar inferences.
In the first place, it has long been known that there is a raised
beach containing marine shells of living littoral species, at a
height of about 25 feet, at Leith, as well as at other places along
the coast above and below Edinburgh. Inveresk, a few miles below
that city, is the site of an ancient Roman port, and if we suppose
the sea at high water to have washed the foot of the heights on
which the town stood, the tide would have ascended far up the
valley of the Esk, and would have made the mouth of that river a
safe and commodious harbour; whereas, had it been a shoaling
estuary, as at present, it is difficult to see how the Romans
should have made choice of it as a port.

At Cramond, at the mouth of the river Almond, above Edinburgh, was
Alaterva, the chief Roman harbour on the southern coast of the
Forth, where numerous coins, urns, sculptured stones and the
remnant of a harbour have been detected. The old Roman quays built
along what must then have been the sea margin, have been found on
what is now dry land, and although some silt carried down in
suspension by the waters of the Forth may account for a part of the
gain of low land, we yet require an upward movement of about 20
feet to explain the growth of the dreary expanse of mud now
stretching along the shore and extending outwards, where it attains
its greatest breadth, well-nigh two miles, across which vessels,
even of light burden, can now only venture at full tide. Had these
shoals existed eighteen centuries ago, they would have prevented
the Romans from selecting this as their chief port; whereas, if the
land were now to sink 20 feet, Cramond would unquestionably be the
best natural harbour along the whole of the south side of the
Forth.* (* Geikie, "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" for July

Corresponding in level with the raised beach at Leith, above
mentioned (or about 25 feet above high-water mark), is the Carse of
Stirling, a low tract of land consisting of loamy and peaty beds,
in which several skeletons of whales of large size have been found.
One of these was dug up at Airthrie,* (* Bald, "Edinburgh
Philosophical Journal" 1 page 393 and "Memoirs of the Wernerian
Society" 3 page 327.) near Stirling, about a mile from the river,
and 7 miles from the sea. Mr. Bald mentions that near it were found
two pieces of stag's horn, artificially cut, through one of which a
hole, about an inch in diameter, had been perforated. Another
whale, 85 feet long, was found at Dunmore, a few miles below
Stirling,* (* "Edinburgh Philosophical Journal" 11 pages 220, 415.)
which, like that of Airthrie, lay about 20 feet above high-water
mark. Three other skeletons of whales were found at Blair Drummond,
between the years 1819 and 1824, 7 miles up the estuary above
Stirling,* (* "Memoirs of the Wernerian Society" volume 5 page 440.
) also at an elevation of between 20 and 30 feet above the sea.
Near two of these whales, pointed instruments of deer's horn were
found, one of which retained part of a wooden handle, probably
preserved by having been enclosed in peat. This weapon is now in
the museum at Edinburgh.

The position of these fossil whales and bone implements, and still
more of an iron anchor found in the Carse of Falkirk, below
Stirling, shows that the upheaval by which the raised beach of
Leith was laid dry extended far westward probably as far as the
Clyde, where, as we have seen, marine strata containing buried
canoes rise to a similar height above the sea.

The same upward movement which reached simultaneously east and west
from sea to sea was also felt as far north as the estuary of the
Tay. This may be inferred from the Celtic name of Inch being
attached to many hillocks, which rise above the general level of
the alluvial plains, implying that these eminences were once
surrounded by water or marshy ground. At various localities also in
the silt of the Carse of Gowrie iron implements have been found.

The raised beach, also containing a great number of marine shells
of recent species, traced up to a height of 14 feet above the sea
by Mr. W.J. Hamilton at Elie, on the southern coast of Fife, is
doubtless another effect of the same extensive upheaval.* (*
"Proceedings of the Geological Society" volume 2 1833 page 280.) A
similar movement would also account for some changes which
antiquaries have recorded much farther south, on the borders of the
Solway Firth; though in this case, as in that of the estuary of the
Forth, the conversion of sea into land has always been referred to
the silting up of estuaries, and not to upheaval. Thus Horsley
insists on the difficulty of explaining the position of certain
Roman stations, on the Solway, the Forth, and the Clyde, without
assuming that the sea has been excluded from certain areas which it
formerly occupied.* (* "Britannia" page 157 1860.)

On a review of the whole evidence, geological and archaeological,
afforded by the Scottish coast-line, we may conclude that the last
upheaval of 25 feet took place not only since the first human
population settled in the island; but long after metallic
implements had come into use, and there seems even a strong
presumption in favour of the opinion that the date of the elevation
may have been subsequent to the Roman occupation.

But the 25 feet rise is only the last stage of a long antecedent
process of elevation, for examples of Recent marine shells have
been observed 40 feet and upwards above the sea in Ayrshire. At one
of these localities, Mr. Smith of Jordanhill informs me that a rude
ornament made of cannel coal has been found on the coast in the
parish of Dundonald, lying 50 feet above the sea-level, on the
surface of the boulder-clay or till, and covered with gravel
containing marine shells. If we suppose the upward movement to have
been uniform in central Scotland before and after the Roman era,
and assume that as 25 feet indicate seventeen centuries, so 50 feet
imply a lapse of twice that number, or 3400 years, we should then
carry back the date of the ornament in question to fifteen
centuries before our era, or to the days of Pharaoh, and the period
usually assigned to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. [Note

But all such estimates must be considered, in the present state of
science, as tentative and conjectural, since the rate of movement
of the land may not have been uniform, and its direction not always
upwards, and there may have been long stationary periods, one of
which of more than usual duration seems indicated by the 50-foot
raised beach, which has been traced for vast distances along the
western coast of Scotland.


Sir H. De la Beche has adduced several proofs of changes of level,
in the course of the human period, in his "Report on the Geology of
Cornwall and Devon," 1839. He mentions (page 406) that several
human skulls and works of art, buried in an estuary deposit, were
found in mining gravel for tin at Pentuan, near St. Austell, the
skulls lying at the depth of 40 feet from the surface, and others
at Carnon at the depth of 53 feet. The overlying strata were
marine, containing sea-shells of living species, and bones of
whales, besides the remains of several living species of mammalia.

Other examples of works of art, such as stone hatchets, canoes, and
ships, buried in ancient river-beds in England, and in peat and
shell-marl, I have mentioned in my work before cited.


In the same work I have shown that near Stockholm, in Sweden, there
occur, at slight elevations above the sea-level, horizontal beds of
sand, loam, and marl, containing the same peculiar assemblage of
testacea which now live in the brackish waters of the Baltic.
Mingled with these, at different depths, have been detected various
works of art implying a rude state of civilization, and some
vessels built before the introduction of iron, and even the remains
of an ancient hut, the marine strata containing it, which had been
formed during a previous depression, having been upraised, so that
the upper beds are now 60 feet higher than the surface of the
Baltic. In the neighbourhood of these recent strata, both to the
north-west and south of Stockholm, other deposits similar in
mineral composition occur, which ascend to greater heights, in
which precisely the same assemblage of fossil shells is met with,
but without any intermixture, so far as is yet known, of human
bones or fabricated articles.

On the opposite or western coast of Sweden, at Uddevalla,
Post-Tertiary strata, containing recent shells, not of that
brackish water character peculiar to the Baltic, but such as now
live in the Northern Ocean, ascend to the height of 200 feet; and
beds of clay and sand of the same age attain elevations of 300 and
even 600 feet in Norway, where they have been usually described as
"raised beaches." They are, however, thick deposits of submarine
origin, spreading far and wide, and filling valleys in the granite
and gneiss, just as the Tertiary formations, in different parts of
Europe, cover or fill depressions in the older rocks.

Although the fossil fauna characterising these upraised sands and
clays consists exclusively of existing northern species of
testacea, it is more than probable that they may not all belong to
that division of the Pleistocene strata which we are now
considering. If the contemporary mammalia were known, they would,
in all likelihood, be found to be referable, at least in part, to
extinct species; for, according to Loven (an able living naturalist
of Norway), the species do not constitute such an assemblage as now
inhabits corresponding latitudes in the North Sea. On the contrary,
they decidedly represent a more arctic fauna. In order to find the
same species flourishing in equal abundance, or in many cases to
find them at all, we must go northwards to higher latitudes than
Uddevalla in Sweden, or even nearer the pole than Central Norway.

Judging by the uniformity of climate now prevailing from century to
century, and the insensible rate of variation in the geographical
distribution of organic beings in our own times, we may presume
that an extremely lengthened period was required even for so slight
a modification in the range of the molluscous fauna, as that of
which the evidence is here brought to light. There are also other
independent reasons for suspecting that the antiquity of these
deposits may be indefinitely great as compared to the historical
period. I allude to their present elevation above the sea, some of
them rising, in Norway, to the height of 600 feet or more. The
upward movement now in progress in parts of Norway and Sweden
extends, as I have elsewhere shown,* (* "Principles" 9th edition
chapter 30.) throughout an area about 1000 miles north and south,
and for an unknown distance east and west, the amount of elevation
always increasing as we proceed towards the North Cape, where it is
said to equal 5 feet in a century. If we could assume that there
had been an average of 2 1/2 feet in each hundred years for the
last fifty centuries, this would give an elevation of 125 feet in
that period. In other words, it would follow that the shores, and a
considerable area of the former bed of the North Sea, had been
uplifted vertically to that amount, and converted into land in the
course of the last 5000 years. A mean rate of continuous vertical
elevation of 2 1/2 feet in a century would, I conceive, be a high
average; yet, even if this be assumed, it would require 24,000
years for parts of the sea-coast of Norway, where the Pleistocene
marine strata occur, to attain the height of 600 feet. [Note 9.]



Earliest Discoveries in Caves of Languedoc of Human Remains with
   Bones of extinct Mammalia.
Researches in 1833 of Dr. Schmerling in the Liege Caverns.
Scattered Portions of Human Skeletons associated with Bones
   of Elephant and Rhinoceros.
Distribution and probable Mode of Introduction of the Bones.
Implements of Flint and Bone.
Schmerling's Conclusions as to the Antiquity of Man ignored.
Present State of the Belgian Caves.
Human Bones recently found in Cave of Engihoul.
Engulfed Rivers.
Stalagmitic Crust.
Antiquity of the Human Remains in Belgium how proved.

Having hitherto considered those formations in which both the
fossil shells and the mammalia are of living species, we may now
turn our attention to those of older date, in which the shells
being all recent, some of the accompanying mammalia are extinct, or
belong to species not known to have lived within the times of
history or tradition.


In the "Principles of Geology," when treating of the fossil remains
found in alluvium and the mud of caverns, I gave an account in 1832
of the investigations made by MM. Tournal and Christol in the South
of France.* (* 1st edition volume 2 chapter 14 1832, and 9th
edition page 738, 1853.)

M. Tournal stated in his memoir that in the cavern of Bize, in the
department of the Aude, he had found human bones and teeth,
together with fragments of rude pottery, in the same mud and
breccia cemented by stalagmite in which land-shells of living
species were embedded, and the bones of mammalia, some of extinct,
others of recent species. The human bones were declared by his
fellow-labourer, M. Marcel de Serres, to be in the same chemical
condition as those of the accompanying quadrupeds.* (* "Annales des
Sciences Naturelles" tome 15 1828 page 348.)

Speaking of these fossils of the Bize cavern five years later, M.
Tournal observed that they could not be referred, as some
suggested, to a "diluvial catastrophe," for they evidently had not
been washed in suddenly by a transient flood, but must have been
introduced gradually, together with the enveloping mud and pebbles,
at successive periods.* (* "Annales de Chimie et de Physique" 1833
page 161.)

M. Christol, who was engaged at the same time in similar researches
in another part of Languedoc, published an account of them a year
later, in which he described some human bones, as occurring in the
cavern of Pondres, near Nimes, in the same mud with the bones of an
extinct hyaena and rhinoceros.* (* Christol, "Notice sur les
Ossements humains des Cavernes du Gard" Montpellier 1829.) The
cavern was in this instance filled up to the roof with mud and
gravel, in which fragments of two kinds of pottery were detected,
the lowest and rudest near the bottom of the cave, below the level
of the extinct mammalia.

It has never been questioned that the hyaena and rhinoceros found
by M. Christol were of extinct species; but whether the animals
enumerated by M. Tournal might not all of them be referred to
quadrupeds which are known to have been living in Europe in the
historical period seems doubtful. They were said to consist of a
stag, an antelope, and a goat, all named by M. Marcel de Serres as
new; but the majority of palaeontologists do not agree with this
opinion. Still it is true, as M. Lartet remarks, that the fauna of
the cavern of Bize must be of very high antiquity, as shown by the
presence, not only of the Lithuanian aurochs (Bison europaeus), but
also of the reindeer, which has not been an inhabitant of the South
of France in historical times, and which, in that country, is
almost everywhere associated, whether in ancient alluvium or in the
mud of caverns, with the mammoth.

In my work before cited,* (* "Principles" 9th edition page 739.) I
stated that M. Desnoyers, an observer equally well versed in
geology and archaeology, had disputed the conclusion arrived at by
MM. Tournal and Christol, that the fossil rhinoceros, hyaena, bear,
and other lost species had once been inhabitants of France
contemporaneously with Man. "The flint hatchets and arrow-heads,"
he said, "and the pointed bones and coarse pottery of many French
and English caves, agree precisely in character with those found in
the tumuli, and under the dolmens (rude altars of unhewn stone) of
the primitive inhabitants of Gaul, Britain, and Germany. The human
bones, therefore, in the caves which are associated with such
fabricated objects, must belong not to antediluvian periods, but to
a people in the same stage of civilization as those who constructed
the tumuli and altars."

"In the Gaulish monuments," he added, "we find, together with the
objects of industry above mentioned, the bones of wild and domestic
animals of species now inhabiting Europe, particularly of deer,
sheep, wild boars, dogs, horses, and oxen. This fact has been
ascertained in Quercy and other provinces; and it is supposed by
antiquaries that the animals in question were placed beneath the
Celtic altars in memory of sacrifices offered to the Gaulish
divinity Hesus, and in the tombs to commemorate funeral repasts,
and also from a superstition prevalent among savage nations, which
induces them to lay up provisions for the manes of the dead in a
future life. But in none of these ancient monuments have any bones
been found of the elephant, rhinoceros, hyaena, tiger, and other
quadrupeds, such as are found in caves, which might certainly have
been expected had these species continued to flourish at the time
that this part of Gaul was inhabited by Man."* (* Desnoyers,
"Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France" tome 2 page 252; and
article on Caverns, "Dictionnaire Universelle d'Histoire Naturelle"
Paris 1845.)

After giving no small weight to the arguments of M. Desnoyers, and
the writings of Dr. Buckland on the same subject, and myself
visiting several caves in Germany, I came to the opinion that the
human bones mixed with those of extinct animals, in osseous
breccias and cavern mud, in different parts of Europe, were
probably not coeval. The caverns having been at one period the dens
of wild beasts, and having served at other times as places of human
habitation, worship, sepulture, concealment, or defence, one might
easily conceive that the bones of Man and those of animals, which
were strewed over the floors of subterranean cavities, or which had
fallen into tortuous rents connecting them with the surface, might,
when swept away by floods, be mingled in one promiscuous heap in
the same ossiferous mud or breccia.* (* "Principles" 9th edition
page 740.)

That such intermixtures have really taken place in some caverns,
and that geologists have occasionally been deceived, and have
assigned to one and the same period fossils which had really been
introduced at successive times, will readily be conceded. But of
late years we have obtained convincing proofs, as we shall see in
the sequel, that the mammoth, and many other extinct mammalian
species very common in caves, occur also in undisturbed alluvium,
embedded in such a manner with works of art, as to leave no room
for doubt that Man and the mammoth coexisted; Such discoveries have
led me, and other geologists, to reconsider the evidence previously
derived from caves brought forward in proof of the high antiquity
of Man. With a view of re-examining this evidence, I have lately
explored several caverns in Belgium and other countries, and
re-read the principal memoirs and treatises treating of the fossil
remains preserved in them, the results of which inquiries I shall
now proceed to lay before the reader.


The late Dr. Schmerling of Liege, a skilful anatomist and
palaeontologist, after devoting several years to the exploring of
the numerous ossiferous caverns which border the valleys of the
Meuse and its tributaries, published two volumes descriptive of the
contents of more than forty caverns. One of these volumes consisted
of an atlas of plates, illustrative of the fossil bones.* (*
"Recherches sur les Ossements fossiles decouverts dans les Cavernes
de la Province de Liege", Liege 1833-1834.)

Many of the caverns had never before been entered by scientific
observers, and their floors were encrusted with unbroken
stalagmite. At a very early stage of his investigations, Dr.
Schmerling found the bones of Man so rolled and scattered as to
preclude all idea of their having been intentionally buried on the
spot. He also remarked that they were of the same colour, and in
the same condition as to the amount of animal matter contained in
them, as those of the accompanying animals, some of which, like the
cave-bear, hyaena, elephant, and rhinoceros, were extinct; others,
like the wild cat, beaver, wild boar, roe-deer, wolf, and hedgehog,
still extant. The fossils were lighter than fresh bones, except
such as had their pores filled with carbonate of lime, in which
case they were often much heavier. The human remains of most
frequent occurrence were teeth detached from the jaw, and the
carpal, metacarpal, tarsal, metatarsal, and phalangeal bones
separated from the rest of the skeleton. The corresponding bones of
the cave-bear, the most abundant of the accompanying mammalia, were
also found in the Liege caverns more commonly than any others, and
in the same scattered condition. Occasionally, some of the long
bones of mammalia were observed to have been first broken across,
and then reunited or cemented again by stalagmite, as they lay on
the floor of the cave.

No gnawed bones nor any coprolites were found by Schmerling. He
therefore inferred that the caverns of the province of Liege had
not been the dens of wild beasts, but that their organic and
inorganic contents had been swept into them by streams
communicating with the surface of the country. The bones, he
suggested, may often have been rolled in the beds of such streams
before they reached their underground destination. To the same
agency the introduction of many land-shells dispersed through the
cave-mud was ascribed, such as Helix nemoralis, H. lapicida, H.
pomatia, and others of living species. Mingled with such shells, in
some rare instances, the bones of freshwater fish, and of a snake
(Coluber), as well as of several birds, were detected.

The occurrence here and there of bones in a very perfect state, or
of several bones belonging to the same skeleton in natural
juxtaposition, and having all their most delicate apophyses
uninjured, while many accompanying bones in the same breccia were
rolled, broken, or decayed, was accounted for by supposing that
portions of carcasses were sometimes floated in during floods while
still clothed with their flesh. No example was discovered of an
entire skeleton, not even of one of the smaller mammalia, the bones
of which are usually the least injured.

The incompleteness of each skeleton was especially ascertained in
regard to the human subjects, Dr. Schmerling being careful,
whenever a fragment of such presented itself, to explore the cavern
himself, and see whether any other bones of the same skeleton could
be found. In the Engis cavern, distant about eight miles to the
south-west of Liege, on the left bank of the Meuse, the remains of
at least three human individuals were disinterred. The skull of one
of these, that of a young person, was embedded by the side of a
mammoth's tooth. It was entire but so fragile, that nearly all of
it fell to pieces during its extraction. Another skull, that of an
adult individual, and the only one preserved by Dr. Schmerling in a
sufficient state of integrity to enable the anatomist to speculate
on the race to which it belonged, was buried 5 feet deep in a
breccia, in which the tooth of a rhinoceros, several bones of a
horse, and some of the reindeer, together with some ruminants,
occurred. This skull, now in the museum of the University of Liege,
is figured in Chapter 5 (Figure 2), where further observations will
be offered on its anatomical character, after a fuller account of
the contents of the Liege caverns has been laid before the reader.

On the right bank of the Meuse, on the opposite side of the river
to Engis, is the cavern of Engihoul. Bones of extinct animals
mingled with those of Man were observed to abound in both caverns;
but with this difference, that whereas in the Engis cave there were
several human crania and very few other bones, in Engihoul there
occurred numerous bones of the extremities belonging to at least
three human individuals, and only two small fragments of a cranium.
The like capricious distribution held good in other caverns,
especially with reference to the cave-bear, the most frequent of
the extinct mammalia. Thus, for example in the cave of Chokier,
skulls of the bear were few, and other parts of the skeleton
abundant, whereas in several other caverns these proportions were
exactly reversed, while at Goffontaine skulls of the bear and other
parts of the skeleton were found in their natural numerical
proportions. Speaking generally, it may be said that human bones,
where any were met with, occurred at all depths in the cave-mud and
gravel, sometimes above and sometimes below those of the bear,
elephant, rhinoceros, hyaena, etc.

Some rude flint implements of the kind commonly called flint knives
or flakes, of a triangular form in the cross section (as in Figure
14), were found by Schmerling dispersed generally through the
cave-mud, but he was too much engrossed with his osteological
inquiries to collect them diligently. He preserved some few of
them, however, which I have seen in the museum at Liege. He also
discovered in the cave of Chokier, 2 1/2 miles south-west from
Liege, a polished and jointed needle-shaped bone, with a hole
pierced obliquely through it at the base; such a cavity, he
observed, as had never given passage to an artery. This instrument
was embedded in the same matrix with the remains of a rhinoceros.*
(* Schmerling part 2 page 177.)

Another cut bone and several artificially-shaped flints were found
in the Engis cave, near the human skulls before alluded to.
Schmerling observed, and we shall have to refer to the fact in the
sequel (Chapter 8), that although in some forty fossiliferous caves
explored by him human bones were the exception, yet these flint
implements were universal, and he added that "none of them could
have been subsequently introduced, being precisely in the same
position as the remains of the accompanying animals." "I
therefore," he continues, "attach great importance to their
presence; for even if I had not found the human bones under
conditions entirely favourable to their being considered as
belonging to the antediluvian epoch, proofs of Man's existence
would still have been supplied by the cut bones and worked flints"*
(* Schmerling, part 2 page 179.)

Dr. Schmerling, therefore, had no hesitation in concluding from the
various facts ascertained by him, that Man once lived in the Liege
district contemporaneously with the cave-bear and several other
extinct species of quadrupeds. But he was much at a loss when he
attempted to invent a theory to explain the former state of the
fauna of the region now drained by the Meuse; for he shared the
notion, then very prevalent among naturalists, that the mammoth and
the hyaena* (* Ibid. part 2 pages 70 and 96.) were beasts of a
warmer climate than that now proper to Western Europe. In order to
account for the presence of such "tropical species," he was
half-inclined to imagine that they had been transported by a flood
from some distant region; then again he raised the question whether
they might not have been washed out of an older alluvium, which may
have pre-existed in the neighbourhood. This last hypothesis was
directly at variance with his own statements, that the remains of
the mammoth and hyaena were identical in appearance, colour, and
chemical condition with those of the bear and other associated
fossil animals, none of which exhibited signs of having been
previously enveloped in any dissimilar matrix. Another enigma which
led Schmerling astray in some of his geological speculations was
the supposed presence of the agouti, a South American rodent,
"proper to the torrid zone." My friend M. Lartet, guided by
Schmerling's figures of the teeth of this species, suggests, and I
have little doubt with good reason, that they appertain to the
porcupine, a genus found fossil in Pleistocene deposits of certain
caverns in the south of France.

In the year 1833, I passed through Liege, on my way to the Rhine,
and conversed with Dr. Schmerling, who showed me his splendid
collection, and when I expressed some incredulity respecting the
alleged antiquity of the fossil human bones, he pointedly remarked
that if I doubted their having been contemporaneous with the bear
or rhinoceros, on the ground of Man being a species of more modern
date, I ought equally to doubt the co-existence of all the other
living species, such as the red deer, roe, wild cat, wild boar,
wolf, fox, weasel, beaver, hare, rabbit, hedgehog, mole, dormouse,
field-mouse, water-rat, shrew, and others, the bones of which he
had found scattered everywhere indiscriminately through the same
mud with the extinct quadrupeds. The year after this conversation I
cited Schmerling's opinions, and the facts bearing on the antiquity
of Man, in the 3rd edition of my "Principles of Geology" (page 161,
1834), and in succeeding editions, without pretending to call in
question their trustworthiness, but at the same time without giving
them the weight which I now consider they were entitled to. He had
accumulated ample evidence to prove that Man had been introduced
into the earth at an earlier period than geologists were then
willing to believe.

One positive fact, it will be said, attested by so competent a
witness, ought to have outweighed any amount of negative testimony,
previously accumulated, respecting the non-occurrence elsewhere of
human remains in formations of the like antiquity. In reply, I can
only plead that a discovery which seems to contradict the general
tenor of previous investigations is naturally received with much
hesitation. To have undertaken in 1832, with a view of testing its
truth, to follow the Belgian philosopher through every stage of his
observations and proofs, would have been no easy task even for one
well-skilled in geology and osteology. To be let down, as
Schmerling was, day after day, by a rope tied to a tree, so as to
slide to the foot of the first opening of the Engis cave,* (*
Schmerling part 1 page 30.) where the best-preserved human skulls
were found; and, after thus gaining access to the first
subterranean gallery, to creep on all fours through a contracted
passage leading to larger chambers, there to superintend by
torchlight, week after week and year after year, the workmen who
were breaking through the stalagmitic crust as hard as marble, in
order to remove piece by piece the underlying bone-breccia nearly
as hard; to stand for hours with one's feet in the mud, and with
water dripping from the roof on one's head, in order to mark the
position and guard against the loss of each single bone of a
skeleton; and at length, after finding leisure, strength, and
courage for all these operations, to look forward, as the fruits of
one's labour, to the publication of unwelcome intelligence, opposed
to the prepossessions of the scientific as well as of the
unscientific public--when these circumstances are taken into
account, we need scarcely wonder, not only that a passing traveller
failed to stop and scrutinise the evidence, but that a quarter of a
century should have elapsed before even the neighbouring professors
of the University of Liege came forth to vindicate the truthfulness
of their indefatigable and clear-sighted countryman.

In 1860, when I revisited Liege, twenty-six years after my
interview with Schmerling, I found that several of the caverns
described by him had in the interval been annihilated. Not a
vestige, for example, of the caves of Engis, Chokier, and
Goffontaine remained. The calcareous stone, in the heart of which
the cavities once existed, had been quarried away, and removed
bodily for building and lime-making. Fortunately, a great part of
the Engihoul cavern, situated on the right bank of the Meuse, was
still in the same state as when Schmerling delved into it in 1831,
and drew from it the bones of three human skeletons. I determined,
therefore, to examine it, and was so fortunate as to obtain the
assistance of a zealous naturalist of Liege, Professor Malaise, who
accompanied me to the cavern, where we engaged some workmen to
break through the crust of stalagmite, so that we could search for
bones in the undisturbed earth beneath. Bones and teeth of the
cave-bear were soon found, and several other extinct quadrupeds
which Schmerling has enumerated. My companion, continuing the work
perseveringly for weeks after my departure, succeeded at length in
extracting from the same deposit, at the depth of 2 feet below the
crust of stalagmite, three fragments of a human skull, and two
perfect lower jaws with teeth, all associated in such a manner with
the bones of bears, large pachyderms, and ruminants, and so
precisely resembling these in colour and state of preservation, as
to leave no doubt in his mind that Man was contemporary with the
extinct animals. Professor Malaise has given figures of the human
remains in the "Bulletin" of the Royal Academy of Belgium for 1860.
* (* Volume 10 page 546.)

The rock in which the Liege caverns occur belongs generally to the
Carboniferous or Mountain Limestone, in some few cases only to the
older Devonian formation. Whenever the work of destruction has not
gone too far, magnificent sections, sometimes 200 and 300 feet in
height, are exposed to view. They confirm Schmerling's doctrine,
that most of the materials, organic and inorganic, now filling the
caverns, have been washed into them through narrow vertical or
oblique fissures, the upper extremities of which are choked up with
soil and gravel, and would scarcely ever be discoverable at the
surface, especially in so wooded a country. Among the sections
obtained by quarrying, one of the finest which I saw was in the
beautiful valley of Fond du Foret, above Chaudefontaine, not far
from the village of Magnee, where one of the rents communicating
with the surface has been filled up to the brim with rounded and
half-rounded stones, angular pieces of limestone and shale, besides
sand and mud, together with bones, chiefly of the cave-bear.
Connected with this main duct, which is from 1 to 2 feet in width,
are several minor ones, each from 1 to 3 inches wide, also
extending to the upper country or table-land, and choked up with
similar materials. They are inclined at angles of 30 and 40
degrees, their walls being generally coated with stalactite, pieces
of which have here and there been broken off and mingled with the
contents of the rents, thus helping to explain why we so often meet
with detached pieces of that substance in the mud and breccia of
the Belgian caves. It is not easy to conceive that a solid
horizontal floor of hard stalagmite should, after its formation, be
broken up by running water; but when the walls of steep and
tortuous rents, serving as feeders to the principal fissures and to
inferior vaults and galleries are encrusted with stalagmite, some
of the incrustation may readily be torn up when heavy fragments of
rock are hurried by a flood through passages inclined at angles of
30 or 40 degrees.

The decay and decomposition of the fossil bones seem to have been
arrested in most of the caves by a constant supply of water charged
with carbonate of lime, which dripped from the roofs while the
caves were becoming gradually filled up. By similar agency the mud,
sand, and pebbles were usually consolidated.

The following explanation of this phenomenon has been suggested by
the eminent chemist Liebig. On the surface of Franconia, where the
limestone abounds in caverns, is a fertile soil in which vegetable
matter is continually decaying. This mould or humus, being acted on
by moisture and air, evolves carbonic acid, which is dissolved by
rain. The rain water, thus impregnated, permeates the porous
limestone, dissolves a portion of it, and afterwards, when the
excess of carbonic acid evaporates in the caverns, parts with the
calcareous matter and forms stalactite. So long as water flows,
even occasionally, through a suite of caverns, no layer of pure
stalagmite can be produced; hence the formation of such a layer is
generally an event posterior in date to the cessation of the old
system of drainage, an event which might be brought about by an
earthquake causing new fissures, or by the river wearing its way
down to a lower level, and thenceforth running in a new channel.

In all the subterranean cavities, more than forty in number,
explored by Schmerling, he only observed one cave, namely that of
Chokier, where there were two regular layers of stalagmite, divided
by fossiliferous cave-mud. In this instance, we may suppose that
the stream, after flowing for a long period at one level, cut its
way down to an inferior suite of caverns, and, flowing through them
for centuries, choked them up with debris; after which it rose once
more to its original higher level: just as in the Mountain
Limestone district of Yorkshire some rivers, habitually absorbed by
a "swallow hole," are occasionally unable to discharge all their
water through it; in which case they rise and rush through a higher
subterranean passage, which was at some former period in the
regular line of drainage, as is often attested by the fluviatile
gravel still contained in it.

There are now in the basin of the Meuse, not far from Liege,
several examples of engulfed brooks and rivers: some of them, like
that of St. Hadelin, east of Chaudefontaine, which reappears after
an underground course of a mile or two; others, like the Vesdre,
which is lost near Goffontaine, and after a time re-emerges; some,
again, like the torrent near Magnee, which, after entering a cave,
never again comes to the day. In the season of floods such streams
are turbid at their entrance, but clear as a mountain-spring where
they issue again; so that they must be slowly filling up cavities
in the interior with mud, sand, pebbles, snail-shells, and the
bones of animals which may be carried away during floods.

The manner in which some of the large thigh and shank bones of the
rhinoceros and other pachyderms are rounded, while some of the
smaller bones of the same creatures, and of the hyaena, bear, and
horse, are reduced to pebbles, shows that they were often
transported for some distance in the channels of torrents, before
they found a resting-place.

When we desire to reason or speculate on the probable antiquity of
human bones found fossil in such situations as the caverns near
Liege, there are two classes of evidence to which we may appeal for
our guidance. First, considerations of the time required to allow
of many species of carnivorous and herbivorous animals, which
flourished in the cave period, becoming first scarce, and then so
entirely extinct as we have seen that they had become before the
era of the Danish peat and Swiss lake dwellings; secondly, the
great number of centuries necessary for the conversion of the
physical geography of the Liege district from its ancient to its
present configuration; so many old underground channels, through
which brooks and rivers flowed in the cave period, being now laid
dry and choked up.

The great alterations which have taken place in the shape of the
valley of the Meuse and some of its tributaries are often
demonstrated by the abrupt manner in which the mouths of
fossiliferous caverns open in the face of perpendicular precipices
200 feet or more in height above the present streams. There appears
also, in many cases, to be such a correspondence in the openings of
caverns on opposite sides of some of the valleys, both large and
small, as to incline one to suspect that they originally belonged
to a series of tunnels and galleries which were continuous before
the present system of drainage came into play, or before the
existing valleys were scooped out. Other signs of subsequent
fluctuations are afforded by gravel containing elephant's bones at
slight elevations above the Meuse and several of its tributaries.
It may be objected that, according to the present rate of change,
no lapse of ages would suffice to bring about such revolutions in
physical geography as we are here contemplating. This may be true.
It is more than probable that the rate of change was once far more
active than it is now in the basin of the Meuse. Some of the
nearest volcanoes, namely, those of the Lower Eifel about 60 miles
to the eastward, seem to have been in eruption in Pleistocene
times, and may perhaps have been connected and coeval with repeated
risings or sinkings of the land in the Liege district. It might be
said, with equal truth, that according to the present course of
events, no series of ages would suffice to reproduce such an
assemblage of cones and craters as those of the Eifel (near
Andernach, for example); and yet some of them may be of
sufficiently modern date to belong to the era when Man was
contemporary with the mammoth and rhinoceros in the basin of the

But, although we may be unable to estimate the minimum of time
required for the changes in physical geography above alluded to, we
cannot fail to perceive that the duration of the period must have
been very protracted, and that other ages of comparative inaction
may have followed, separating the Pleistocene from the historical
periods, and constituting an interval no less indefinite in its



Human Skeleton found in Cave near Dusseldorf.
Its geological Position and probable Age.
Its abnormal and ape-like Characters.
Fossil Human Skull of the Engis Cave near Liege.
Professor Huxley's Description of these Skulls.
Comparison of each, with extreme Varieties of the native
   Australian Race.
Range of Capacity in the Human and Simian Brains.
Skull from Borreby in Denmark.
Conclusions of Professor Huxley.
Bearing of the peculiar Characters of the Neanderthal Skull
   on the Hypothesis of Transmutation.


Before I speak more particularly of the opinions which anatomists
have expressed respecting the osteological characters of the human
skull from Engis, near Liege, mentioned in the last chapter and
described by Dr. Schmerling, it will be desirable to say something
of the geological position of another skull, or rather skeleton,
which, on account of its peculiar conformation, has excited no
small sensation in the last few years. I allude to the skull found
in 1857 in a cave situated in that part of the valley of the
Dussel, near Dusseldorf, which is called the Neanderthal. The spot
is a deep and narrow ravine about 70 English miles north-east of
the region of the Liege caverns treated of in the last chapter, and
close to the village and railway station of Hochdal between
Dusseldorf and Elberfeld. The cave occurs in the precipitous
southern or left side of the winding ravine, about sixty feet above
the stream, and a hundred feet below the top of the cliff. The
accompanying section (Figure 1.) will give the reader an idea of
its position.

When Dr. Fuhlrott of Elberfeld first examined the cave, he found it
to be high enough to allow a man to enter. The width was 7 or 8
feet, and the length or depth 15. I visited the spot in 1860, in
company with Dr. Fuhlrott, who had the kindness to come expressly
from Elberfeld to be my guide, and who brought with him the
original fossil skull, and a cast of the same, which he presented
to me. In the interval of three years, between 1857 and 1860, the
ledge of rock, f, on which the cave opened, and which was
originally 20 feet wide, had been almost entirely quarried away,
and, at the rate at which the work of dilapidation was proceeding,
its complete destruction seemed near at hand.


  a. Cavern 60 feet above the Dussel, and 100 feet below the
     surface of the country at c.
  b. Loam covering the floor of the cave near the bottom of which
     the human skeleton was found.
  b, c. Rent connecting the cave with the upper surface of the
  d. Superficial sandy loam.
  e. Devonian limestone.
  f. Terrace, or ledge of rock.)

In the limestone are many fissures, one of which, still partially
filled with mud and stones, is represented in the section at a c as
continuous from the cave to the upper surface of the country.
Through this passage the loam, and possibly the human body to which
the bones belonged, may have been washed into the cave below. The
loam, which covered the uneven bottom of the cave, was sparingly
mixed with rounded fragments of chert, and was very similar in
composition to that covering the general surface of that region.

There was no crust of stalagmite overlying the mud in which the
human skeleton was found, and no bones of other animals in the mud
with the skeleton; but just before our visit in 1860 the tusk of a
bear had been met with in some mud in a lateral embranchment of the
cave, in a situation precisely similar to b, Figure 1, and on a
level corresponding with that of the human skeleton. This tusk,
shown us by the proprietor of the cave, was 2 1/2 inches long and
quite perfect; but whether it was referable to a recent or extinct
species of bear, I could not determine.

From a printed letter of Dr. Fuhlrott we learn that on removing the
loam, which was five feet thick, from the cave, the human skull was
first noticed near the entrance, and, further in, the other bones
lying in the same horizontal plane. It is supposed that the
skeleton was complete, but the workmen, ignorant of its value,
scattered and lost most of the bones, preserving only the larger
ones.* (* Fuhlrott, Letter to Professor Schaaffhausen, cited
"Natural History Review" Number 2 page 156. See also
"Naturhistorischer Verein" Bonn 1859.)

The cranium, which Dr. Fuhlrott showed me, was covered both on its
outer and inner surface, and especially on the latter, with a
profusion of dendritical crystallisations, and some other bones of
the skeleton were ornamented in the same way. These markings, as
Dr. Hermann von Meyer observes, afford no sure criterion of
antiquity, for they have been observed on Roman bones.
Nevertheless, they are more common in bones that have been long
embedded in the earth. The skull and bones, moreover, of the
Neanderthal skeleton had lost so much of their animal matter as to
adhere strongly to the tongue, agreeing in this respect with the
ordinary condition of fossil remains of the Pleistocene period. On
the whole, I think it probable that this fossil may be of about the
same age as those found by Schmerling in the Liege caverns; but, as
no other animal remains were found with it, there is no proof that
it may not be newer. Its position lends no countenance whatever to
the supposition of its being more ancient.

When the skull and other parts of the skeleton were first exhibited
at a German scientific meeting at Bonn, in 1857, some doubts were
expressed by several naturalists, whether it was truly human.
Professor Schaaffhausen, who, with the other experienced
zoologists, did not share these doubts, observed that the cranium,
which included the frontal bone, both parietals, part of the
squamous, and the upper third of the occipital, was of unusual size
and thickness, the forehead narrow and very low, and the projection
of the supra-orbital ridges enormously great. He also stated that
the absolute and relative length of the thigh bone, humerus,
radius, and ulna, agreed well with the dimensions of a European
individual of like stature at the present day; but that the
thickness of the bones was very extraordinary, and the elevations
and depressions for the attachment of muscles were developed in an
unusual degree. Some of the ribs, also, were of a singularly
rounded shape and abrupt curvature, which was supposed to indicate
great power in the thoracic muscles.* (* Professor Schaaffhausen's
"Memoir" translated "Natural History Review" April 1861.)

In the same memoir, the Prussian anatomist remarks that the
depression of the forehead (See Figure 3.), is not due to any
artificial flattening, such as is practised in various modes by
barbarous nations in the Old and New World, the skull being quite
symmetrical, and showing no indication of counter-pressure at the
occiput; whereas, according to Morton, in the Flat-heads of the
Columbia, the frontal and parietal bones are always unsymmetrical.*
(* "Natural History Review" Number 2 page 160.) On the whole,
Professor Schaaffhausen concluded that the individual to whom the
Neanderthal skull belonged must have been distinguished by small
cerebral development, and uncommon strength of corporeal frame.

When on my return to England I showed the cast of the cranium to
Professor Huxley, he remarked at once that it was the most ape-like
skull he had ever beheld. Mr. Busk, after giving a translation of
Professor Schaaffhausen's memoir in the "Natural History Review,"
added some valuable comments of his own on the characters in which
this skull approached that of the gorilla and chimpanzee.

Professor Huxley afterwards studied the cast with the object of
assisting me to give illustrations of it in this work, and in doing
so discovered what had not previously been observed, that it was
quite as abnormal in the shape of its occipital as in that of its
frontal or superciliary region. Before citing his words on the
subject, I will offer a few remarks on the Engis skull which the
same anatomist has compared with that of the Neanderthal. [Note 10.


Among six or seven human skeletons, portions of which were
collected by Dr. Schmerling from three or four caverns near Liege,
embedded in the same matrix with the remains of the elephant,
rhinoceros, bear, hyaena, and other extinct quadrupeds, the most
perfect skull, as I have before stated, was that of an adult
individual found in the cavern of Engis. This skull, Dr. Schmerling
figured in his work, observing that it was too imperfect to enable
the anatomist to determine the facial angle, but that one might
infer, from the narrowness of the frontal portion, that it belonged
to an individual of small intellectual development. He speculated
on its Ethiopian affinities, but not confidently, observing truly
that it would require many more specimens to enable an anatomist to
arrive at sound conclusions on such a point. M. Geoffroy St.
Hilaire and other osteologists, who examined the specimen, denied
that it resembled a negro's skull. When I saw the original in the
museum at Liege, I invited Dr. Spring, one of the professors of the
university, to whom we are indebted for a valuable memoir on the
human bones found in the cavern of Chauvaux, near Namur, to have a
cast made of this Engis skull. He not only had the kindness to
comply with my request, but rendered a service to the scientific
world by adding to the original cranium several detached fragments
which Dr. Schmerling had obtained from Engis, and which were found
to fit in exactly, so that the cast represented at Figure 2 is more
complete than that given in the first plate of Schmerling's work.
It exhibits on the right side the position of the auditory foramen
(see Figure 6), which was not included in Schmerling's figure. Mr.
Busk, when he saw this cast, remarked to me that, although the
forehead was, as Schmerling had truly stated, somewhat narrow, it
might nevertheless be matched by the skulls of individuals of
European race, an observation since fully borne out by
measurements, as will be seen in the sequel.


"The Engis skull, as originally figured by Professor Schmerling,
was in a very imperfect state; but other fragments have since been
added to it by the care of Dr. Spring, and the cast upon which my
observations are based (Figure 2) exhibits the frontal, parietal,
and occipital regions, as far as the middle of the occipital
foramen, with the squamous and mastoid portions of the right
temporal bone entire, or nearly so, while the left temporal bone is
wanting. From the middle of the occipital foramen to the middle of
the roof of each orbit, the base of the skull is destroyed, and the
facial bones are entirely absent.

"The extreme length of the skull is 7.7 inches, and as its extreme
breadth is not more than 5.25, its form is decidedly
dolichocephalic. At the same time its height (4 3/4 inches from the
plane of the glabello-occipital line (a d) to the vertex) is good,
and the forehead is well arched; so that while the horizontal
circumference of the skull is about 20 1/2 inches, the longitudinal
arc from the nasal spine of the frontal bone to the occipital
protuberance (d) measures about 13 3/4 inches. The transverse arc
from one auditory foramen to the other across the middle of the
sagittal suture measures about 13 inches. The sagittal suture (b c)
is 5 1/2 inches in length. The superciliary prominences are well,
but not excessively, developed, and are separated by a median
depression in the region of the glabella. They indicate large
frontal sinuses. If a line joining the glabella and the occipital
protuberance (a d) be made horizontal, no part of the occiput
projects more than 1/10th of an inch behind the posterior extremity
of that line; and the upper edge of the auditory foramen is almost
in contact with the same line, or rather with one drawn parallel to
it on the outer surface of the skull.


  a. Superciliary ridge and glabella.
  b. Coronal suture.
  c. The apex of the lamboidal suture.
  d. The occipital protuberance.)

"The Neanderthal skull, with which also I am acquainted only by
means of Professor Schaaffhausen's drawings of an excellent cast
and of photographs, is so extremely different in appearance from
the Engis cranium, that it might well be supposed to belong to a
distinct race of mankind. It is 8 inches in extreme length and 5.75
inches in extreme breadth, but only measures 3.4 inches from the
glabello-occipital line to the vertex. The longitudinal arc,
measured as above, is 12 inches; the transverse arc cannot be
exactly ascertained, in consequence of the absence of the temporal
bones, but was probably about the same, and certainly exceeded 10
1/4 inches. The horizontal circumference is 23 inches. This great
circumference arises largely from the vast development of the
superciliary ridges, which are occupied by great frontal sinuses
whose inferior apertures are displayed exceedingly well in one of
Dr. Fuhlrott's photographs, and form a continuous transverse
prominence, somewhat excavated in the middle line, across the lower
part of the brows. In consequence of this structure, the forehead
appears still lower and more retreating than it really is. To an
anatomical eye the posterior part of the skull is even more
striking than the anterior. The occipital protuberance occupies the
extreme posterior end of the skull when the glabello-occipital line
is made horizontal, and so far from any part of the occipital
region extending beyond it, this region of the skull slopes
obliquely upward and forward, so that the lambdoidal suture is
situated well upon the upper surface of the cranium. At the same
time, notwithstanding the great length of the skull, the sagittal
suture is remarkably short (4 1/2 inches), and the squamosal suture
is very straight.


  a. Superciliary ridge and glabella.
  b. The coronal suture.
  c. The apex of the lamboidal suture.
  d. The occipital protuberance.)

"In human skulls, the superior curved ridge of the occipital bone
and the occipital protuberance correspond, approximatively, with
the level of the tentorium and with the lateral sinuses, and
consequently with the inferior limit of the posterior lobes of the
brain. At first, I found some difficulty in believing that a human
brain could have its posterior lobes so flattened and diminished as
must have been the case in the Neanderthal man, supposing the
ordinary relation to obtain between the superior occipital ridges
and the tentorium; but on my application, through Sir Charles
Lyell, Dr. Fuhlrott, the possessor of the skull, was good enough
not only to ascertain the existence of the lateral sinuses in their
ordinary position, but to send convincing proofs of the fact, in
excellent photographic views of the interior of the skull,
exhibiting clear indications of these sinuses.

"There can be no doubt that, as Professor Schaaffhausen and Mr.
Busk have stated, this skull is the most brutal of all known human
skulls, resembling those of the apes not only in the prodigious
development of the superciliary prominences and the forward
extension of the orbits, but still more in the depressed form of
the brain-case, in the straightness of the squamosal suture, and in
the complete retreat of the occiput forwards and upward, from the
superior occipital ridges.


  The superciliary region of the Neanderthal skull
  appears less prominent than in Figure 3, as the contours are all
  taken along the middle line where the superciliary projection of
  the Neanderthal skull is least marked. a. The glabella. b. The
  occipital protuberance, or the point on the exterior of each skull
  which corresponds roughly with the attachment of the tentorium, or
  with the inferior boundary of the posterior cerebral lobes.)

"But the cranium, in its present condition, is stated by Professor
Schaaffhausen to contain 1033.24 cubic centimetres of water, or, in
other words, about 63 English cubic inches. As the entire skull
could hardly have held less than 12 cubic inches more, its minimum
capacity may be estimated at 75 cubic inches. The most capacious
healthy European skull yet measured had a capacity of 114 cubic
inches, the smallest (as estimated by weight of brain) about 55
cubic inches, while, according to Professor Schaaffhausen, some
Hindoo skulls have as small a capacity as about 46 cubic inches (27
ounces of water). The largest cranium of any Gorilla yet measured
contained 34.5 cubic inches. The Neanderthal cranium stands,
therefore, in capacity, very nearly on a level with the mean of the
two human extremes, and very far above the pithecoid maximum.

      The thick dark line indicates so much of the skull as
         corresponds with the fragment from the Neanderthal.

  a. Superciliary ridge.
  b. Coronal suture.
  c. The apex of the lamboidal suture.
  d. The occipital protuberance.
  e. The auditory foramen.)

"Hence, even in the absence of the bones of the arm and thigh,
which, according to Professor Schaaffhausen, had the precise
proportions found in Man, although they were stouter than ordinary
human bones, there could be no reason for ascribing this cranium to
anything but a man; while the strength and development of the
muscular ridges of the limb-bones are characters in perfect
accordance with those exhibited, in a minor degree, by the bones of
such hardy savages, exposed to a rigorous climate, as the

"The Neanderthal cranium has certainly not undergone compression,
and, in reply to the suggestion that the skull is that of an idiot,
it may be urged that the onus probandi lies with those who adopt
the hypothesis. Idiotcy is compatible with very various forms and
capacities of the cranium, but I know of none which present the
least resemblance to the Neanderthal skull; and, furthermore, I
shall proceed to show that the latter manifests but an extreme
degree of a stage of degradation exhibited, as a natural condition,
by the crania of certain races of mankind.

"Mr. Busk drew my attention, some time ago, to the resemblance
between some of the skulls taken from tumuli of the stone period at
Borreby in Denmark, of which Mr. Busk possesses numerous accurate
figures, and the Neanderthal cranium. One of the Borreby skulls in
particular (Figure 5) has remarkably projecting superciliary
ridges, a retreating forehead, a low flattened vertex, and an
occiput which shelves upward and forward. But the skull is
relatively higher and broader, or more brachycephalic, the sagittal
suture longer, and the superciliary ridges less projecting, than in
the Neanderthal skull. Nevertheless, there is, without doubt, much
resemblance in character between the two skulls--a circumstance
which is the more interesting, since the other Borreby skulls have
better foreheads and less prominent superciliary ridges, and
exhibit altogether a higher conformation.

"The Borreby skulls belong to the stone period of Denmark, and the
people to whom they appertained were probably either
contemporaneous with, or later than, the makers of the
'refuse-heaps' of that country. In other words, they were
subsequent to the last great physical changes of Europe, and were
contemporaries of the urus and bison, not of the Elephas
primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, and Hyaena spelaea.

"Supposing for a moment, what is not proven, that the Neanderthal
skull belonged to a race allied to the Borreby people and was as
modern as they, it would be separated by as great a distance of
time as of anatomical character from the Engis skull, and the
possibility of its belonging to a distinct race from the latter
might reasonably appear to be greatly heightened.

"To prevent the possibility of reasoning in a vicious circle,
however, I thought it would be well to endeavour to ascertain what
amount of cranial variation is to be found in a pure race at the
present day; and as the natives of Southern and Western Australia
are probably as pure and homogeneous in blood, customs, and
language, as any race of savages in existence, I turned to them,
the more readily as the Hunterian museum contains a very fine
collection of such skulls.

"I soon found it possible to select from among these crania two
(connected by all sorts of intermediate gradations), the one of
which should very nearly resemble the Engis skull, while the other
should somewhat less closely approximate the Neanderthal cranium in
form, size, and proportions. And at the same time others of these
skulls presented no less remarkable affinities with the low type of
Borreby skull.

"That the resemblances to which I allude are by no means of a
merely superficial character, is shown by the accompanying diagram
(Figure 6), which gives the contours of the two ancient and of one
of the Australian skulls, and by the following table of

TABLE 5/1.


COLUMN 2 (A): The horizontal circumference in the plane of a line
joining the glabella with the occipital protuberance.

COLUMN 3 (B): The longitudinal arc from the nasal depression along
the middle line of the skull to the occipital tuberosity.

COLUMN 4 (C): From the level of the glabello-occipital line on each
side, across the middle of the sagittal suture to the same point on
the opposite side.

COLUMN 5 (D): The vertical height from the glabello-occipital line.

COLUMN 6 (E): The extreme longitudinal measurement.

COLUMN 7 (F): The extreme transverse measurement.* (* I have taken
the glabello-occipital line as a base in these measurements, simply
because it enables me to compare all the skulls, whether fragments
or entire, together. The greatest circumference of the English
skull lies in a plane considerably above that of the
glabello-occipital line, and amounts to 22 inches.)

Engis       : 20 1/2 : 13 3/4 : 12 1/2 : 4 3/4  : 7 3/4 : 5 1/4.
   Number 1 : 20 1/2 : 13     : 12     : 4 3/4  : 7 1/2 : 5 4/10.
   Number 2 : 22     : 12 1/2 : 10 3/4 : 3 8/10 : 7.9   : 5 3/4.
Neanderthal : 23     : 12     : 10     : 3 3/4  : 8     : 5 3/4.

"The question whether the Engis skull has rather the character of
one of the high races or of one of the lower has been much
disputed, but the following measurements of an English skull, noted
in the catalogue of the Hunterian museum as typically Caucasian
(see Figure 4) will serve to show that both sides may be right, and
that cranial measurements alone afford no safe indication of race.

English     : 21     : 13 3/4 : 12 1/2 : 4 4/10 : 7 7/8 : 5 1/3.

"In making the preceding statement, it must be clearly understood
that I neither desire to affirm that the Engis and Neanderthal
skulls belong to the Australian race, nor to assert even that the
ancient skulls belong to one and the same race, so far as race is
measured by language, colour of skin, or character of hair. Against
the conclusion that they are of the same race as the Australians
various minor anatomical differences of the ancient skulls, such as
the great development of the frontal sinuses, might be urged; while
against the supposition of either the identity, or the diversity,
of race of the two arises the known independence of the variation
of cranium on the one hand, and of hair, colour, and language on
the other.

"But the amount of variation of the Borreby skulls, and the fact
that the skulls of one of the purest and most homogeneous of
existing races of men can be proved to differ from one another in
the same characters, though perhaps not quite to the same extent,
as the Engis and Neanderthal skulls, seem to me to prohibit any
cautious reasoner from affirming the latter to have been
necessarily of distinct races.


  a. The glabella.
  b. The occipital protuberance, or the point on the exterior
     of each skull which corresponds roughly with the attachment
     of the tentorium, or with the inferior boundary of the
     posterior cerebral lobes.
   e. The position of the auditory foramen of the Engis skull.)

"The marked resemblances between the ancient skulls and their
modern Australian analogues, however, have a profound interest,
when it is recollected that the stone axe is as much the weapon and
the implement of the modern as of the ancient savage; that the
former turns the bones of the kangaroo and of the emu to the same
account as the latter did the bones of the deer and the urus; that
the Australian heaps up the shells of devoured shellfish in mounds
which represent the "refuse-heaps" or "Kjokkenmodding," of Denmark;
and, finally, that, on the other side of Torres Straits, a race
akin to the Australians are among the few people who now build
their houses on pile-works, like those of the ancient Swiss lakes.

"That this amount of resemblance in habit and in the conditions of
existence is accompanied by as close a resemblance in cranial
configuration, illustrates on a great scale that what Cuvier
demonstrated of the animals of the Nile valley is no less true of
men; circumstances remaining similar, the savage varies little
more, it would seem, than the ibis or the crocodile, especially if
we take into account the enormous extent of the time over which our
knowledge of man now extends, as compared with that measured by the
duration of the sepulchres of Egypt.

"Finally, the comparatively large cranial capacity of the
Neanderthal skull, overlaid though it may be by pithecoid bony
walls, and the completely human proportions of the accompanying
limb-bones, together with the very fair development of the Engis
skull, clearly indicate that the first traces of the primordial
stock whence Man has proceeded need no longer be sought, by those
who entertain any form of the doctrine of progressive development,
in the newest Tertiaries; but that they may be looked for in an
epoch more distant from the age of the Elephas primigenius than
that is from us."

The two skulls which form the subject of the preceding comments and
illustrations have given rise to nearly an equal amount of surprise
for opposite reasons; that of Engis because being so unequivocally
ancient, it approached so near to the highest or Caucasian type;
that of the Neanderthal, because, having no such decided claims to
antiquity, it departs so widely from the normal standard of
humanity. Professor Huxley's observation regarding the wide range
of variation, both as to shape and capacity, in the skulls of so
pure a race as the native Australian, removes to no small extent
this supposed anomaly, assuming what though not proved is very
probable, that both varieties co-existed in the Pleistocene period
in Western Europe.

As to the Engis skull, we must remember that although associated
with the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, tiger, and hyaena, all of
extinct species, it nevertheless is also accompanied by a bear,
stag, wolf, fox, beaver, and many other quadrupeds of species still
living. Indeed many eminent palaeontologists, and among them
Professor Pictet, think that, numerically considered, the larger
portion of the mammalian fauna agrees specifically with that of our
own period, so that we are scarcely entitled to feel surprised if
we find human races of the Pleistocene epoch undistinguishable from
some living ones. It would merely tend to show that Man has been as
constant in his osteological characters as many other mammalia now
his contemporaries. The expectation of always meeting with a lower
type of human skull, the older the formation in which it occurs, is
based on the theory of progressive development, and it may prove to
be sound; nevertheless we must remember that as yet we have no
distinct geological evidence that the appearance of what are called
the inferior races of mankind has always preceded in chronological
order that of the higher races.

It is now admitted that the differences between the brain of the
highest races of Man and that of the lowest,* (* "Natural History
Review" 1861 page 8.) though less in degree, are of the same order
as those which separate the human from the simian brain; and the
same rule holds good in regard to the shape of the skull. The
average Negro skull differs from that of the European in having a
more receding forehead, more prominent superciliary ridges, and
more largely developed prominences and furrows for the attachment
of muscles; the face also, and its lines, are larger
proportionally. The brain is somewhat less voluminous on the
average in the lower races of mankind, its convolutions rather less
complicated, and those of the two hemispheres more symmetrical, in
all which points an approach is made to the simian type. It will
also be seen, by reference to the late Dr. Morton's works, and by
the foregoing statements of Professor Huxley, that the range of
size or capacity between the highest and lowest human brain is
greater than that between the highest simian and lowest human
brain; but the Neanderthal skull, although in several respects it
is more ape-like than any human skull previously discovered, is, in
regard to volume, by no means contemptible.

Eminent anatomists have shown that in the average proportions of
some of the bones the Negro differs from the European, and that in
most of these characters, he makes a slightly nearer approach to
the anthropoid quadrumana;* but Professor Schaaffhausen has pointed
out that in these proportions the Neanderthal skeleton does not
differ from the ordinary standard, so that the skeleton by no means
indicates a transition between Homo and Pithecus. (* "The inferior
races of mankind exhibit proportions which are in many respects
intermediate between the higher, or European, orders, and the
monkeys. In the Negro, for instance, the stature is less than in
the European. The cranium, as is well known, bears a small
proportion to the face. Of the extremities the upper are
proportionately longer, and there is, in both upper and lower, a
less marked preponderance of the proximal over the distal segments.
For instance, in the Negro, the thigh and arm are rather shorter
than in the European; the leg is actually of equal length in both
races, and is therefore, relatively, a little longer in the Negro;
the fore-arm in the latter is actually, as well as relatively, a
little longer; the foot is an eighth, and the hand a twelfth longer
than in the European. It is well known that the foot is less well
formed in the Negro than in the European. The arch of the instep,
the perfect conformation of which is essential to steadiness and
ease of gait, is less elevated in the former than in the latter.
The foot is thereby rendered flatter as well as longer, more nearly
resembling the monkey's, between which and the European there is a
marked difference in this particular."--From "A Treatise on the
Human Skeleton" by Dr. Humphry, Lecturer on Surgery and Anatomy in
the Cambridge University Medical School, page 91.)

There is doubtless, as shown in the diagram Figure 4, a nearer
resemblance in the outline of the Neanderthal skull to that of a
chimpanzee than had ever been observed before in any human cranium;
and Professor Huxley's description of the occipital region shows
that the resemblance is not confined to the mere excessive
prominence of the superciliary ridges.

The direct bearing of the ape-like character of the Neanderthal
skull on Lamarck's doctrine of progressive development and
transmutation, or on that modification of it which has of late been
so ably advocated by Mr. Darwin, consists in this, that the newly
observed deviation from a normal standard of human structure is not
in a casual or random direction, but just what might have been
anticipated if the laws of variation were such as the
transmutationists require. For if we conceive the cranium to be
very ancient, it exemplifies a less advanced stage of progressive
development and improvement. If it be a comparatively modern race,
owing its peculiarities of conformation to degeneracy, it is an
illustration of what botanists call "atavism," or the tendency of
varieties to revert to an ancestral type, which type, in proportion
to its antiquity, would be of lower grade. To this hypothesis, of a
genealogical connection between Man and the lower animals, I shall
again allude in the concluding chapters. [Note 11.]



General Position of Drift with extinct Mammalia in Valleys.
Discoveries of M. Boucher de Perthes at Abbeville.
Flint Implements found also at St. Acheul, near Amiens.
Curiosity awakened by the systematic Exploration of the Brixham Cave.
Flint Knives in same, with Bones of extinct Mammalia.
Superposition of Deposits in the Cave.
Visits of English and French Geologists to Abbeville and Amiens.


Throughout a large part of Europe we find at moderate elevations
above the present river-channels, usually at a height of less than
40 feet, but sometimes much higher, beds of gravel, sand, and loam
containing bones of the elephant, rhinoceros, horse, ox, and other
quadrupeds, some of extinct, others of living, species, belonging
for the most part to the fauna already alluded to in the fourth
chapter as characteristic of the interior of caverns. The greater
part of these deposits contain fluviatile shells, and have
undoubtedly been accumulated in ancient river-beds. These old
channels have long since been dry, the streams which once flowed in
them having shifted their position, deepening the valleys, and
often widening them on one side.

It has naturally been asked, if Man co-existed with the extinct
species of the caves, why were his remains and the works of his
hands never embedded outside the caves in ancient river-gravel
containing the same fossil fauna? Why should it be necessary for
the geologist to resort for evidence of the antiquity of our race
to the dark recesses of underground vaults and tunnels which may
have served as places of refuge or sepulture to a succession of
human beings and wild animals, and where floods may have confounded
together in one breccia the memorials of the fauna of more than one
epoch? Why do we not meet with a similar assemblage of the relics
of Man, and of living and extinct quadrupeds, in places where the
strata can be thoroughly scrutinised in the light of day?

Recent researches have at length demonstrated that such memorials,
so long sought for in vain, do in fact exist, and their recognition
is the chief cause of the more favourable reception now given to
the conclusions which MM. Tournal, Christol, Schmerling, and
others, arrived at thirty years ago respecting the fossil contents
of caverns. [Note 12.]

A very important step in this new direction was made thirteen years
after the publication of Schmerling's researches, by M. Boucher de
Perthes, who found in ancient alluvium at Abbeville, in Picardy,
some flint implements, the relative antiquity of which was attested
by their geological position. The antiquarian knowledge of their
discoverer enabled him to recognise in their rude and peculiar type
a character distinct from that of the polished stone weapons of a
later period, usually called "celts." In the first volume of his
"Antiquites Celtiques," published in 1847, M. Boucher de Perthes
styled these older tools "antediluvian," because they came from the
lowest beds of a series of ancient alluvial strata bordering the
valley of the Somme, which geologists had termed "diluvium." He had
begun to collect these implements in 1841. From that time they had
been annually dug out of the drift or deposits of gravel and sand,
of which fine sections were laid open from 20 to 35 feet in depth,
whenever excavations were made in repairing the fortifications of
Abbeville; or as often as flints were wanted for the roads, or loam
for making bricks. For years previously bones of quadrupeds of the
genera elephant, rhinoceros, bear, hyaena, stag, ox, horse, and
others, had been collected there, and sent from time to time to
Paris to be examined and named by Cuvier, who had described them in
his Ossements Fossiles. A correct account of the associated flint
tools and of their position was given in 1847 by M. Boucher de
Perthes in his work above cited, and they were stated to occur at
various depths, often 20 or 30 feet from the surface, in sand and
gravel, especially in those strata which were nearly in contact
with the subjacent white Chalk. But the scientific world had no
faith in the statement that works of art, however rude, had been
met with in undisturbed beds of such antiquity. Few geologists
visited Abbeville in winter, when the sand-pits were open, and when
they might have opportunities of verifying the sections, and
judging whether the instruments had really been embedded by natural
causes in the same strata with the bones of the mammoth,
rhinoceros, and other extinct mammalia. Some of the tools figured
in the "Antiquites Celtiques" were so rudely shaped, that many
imagined them to have owed their peculiar forms to accidental
fracture in a river's bed; others suspected frauds on the part of
the workmen, who might have fabricated them for sale, or that the
gravel had been disturbed, and that the worked flints had got
mingled with the bones of the mammoth long after that animal and
its associates had disappeared from the earth.

No one was more sceptical than the late eminent physician of
Amiens, Dr. Rigollot, who had long before (in the year 1819)
written a memoir on the fossil mammalia of the valley of the Somme.
He was at length induced to visit Abbeville, and, having inspected
the collection of M. Boucher de Perthes, returned home resolved to
look for himself for flint tools in the gravel-pits near Amiens.
There, accordingly, at a distance of about 30 miles from Abbeville,
he immediately found abundance of similar flint implements,
precisely the same in the rudeness of their make, and the same in
their geological position; some of them in gravel nearly on a level
with the Somme, others in similar deposits resting on Chalk at a
height of about 90 feet above the river.

Dr. Rigollot having in the course of four years obtained several
hundred specimens of these tools, most of them from St. Acheul in
the south-east suburbs of Amiens, lost no time in communicating an
account of them to the scientific world, in a memoir illustrated by
good figures of the worked flints and careful sections of the beds.
These sections were executed by M. Buteux, an engineer well
qualified for the task, who had written a good description of the
geology of Picardy. Dr. Rigollot, in this memoir, pointed out most
clearly that it was not in the vegetable soil, nor in the
brick-earth with land and freshwater shells next below, but in the
lower beds of coarse flint-gravel, usually 12, 20, or 25 feet below
the surface, that the implements were met with, just as they had
been previously stated by M. Boucher de Perthes to occur at
Abbeville. The conclusion, therefore, which was legitimately
deduced from all the facts, was that the flint tools and their
fabricators were coeval with the extinct mammalia embedded in the
same strata.


Four years after the appearance of Dr. Rigollot's paper, a sudden
change of opinion was brought about in England respecting the
probable co-existence, at a former period, of Man and many extinct
mammalia, in consequence of the results obtained from a careful
exploration of a cave at Brixham, near Torquay, in Devonshire. As
the new views very generally adopted by English geologists had no
small influence on the subsequent progress of opinion in France, I
shall interrupt my account of the researches made in the valley of
the Somme, by a brief notice of those which were carried on in 1858
in Devonshire with more than usual care and scientific method. Dr.
Buckland, in his celebrated work, entitled "Reliquiae Diluvianae,"
published in 1823, in which he treated of the organic remains
contained in caves, fissures, and "diluvial gravel" in England, had
given a clear statement of the results of his own original
observations, and had declared that none of the human bones or
stone implements met with by him in any of the caverns could be
considered to be as old as the mammoth and other extinct
quadrupeds. Opinions in harmony with this conclusion continued
until very lately to be generally in vogue in England; although
about the time that Schmerling was exploring the Liege caves, the
Reverend Mr. McEnery, a Catholic priest, residing near Torquay, had
found in a cave one mile east of that town, called "Kent's Hole,"
in red loam covered with stalagmite, not only bones of the mammoth,
tichorhine rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cave-bear, and other mammalia,
but several remarkable flint tools, some of which he supposed to be
of great antiquity, while there were also remains of Man in the
same cave of a later date.* (* The manuscript and plates prepared
for a joint memoir on Kent's Hole, by Mr. McEnery and Dr. Buckland,
have recently been published by Mr. Vivian of Torquay, from which,
as well as from some of the unprinted manuscript, I infer that Mr.
McEnery only refrained out of deference to Dr. Buckland from
declaring his belief in the contemporaneousness of certain flint
implements of an antique type and the bones of extinct animals. Two
of these implements from Kent's Hole, figured in Plate 12 of the
posthumous work above alluded to, approach very closely in form and
size to the common Abbeville implements.)

About ten years afterwards, in a "Memoir on the Geology of South
Devon," published in 1842 by the Geological Society of London,* (*
"Transactions of the Geological Society" 2nd series volume 6 page
444.) an able geologist, Mr. Godwin-Austen, declared that he had
obtained in the same cave (Kent's Hole) works of Man from
undisturbed loam or clay, under stalagmite, mingled with the
remains of extinct animals, and that all these must have been
introduced "before the stalagmite flooring had been formed." He
maintained that such facts could not be explained away by the
hypothesis of sepulture, as in Dr. Buckland's well-known case of
the human skeleton of Paviland, because in the Devon cave the flint
implements were widely distributed through the loam, and lay
beneath the stalagmite.

As the osseous and other contents of Kent's Hole had, by repeated
diggings, been thrown into much confusion, it was thought desirable
in 1858, when a new and intact bone-cave was discovered at Brixham,
about four miles south of Torquay, to have a thorough and
systematic examination made of it. The Royal Society, chiefly at
the instance of Dr. Falconer, made two grants towards defraying the
expenses, and Miss Burdett-Coutts contributed liberally towards the
same object. A committee of geologists was charged with the
investigations, among whom Dr. Falconer and Mr. Prestwich took a
prominent part, visiting Torquay while the excavations were in
progress. Mr. Pengelly, another member of the committee, well
qualified for the task by nearly twenty years' previous experience
in cave explorations, zealously directed and superintended the
work. By him, in 1859, I was conducted through the subterranean
galleries after they had been cleared out; and Dr. Falconer, who
was also at Torquay, showed me the numerous fossils which had been
discovered, and which he was then studying, all numbered and
labelled, with reference to a journal in which the geological
position of each specimen was recorded with scrupulous care.

The discovery of the existence of this suite of caverns near the
sea at Brixham was made accidentally by the roof of one of them
being broken through in quarrying. None of the four external
openings now exposed to view in steep cliffs or in the sloping side
of a valley were visible before the breccia and earthy matter which
blocked them up were removed during the late exploration. According
to a ground-plan drawn up by Professor Ramsay, it appears that some
of the passages which run nearly north and south are fissures
connected with the vertical dislocation of the rocks, while another
set, running nearly east and west, are tunnels, which have the
appearance of having been to a great extent hollowed out by the
action of running water. The central or main entrance, leading to
what is called the "reindeer gallery," because a perfect antler of
that animal was found sticking in the stalagmitic floor, is 95 feet
above the level of the sea, being also 78 above the bottom of the
adjoining valley. The united length of the galleries which were
cleared out amounted to several hundred feet. Their width never
exceeded 8 feet. They were sometimes filled up to the roof with
mud, but occasionally there was a considerable space between the
roof and floor. The latter, in the case of the fissure-caves, was
covered with stalagmite, but in the tunnels it was usually free
from any such incrustation. The following was the general
succession of the deposits forming the contents of the underground
passages and channels:--

First. At the top, a layer of stalagmite varying in thickness from
1 to 15 inches, which sometimes contained bones, such as the
reindeer's horn, already mentioned, and an entire humerus of the

Secondly. Next below, loam or bone-earth, of an ochreous red
colour, with angular stones and some pebbles, from 2 to 13 feet in

Thirdly. At the bottom of all, gravel with many rounded pebbles in
it. This was everywhere removed so long as the tunnels which
narrowed downwards were wide enough to be worked. It proved to be
almost entirely barren of fossils.

The mammalia obtained from the bone-earth consisted of Elephas
primigenius, or mammoth; Rhinoceros tichorhinus; Ursus spelaeus;
Hyaena spelaea; Felis spelaea, or the cave-lion; Cervus tarandus, or
the reindeer; a species of horse, ox, and several rodents, and
others not yet determined.

No human bones were obtained anywhere during these excavations, but
many flint knives, chiefly from the lowest part of the bone-earth;
and one of the most perfect lay at the depth of 13 feet from the
surface, and was covered with bone-earth of that thickness.
Neglecting the less perfect specimens, some of which were met with
even in the lowest gravel, about fifteen knives, recognised as
artificially formed by the most experienced antiquaries, were taken
from the bone-earth, and usually from near the bottom. Such knives,
considered apart from the associated mammalia, afford in themselves
no safe criterion of antiquity, as they might belong to any part of
the age of stone, similar tools being sometimes met with in tumuli
posterior in date to the era of the introduction of bronze. But the
contemporaneity of those at Brixham with the extinct animals is
demonstrated not only by the occurrence at one point in overlying
stalagmite of the bone of a cave-bear, but also by the discovery at
the same level in the bone-earth, and in close proximity to a very
perfect flint tool, of the entire left hind-leg of a cave-bear.
This specimen, which was shown me by Dr. Falconer and Mr. Pengelly,
was exhumed from the earthy deposit in the reindeer gallery, near
its junction with the flint-knife gallery, at the distance of about
sixty-five feet from the main entrance. The mass of earth
containing it was removed entire, and the matrix cleared away
carefully by Dr. Falconer in the presence of Mr. Pengelly. Every
bone was in its natural place, the femur, tibia, fibula,
ankle-bone, or astragalus, all in juxtaposition. Even the patella
or detached bone of the knee-pan was searched for, and not in vain.
Here, therefore, we have evidence of an entire limb not having been
washed in a fossil state out of an older alluvium, and then swept
afterwards into a cave, so as to be mingled with flint implements,
but having been introduced when clothed with its flesh, or at least
when it had the separate bones bound together by their natural
ligaments, and in that state buried in mud.

If they were not all of contemporary date, it is clear from this
case, and from the humerus of the Ursus spelaeus, before cited, as
found in a floor of stalagmite, that the bear lived after the flint
tools were manufactured, or in other words, that Man in this
district preceded the cave-bear.

A glance at the position of Windmill Hill, in which the caverns are
situated, and a brief survey of the valleys which bound it on three
sides, are enough to satisfy a geologist that the drainage and
geographical features of this region have undergone great changes
since the gravel and bone-earth were carried by streams into the
subterranean cavities above described. Some worn pebbles of
haematite, in particular, can only have come from their nearest
parent rock, at a period when the valleys immediately adjoining the
caves were much shallower than they now are. The reddish loam in
which the bones are embedded is such as may be seen on the surface
of limestone in the neighbourhood, but the currents which were
formerly charged with such mud must have run at a level 78 feet
above that of the stream now flowing in the same valley. It was
remarked by Mr. Pengelly that the stones and bones in the loam had
their longest axes parallel to the direction of the tunnels and
fissures, showing that they were deposited by the action of a
stream.* (* Pengelly, "Geologist" volume 4 1861 page 153.)

It appears that so long as the flowing water had force enough to
propel stony fragments, no layer of fine mud could accumulate, and
so long as there was a regular current capable of carrying in fine
mud and bones, no superficial crust of stalagmite. In some
passages, as before stated, stalagmite was wanting, while in one
place seven or eight alternations of stalagmite and loam were
observed, seeming to indicate a prevalence of more rainy seasons,
succeeded by others, when the water was for a time too low to flood
the area where the calcareous incrustation accumulated.

If the regular sequence of the three deposits of pebbles, mud, and
stalagmite was the result of the causes above explained, the order
of superposition would be constant, yet we could not be sure that
the gravel in one passage might not sometimes be coeval with the
bone-earth or stalagmite in another.

If therefore the flint knives had not been very widely dispersed,
and if one of them had not been at the bottom of the bone-earth,
close to the leg of the bear above described, their antiquity
relatively to the extinct mammalia might have been questioned. No
coprolites were found in the Brixham excavations, and very few
gnawed bones. These few may have been brought from some distance
before they reached their place of rest. Upon the whole, the same
conclusion which Dr. Schmerling came to, respecting the filling up
of the caverns near Liege, seems applicable to the caves of

Dr. Falconer, after aiding in the investigations above alluded to
near Torquay, stopped at Abbeville on his way to Sicily, in the
autumn of 1858, and saw there the collection of M. Boucher de
Perthes. Being at once satisfied that the flints called hatchets
had really been fashioned by the hand of Man, he urged Mr.
Prestwich, by letter, thoroughly to explore the geology of the
valley of the Somme. This he accordingly accomplished, in company
with Mr. John Evans [Note 13], of the Society of Antiquaries, and,
before his return that same year, succeeded in dissipating all
doubts from the minds of his geological friends by extracting, with
his own hands, from a bed of undisturbed gravel, at St. Acheul, a
well-shaped flint hatchet. This implement was buried in the gravel
at a depth of 17 feet from the surface, and was lying on its flat
side. There were no signs of vertical rents in the enveloping
matrix, nor in the overlying beds of sand and loam, in which were
many land and freshwater shells; so that it was impossible to
imagine that the tool had gradually worked its way downwards, as
some had suggested, through the incumbent soil, into an older
formation.* (* Prestwich, "Proceedings of the Royal Society" 1859
and "Philosophical Transactions" 1860.)

There was no one in England whose authority deserved to have so
much weight in overcoming incredulity in regard to the antiquity of
the implements in question. For Mr. Prestwich, besides having
published a series of important memoirs on the Tertiary formations
of Europe, had devoted many years specially to the study of the
drift and its organic remains. His report, therefore, to the Royal
Society, accompanied by a photograph showing the position of the
flint tool in situ before it was removed from its matrix, not only
satisfied many inquirers, but induced others to visit Abbeville and
Amiens; and one of these, Mr. Flower, who accompanied Mr. Prestwich
on his second excursion to St. Acheul, in June 1859, succeeded, by
digging into the bank of gravel, in disinterring, at the depth of
22 feet from the surface, a fine, symmetrically-shaped weapon of an
oval form, lying in and beneath strata which were observed by many
witnesses to be perfectly undisturbed.* (* "Quarterly Journal of
the Geological Society" volume 16 1860 page 190.)

Shortly afterwards, in the year 1859, I visited the same pits, and
obtained seventy flint tools, one of which was taken out while I
was present, though I did not see it before it had fallen from the
matrix. I expressed my opinion in favour of the antiquity of the
flint tools to the meeting of the British Association at Aberdeen,
in the same year.* (* See "Report of British Association" for 1859.
) On my way through Rouen, I stated my convictions on this subject
to M. George Pouchet, who immediately betook himself to St. Acheul,
commissioned by the municipality of Rouen, and did not quit the
pits till he had seen one of the hatchets extracted from gravel in
its natural position.* (* "Actes du Musee d'Histoire Naturelle de
Rouen" 1860 page 33.)

M. Gaudry also gave the following account of his researches in the
same year to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. "The great
point was not to leave the workmen for a single instant, and to
satisfy oneself by actual inspection whether the hatchets were
found in situ. I caused a deep excavation to be made, and found
nine hatchets, most distinctly in situ in the diluvium, associated
with teeth of Equus fossilis and a species of Bos, different from
any now living, and similar to that of the diluvium and of
caverns."* (* "Comptes rendus" September 26 and October 3, 1859.)
In 1859, M. Hebert, an original observer of the highest authority,
declared to the Geological Society of France that he had, in 1854,
or four years before Mr. Prestwich's visit to St. Acheul, seen the
sections at Abbeville and Amiens, and had come to the opinion that
the hatchets were imbedded in the "lower diluvium," and that their
origin was as ancient as that of the mammoth and the rhinoceros. M.
Desnoyers also made excavations after M. Gaudry, at St. Acheul, in
1859, with the same results.* (* "Bulletin" volume 17 page 18.)

After a lively discussion on the subject in England and France, it
was remembered, not only that there were numerous recorded cases
leading to similar conclusions in regard to cavern deposits, but,
also, that Mr. Frere had, so long ago as 1797, found flint weapons,
of the same type as those of Amiens, in a freshwater formation in
Suffolk, in conjunction with elephant remains; and nearly a hundred
years earlier (1715), another tool of the same kind had been
exhumed from the gravel of London, together with bones of an
elephant; to all which examples I shall allude more fully in the

I may conclude this chapter by quoting a saying of Professor
Agassiz, "that whenever a new and startling fact is brought to
light in science, people first say, 'it is not true,' then that 'it
is contrary to religion,' and lastly, 'that everybody knew it

If I were considering merely the cultivators of geology, I should
say that the doctrine of the former co-existence of Man with many
extinct mammalia had already gone through these three phases in the
progress of every scientific truth towards acceptance. But the
grounds of this belief have not yet been fully laid before the
general public, so as to enable them fairly to weigh and appreciate
the evidence. I shall therefore do my best in the next three
chapters to accomplish this task.



Geological Structure of the Valley of the Somme and of the
   surrounding Country.
Position of Alluvium of different Ages.
Peat near Abbeville.
Its animal and vegetable Contents.
Works of Art in Peat.
Probable Antiquity of the Peat, and Changes of Level
   since its Growth began.
Flint Implements of antique Type in older Alluvium.
Their various Forms and great Numbers.


The valley of the Somme in Picardy, alluded to in the last chapter,
is situated geologically in a region of white Chalk with flints,
the strata of which are nearly horizontal. The Chalk hills which
bound the valley are almost everywhere between 200 and 300 feet in
height. On ascending to that elevation, we find ourselves on an
extensive table-land, in which there are slight elevations and
depressions. The white Chalk itself is scarcely ever exposed at the
surface on this plateau, although seen on the slopes of the hills,
as at b and c (Figure 7). The general surface of the upland region
is covered continuously for miles in every direction by loam or
brick-earth (Number 4), about 5 feet thick, devoid of fossils. To
the wide extent of this loam the soil of Picardy chiefly owes its
great fertility. Here and there we also observe, on the Chalk,
outlying patches of Tertiary sand and clay (Number 5, Figure 7),
with Eocene fossils, the remnants of a formation once more
extensive, and which probably once spread in one continuous mass
over the Chalk, before the present system of valleys had begun to
be shaped out. It is necessary to allude to these relics of
Tertiary strata, of which the larger part is missing, because their
denudation has contributed largely to furnish the materials of
gravels in which the flint implements and bones of extinct mammalia
are entombed. From this source have been derived not only the
regular-formed egg-shaped pebbles, so common in the old fluviatile
alluvium at all levels, but those huge masses of hard sandstone,
several feet in diameter, to which I shall allude in the sequel.
The upland loam also (Number 4) has often, in no slight degree,
been formed at the expense of the same Tertiary sands and clays, as
is attested by its becoming more or less sandy or argillaceous,
according to the nature of the nearest Eocene outlier in the

The average width of the valley of the Somme between Amiens and
Abbeville is one mile. The height, therefore, of the hills, in
relation to the river-plain, could not be correctly represented in
the annexed diagram (Figure 7), as they would have to be reduced in
altitude; or if not, it would be necessary to make the space
between c and b four times as great. The dimensions also of the
masses, of drift or alluvium, 2 and 3, have been exaggerated, in
order to render them sufficiently conspicuous; for, all important
as we shall find them to be as geological monuments of the
Pleistocene period, they form a truly insignificant feature in the
general structure of the country, so much so, that they might
easily be overlooked in a cursory survey of the district, and are
usually unnoticed in geological maps not specially devoted to the
superficial formations.


  1. Peat, 20 to 30 feet thick, resting on gravel, a.
  2. Lower level gravel with elephants' bones and flint tools,
     covered with fluviatile loam, 20 to 40 feet thick.
  3. Higher level gravel with similar fossils, and with overlying
     loam, in all 30 feet thick.
  4. Upland loam without shells (Limon des plateaux), 5 or 6
     feet thick.
  5. Eocene strata, resting on the Chalk in patches.)

It will be seen by the description given of the section (Figure 7)
that Number 2 indicates the lower level gravels, and Number 3 the
higher ones, or those rising to elevations of 80 or 100 feet above
the river. Newer than these is the peat Number 1, which is from 10
to 30 feet in thickness, and which is not only of later date than
the alluvium, 2 and 3, but is also posterior to the denudation of
those gravels, or to the time when the valley was excavated through
them. Underneath the peat is a bed of gravel, a, from 3 to 14 feet
thick, which rests on undisturbed Chalk. This gravel was probably
formed, in part at least, when the valley was scooped out to its
present depth, since which time no geological change has taken
place, except the growth of the peat, and certain oscillations in
the general level of the country, to which we shall allude by and
by. A thin layer of impervious clay separates the gravel a from the
peat Number 1, and seems to have been a necessary preliminary to
the growth of the peat.


As hitherto, in our retrospective survey, we have been obliged, for
the sake of proceeding from the known to the less known, to reverse
the natural order of history, and to treat of the newer before the
older formations, I shall begin my account of the geological
monuments of the valley of the Somme by saying something of the
most modern of all of them, the peat. This substance occupies the
lower parts of the valley far above Amiens, and below Abbeville as
far as the sea. It has already been stated to be in some places 30
feet thick, and is even occasionally more than 30 feet,
corresponding in that respect to the Danish mosses before described
(Chapter 2). Like them, it belongs to the Recent period; all the
embedded mammalia, as well as the shells, being of the same species
as those now inhabiting Europe. The bones of quadrupeds are very
numerous, as I can bear witness, having seen them brought up from a
considerable depth near Abbeville, almost as often as the dredging
instrument was used. Besides remains of the beaver, I was shown, in
the collection of M. Boucher de Perthes, two perfect lower jaws
with teeth of the bear, Ursus arctos; and in the Paris Museum there
is another specimen, also from the Abbeville peat.

The list of mammalia already comprises a large proportion of those
proper to the Swiss lake-dwellings, and to the shell-mounds and
peat of Denmark; but unfortunately as yet no special study has been
made of the French fauna, like that by which the Danish and Swiss
zoologists and botanists have enabled us to compare the wild and
tame animals and the vegetation of the age of stone with that of
the age of iron.

Notwithstanding the abundance of mammalian bones in the peat, and
the frequency of stone implements of the Celtic and Gallo-Roman
periods, M. Boucher de Perthes has only met with three or four
fragments of human skeletons.

At some depth in certain places in the valley near Abbeville, the
trunks of alders have been found standing erect as they grew, with
their roots fixed in an ancient soil, afterwards covered with peat.
Stems of the hazel, and nuts of the same, abound; trunks, also, of
the oak and walnut. The peat extends to the coast, and is there
seen passing under the sand-dunes and below the sea-level. At the
mouth of the river Canche, which joins the sea near the embouchure
of the Somme, yew trees, firs, oaks, and hazels have been dug out
of peat, which is there worked for fuel, and is about three feet
thick.* (* D'Archiac, "Histoire des Progres" volume 2 page 154.)
During great storms, large masses of compact peat, enclosing trunks
of flattened trees, have been thrown up on the coast at the mouth
of the Somme; seeming to indicate that there has been a subsidence
of the land and a consequent submergence of what was once a
westward continuation of the valley of the Somme into what is now a
part of the English Channel.

Whether the vegetation of the lowest layers of peat differed as to
the geographical distribution of some of the trees from the middle,
and this from the uppermost peat, as in Denmark, has not yet been
ascertained; nor have careful observations been made with a view of
calculating the minimum of time which the accumulation of so dense
a mass of vegetable matter must have taken. A foot in thickness of
highly compressed peat, such as is sometimes reached in the bottom
of the bogs, is obviously the equivalent in time of a much greater
thickness of peat of spongy and loose texture, found near the
surface. The workmen who cut peat, or dredge it up from the bottom
of swamps and ponds, declare that in the course of their lives none
of the hollows which they have found, or caused by extracting peat,
have ever been refilled, even to a small extent. They deny,
therefore, that the peat grows. This, as M. Boucher de Perthes
observes, is a mistake; but it implies that the increase in one
generation is not very appreciable by the unscientific.

The antiquary finds near the surface Gallo-Roman remains, and still
deeper Celtic weapons of the stone period. [Note 14.] But the depth
at which Roman works of art occur varies in different places, and
is no sure test of age; because in some parts of the swamps,
especially near the river, the peat is often so fluid that heavy
substances may sink through it, carried down by their own gravity.
In one case, however, M. Boucher de Perthes observed several large
flat dishes of Roman pottery, lying in a horizontal position in the
peat, the shape of which must have prevented them from sinking or
penetrating through the underlying peat. Allowing about fourteen
centuries for the growth of the superincumbent vegetable matter, he
calculated that the thickness gained in a hundred years would be no
more than three centimetres.* (* "Antiquites Celtiques" volume 2
page 134.) This rate of increase would demand so many thousands of
years for the formation of the entire thickness of 30 feet that we
must hesitate before adopting it as a chronometric scale. Yet, by
multiplying observations of this kind, and bringing one to bear
upon and check another, we may eventually succeed in obtaining data
for estimating the age of the peaty deposit. [Note 15.]

The rate of increase in Denmark may not be applicable to France;
because differences in the humidity of the climate, or in the
intensity and duration of summer's heat and winter's cold, as well
as diversity in the species of plants which most abound, would
cause the peat to grow more or less rapidly, not only when we
compare two distinct countries in Europe, but the same country at
two successive periods.

I have already alluded to some facts which favour the idea that
there has been a change of level on the coast since the peat began
to grow. This conclusion seems confirmed by the mere thickness of
peat at Abbeville, and the occurrence of alder and hazel-wood near
the bottom of it. If 30 feet of peat were now removed, the sea
would flow up and fill the valley for miles above Abbeville. Yet
this vegetable matter is all of supra-marine origin, for where
shells occur in it they are all of terrestrial or fluviatile kinds,
so that it must have grown above the sea-level when the land was
more elevated than now. We have already seen what changes in the
relative level of sea and land have occurred in Scotland
subsequently to the time of the Romans, and are therefore prepared
to meet with proofs of similar movements in Picardy. In that
country they have probably not been confined simply to subsidence,
but have comprised oscillations in the level of the land, by which
marine shells of the Pleistocene period have been raised some 10
feet or more above the level of the sea.

Small as is the progress hitherto made in interpreting the pages of
the peaty record, their importance in the valley of the Somme is
enhanced by the reflection that, whatever be the number of
centuries to which they relate, they belong to times posterior to
the ancient implement-bearing beds, which we are next to consider,
and are even separated from them, as we shall see, by an interval
far greater than that which divides the earliest strata of the peat
from the latest.


The alluvium of the valley of the Somme exhibits nothing
extraordinary or exceptional in its position or external
appearance, nor in the arrangement or composition of its materials,
nor in its organic remains; in all these characters it might be
matched by the drift of a hundred other valleys in France or
England. Its claim to our peculiar attention is derived from the
wonderful number of flint tools, of a very antique type, which, as
stated in the last chapter, occur in undisturbed strata, associated
with the bones of extinct quadrupeds.

As much doubt has been cast on the question, whether the so-called
flint hatchets have really been shaped by the hands of Man, it will
be desirable to begin by satisfying the reader's mind on that
point, before inviting him to study the details of sections of
successive beds of mud, sand, and gravel, which vary considerably
even in contiguous localities.

Since the spring of 1859, I have paid three visits to the Valley of
the Somme, and examined all the principal localities of these flint
tools. In my excursions around Abbeville, I was accompanied by M.
Boucher de Perthes, and during one of my explorations in the Amiens
district, by Mr. Prestwitch. The first time I entered the pits at
St. Acheul, I obtained seventy flint instruments, all of them
collected from the drift in the course of the preceding five or six
weeks. The two prevailing forms of these tools are represented in
the annexed Figures 8 and 9, each of which are half the size of the
originals; the first being the spear-headed form, varying in length
from six to eight inches; the second, the oval form, which is not
unlike some stone implements, used to this day as hatchets and
tomahawks by natives of Australia, but with this difference, that
the edge in the Australian weapons (as in the case of those called
celts in Europe) has been produced by friction, whereas the cutting
edge in the old tools of the valley of the Somme was always gained
by the simple fracture of the flint, and by the repetition of many
dexterous blows.

The oval-shaped Australian weapons, however, differ in being
sharpened at one end only. The other, though reduced by fracture to
the same general form, is left rough, in which state it is fixed
into a cleft stick, which serves as a handle. To this it is firmly
bound by thin straps of opossum's hide. One of these tools, now in
my possession, was given me by Mr. Farquharson of Haughton, who saw
a native using it in 1854 on the Auburn river, in Burnet district,
North Australia.

Out of more than a hundred flint implements which I obtained at St.
Acheul, not a few had their edges more or less fractured or worn,
either by use as instruments before they were buried in gravel, or
by being rolled in the river's bed.

Some of these tools were probably used as weapons, both of war and
of the chase, others to grub up roots, cut down trees, and scoop
out canoes. Some of them may have served, as Mr. Prestwich has
suggested, for cutting holes in the ice both for fishing and for
obtaining water, as will be explained in the eighth chapter when we
consider the arguments in favour of the higher level drift having
belonged to a period when the rivers were frozen over for several
months every winter.

     (half the size of the original, which is 7 1/2 inches long).

  a. Side view.
  b. Same seen edgewise.

These spear-headed implements have been found in greater number,
proportionally to the oval ones, in the upper level gravel at St.
Acheul, than in any of the lower gravels in the valley of the
Somme. In these last the oval form predominates, especially at

When the natural form of a Chalk-flint presented a suitable handle
at one end, as in the specimen, Figure 10, that part was left as
found. The portion, for example, between b and c has probably not
been altered; the protuberances which are fractured having been
broken off by river action before the flint was chipped
artificially. The other extremity, a, has been worked till it
acquired a proper shape and cutting edge.



  half size of original, which is 5 1/2 inches long, from
  a bed of gravel underlying the fluvio-marine stratum. b. Same seen
  edgewise. c. Shows a recent fracture of the edge of the same at the
  point a, or near the top. This portion of the tool, c, is drawn of
  the natural size, the black central part being the unaltered flint,
  the white outer coating, the layer which has been formed by
  discoloration or bleaching since the tool was first made. The
  entire surface of Number 9 must have been black when first shaped,
  and the bleaching to such a depth must have been the work of time,
  whether produced by exposure to the sun and air before it was
  embedded, or afterwards when it lay deep in the soil.

    original 6 1/2 inches long, and 3 inches wide.

  b, c. Portion not artificially shaped.
  a, b. Part chipped into shape, and having a cutting edge at a.)

Many of the hatchets are stained of an ochreous-yellow colour, when
they have been buried in yellow gravel, others have acquired white
or brown tints, according to the matrix in which they have been

This accordance in the colouring of the flint tools with the
character of the bed from which they have come, indicates, says Mr.
Prestwich, not only a real derivation from such strata, but also a
sojourn therein of equal duration to that of the naturally broken
flints forming part of the same beds.* (* "Philosophical
Transactions" 1861 page 297.)


FIGURE 11. a. Natural size.

FIGURE 12. b. Natural size. c. Magnified.

FIGURE 13. d. Natural size.
   e. Magnified.)

The surface of many of the tools is encrusted with a film of
carbonate of lime, while others are adorned by those ramifying
crystallisations called dendrites (see Figures 11, 12 and 13),
usually consisting of the mixed oxides of iron and manganese,
forming extremely delicate blackish brown sprigs, resembling the
smaller kinds of sea weed. They are a useful test of antiquity when
suspicions are entertained of the workmen having forged the
hatchets which they offer for sale. The most general test, however,
of the genuineness of the implements obtained by purchase is their
superficial varnish-like or vitreous gloss, as contrasted with the
dull aspect of freshly fractured flints. I also remarked, during
each of my three visits to Amiens, that there were some extensive
gravel-pits, such as those of Montiers and St. Roch, agreeing in
their geological character with those of St. Acheul, and only a
mile or two distant, where the workmen, although familiar with the
forms, and knowing the marketable value of the articles above
described, assured me that they had never been able to find a
single implement.

Respecting the authenticity of the tools as works of art, Professor
Ramsay, than whom no one could be a more competent judge, observes:
"For more than twenty years, like others of my craft, I have daily
handled stones, whether fashioned by nature or art; and the flint
hatchets of Amiens and Abbeville seem to me as clearly works of art
as any Sheffield whittle."* (* "Athenaeum" July 16, 1859.)

Mr. Evans classifies the implements under three heads, two of
which, the spear heads and the oval or almond-shaped kinds, have
already been described. The third form (Figure 14) consists of
flakes, apparently intended for knives or some of the smaller ones
for arrow heads.

   d. Transverse section along the line of fracture, b, c.
   Size, two-thirds of the original.

In regard to their origin, Mr. Evans observes that there is a
uniformity of shape, a correctness of outline, and a sharpness
about the cutting edges and points, which cannot be due to anything
but design.* (* "Archaeologia" volume 38.)

Of these knives and flakes, I obtained several specimens from a pit
which I caused to be dug at Abbeville, in sand in contact with the
Chalk, and below certain fluvio-marine beds, which will be alluded
to in the next chapter.

Between the spear-head and oval shapes, there are various
intermediate gradations, and there are also a vast variety of very
rude implements, many of which may have been rejected as failures,
and others struck off as chips in the course of manufacturing the
more perfect ones. Some of these chips can only be recognised by an
experienced eye as bearing marks of human workmanship.

It has often been asked, how, without the use of metallic hammers,
so many of these oval and spear-headed tools could have been
wrought into so uniform a shape. Mr. Evans, in order experimentally
to illustrate the process, constructed a stone hammer, by mounting
a pebble in a wooden handle, and with this tool struck off flakes
from the edge on both sides of a Chalk flint, till it acquired
precisely the same shape as the oval tool, Figure 9.

If I were invited to estimate the probable number of the more
perfect tools found in the valley of the Somme since 1842,
rejecting all the knives, and all that might be suspected of being
spurious or forged, I should conjecture that they far exceeded a
thousand. Yet it would be a great mistake to imagine that an
antiquary or geologist, who should devote a few weeks to the
exploration of such a valley as that of the Somme, would himself be
able to detect a single specimen. But few tools were lying on the
surface. The rest have been exposed to view by the removal of such
a volume of sand, clay, and gravel, that the price of the discovery
of one of them could only be estimated by knowing how many hundred
labourers have toiled at the fortifications of Abbeville, or in the
sand and gravel pits near that city, and around Amiens, for road
materials and other economic purposes, during the last twenty


a, b. Coscinopora globularis, D'Orbigny. Orbitolina concava,
Parker and Jones. c. Part of same magnified.)

In the gravel pits of St. Acheul, and in some others near Amiens,
small round bodies, having a tubular cavity in the centre, occur.
They are well known as fossils of the White Chalk. Dr. Rigollot
suggested that they might have been strung together as beads, and
he supposed the hole in the middle to have been artificial. Some of
these round bodies are found entire in the Chalk and in the gravel,
others have naturally a hole passing through them, and sometimes
one or two holes penetrating some way in from the surface, but not
extending to the other side. Others, like b, Figure 15, have a
large cavity, which has a very artificial aspect. It is impossible
to decide whether they have or have not served as personal
ornaments, recommended by their globular form, lightness, and by
being less destructible than ordinary Chalk. Granting that there
were natural cavities in the axis of some of them, it does not
follow that these may not have been taken advantage of for
stringing them as beads, while others may have been artificially
bored through. Dr. Rigollot's argument in favour of their having
been used as necklaces or bracelets, appears to me a sound one. He
says he often found small heaps or groups of them in one place, all
perforated, just as if, when swept into the river's bed by a flood,
the bond which had united them together remained unbroken.* (*
Rigollot, "Memoire sur des Instruments en Silex" etc., Amiens 1854
page 16.)



Fluvio-marine Strata, with Flint Implements, near Abbeville.
Marine Shells in same.
Cyrena fluminalis.
Entire Skeleton of Rhinoceros.
Flint Implements, why found low down in Fluviatile Deposits.
Rivers shifting their Channels.
Relative Ages of higher and lower-level Gravels.
Section of Alluvium of St. Acheul.
Two Species of Elephant and Hippopotamus coexisting with Man
   in France.
Volume of Drift, proving Antiquity of Flint Implements.
Absence of Human Bones in tool-bearing Alluvium, how explained.
Value of certain Kinds of negative Evidence tested thereby.
Human Bones not found in drained Lake of Haarlem.

In the section of the valley of the Somme given in Figure 7, the
successive formations newer than the Chalk are numbered in
chronological order, beginning with the most modern, or the peat,
which is marked Number 1, and which has been treated of in the last
chapter. Next in the order of antiquity are the lower-level
gravels, Number 2, which we have now to describe; after which the
alluvium, Number 3, found at higher levels, or about 80 and 100
feet above the river-plain, will remain to be considered.

I have selected, as illustrating the old alluvium of the Somme
occurring at levels slightly elevated above the present river, the
sand and gravel-pits of Menchecourt, in the northwest suburbs of
Abbeville, to which, as before stated, attention was first drawn by
M. Boucher de Perthes, in his work on Celtic antiquities. Here,
although in every adjoining pit some minor variations in the nature
and thickness of the superimposed deposits may be seen, there is
yet a general approach to uniformity in the series. The only
stratum of which the relative age is somewhat doubtful, is the
gravel marked a, underlying the peat, and resting on the Chalk. It
is only known by borings, and some of it may be of the same age as
Number 3; but I believe it to be for the most part of more modern
origin, consisting of the wreck of all the older gravel, including
Number 3, and formed during the last hollowing out and deepening of
the valley immediately before the commencement of the growth of

The greater number of flint implements have been dug out of Number
3, often near the bottom, and twenty-five, thirty, or even more
than thirty feet below the surface of Number 1.

A geologist will perceive by a glance at the section that the
valley of the Somme must have been excavated nearly to its present
depth and width when the strata of Number 3 were thrown down, and
that after the deposits Numbers 3, 2, and 1 had been formed in
succession, the present valley was scooped out, patches only of
Numbers 3 and 2 being left. For these deposits cannot originally
have ended abruptly as they now do, but must have once been
continuous farther towards the centre of the valley.

      (* For detailed sections and maps of this district, see
        Prestwich, "Philosophical Transactions" 1860 page 277.)

  1. Brown clay with angular flints, and occasionally Chalk rubble,
     unstratified, following the slope of the hill, probably of
     subaerial origin, of very varying thickness, from 2 to 5 feet
     and upwards.
  2. Calcareous loam, buff-coloured, resembling loess, for the most
     part unstratified, in some places with slight traces of
     stratification, containing freshwater and land shells, with
     bones of elephants, etc.; thickness about 15 feet.
  3. Alternations of beds of gravel, marl, and sand, with
     freshwater and land shells, and, in some of the lower sands,
     a mixture of marine shells; also bones of elephant, rhinoceros,
     etc., and flint implements; thickness about 12 feet.
  a. Gravel underlying peat, age undetermined.
  b. Layer of impervious clay, separating the gravel from the peat.)

To begin with the oldest, Number 3, it is made up of a succession
of beds, chiefly of freshwater origin, but occasionally a mixture
of marine and fluviatile shells is observed in it, proving that the
sea sometimes gained upon the river, whether at high tides or when
the fresh water was less in quantity during the dry season, and
sometimes perhaps when the land was slightly depressed in level.
All these accidents might occur again and again at the mouth of any
river, and give rise to alternations of fluviatile and marine
strata, such as are seen at Menchecourt.

In the lowest beds of gravel and sand in contact with the Chalk,
flint hatchets, some perfect, others much rolled, have been found;
and in a sandy bed in this position some workmen, whom I employed
to sink a pit, found four flint knives. Above this sand and gravel
occur beds of white and siliceous sand, containing shells of the
genera Planorbis, Limnea, Paludina, Valvata, Cyclas, Cyrena, Helix,
and others, all now natives of the same part of France, except
Cyrena fluminalis (Figure 17), which no longer lives in Europe, but
inhabits the Nile, and many parts of Asia, including Cashmere,
where it abounds. No species of Cyrena is now met with in a living
state in Europe. Mr. Prestwich first observed it fossil at
Menchecourt, and it has since been found in two or three contiguous
sand-pits, always in the fluvio-marine bed. [Note 16.]

(FIGURE 17. Cyrena fluminalis, O.F. Muller, sp.*
    (* For synonyms, see S. Woodward "Tibet Shells" "Proceedings
    of the Zoological Society" July 8, 1856.)

  a. Interior of left valve, from Gray's Thurrock, Essex.
  b. Hinge of the same magnified.
  c. Interior of right valve of a small specimen, from Shacklewell,
  d. Outer surface of right valve, from Erith, Kent.)





Tellina fluminalis, O.F. Muller : 1774.
Venus fluminalis Euphratis, Chemnitz : 1782.
Cyclas Euphratica, Lam. : 1806.
Cyrena cor, Lam. (Nile): 1818.
Cyrena consobrina, Caillaud (Nile) : 1823.
Cyrena Cashmiriensis, Desh. :
Corbicuia fluminalis, Muhlfeldt. : 1811.


Cyrena trigonula, S. Woodward : 1834.
Cyrena Gemmellarii, Philippi : 1836.
Cyrena Duchastelii, Nyst : 1838.

The following marine shells occur mixed with the freshwater species
above enumerated:--Buccinum undatum, Littorina littorea, Nassa
reticulata, Purpura lapillus, Tellina solidula, Cardium edule, and
fragments of some others. Several of these I have myself collected
entire, though in a state of great decomposition, lying in the
white sand called "sable aigre" by the workmen. They are all
littoral species now proper to the contiguous coast of France.
Their occurrence in a fossil state associated with freshwater
shells at Menchecourt had been noticed as long ago as 1836 by MM.
Ravin and Baillon, before M. Boucher de Perthes commenced the
researches which have since made the locality so celebrated.* (*
D'Archiac, "Histoire des Progres" etc. volume 2 page 154.) The
numbers since collected preclude all idea of their having been
brought inland as eatable shells by the fabricators of the flint
hatchets found at the bottom of the fluvio-marine sands. From the
same beds, and in marls alternating with the sands, remains of the
elephant, rhinoceros, and other mammalia have been exhumed.

Above the fluvio-marine strata are those designated Number 2 in the
section (Figure 16), which are almost devoid of stratification, and
probably formed of mud or sediment thrown down by the waters of the
river when they overflowed the ancient alluvial plain of that day.
Some land shells, a few river shells, and bones of mammalia, some
of them extinct, occur in Number 2. Its upper surface has been
deeply furrowed and cut into by the action of water, at the time
when the earthy matter of Number 1 was superimposed. The materials
of this uppermost deposit are arranged as if they had been the
result of land floods, taking place after the formations 2 and 3
had been raised, or had become exposed to denudation.

The fluvio-marine strata and overlying loam of Menchecourt recur on
the opposite or left bank of the alluvial plain of the Somme, at a
distance of 2 or 3 miles. They are found at Mautort, among other
places, and I obtained there the flint hatchet shown in Figure 9,
of an oval form. It was extracted from gravel, above which were
strata containing a mixture of marine and freshwater shells,
precisely like those of Menchecourt. In the alluvium of all parts
of the valley, both at high and low levels, rolled bones are
sometimes met with in the gravel. Some of the flint tools in the
gravel of Abbeville have their angles very perfect, others have
been much triturated, as if in the bed of the main river or some of
its tributaries.

The mammalia most frequently cited as having been found in the
deposits Numbers 2 and 3 at Menchecourt, are the following:--

Elephas primigenius.
Rhinoceros tichorhinus.
Equus fossilis, Owen.
Bos primigenius.
Cervus somonensis, Cuvier.
C. tarandus priscus, Cuvier.
Felis spelaea.
Hyaena spelaea.

The Ursus spelaeus has also been mentioned by some writers; but M.
Lartet says he has sought in vain for it among the osteological
treasures sent from Abbeville to Cuvier at Paris, and in other
collections. The same palaeontologist, after a close scrutiny of
the bones sent formerly to the Paris Museum from the valley of the
Somme, observed that some of them bore the evident marks of an
instrument, agreeing well with incisions such as a rude flint-saw
would produce. Among other bones mentioned as having been thus
artificially cut, are those of a Rhinoceros tichorhinus, and the
antlers of Cervus somonensis.* (* "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" volume 16 1860 page 471.)

The evidence obtained by naturalists that some of the extinct
mammalia of Menchecourt really lived and died in this part of
France, at the time of the embedding of the flint tools in
fluviatile strata, is most satisfactory; and not the less so for
having been put on record long before any suspicion was entertained
that works of art would ever be detected in the same beds. Thus M.
Baillon, writing in 1834 to M. Ravin, says: "They begin to meet
with fossil bones at the depth of 10 or 12 feet in the Menchecourt
sand-pits, but they find a much greater quantity at the depth of 18
and 20 feet. Some of them were evidently broken before they were
embedded, others are rounded, having, without doubt, been rolled by
running water. It is at the bottom of the sand-pits that the most
entire bones occur. Here they lie without having undergone fracture
or friction, and seem to have been articulated together at the time
when they were covered up. I found in one place a whole hind limb
of a rhinoceros, the bones of which were still in their true
relative position. They must have been joined together by
ligaments, and even surrounded by muscles at the time of their
interment. The entire skeleton of the same species was lying at a
short distance from the spot."* (* "Societe Roy. d'Emulation
d'Abbeville" 1834 page 197.)

If we suppose that the greater number of the flint implements
occurring in the neighbourhood of Abbeville and Amiens were brought
by river action into their present position, we can at once explain
why so large a proportion of them are found at considerable depths
from the surface, for they would naturally be buried in gravel and
not in fine sediment, or what may be termed "inundation mud," such
as Number 2 (Figure 16), a deposit from tranquil water, or where
the stream had not sufficient force or velocity to sweep along
Chalk flints, whether wrought or unwrought. Hence we have almost
always to pass down through a mass of incumbent loam with land
shells, or through fine sand with freshwater molluscs, before we
get into the beds of gravel containing hatchets. Occasionally a
weapon used as a projectile may have fallen into quiet water, or
may have dropped from a canoe to the bottom of the river, or may
have been floated by ice, as are some stones occasionally by the
Thames in severe winters, and carried over the meadows bordering
its banks; but such cases are exceptional, though helping to
explain how isolated flint tools or pebbles and angular stones are
now and then to be seen in the midst of the finest loams.

The endless variety in the sections of the alluvium of the valley
of the Somme, may be ascribed to the frequent silting up of the
main stream and its tributaries during different stages of the
excavation of the valley, probably also during changes in the level
of the land. As a rule, when a river attacks and undermines one
bank, it throws down gravel and sand on the opposite side of its
channel, which is growing somewhere shallower, and is soon destined
to be raised so high as to form an addition to the alluvial plain,
and to be only occasionally inundated. In this way, after much
encroachment on cliff or meadow at certain points, we find at the
end of centuries that the width of the channel has not been
enlarged, for the new made ground is raised after a time to the
average height of the older alluvial tract. Sometimes an island is
formed in midstream, the current flowing for a while on both sides
of it, and at length scooping out a deeper channel on one side so
as to leave the other to be gradually filled up during freshets and
afterwards elevated by inundation mud, or "brick-earth." During the
levelling up of these old channels, a flood sometimes cuts into and
partially removes portions of the previously stratified matter,
causing those repeated signs of furrowing and filling up of
cavities, those memorials of doing and undoing, of which the
tool-bearing sands and gravels of Abbeville and Amiens afford such
reiterated illustrations, and of which a parallel is furnished by
the ancient alluvium of the Thames valley, where similar bones of
extinct mammalia and shells, including Cyrena fluminalis, are

Professor Noeggerath, of Bonn, informs me that, about the year
1845, when the bed of the Rhine was deepened artificially by the
blasting and removal of rock in the narrows at Bingerloch, not far
from Bingen, several flint hatchets and an extraordinary number of
iron weapons of the Roman period were brought up by the dredge from
the bed of the great river. The decomposition of the iron had
caused much of the gravel to be cemented together into a
conglomerate. In such a case we have only to suppose the Rhine to
deviate slightly from its course, changing its position, as it has
often done in various parts of its plain in historical times, and
then tools of the stone and iron periods would be found in gravel
at the bottom with a great thickness of sand and overlying loam
deposited above them.

Changes in a river plain, such as those above alluded to, give rise
frequently to ponds, swamps, and marshes, marking the course of old
beds or branches of the river not yet filled up, and in these
depressions shells proper both to running and stagnant water may be
preserved, and quadrupeds may be mired. The latest and uppermost
deposit of the series will be loam or brick-earth, with land and
amphibious shells (Helix and Succinea), while below will follow
strata containing freshwater shells, implying continuous
submergence; and lowest of all in most sections will be the coarse
gravel accumulated by a current of considerable strength and

When the St. Katharine docks were excavated at London, and similar
works executed on the banks of the Mersey, old ships were dug out,
as I have elsewhere noticed,* (* "Principles of Geology" 10th
edition volume 2 page 547.) showing how the Thames and Mersey have
in modern times been shifting their channels. Recently, an old
silted-up bed of the Thames has been discovered by boring at
Shoeburyness at the mouth of the river opposite Sheerness, as I
learn from Mr. Mylne. The old deserted branch is separated from the
new or present channel of the Thames, by a mass of London Clay
which has escaped denudation. The depth of the old branch, or the
thickness of fluviatile strata with which it has been filled up, is
75 feet. The actual channel in the neighbourhood is now 60 feet
deep, but there is probably 10 or 15 feet of stratified sand and
gravel at the bottom; so that, should the river deviate again from
its course, its present bed might be the receptacle of a
fluvio-marine formation 75 feet thick, equal to the former one of
Shoeburyness, and more considerable than that of Abbeville. It
would consist both of freshwater and marine strata, as the salt
water is carried by the tide far up above Sheerness; but in order
that such deposits should resemble, in geological position, the
Menchecourt beds, they must be raised 10 or 15 feet above their
present level, and be partially eroded. Such erosion they would not
fail to suffer during the process of upheaval, because the Thames
would scour out its bed, and not alter its position relatively to
the sea, while the land was gradually rising.

Before the canal was made at Abbeville, the tide was perceptible in
the Somme for some distance above that city. It would only require,
therefore, a slight subsidence to allow the salt water to reach
Menchecourt, as it did in the Pleistocene period. As a stratum
containing exclusively land and freshwater shells usually underlies
the fluvio-marine sands at Menchecourt, it seems that the river
first prevailed there, after which the land subsided; and then
there was an upheaval which raised the country to a greater height
than that at which it now stands, after which there was a second
sinking, indicated by the position of the peat, as already
explained. All these changes happened since Man first inhabited
this region.

At several places in the environs of Abbeville there are fluviatile
deposits at a higher level by 50 feet than the uppermost beds at
Menchecourt, resting in like manner on the Chalk. One of these
occurs in the suburbs of the city at Moulin Quignon, 100 feet above
the Somme and on the same side of the valley as Menchecourt, and
containing flint implements of the same antique type and the bones
of elephants; but no marine shells have been found there, nor in
any gravel or sand at higher elevations than the Menchecourt marine

It has been a matter of discussion among geologists whether the
higher or the lower sands and gravels of the Somme valley are the
more ancient. As a general rule, when there are alluvial formations
of different ages in the same valley, those which occupy a more
elevated position above the river plain are the oldest. In Auvergne
and Velay, in Central France, where the bones of fossil quadrupeds
occur at all heights above the present rivers from 10 to 1000 feet,
we observe the terrestrial fauna to depart in character from that
now living in proportion as we ascend to higher terraces and
platforms. We pass from the lower alluvium, containing the mammoth,
tichorhine rhinoceros, and reindeer, to various older groups of
fossils, till, on a tableland 1000 feet high (near Le Puy, for
example), the abrupt termination of which overlooks the present
valley, we discover an old extinct river-bed covered by a current
of ancient lava, showing where the lowest level was once situated.
In that elevated alluvium the remains of a Tertiary mastodon and
other quadrupeds of like antiquity are embedded.

If the Menchecourt beds had been first formed, and the valley,
after being nearly as deep and wide as it is now, had subsided, the
sea must have advanced inland, causing small delta-like
accumulations at successive heights, wherever the main river and
its tributaries met the sea. Such a movement, especially if it were
intermittent, and interrupted occasionally by long pauses, would
very well account for the accumulation of stratified debris which
we encounter at certain points in the valley, especially around
Abbeville and Amiens. But we are precluded from adopting this
theory by the entire absence of marine shells, and the presence of
freshwater and land species, and mammalian bones, in considerable
abundance, in the drift both of higher and lower levels above
Abbeville. Had there been a total absence of all organic remains,
we might have imagined the former presence of the sea, and the
destruction of such remains might have been ascribed to carbonic
acid or other decomposing causes; but the Pleistocene and
implement-bearing strata can be shown by their fossils to be of
fluviatile origin.


When we ascend the valley of the Somme, from Abbeville to Amiens, a
distance of about 25 miles, we observe a repetition of all the same
alluvial phenomena which we have seen exhibited at Menchecourt and
its neighbourhood, with the single exception of the absence of
marine shells and of Cyrena fluminalis. We find lower-level gravel,
such as Number 2, Figure 7, and higher-level alluvium, such as
Number 3, the latter rising to 100 feet above the plain, which at
Amiens is about 50 feet above the level of the river at Abbeville.
In both the upper and lower gravels, as Dr. Rigollot stated in
1854, flint tools and the bones of extinct animals, together with
river shells and land shells of living species, abound.

(FIGURE 18.* Elephas primigenius.
   Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, one-third of
   natural size, Pleistocene. Co-existed with Man.)

(FIGURE 19.* Elephas antiquus, Falconer.
   Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, one-third of natural
   size, Pleistocene and Newer Pliocene. Co-existed with Man.)

(FIGURE 20.* Elephas meridionalis, Nesti.
   Penultimate molar, lower jaw, right side, one-third of natural
   size, Newer Pliocene, Saint Prest, near Chartres, and
   Norwich Crag. Not yet proved to have coexisted with Man.)

(* For Figure 20 I am indebted to M. Lartet, and Figure 18 will be
found in his paper in "Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France"
March 1859. Figure 19 is from Falconer and Cautley "Fauna

Immediately below Amiens, a great mass of stratified gravel,
slightly elevated above the alluvial plain of the Somme, is seen at
St. Roch, and half a mile farther down the valley at Montiers.
Between these two places a small tributary stream, called the
Celle, joins the Somme. In the gravel at Montiers, Mr. Prestwich
and I found some flint knives, one of them flat on one side, but
the other carefully worked, and exhibiting many fractures, clearly
produced by blows skilfully applied. Some of these knives were
taken from so low a level as to satisfy us that this great bed of
gravel at Montiers, as well as that of the contiguous quarries of
St. Roch, which seems to be a continuation of the same deposit, may
be referred to the human period. Dr. Rigollot had already mentioned
flint hatchets as obtained by him from St. Roch, but as none have
been found there of late years, his statement was thought to
require confirmation. The discovery, therefore, of these flint
knives in gravel of the same age was interesting, especially as
many tusks of a hippopotamus have been obtained from the gravel of
St. Roch--some of these recently by Mr. Prestwich; while M. Garnier
of Amiens has procured a fine elephant's molar from the same pits,
which Dr. Falconer refers to Elephas antiquus, see Figure 19. Hence
I infer that both these animals co-existed with Man.

The alluvial formations of Montiers are very instructive in another
point of view. If, leaving the lower gravel of that place, which is
topped with loam or brick-earth (of which the upper portion is
about 30 feet above the level of the Somme), we ascend the Chalk
slope to the height of about 80 feet, another deposit of gravel and
sand, with fluviatile shells in a perfect condition, occurs,
indicating most clearly an ancient river-bed, the waters of which
ran habitually at that higher level before the valley had been
scooped out to its present depth. This superior deposit is on the
same side of the Somme, and about as high, as the lowest part of
the celebrated formation of St. Acheul, 2 or 3 miles distant, to
which I shall now allude.

The terrace of St. Acheul may be described as a gently sloping
ledge of Chalk, covered with gravel, topped as usual with loam or
fine sediment, the surface of the loam being 100 feet above the
Somme, and about 150 above the sea.

Many stone coffins of the Gallo-Roman period have been dug out of
the upper portion of this alluvial mass. The trenches made for
burying them sometimes penetrate to the depth of 8 or 9 feet from
the surface, entering the upper part of Number 3 of the sections
Figures 21 and 22. They prove that when the Romans were in Gaul
they found this terrace in the same condition as it is now, or
rather as it was before the removal of so much gravel, sand, clay,
and loam, for repairing roads, and for making bricks and pottery.


  1. Vegetable soil and made ground, 2 to 3 feet thick.
  2. Brown loam with some angular flints, in parts passing into
     ochreous gravel, filling up indentations on the surface
     of Number 3, 3 feet thick.
  3. White siliceous sand with layers of chalky marl, and included
     fragments of Chalk, for the most part unstratified, 9 feet.
  4. Flint-gravel, and whitish chalky sand, flints subangular,
     average size of fragments, 3 inches diameter, but with some
     large unbroken Chalk flints intermixed, cross stratification
     in parts. Bones of mammalia, grinder of elephant at b, and
     flint implement at c, 10 to 14 feet.
  5. Chalk with flints.
  a. Part of elephant's molar, 11 feet from the surface.
  b. Entire molar of Elephas primigenius, 17 feet from the surface.
  c. Position of flint hatchet, 18 feet from the surface.)

In the annexed section (Figure 21), which I observed during my last
visit in 1860, it will be seen that a fragment of an elephant's
tooth is noticed as having been dug out of unstratified sandy loam
at the point a, 11 feet from the surface. This was found at the
time of my visit; and at a lower point, at b, 18 feet from the
surface, a large nearly entire and unrolled molar of the same
species was obtained, which is now in my possession. It has been
pronounced by Dr. Falconer to belong to Elephas primigenius.

A stone hatchet of an oval form, like that represented at Figure 9,
was discovered at the same time, about one foot lower down, at c,
in densely compressed gravel. The surface of the fundamental Chalk
is uneven in this pit, and slopes towards the valley-plain of the
Somme. In a horizontal distance of 20 feet, I found a difference in
vertical height of 7 feet. In the chalky sand, sometimes occurring
in interstices between the separate fragments of flint,
constituting the coarse gravel Number 4, entire as well as broken
freshwater shells are often met with. To some it may appear
enigmatical how such fragile objects could have escaped
annihilation in a river-bed, when flint tools and much gravel were
shoved along the bottom; but I have seen the dredging instrument
employed in the Thames, above and below London Bridge, to deepen
the river, and worked by steam power, scoop up gravel and sand from
the bottom, and then pour the contents pell-mell into the boat, and
still many specimens of Limnaea, Planorbis, Paludina, Cyclas, and
other shells might be taken out uninjured from the gravel.

It will be observed that the gravel Number 4 is obliquely
stratified, and that its surface had undergone denudation before
the white sandy loam Number 3 was superimposed. The materials of
the gravel at d must have been cemented or frozen together into a
somewhat coherent mass to allow the projecting ridge, d, to stand
up 5 feet above the general surface, the sides being in some places
perpendicular. In Number 3 we probably behold an example of a
passage from river-silt to inundation mud. In some parts of it,
land shells occur.

It has been ascertained by MM. Buteux, Ravin, and other observers
conversant with the geology of this part of France, that in none of
the alluvial deposits, ancient or modern, are there any fragments
of rocks foreign to the basin of the Somme--no erratics which could
only be explained by supposing them to have been brought by ice,
during a general submergence of the country, from some other
hydrographical basin.

But in some of the pits at St. Acheul there are seen in the beds
Number 4, Figure 21, not only well-rounded Tertiary pebbles, but
great blocks of hard sandstone, of the kind called in the south of
England "greywethers," some of which are 3 or 4 feet and upwards in
diameter. They are usually angular, and when spherical owe their
shape generally to an original concretionary structure, and not to
trituration in a river's bed. These large fragments of stone abound
both in the higher and lower level gravels round Amiens and at the
higher level at Abbeville. They have also been traced far up the
valley above Amiens, wherever patches of the old alluvium occur.
They have all been derived from the Tertiary strata which once
covered the Chalk. Their dimensions are such that it is impossible
to imagine a river like the present Somme, flowing through a flat
country, with a gentle fall towards the sea, to have carried them
for miles down its channel unless ice co-operated as a transporting
power. Their angularity also favours the supposition of their
having been floated by ice, or rendered so buoyant by it as to have
escaped much of the wear and tear which blocks propelled along the
bottom of a river channel would otherwise suffer. We must remember
that the present mildness of the winters in Picardy and the
northwest of Europe generally is exceptional in the northern
hemisphere, and that large fragments of granite, sandstone, and
limestone are now carried annually by ice down the Canadian rivers
in latitudes farther south than Paris.* (* "Principles of Geology"
9th edition page 220.)

   (Prestwich, "Philosophical Transactions" 1861, page 299).

  1. Surface soil.
  2. Brown loam as in Figure 21, thickness, 6 feet.
  3. White sand with bent and folded layers of marl, thickness,
     6 feet.
  4. Gravel, as in Figure 21, with bones of mammalia and flint
  A. Graves filled with made ground and human bones.
  b and c. Seams of laminated marl often bent round upon themselves.
  d. Beds of gravel with sharp curves.)

Another sign of ice agency, of which Mr. Prestwich has given a good
illustration in one of his published sections, and which I myself
observed in several pits at St. Acheul, deserves notice. It
consists in flexures and contortions of the strata of sand, marl,
and gravel (as seen at b, c, and d, Figure 22), which they have
evidently undergone since their original deposition, and from which
both the underlying Chalk and part of the overlying beds of sand
Number 3 are usually exempt.

In my former writings I have attributed this kind of derangement to
two causes; first, the pressure of ice running aground on yielding
banks of mud and sand; and, secondly, the melting of masses of ice
and snow of unequal thickness, on which horizontal layers of mud,
sand, and other fine and coarse materials had accumulated. The late
Mr. Trimmer first pointed out in what manner the unequal failure of
support caused by the liquefaction of underlying or intercalated
snow and ice might give rise to such complicated foldings.* (* See
chapter 12.)

When "ice-jams" occur on the St. Lawrence and other Canadian rivers
(latitude 46 degrees north), the sheets of ice, which become packed
or forced under or over one another, assume in most cases a highly
inclined and sometimes even a vertical position. They are often
observed to be coated on one side with mud, sand, or gravel frozen
on to them, derived from shallows in the river on which they rested
when congelation first reached the bottom.

As often as portions of these packs melt near the margin of the
river, the layers of mud, sand, and gravel, which result from their
liquefaction, cannot fail to assume a very abnormal
arrangement--very perplexing to a geologist who should undertake to
interpret them without having the ice-clue in his mind.

Mr. Prestwich has suggested that ground-ice may have had its
influence in modifying the ancient alluvium of the Somme.* (*
Prestwich, Memoir read to Royal Society, April 1862.) It is certain
that ice in this form plays an active part every winter in giving
motion to stones and gravel in the beds of rivers in European
Russia and Siberia. It appears that when in those countries the
streams are reduced nearly to the freezing point, congelation
begins frequently at the bottom; the reason being, according to
Arago, that the current is slowest there, and the gravel and large
stones, having parted with much of their heat by radiation, acquire
a temperature below the average of the main body of the river. It
is, therefore, when the water is clear, and the sky free from
clouds, that ground ice forms most readily, and oftener on pebbly
than on muddy bottoms. Fragments of such ice, rising occasionally
to the surface, bring up with them gravel, and even large stones.

Without dwelling longer on the various ways in which ice may affect
the forms of stratification in drift, so as to cause bendings and
foldings in which the underlying or over-lying strata do not
participate, a subject to which I shall have occasion again to
allude in the sequel, I will state in this place that such
contortions, whether explicable or not, are very characteristic of
glacial formations. They have also no necessary connection with the
transportation of large blocks of stone, and they therefore afford,
as Mr. Prestwich remarks, independent proof of ice-action in the
Pleistocene gravel of the Somme.

Let us, then, suppose that, at the time when flint hatchets were
embedded in great numbers in the ancient gravel which now forms the
terrace of St. Acheul, the main river and its tributaries were
annually frozen over for several months in winter. In that case,
the primitive people may, as Mr. Prestwich hints, have resembled in
their mode of life those American Indians who now inhabit the
country between Hudson's Bay and the Polar Sea. The habits of those
Indians have been well described by Hearne, who spent some years
among them. As often as deer and other game become scarce on the
land, they betake themselves to fishing in the rivers; and for this
purpose, and also to obtain water for drinking, they are in the
constant practice of cutting round holes in the ice, a foot or more
in diameter, through which they throw baited hooks or nets. Often
they pitch their tent on the ice, and then cut such holes through
it, using ice-chisels of metal when they can get copper or iron,
but when not, employing tools of flint or hornstone.

The great accumulation of gravel at St. Acheul has taken place in
part of the valley where the tributary streams, the Noye and the
Arve, now join the Somme. These tributaries, as well as the main
river, must have been running at the height first of 100 feet, and
afterwards at various lower levels above the present valley-plain,
in those earlier times when the flint tools of the antique type
were buried in successive river beds. I have said at various
levels, because there are, here and there, patches of drift at
heights intermediate between the higher and lower gravel, and also
some deposits, showing that the river once flowed at elevations
above as well as below the level of the platform of St. Acheul. As
yet, however, no patch of gravel skirting the valley at heights
exceeding 100 feet above the Somme has yielded flint tools or other
signs of the former sojourn of Man in this region.

Possibly, in the earlier geographical condition of this country,
the confluence of tributaries with the Somme afforded inducements
to a hunting and fishing tribe to settle there, and some of the
same natural advantages may have caused the first inhabitants of
Amiens and Abbeville to fix on the same sites for their dwellings.
If the early hunting and fishing tribes frequented the same spots
for hundreds or thousands of years in succession, the number of the
stone implements lost in the bed of the river need not surprise us.
Ice-chisels, flint hatchets, and spear-heads may have slipped
accidentally through holes kept constantly open, and the recovery
of a lost treasure once sunk in the bed of the ice-bound stream,
inevitably swept away with gravel on the breaking up of the ice in
the spring, would be hopeless. During a long winter, in a country
affording abundance of flint, the manufacture of tools would be
continually in progress; and, if so, thousands of chips and flakes
would be purposely thrown into the ice-hole, besides a great number
of implements having flaws, or rejected as too unskilfully made to
be worth preserving.

As to the fossil fauna of the drift, considered in relation to the
climate, when, in 1859, I took a collection which I had made of all
the more common species of land and freshwater shells from the
Amiens and Abbeville drift, to my friend M. Deshayes at Paris, he
declared them to be, without exception, the same as those now
living in the basin of the Seine. This fact may seem at first sight
to imply that the climate had not altered since the flint tools
were fabricated; but it appears that all these species of molluscs
now range as far north as Norway and Finland, and may therefore
have flourished in the valley of the Somme when the river was
frozen over annually in winter.* (* See Prestwich, Paper read to
the Royal Society in 1862.)

In regard to the accompanying mammalia, some of them, like the
mammoth and tichorhine rhinoceros, may have been able to endure the
rigours of a northern winter as well as the reindeer, which we find
fossil in the same gravel. It is a more difficult point to
determine whether the climate of the lower gravels (those of
Menchecourt, for example) was more genial than that of the higher
ones. Mr. Prestwich inclines to this opinion. None of those
contortions of the strata above described have as yet been observed
in the lower drift. It contains large blocks of Tertiary sandstone
and grit, which may have required the aid of ice to convey them to
their present sites; but as such blocks already abounded in the
older and higher alluvium, they may simply be monuments of its
destruction, having been let down successively to lower and lower
levels without making much seaward progress.

The Cyrena fluminalis of Menchecourt and the hippopotamus of St.
Roch seem to be in favour of a less severe temperature in winter;
but so many of the species of mammalia, as well as of the land and
freshwater shells, are common to both formations, and our
information respecting the entire fauna is still so imperfect, that
it would be premature to pretend to settle this question in the
present state of our knowledge. We must be content with the
conclusion (and it is one of no small interest), that when Man
first inhabited this part of Europe, at the time that the St.
Acheul drift was formed, the climate as well as the physical
geography of the country differed considerably from the state of
things now established there.

Among the elephant remains from St. Acheul, in M. Garnier's
collection, Dr. Falconer recognised a molar of the Elephas
antiquus, Figure 19, the same species which has been already
mentioned as having been found in the lower-level gravels of St.
Roch. This species, therefore, endured while important changes took
place in the geographical condition of the valley of the Somme.
Assuming the lower-level gravel to be the newer, it follows that
the Elephas antiquus and the hippopotamus of St. Roch continued to
flourish long after the introduction of the mammoth, a well
characterised tooth of which, as I before stated, was found at St.
Acheul at the time of my visit in 1860.

As flint hatchets and knives have been discovered in the alluvial
deposits both at high and low levels, we may safely affirm that Man
was as old an inhabitant of this region as were any of the fossil
quadrupeds above enumerated, a conclusion which is independent of
any difference of opinion as to the relative age of the higher and
lower gravels.

The disappearance of many large pachyderms and beasts of prey from
Europe has often been attributed to the intervention of Man, and no
doubt he played his part in hastening the era of their extinction;
but there is good reason for suspecting that other causes
co-operated to the same end. No naturalist would for a moment
suppose that the extermination of the Cyrena fluminalis throughout
the whole of Europe--a species which co-existed with our race in
the valley of the Somme, and which was very abundant in the waters
of the Thames at the time when the elephant, rhinoceros, and
hippopotamus flourished on its banks--was accelerated by human
agency. The great modification in climate and in other conditions
of existence which affected this aquatic mollusc, may have mainly
contributed to the gradual dying out of many of the large mammalia.

We have already seen that the peat of the valley of the Somme is a
formation which, in all likelihood, took thousands of years for its
growth. But no change of a marked character has occurred in the
mammalian fauna since it began to accumulate. The contrast of the
fauna of the ancient alluvium, whether at high or low levels, with
the fauna of the oldest peat is almost as great as its contrast
with the existing fauna, the memorials of Man being common to the
whole series; hence we may infer that the interval of time which
separated the era of the large extinct mammalia from that of the
earliest peat, was of far longer duration than that of the entire
growth of the peat. Yet we by no means need the evidence of the
ancient fossil fauna to establish the antiquity of Man in this part
of France. The mere volume of the drift at various heights would
alone suffice to demonstrate a vast lapse of time during which such
heaps of shingle, derived both from the Eocene and the Cretaceous
rocks, were thrown down in a succession of river-channels. We
observe thousands of rounded and half-rounded flints, and a vast
number of angular ones, with rounded pieces of white Chalk of
various sizes, testifying to a prodigious amount of mechanical
action, accompanying the repeated widening and deepening of the
valley, before it became the receptacle of peat; and the position
of many of the flint tools leaves no doubt in the mind of the
geologist that their fabrication preceded all this reiterated


It is naturally a matter of no small surprise that, after we have
collected many hundred flint implements (including knives, many
thousands), not a single human bone has yet been met with in the
old alluvial sand and gravel of the Somme. This dearth of the
mortal remains of our species holds true equally, as yet, in all
other parts of Europe where the tool-bearing drift of the
Pleistocene period has been investigated in valley deposits. Yet in
these same formations there is no want of bones of mammalia
belonging to extinct and living species. In the course of the last
quarter of a century, thousands of them have been submitted to the
examination of skilful osteologists, and they have been unable to
detect among them one fragment of a human skeleton, not even a
tooth. Yet Cuvier pointed out long ago, that the bones of Man found
buried in ancient battle-fields were not more decayed than those of
horses interred in the same graves. We have seen that in the Liege
caverns, the skulls, jaws, and teeth, with other bones of the human
race, were preserved in the same condition as those of the
cave-bear, tiger, and mammoth.

That ere long, now that curiosity has been so much excited on this
subject, some human remains will be detected in the older alluvium
of European valleys, I confidently expect. In the meantime, the
absence of all vestige of the bones which belonged to that
population by which so many weapons were designed and executed,
affords a most striking and instructive lesson in regard to the
value of negative evidence, when adduced in proof of the
non-existence of certain classes of terrestrial animals at given
periods of the past. It is a new and emphatic illustration of the
extreme imperfection of the geological record, of which even they
who are constantly working in the field cannot easily form a just

We must not forget that Dr. Schmerling, after finding extinct
mammalia and FLINT TOOLS in forty-two Belgian caverns, was only
rewarded by the discovery of human bones in three or four of those
rich repositories of osseous remains. In like manner, it was not
till the year 1855 that the first skull of the musk ox (Bubalus
moschatus) was detected in the fossiliferous gravel of the Thames,
and not till 1860, as will be seen in the next chapter, that the
same quadruped was proved to have co-existed in France with the
mammoth. The same theory which will explain the comparative rarity
of such species would no doubt account for the still greater
scarcity of human bones, as well as for our general ignorance of
the Pleistocene terrestrial fauna, with the exception of that part
of it which is revealed to us by cavern researches.

In valley drift we meet commonly with the bones of quadrupeds which
graze on plains bordering rivers. Carnivorous beasts, attracted to
the same ground in search of their prey, sometimes leave their
remains in the same deposits, but more rarely. The whole assemblage
of fossil quadrupeds at present obtained from the alluvium of
Picardy is obviously a mere fraction of the entire fauna which
flourished contemporaneously with the primitive people by whom the
flint hatchets were made.

Instead of its being part of the plan of nature to store up
enduring records of a large number of the individual plants and
animals which have lived on the surface, it seems to be her chief
care to provide the means of disencumbering the habitable areas
lying above and below the waters of those myriads of solid
skeletons of animals, and those massive trunks of trees, which
would otherwise soon choke up every river, and fill every valley.
To prevent this inconvenience she employs the heat and moisture of
the sun and atmosphere, the dissolving power of carbonic and other
acids, the grinding teeth and gastric juices of quadrupeds, birds,
reptiles, and fish, and the agency of many of the invertebrata. We
are all familiar with the efficacy of these and other causes on the
land; and as to the bottoms of seas, we have only to read the
published reports of Mr. MacAndrew, the late Edward Forbes, and
other experienced dredgers, who, while they failed utterly in
drawing up from the deep a single human bone, declared that they
scarcely ever met with a work of art even after counting tens of
thousands of shells and zoophytes, collected on a coast line of
several hundred miles in extent, where they often approached within
less than half a mile of a land peopled by millions of human


It is not many years since the Government of Holland resolved to
lay dry that great sheet of water formerly called the Lake of
Haarlem, extending over 45,000 acres. They succeeded, in 1853, in
turning it into dry land, by means of powerful pumps constantly
worked by steam, which raised the water and discharged it into a
canal running for 20 or 30 miles round the newly-gained land. This
land was depressed 13 feet beneath the mean level of the ocean. I
travelled, in 1859, over part of the bed of this old lake, and
found it already converted into arable land, and peopled by an
agricultural population of 5000 souls. Mr. Staring, who had been
for some years employed by the Dutch Government in constructing a
geological map of Holland, was my companion and guide. He informed
me that he and his associates had searched in vain for human bones
in the deposits which had constituted for three centuries the bed
of the great lake.

There had been many a shipwreck, and many a naval fight in those
waters, and hundreds of Dutch and Spanish soldiers and sailors had
met there with a watery grave. The population which lived on the
borders of this ancient sheet of water numbered between thirty and
forty thousand souls. In digging the great canal, a fine section
had been laid open, about 30 miles long, of the deposits which
formed the ancient bottom of the lake. Trenches, also, innumerable,
several feet deep, had been freshly dug on all the farms, and their
united length must have amounted to thousands of miles. In some of
the sandy soil recently thrown out of the trenches, I observed
specimens of freshwater and brackish-water shells, such as Unio and
Dreissena, of living species; and in clay brought up from below the
sand, shells of Tellina, Lutraria, and Cardium, all of species now
inhabiting the adjoining sea.

As the Dreissena is believed by conchologists to have been
introduced into Western Europe in very modern times, brought with
foreign timber in the holds of vessels from the rivers flowing into
the Black Sea, the layer of sand containing it in the Haarlem lake
is probably not more than a hundred years old.

One or two wrecked Spanish vessels, and arms of the same period,
have rewarded the antiquaries who had been watching the draining
operations in the hope of a richer harvest, and who were not a
little disappointed at the result. In a peaty tract on the margin
of one part of the lake a few coins were dug up; but if history had
been silent, and if there had been a controversy whether Man was
already a denizen of this planet at the time when the area of the
Haarlem lake was under water, the archaeologist, in order to answer
this question, must have appealed, as in the case of the valley of
the Somme, not to fossil bones, but to works of art embedded in the
superficial strata.

Mr. Staring, in his valuable memoir on the "Geological Map of
Holland," has attributed the general scarcity of human bones in
Dutch peat, notwithstanding the many works of art preserved in it,
to the power of the humic and sulphuric acids to dissolve bones,
the peat in question being plentifully impregnated with such acids.
His theory may be correct, but it is not applicable to the gravel
of the valley of the Somme, in which the bones of fossil mammalia
are frequent, nor to the uppermost freshwater strata forming the
bottom of a large part of the Haarlem Lake, in which it is not
pretended that such acids occur.

The primitive inhabitants of the valley of the Somme may have been
too wary and sagacious to be often surprised and drowned by floods,
which swept away many an incautious elephant or rhinoceros, horse
and ox. But even if those rude hunters had cherished a
superstitious veneration for the Somme, and had regarded it as a
sacred river (as the modern Hindoos revere the Ganges), and had
been in the habit of committing the bodies of their dead or dying
to its waters--even had such funeral rites prevailed, it by no
means follows that the bones of many individuals would have been
preserved to our time.

A corpse cast into the stream first sinks, and must then be almost
immediately overspread with sediment of a certain weight, or it
will rise again when distended with gases, and float perhaps to the
sea before it sinks again. It may then be attacked by fish of
marine species, some of which are capable of digesting bones. If,
before being carried into the sea and devoured, it is enveloped
with fluviatile mud and sand, the next flood, if it lie in
mid-channel, may tear it out again, scatter all the bones, roll
some of them into pebbles, and leave others exposed to destroying
agencies; and this may be repeated annually, till all vestiges of
the skeleton may disappear. On the other hand, a bone washed
through a rent into a subterranean cavity, even though a rarer
contingency, may have a greater chance of escaping destruction,
especially if there be stalactite dropping from the roof of the
cave or walls of a rent, and if the cave be not constantly
traversed by too strong a current of engulfed water.



Flint Implements in ancient Alluvium of the Basin of the Seine.
Bones of Man and of extinct Mammalia in the Cave of Arcy.
Extinct Mammalia in the Valley of the Oise.
Flint Implement in Gravel of same Valley.
Works of Art in Pleistocene Drift in Valley of the Thames.
Musk Ox.
Meeting of northern and southern Fauna.
Migrations of Quadrupeds.
Mammals of Mongolia.
Chronological Relation of the older Alluvium of the Thames to the
   Glacial Drift.
Flint Implements of Pleistocene Period in Surrey, Middlesex, Kent,
   Bedfordshire, and Suffolk.


In the ancient alluvium of the valleys of the Seine and its
principal tributaries, the same assemblage of fossil animals, which
has been alluded to in the last chapter as characterising the
gravel of Picardy, has long been known; but it was not till the
year 1860, and when diligent search had been expressly made for
them, that flint implements of the Amiens type were discovered in
this part of France.

In the neighbourhood of Paris deposits of drift occur answering
both to those of the higher and lower levels of the basin of the
Somme before described.* (* Prestwich, "Proceedings of the Royal
Society" 1862.) In both are found, mingled with the wreck of the
Tertiary and Cretaceous rocks of the vicinity, a large quantity of
granitic sand and pebbles, and occasionally large blocks of
granite, from a few inches to a foot or more in diameter. These
blocks are peculiarly abundant in the lower drift commonly called
the "diluvium gris." The granitic materials are traceable to a
chain of hills called the Morvan, where the head waters of the
Yonne take their rise, 150 miles to the south-south-east of Paris.

It was in this lowest gravel that M. H.T. Gosse, of Geneva, found,
in April 1860, in the suburbs of Paris, at La Motte Piquet, on the
left bank of the Seine, one or two well-formed flint implements of
the Amiens type, accompanied by a great number of ruder tools or
attempts at tools. I visited the spot in 1861 with M. Hebert, and
saw the stratum from which the worked flints had been extracted, 20
feet below the surface, and near the bottom of the "grey diluvium,"
a bed of gravel from which I have myself, in and near Paris,
frequently collected the bones of the elephant, horse, and other

More recently, M. Lartet has discovered at Clichy, in the environs
of Paris, in the same lower gravel, a well-shaped flint implement
of the Amiens type, together with remains both of Elephas
primigenius and E. antiquus. No tools have yet been met with in any
of the gravels occurring at the higher levels of the valley of the
Seine; but no importance can be attached to this negative fact, as
so little search has yet been made for them.

Mr. Prestwich has observed contortions indicative of ice-action, of
the same kind as those near Amiens, in the higher-level drift of
Charonne, near Paris; but as yet no similar derangement has been
seen in the lower gravels--a fact, so far as it goes, in unison
with the phenomena observed in Picardy.

In the cavern of Arcy-sur-Yonne a series of deposits have lately
been investigated by the Marquis de Vibraye, who discovered human
bones in the lowest of them, mixed with remains of quadrupeds of
extinct and recent species. This cavern occurs in Jurassic
limestone, at a slight elevation above the Cure, a small tributary
of the Yonne, which last joins the Seine near Fontainebleau about
40 miles south of Paris. The lowest formation in the cavern
resembles the "diluvium gris" of Paris, being composed of granitic
materials, and like it derived chiefly from the waste of the
crystalline rocks of the Morvan. In it have been found the two
branches of a human lower jaw with teeth well-preserved, and the
bones of the Elephas primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, Ursus
spelaeus, Hyaena spelaea, and Cervus tarandus, all specifically
determined by M. Lartet. I have been shown this collection of
fossils by M. de Vibraye, and remarked that the human and other
remains were in the same condition and of the same colour.

Above the grey gravel is a bed of red alluvium, made up of
fragments of Jurassic limestone, in a red argillaceous matrix, in
which were embedded several flint knives, with bones of the
reindeer and horse, but no extinct mammalia. Over this, in a higher
bed of alluvium, were several polished hatchets of the more modern
type called "celts," and above all loam or cave-mud, in which were
Gallo-Roman antiquities.* (* "Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de
France" 1860.)

The French geologists have made as yet too little progress in
identifying the age of the successive deposits of ancient alluvium
of various parts of the basin of the Seine, to enable us to
speculate with confidence as to the coincidence in date of the
granitic gravel with human bones of the Grotte d'Arcy and the
stone-hatchets buried in "grey diluvium" of La Motte Piquet, before
mentioned; but as the associated extinct mammalia are of the same
species in both localities, I feel strongly inclined to believe
that the stone hatchets found by M. Gosse at Paris, and the human
bones discovered by M. de Vibraye, may be referable to the same


A flint hatchet, of the old Abbeville and Amiens type, was found
lately by M. Peigne Delacourt at Precy, near Creil, on the Oise, in
gravel, resembling, in its geological position, the lower-level
gravels of Montiers, near Amiens, already described. I visited
these extensive gravel-pits in 1861, in company with Mr. Prestwich;
but we remained there too short a time to entitle us to expect to
find a flint implement, even if they had been as abundant as at St.

In 1859, I examined, in a higher part of the same valley of the
Oise, near Chauny and Noyon, some fine railway cuttings, which
passed continuously through alluvium of the Pleistocene period for
half a mile. All this alluvium was evidently of fluviatile origin,
for, in the interstices between the pebbles, the Ancylus
fluviatilis and other freshwater shells were abundant. My
companion, the Abbe E. Lambert, had collected from the gravel a
great many fossil bones, among which M. Lartet has recognised both
Elephas primigenius and E. antiquus, besides a species of
hippopotamus (H. major ?), also the reindeer, horse, and the musk
ox (Bubalus moschatus). The latter seems never to have been seen
before in the old alluvium of France.* (* Lartet, "Annales des
Sciences Naturelles Zoologiques" tome 15 page 224.) Over the gravel
above mentioned, near Chauny, are seen dense masses of loam like
the loess of the Rhine, containing shells of the genera Helix and
Succinea. We may suppose that the gravel containing the flint
hatchet at Precy is of the same age as that of Chauny, with which
it is continuous, and that both of them are coeval with the
tool-bearing beds of Amiens, for the basins of the Oise and the
Somme are only separated by a narrow water-shed, and the same
fossil quadrupeds occur in both.

The alluvium of the Seine and its tributaries, like that of the
Somme, contains no fragments of rocks brought from any other
hydrographical basin; yet the shape of the land, or fall of the
river, or the climate, or all these conditions, must have been very
different when the grey alluvium in which the flint tools occur at
Paris was formed. The great size of some of the blocks of granite,
and the distance which they have travelled, imply a power in the
river which it no longer possesses. We can hardly doubt that
river-ice once played a much more active part than now in the
transportation of such blocks, one of which may be seen in the
Museum of the Ecole des Mines at Paris, 3 or 4 feet in diameter.


In the ancient alluvium of the basin of the Thames, at moderate
heights above the main river and its tributaries, we find fossil
bones of the same species of extinct and living mammalia,
accompanied by recent species of land and freshwater shells, as we
have shown to be characteristic of the basins of the Somme and the
Seine. We can scarcely therefore doubt that these quadrupeds,
during some part of the Pleistocene period, ranged freely from the
continent of Europe to England, at a time when there was an
uninterrupted communication by land between the two countries. The
reader will not therefore be surprised to learn that flint
implements of the same antique type as those of the valley of the
Somme have been detected in British alluvium.

The most marked feature of this alluvium in the Thames valley is
that great bed of ochreous gravel, composed chiefly of broken and
slightly worn Chalk flints, on which a great part of London is
built. It extends from above Maidenhead through the metropolis to
the sea, a distance from west to east of 50 miles, having a width
varying from 2 to 9 miles. Its thickness ranges commonly from 5 to
15 feet.* (* Prestwich, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological
Society" volume 12 1856 page 131.) Interstratified with this
gravel, in many places, are beds of sand, loam, and clay, the whole
containing occasionally remains of the mammoth and other extinct
quadrupeds. Fine sections have been exposed to view, at different
periods, at Brentford and Kew Bridge, others in London itself, and
below it at Erith in Kent, on the right bank of the Thames, and at
Ilford and Gray's Thurrock in Essex, on the left bank. The united
thickness of the beds of sand, gravel, and loam amounts sometimes
to 40 or even 60 feet. They are for the most part elevated above,
but in some cases they descend below, the present level of the
overflowed plain of the Thames.

If the reader will refer to the section of the Pleistocene sands
and gravels of Menchecourt, near Abbeville, given at page 96, he
will perfectly understand the relations of the ancient Thames
alluvium to the modern channel and plain of the river, and their
relation, on the other hand, to the boundary formations of older
date, whether Tertiary or Cretaceous.

So far as they are known, the fossil mollusca and mammalia of the
two districts also agree very closely, the Cyrena fluminalis being
common to both, and being the only extra-European shell, this and
all the species of testacea being Recent. Of this agreement with
the living fauna there is a fine illustration in Essex; for the
determination of which we are indebted to the late Mr. John Brown,
F.G.S., who collected at Copford, in Essex, from a deposit
containing bones of the mammoth, a large bear (probably Ursus
spelaeus), a beaver, stag, and aurochs, no less than sixty-nine
species of land and freshwater shells. Forty-eight of these were
terrestrial, and two of them, Helix incarnata and H. ruderata, no
longer inhabit the British Isles, but are still living on the
continent, ruderata in high northern latitudes.* (* "Quarterly
Journal of the Geological Society" volume 8 1852 page 190. Mr.
Brown calls them extinct species, which may mislead some readers,
but he merely meant extinct in England. See also Jeffreys, "Brit.
Conch." page 174.) The Cyrena fluminalis and the Unio littoralis,
to which last I shall presently allude, were not among the number.

I long ago suggested the hypothesis, that in the basin of the
Thames there are indications of a meeting in the Pleistocene period
of a northern and southern fauna. To the northern group may have
belonged the mammoth (Elephas primigenius) and the Rhinoceros
tichorhinus, both of which Pallas found in Siberia, preserved with
their flesh in the ice. With these are occasionally associated the
reindeer. In 1855 the skull of the musk ox (Bubalus moschatus) was
also found in the ochreous gravel of Maidenhead, by the Reverend C.
Kingsley and Mr. Lubbock; the identification of this fossil with
the living species being made by Professor Owen. A second fossil
skull of the same arctic animal was afterwards found by Mr. Lubbock
near Bromley, in the valley of a small tributary of the Thames; and
two other skulls, those of a bull and a cow were dug up near Bath
Easton from the gravel of the valley of the Avon by Mr. Charles
Moore. Professor Owen has truly said, that "as this quadruped has a
constitution fitting it at present to inhabit the high northern
regions of America, we can hardly doubt that its former companions,
the warmly-clad mammoth and the two-horned woolly rhinoceros (R.
tichorhinus), were in like manner capable of supporting life in a
cold climate."* (* "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society"
volume 12 1856 page 124.)

I have already alluded to the recent discovery of this same ox near
Chauny, in the valley of the Oise, in France; and in 1856 I found a
skull of it preserved in the museum at Berlin, which Professor
Quenstedt, the curator, had correctly named so long ago as 1836,
when the fossil was dug out of drift, in the hill called the
Kreuzberg, in the southern suburbs of that city. By an account
published at the time, we find that the mammalia which accompanied
the musk ox were the mammoth and tichorhine rhinoceros, with the
horse and ox;* (* "Leonhard and Bronn's Jahrbuch" 1836 page 215.)
but I can find no record of the occurrence of a hippopotamus, nor
of Elephas antiquus or Rhinoceros leptorhinus, in the drift of the
north of Germany, bordering the Baltic.

On the other hand, in another locality in the same drift of North
Germany, Dr. Hensel, of Berlin, detected, near Quedlinburg, the
Norwegian Lemming (Myodes lemmus), and another species of the same
family called by Pallas Myodes torquatus (by Hensel, Misothermus
torquatus)--a still more arctic quadruped, found by Parry in
latitude 82 degrees, and which never strays farther south than the
northern borders of the woody region. Professor Beyrich also
informs me that the remains of the Rhinoceros tichorhinus were
obtained at the same place.* (* "Zeitschrift der Deutschen
Geologischen Gesellschaft" volume 7 1855 page 497 etc.)

As an example of what may possibly have constituted a more southern
fauna in the valley of the Thames, I may allude to the fossil
remains found in the fluviatile alluvium of Gray's Thurrock, in
Essex, situated on the left bank of the river, 21 miles below
London. The strata of brick-earth, loam, and gravel exposed to view
in artificial excavations in that spot, are precisely such as would
be formed by the silting up of an old river channel. Among the
mammalia are Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros leptorhinus (R.
megarhinus, Christol), Hippopotamus major, species of horse, bear,
ox, stag, etc., and, among the accompanying shells, Cyrena
fluminalis, which is extremely abundant, instead of being scarce,
as at Abbeville. It is associated with Unio littoralis also in
great numbers and with both valves united. This conspicuous
freshwater mussel is no longer an inhabitant of the British Isles,
but still lives in the Seine, and is still more abundant in the
Loire. Another freshwater univalve (Paludina marginata, Michaud),
not British, but common in the south of France, likewise occurs,
and a peculiar variety of Cyclas amnica, which by some naturalists
has been regarded as a distinct species. With these, moreover, is
found a peculiar variety of Valvata piscinalis.

If we consult Dr. Von Schrenck's account of the living mammalia of
Mongolia, lying between latitude 45 and 55 degrees north, we learn
that, in that part of North-Eastern Asia recently annexed to the
Russian empire, no less than thirty-four out of fifty-eight living
quadrupeds are identical with European species, while some of those
which do not extend their range to Europe are arctic, others
tropical forms. The Bengal tiger ranges northwards occasionally to
latitude 52 degrees north, where he chiefly subsists on the flesh
of the reindeer, and the same tiger abounds in latitude 48 degrees,
to which the small tailless hare or pika, a polar resident,
sometimes wanders southwards.* (* Mammalia of Amoorland, "Natural
History Review" volume 1 1861 page 12.) We may readily conceive
that the countries now drained by the Thames, the Somme, and the
Seine, were, in the Pleistocene period, on the borders of two
distinct zoological provinces, one lying to the north, the other to
the south, in which case many species belonging to each fauna
endowed with migratory habits, like the living musk-ox or the
Bengal tiger, may have been ready to take advantage of any, even
the slightest, change in their favour to invade the neighbouring
province, whether in the summer or winter months, or permanently
for a series of years, or centuries. The Elephas antiquus and its
associated Rhinoceros leptorhinus may have preceded the mammoth and
tichorhine rhinoceros in the valley of the Thames, or both may have
alternately prevailed in the same area in the Pleistocene period.

In attempting to settle the chronology of fluviatile deposits, it
is almost equally difficult to avail ourselves of the evidence of
organic remains and of the superposition of the strata, for we may
find two old river-beds on the same level in juxtaposition, one of
them perhaps many thousands of years posterior in date to the
other. I have seen an example of this at Ilford, where the Thames,
or a tributary stream, has at some former period cut through sands
containing Cyrena fluminalis, and again filled up the channel with
argillaceous matter, evidently derived from the waste of the
Tertiary London Clay. Such shiftings of the site of the main
channel of the river, the frequent removal of gravel and sand
previously deposited, and the throwing down of new alluvium, the
flooding of tributaries, the rising and sinking of the land,
fluctuations in the cold and heat of the climate--all these changes
seem to have given rise to that complexity in the fluviatile
deposits of the Thames, which accounts for the small progress we
have hitherto made in determining their order of succession, and
that of the imbedded groups of quadrupeds. It may happen, as at
Brentford and Ilford, that sand-pits in two adjoining fields may
each contain distinct species of elephant and rhinoceros; and the
fossil remains in both cases may occur at the same depth from the
surface, yet may be severally referable to different parts of the
Pleistocene epoch, separated by thousands of years.

The relation of the glacial period to alluvial deposits, such as
that of Gray's Thurrock, where the Cyrena fluminalis, Unio
littoralis, and the hippopotamus seem rather to imply a warmer
climate, has been a matter of long and animated discussion. Patches
of the northern drift, at elevations of about 200 feet above the
Thames, occur in the neighbourhood of London, as at Muswell Hill,
near Highgate. In this drift, blocks of granite, syenite,
greenstone, Coal-measure sandstone with its fossils, and other
Palaeozoic rocks, and the wreck of Chalk and Oolite, occur
confusedly mixed together. The same glacial formation is also found
capping some of the Essex hills farther to the east, and extending
some way down their southern slopes towards the valley of the
Thames. Although no fragments washed out of these older and upland
drifts have been found in the gravel of the Thames containing
elephants' bones, it is fair to presume, as Mr. Prestwich has
contended,* that the glacial formation is the older of the two. (*
Prestwich, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 11
1855 page 110; ibid. volume 12 1856 page 133; ibid. volume 17 1861
page 446.) In short, we must suppose that the basin of the Thames
and all its fluviatile deposits are post-glacial, in the modified
sense of that term; i.e. that they were subsequent to the drift of
the central and northern counties.

Having offered these general remarks on the alluvium of the Thames,
I may now say something of the implements hitherto discovered in
it. In the British Museum there is a flint weapon of the
spear-headed form, such as is represented in Figure 8, which we are
told was found with an elephant's tooth at Black Mary's, near
Gray's Inn Lane, London. In a letter dated 1715, printed in Herne's
edition of "Leland's Collectanea," volume 1 page 73, it is stated
to have been found in the presence of Mr. Conyers, with the
skeleton of an elephant.* (* Evans, "Archaeologia" 1860.) So many
bones of the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus have been found
in the gravel on which London stands, that there is no reason to
doubt the statement as handed down to us. Fossil remains of all
these three genera have been dug up on the site of Waterloo Place,
St. James's Square, Charing Cross, the London Docks, Limehouse,
Bethnal Green, and other places within the memory of persons now
living. In the gravel and sand of Shacklewell, in the north-east
district of London, I have myself collected specimens of the Cyrena
fluminalis in great numbers (see Figure 17 c), with the bones of
deer and other mammalia.

In the alluvium also of the Wey, near Guildford, in a place called
Pease Marsh, a wedge-shaped flint implement, resembling one brought
from St. Acheul by Mr. Prestwich, and compared by some antiquaries
to a sling-stone, was obtained in 1836 by Mr. Whitburn, 4 feet deep
in sand and gravel, in which the teeth and tusks of elephants had
been found. The Wey flows through the gorge of the North Downs at
Guildford to join the Thames. Mr. Austen has shown that this drift
is so ancient that one part of it had been disturbed and tilted
before another part was thrown down.* (* "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" volume 7 1851 page 278.)

Among other places where flint tools of the antique type have been
met with in the course of the last three years, I may mention one
of an oval form found by Mr. Whitaker in the valley of the Darent,
in Kent, and another which Mr. Evans found lying on the shore at
Swalecliff, near Whitstable, in the same county, where Mr.
Prestwich had previously described a freshwater deposit, resting on
the London Clay, and consisting chiefly of gravel, in which an
elephant's tooth and the bones of a bear were embedded. The flint
implement was deeply discoloured and of a peculiar bright
light-brown colour, similar to that of the old fluviatile gravel in
the cliff.

Another flint implement was found in 1860 by Mr. T. Leech, at the
foot of the cliff between Herne Bay and the Reculvers, and on
further search five other specimens of the spear-head pattern so
common at Amiens. Messrs. Prestwich and Evans have since found
three other similar tools on the beach, at the base of the same
wasting cliff, which consists of sandy Eocene strata, covered by a
gravelly deposit of freshwater origin, about 50 feet above the
sea-level, from which the flint weapons must have been derived.
Such old alluvial deposits now capping the cliffs of Kent seem to
have been the river-beds of tributaries of the Thames before the
sea encroached to its present position and widened its estuary. On
following up one of these freshwater deposits westward of the
Reculvers, Mr. Prestwich found in it, at Chislet, near Grove Ferry,
the Cyrena fluminalis among other shells.

The changes which have taken place in the physical geography of
this part of England during, or since, the Pleistocene period, have
consisted partly of such encroachments of the sea on the coast as
are now going on, and partly of a general subsidence of the land.
Among the signs of the latter movement may be mentioned a
freshwater formation at Faversham, below the level of the sea. The
gravel there contains exclusively land and fluviatile shells of the
same species as those of other localities of the Pleistocene
alluvium before mentioned, and must have been formed when the river
was at a higher level and when it extended farther east. At that
era it was probably a tributary of the Rhine, as represented by Mr.
Trimmer in his ideal restoration of the geography of the olden
time.* (* "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 9
1853 Plate 8 Number 4.) For England was then united to the
continent, and what is now the North Sea was land. It is well known
that in many places, especially near the coast of Holland,
elephants' tusks and other bones are often dredged up from the bed
of that shallow sea, and the reader will see in the map given in
Chapter 13 how vast would be the conversion of sea into land by an
upheaval of 600 feet. Vertical movements of much less than half
that amount would account for the annexation of England to the
continent, and the extension of the Thames and its valley far to
the north-east, and the flowing of rivers from the easternmost
parts of Kent and Essex into the Thames, instead of emptying
themselves into its estuary.

More than a dozen flint weapons of the Amiens type have already
been found in the basin of the Thames; but the geological position
of no one of them has as yet been ascertained with the same
accuracy as that of many of the tools dug up in the valley of the


The ancient fluviatile gravel of the valley of the Ouse, around
Bedford, has been noted for the last thirty years for yielding to
collectors a rich harvest of the bones of extinct mammalia. By
observations made in 1854 and 1858, Mr. Prestwich had ascertained
that the valley was bounded on both sides by Oolitic strata, capped
by boulder clay, and that the gravel Number 3, Figure 23, contained
bones of the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, ox, horse, and
deer, which animals he therefore inferred must have been posterior
in date to the boulder clay, through which, as well as the
subjacent Oolite, the valley had been excavated. Mr. Evans had
found in the same gravel many land and freshwater shells, and these
discoveries induced Mr. James Wyatt, of Bedford, to pay two visits
to St. Acheul in order to compare the implement-bearing gravels of
the Somme with the drift of the valley of the Ouse. After his
return he resolved to watch carefully the excavation of the
gravel-pits at Biddenham, 2 miles west-north-west of Bedford, in
the hope of finding there similar works of art. With this view he
paid almost daily visits for months in succession to those pits,
and was at last rewarded by the discovery of two well-formed
implements, one of the spear-head and the other of the oval shape,
perfect counterparts of the two prevailing French types. Both
specimens were thrown out by the workmen on the same day from the
lowest bed of stratified gravel and sand, 13 feet thick, containing
bones of the elephant, deer, and ox, and many freshwater shells.
The two implements occurred at the depth of 13 feet from the
surface of the soil, and rested immediately on solid beds of
Oolitic limestone, as represented in the accompanying section
(Figure 23).

Having been invited by Mr. Wyatt to verify these facts, I went to
Biddenham within a fortnight of the date of his discovery (April
1861), and, for the first time, saw evidence which satisfied me of
the chronological relations of those three phenomena, the antique
tools, the extinct mammalia, and the glacial formation. On that
occasion I examined the pits in company with Messrs. Prestwich,
Evans, and Wyatt, and we collected ten species of shells from the
stratified drift Number 3, or the beds overlying the lowest gravel
from which the flint implements had been exhumed. They were all of
common fluviatile and land species now living in the same part of
England. Since our visit, Mr. Wyatt has added to them Paludina
marginata, Michaud (Hydrobia of some authors), a species of the
South of France no longer inhabiting the British Isles. The same
geologist has also found, since we were at Biddenham, several other
flint tools of corresponding type, both there and at other
localities in the valley of the Ouse, near Bedford.

    (* Prestwich, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society"
    volume 17 1861 page 364; and Wyatt, "Geologist" 1861 page 242.)

  1. Oolitic strata.
  2. Boulder clay, or marine northern drift, rising to about
     ninety feet above the Ouse.
  3. Ancient gravel, with elephant bones, freshwater shells,
     and flint implements.
  4. Modern alluvium of the Ouse.
  a. Biddenham gravel pits, at the bottom of which flint tools
     were found.)

The boulder clay Number 2 extends for miles in all directions, and
was evidently once continuous from b to c before the valley was
scooped out. It is a portion of the great marine glacial drift of
the midland counties of England, and contains blocks, some of large
size, not only of the Oolite of the neighbourhood, but of Chalk and
other rocks transported from still greater distances, such as
syenite, basalt, quartz, and New Red Sandstone. These erratic
blocks of foreign origin are often polished and striated, having
undergone what is called glaciation, of which more will be said by
and by. Blocks of the same mineral character, embedded at Biddenham
in the gravel Number 3, have lost all signs of this striation by
the friction to which they were subjected in the old river bed.

The great width of the valley of the Ouse, which is sometimes 2
miles, has not been expressed in the diagram. It may have been
shaped out by the joint action of the river and the tides when this
part of England was emerging from the waters of the glacial sea,
the boulder clay being first cut through, and then an equal
thickness of underlying Oolite. After this denudation, which may
have accompanied the emergence of the land, the country was
inhabited by the primitive people who fashioned the flint tools.
The old river, aided perhaps by the continued upheaval of the whole
country, or by oscillations in its level, went on widening and
deepening the valley, often shifting its channel, until at length a
broad area was covered by a succession of the earliest and latest
deposits, which may have corresponded in age to the higher and
lower gravels of the valley of the Somme, already described.

At Biddenham, and elsewhere in the same gravel, remains of Elephas
antiquus have been discovered, and Mr. Wyatt obtained, January
1863, a flint implement associated with bones and teeth of
hippopotamus from gravel at Summerhouse hill, which lies east of
Bedford, lower down the valley of the Ouse, and 4 miles from

One step at least we gain by the Bedford sections, which those of
Amiens and Abbeville had not enabled us to make. They teach us that
the fabricators of the antique tools, and the extinct mammalia
coeval with them, were all post-glacial.


So early as the first year of the nineteenth century, a remarkable
paper was communicated to the Society of Antiquaries by Mr. John
Frere, in which he gave a clear description of the discovery at
Hoxne, near Diss, in Suffolk, of flint tools of the type since
found at Amiens, adding at the same time good geological reasons
for presuming that their antiquity was very great, or, as he
expressed it, beyond that of the present world, meaning the actual
state of the physical geography of that region. "The flints," he
said, "were evidently weapons of war, fabricated and used by a
people who had not the use of metals. They lay in great numbers at
the depth of about 12 feet in a stratified soil which was dug into
for the purpose of raising clay for bricks. Under a foot and a half
of vegetable earth was clay 7 1/2 feet thick, and beneath this one
foot of sand with shells, and under this 2 feet of gravel, in which
the shaped flints were found generally at the rate of 5 or 6 in a
square yard. In the sandy beds with shells were found the jawbone
and teeth of an enormous unknown animal. The manner in which the
flint weapons lay would lead to the persuasion that it was a place
of their manufacture, and not of their accidental deposit. Their
numbers were so great that the man who carried on the brick-work
told me that before he was aware of their being objects of
curiosity, he had emptied baskets full of them into the ruts of the
adjoining road."

Mr. Frere then goes on to explain that the strata in which the
flints occur are disposed horizontally, and do not lie at the foot
of any higher ground, so that portions of them must have been
removed when the adjoining valley was hollowed out. If the author
had not mistaken the freshwater shells associated with the tools
for marine species, there would have been nothing to correct in his
account of the geology of the district, for he distinctly perceived
that the strata in which the implements were embedded had, since
that time, undergone very extensive denudation.* (* Frere,
"Archaeologia" volume 13 1800 page 206.) Specimens of the flint
spear-heads, sent to London by Mr. Frere, are still preserved in
the British Museum, and others are in the collection of the Society
of Antiquaries.

     See Prestwich "Philosophical Transactions" Plate 11 1860.)

  1. Gravel of Gold Brook, a tributary of the Waveney.
  2. Higher-level gravel overlying the freshwater deposit.
  3 and 4. Sand and gravel, with freshwater shells, and
     flint implements, and bones of mammalia.
  5. Peaty and clayey beds, with same fossils.
  6. Boulder clay or glacial drift.
  7. Sand and gravel below boulder clay.
  8. Chalk with flints.)

Mr. Prestwich's attention was called by Mr. Evans to these weapons,
as well as to Mr. Frere's memoir after his return from Amiens in
1859, and he lost no time in visiting Hoxne, a village five miles
eastward of Diss. It is not a little remarkable that he should have
found, after a lapse of sixty years, that the extraction of clay
was still going on in the same brick-pit. Only a few months before
his arrival, two flint instruments had been dug out of the clay,
one from a depth of 7 and the other of 10 feet from the surface.
Others have since been disinterred from undisturbed beds of gravel
in the same pit. Mr. Amyot of Diss has also obtained from the
underlying freshwater strata the astragalus of an elephant, and
bones of the deer and horse; but although many of the old
implements have recently been discovered in situ in regular strata
and preserved by Sir Edward Kerrison, no bones of extinct mammalia
seem as yet to have been actually seen in the same stratum with one
of the tools.

By reference to the annexed section, the geologist will see that
the basin-shaped hollow a, b, c has been filled up gradually with
the freshwater strata 3, 4, 5, after the same cavity a, b, c had
been previously excavated out of the more ancient boulder clay
Number 6. The relative position of these formations will be better
understood when I have described in the twelfth chapter the
structure of Norfolk and Suffolk as laid open in the sea-cliffs at
Mundesley, about 30 miles distant from Hoxne, in a north-north-east

I examined the deposits at Hoxne in 1860, when I had the advantage
of being accompanied by the Reverend J. Gunn and the Reverend S.W.
King. In the loamy beds 3 and 4, Figure 24, we observed the common
river shell Valvata piscinalis in great numbers. With it, but much
more rare, were Limnaea palustris, Planorbis albus, P. Spirorbis,
Succinea putris, Bithynia tentaculata, Cyclas cornea; and Mr.
Prestwich mentions Cyclas amnica and fragments of a Unio, besides
several land shells. In the black peaty mass Number 5, fragments of
wood of the oak, yew, and fir have been recognised. The flint
weapons which I have seen from Hoxne are so much more perfect, and
have their cutting edge so much sharper than those from the valley
of the Somme, that they seem neither to have been used by Man, nor
to have been rolled in the bed of a river. The opinion of Mr.
Frere, therefore, that there may have been a manufactory of weapons
on the spot, appears probable.


In another part of Suffolk, at Icklingham, in the valley of the
Lark, below Bury St. Edmund's, there is a bed of gravel, in which
teeth of Elephas primigenius and several flint tools, chiefly of a
lance-head form, have been found. I have twice visited the spot,
which has been correctly described by Mr. Prestwich.* (* "Quarterly
Journal of the Geological Society" volume 17 1861, page 364.)

The section of the Bedford tool-bearing alluvium, given in Figure
23, may serve to illustrate that of Icklingham, if we substitute
Chalk for Oolite, and the river Lark for the Ouse. In both cases,
the present bed of the river is about 30 feet below the level of
the old gravel, and the Chalk hill, which bounds the valley of the
Lark on the right side, is capped like the Oolite of Biddenham by
boulder clay, which rises to the height of 100 feet above the Lark.
About twelve years ago, a large erratic block, above 4 feet in
diameter, was dug out of the boulder clay at Icklingham, which I
found to consist of a hard siliceous schist, which must have come
from a remote region. The tool-bearing gravel here, as in the case
to which it has been compared near Bedford, is proved to be newer
than the glacial drift, by containing pebbles of basalt and other
rocks derived from that formation.



Flint Implements in Cave containing Hyaena and other extinct
   Mammalia in Somersetshire.
Caves of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales.
Rhinoceros hemitoechus.
Ossiferous Caves near Palermo.
Sicily once part of Africa.
Rise of Bed of the Mediterranean to the Height of three hundred
   Feet in the Human Period in Sardinia.
Burial-place of Pleistocene Date of Aurignac in the South of France.
Rhinoceros tichorhinus eaten by Man.
M. Lartet on extinct Mammalia and Works of Art found in the
   Aurignac Cave.
Relative Antiquity of the same considered.


The only British cave from which implements resembling those of
Amiens have been obtained, since the attention of geologists has
been awakened to the importance of minutely observing the position
of such relics relatively to the associated fossil mammalia, is
that recently opened near Wells in Somersetshire. It occurs near
the cave of Wookey Hole, from the mouth of which the river Axe
issues on the southern flanks of the Mendips. No one had suspected
that on the left side of the ravine, through which the river flows
after escaping from its subterranean channel, there were other
caves and fissures concealed beneath the green sward of the steep
sloping bank. About ten years ago, a canal was made, several
hundred yards in length, for the purpose of leading the waters of
the Axe to a paper-mill, now occupying the middle of the ravine. In
carrying out this work, about 12 feet of the left bank was cut
away, and a cavernous fissure, choked up to the roof with
ossiferous loam, was then, for the first time, exposed to view.
This great cavity, originally 9 feet high and 36 wide, traversed
the Dolomitic Conglomerate; and fragments of that rock, some
angular and others water-worn, were scattered through the red mud
of the cave, in which fossil remains were abundant. For an account
of them and the position they occupied we are indebted to Mr.
Dawkins, F.G.S., who, in company with Mr. Williamson, explored the
cavern in 1859, and obtained from it the bones of the Hyaena
spelaea in such numbers as to lead him to conclude that the cavern
had for a long time been a hyaena's den. Among the accompanying
animals found fossil in the same bone-earth, were observed Elephas
primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, Ursus spelaeus, Bos
primigenius, Megaceros hibernicus, Cervus tarandus (and other
species of Cervus), Felis spelaea, Canis lupus, Canis vulpes, and
teeth and bones of the genus Equus in great numbers.

Intermixed with the above fossil bones were some arrowheads, made
of bone, and many chipped flints, and chipped pieces of chert, a
white or bleached flint weapon of the spearhead Amiens type, which
was taken out of the undisturbed matrix by Mr. Williamson himself,
together with a hyaena's tooth, showing that Man had either been
contemporaneous with or had preceded the extinct fauna. After
penetrating 34 feet from the entrance, Mr. Dawkins found the cave
bifurcating into two branches, one of which was vertical. By this
rent, perhaps, some part of the contents of the cave may have been
introduced.* (* Boyd Dawkins, "Proceedings of the Geological
Society" January 1862.)

When I examined the spot in 1860, after I had been shown some
remains of the hyaena collected there, I felt convinced that a
complete revolution must have taken place in the topography of the
district since the time of the extinct quadrupeds. I was not aware
at the time that flint tools had been met with in the same


The ossiferous caves of the peninsula of Gower in Glamorganshire
have been diligently explored of late years by Dr. Falconer and
Lieutenant-Colonel E.R. Wood, who have thoroughly investigated the
contents of many which were previously unknown. Among these Dr.
Falconer's skilled eye has recognised the remains of almost every
quadruped which he had elsewhere found fossil in British caves: in
some places the Elephas primigenius, accompanied by its usual
companion, the Rhinoceros tichorhinus, in others Elephas antiquus,
associated with Rhinoceros hemitoechus, Falconer; the extinct
animals being often embedded, as in the Belgian caves, in the same
matrix with species now living in Europe, such as the common badger
(Meles taxus), the common wolf, and the fox.

In a cavernous fissure called the Raven's Cliff, teeth of several
individuals of Hippopotamus major, both young and old, were found;
and this in a district where there is now scarce a rill of running
water, much less a river in which such quadrupeds could swim. In
one of the caves, called Spritsail Tor, bones of the elephants
above named were observed, with a great many other quadrupeds of
Recent and extinct species.

From one fissure, called Bosco's Den, no less than one thousand
antlers of the reindeer, chiefly of the variety called Cervus
Guettardi, were extracted by the persevering exertions of Colonel
Wood, who estimated that several hundred more still remained in the
bone-earth of the same rent.

They were mostly shed horns, and of young animals; and had been
washed into the rent with other bones, and with angular fragments
of limestone, and all enveloped in the same ochreous mud. Among the
other bones, which were not numerous, were those of the cave-bear,
wolf, fox, ox, stag, and field-mouse.

But the discovery of most importance, as bearing on the subject of
the present work, is the occurrence in a newly-discovered cave,
called Long Hole, by Colonel Wood, in 1861, of the remains of two
species of rhinoceros, R. tichorhinus and R. hemitoechus, Falconer,
in an undisturbed deposit, in the lower part of which were some
well-shaped flint knives, evidently of human workmanship. It is
clear from their position that Man was coeval with these two
species. We have elsewhere independent proofs of his co-existence
with every other species of the cave-fauna of Glamorganshire; but
this is the first well-authenticated example of the occurrence of
R. hemitoechus in connection with human implements.

In the fossil fauna of the valley of the Thames, Rhinoceros
leptorhinus was mentioned as occurring at Gray's Thurrock with
Elephas antiquus. Dr. Falconer, in a memoir which he is now
preparing for the press on the European Pliocene and Pleistocene
species of the genus Rhinoceros, has shown that, under the above
name of R. leptorhinus, three distinct species have been confounded
by Cuvier, Owen, and other palaeontologists:--

1. R. megarhinus, Christol, being the original and typical R.
leptorhinus of Cuvier, founded on Cortesi's Monte Zago cranium, and
the ONLY Pliocene, or Pleistocene European species, that had not a
nasal septum.--Gray's Thurrock, etc.

2. R. hemitoechus, Falconer, in which the ossification of the
septum dividing the nostrils is incomplete in the middle, besides
other cranial and dental characters distinguishing it from R.
tichorhinus, accompanies Elephas antiquus in most of the oldest
British bone-caves, such as Kirkdale, Cefn, Durdham Down, Minchin
Hole, and other Gower caverns--also found at Clacton, in Essex, and
in Northamptonshire.

3. R. etruscus, Falconer, a comparatively slight and slender form,
also with an incomplete bony septum,* (* Falconer, "Quarterly
Journal of the Geological Society" volume 15 1859 page 602.) occurs
deep in the Val d'Arno deposits, and in the "Forest bed," and
superimposed blue clays, with lignite, of the Norfolk coast, but
nowhere as yet found in the ossiferous caves in Britain.

Dr. Falconer announced in 1860 his opinion that the filling up of
the Gower caves in South Wales took place after the deposition of
the marine boulder clay,* (* Ibid. volume 16 1860 page 491.) an
opinion in harmony with what we have since learnt from the section
of the gravels near Bedford, given above (Figure 23), where a fauna
corresponding to that of the Welsh caves characterises the ancient
alluvium, and is shown to be clearly post-glacial, in the sense of
being posterior in date to the boulder-clay of the midland
counties. In the same sense the late Edward Forbes declared, in
1846, his conviction that not only the Cervus megaceros, but also
the mammoth and other extinct pachyderms and carnivora, had lived
in Britain in post-glacial times.* (* "Memoir of the Geological
Survey" pages 394 to 397.) The Gower caves in general have their
floors strewed over with sand, containing marine shells, all of
living species; and there are raised beaches on the adjoining
coast, and other geological signs of great alteration in the
relative level of land and sea, since that country was inhabited by
the extinct mammalia, some of which, as we have seen, were
certainly coeval with Man.


Geologists have long been familiar with the fact that on the
northern coast of Sicily, between Termini on the east, and Trapani
on the west, there are several caves containing the bones of
extinct animals. These caves are situated in rocks of Hippurite
limestone, a member of the Cretaceous series, and some of them may
be seen on both sides of the Bay of Palermo. If in the
neighbourhood of that city we proceed from the sea inland,
ascending a sloping terrace, composed of the marine Newer Pliocene
strata, we reach about a mile from the shore, and at the height of
about 180 feet above it a precipice of limestone, at the base of
which appear the entrances of several caves. In that of San Ciro,
on the east side of the bay, we find at the bottom sand with marine
shells, forty species of which have been examined, and found almost
all to agree specifically with mollusca now inhabiting the
Mediterranean. Higher in position, and resting on the sand, is a
breccia, composed of pieces of limestone, quartz, and schist in a
matrix of brown marl, through which land shells are dispersed,
together with bones of two species of hippopotamus, as determined
by Dr. Falconer. Certain bones of the skeleton were counted in such
numbers as to prove that they must have belonged to several hundred
individuals. With these were associated the remains of Elephas
antiquus, and bones of the genera Bos, Cervus, Sus, Ursus, Canis,
and a large Felis. Some of these bones have been rolled as if
partially subjected to the action of water, and may have been
introduced by streams through rents in the Hippurite limestone; but
there is now no running water in the neighbourhood, no river such
as the hippopotamus might frequent, not even a small brook, so that
the physical geography of the district must have been altogether
changed since the time when such remains were swept into fissures,
or into the channels of engulfed rivers.

No proofs seem yet to have been found of the existence of Man at
the period when the hippopotamus and Elephas antiquus flourished at
San Ciro. But there is another cave called the Grotto di
Maccagnone, which much resembles it in geological position, on the
opposite or west side of the Bay of Palermo, near Carini. In the
bottom of this cave a bone deposit like that of San Ciro occurs,
and above it other materials reaching to the roof, and evidently
washed in from above, through crevices in the limestone. In this
upper and newer breccia Dr. Falconer discovered flint knives, bone
splinters, bits of charcoal, burnt clay, and other objects
indicating human intervention, mingled with entire land shells,
teeth of horses, coprolites of hyaenas, and other bones, the whole
agglutinated to one another and to the roof by the infiltration of
water holding lime in solution. The perfect condition of the large
fragile helices (Helix vermiculata) afforded satisfactory evidence,
says Dr. Falconer, that the various articles were carried into the
cave by the tranquil agency of water, and not by any tumultuous
action. At a subsequent period other geographical changes took
place, so that the cave, after it had been filled, was washed out
again, or emptied of its contents with the exception of those
patches of breccia which, being cemented together by stalactite,
still adhere to the roof.* (* "Quarterly Journal of the Geological
Society" volume 16 1860 page 105.)

Baron Anca, following up these investigations, explored, in 1859,
another cave at Mondello, west of Palermo, and north of Mount
Gallo, where he discovered molars of the living African elephant,
and afterwards additional specimens of the same species in the
neighbouring grotto of Olivella. In reference to this elephant, Dr.
Falconer has reminded us that the distance between the nearest part
of Sicily and the coast of Africa, between Marsala and Cape Bon, is
not more than 80 miles, and Admiral Smyth, in his Memoir on the
Mediterranean, states (page 499) that there is a subaqueous
plateau, named by him Adventure Bank, uniting Sicily to Africa by a
succession of ridges which are not more than from 40 to 50 fathoms
under water.* (* Cited by Horner, "Presidential Address to the
Geological Society" 1861 page 42.) Sicily therefore might be
re-united to Africa by movements of upheaval not greater than those
which are already known to have taken place within the human period
on the borders of the Mediterranean, of which I shall now proceed
to cite a well-authenticated example, observed in Sardinia.


Count Albert de la Marmora, in his description of the geology of
Sardinia,* (* "Partie Geologique" volume 1 pages 382 and 387.) has
shown that on the southern coast of that island, at Cagliari and in
the neighbourhood, an ancient bed of the sea, containing marine
shells of living species, and numerous fragments of antique
pottery, has been elevated to the height of from 230 to 324 feet
above the present level of the Mediterranean. Oysters and other
shells, of which a careful list has been published, including the
common mussel (Mytilus edulis), many of them having both valves
united, occur, embedded in a breccia in which fragments of
limestone abound. The mussels are often in such numbers as to
impart, when they have decomposed, a violet colour to the marine
stratum. Besides pieces of coarse pottery, a flattened ball of
baked earthenware, with a hole through its axis, was found in the
midst of the marine shells. It is supposed to have been used for
weighting a fishing net. Of this and of one of the fragments of
ancient pottery Count de la Marmora has given figures.

The upraised bed of the sea probably belongs in this instance to
the Pleistocene period, for in a bone breccia, filling fissures in
the rocks around Cagliari, the remains of extinct mammalia have
been detected; among which is a new genus of carnivorous quadruped,
named Cynotherium by M. Studiati, and figured by Count de la
Marmora in his Atlas (Plate 7), also an extinct species of Lagomys,
determined by Cuvier in 1825. Embedded in the same bone-breccia,
and enveloped with red earth like the mammalian remains, were
detected shells of the Mytilus edulis before mentioned, implying
that the marine formation containing shells and pottery had been
already upheaved and exposed to denudation before the remains of
quadrupeds were washed into these rents and included in the red
earth. In the vegetable soil covering the upraised marine stratum,
fragments of Roman pottery occur.

If we assume the average rate of upheaval to have been, as before
hinted, 2 1/2 feet in a century, 300 feet would give an antiquity
of 12,000 years to the Cagliari pottery, even if we simply confine
our estimate to the upheaval above the sea-level, without allowing
for the original depth of water in which the mollusca lived. Even
then our calculation would merely embrace the period during which
the upward movement was going on; and we can form at present no
conjecture as to the probable era of its commencement or

I learn from Captain Spratt, R.N., that the island of Crete or
Candia, about 135 miles in length, has been raised at its western
extremity about 25 feet; so that ancient ports are now high and dry
above the sea, while at its eastern end it has sunk so much that
the ruins of old towns are seen under water. Revolutions like these
in the physical geography of the countries bordering the
Mediterranean, may well help us to understand the phenomena of the
Palermo caves, and the presence in Sicily of African species of


As I have alluded more than once in this chapter to the occurrence
of the remains of the hippopotamus in places where there are now no
rivers, not even a rill of water, and as other bones of the same
genus have been met with in the lower-level gravels of the Somme
where large blocks of sandstone seem to imply that ice once played
a part in their transportation, it may be well to consider, before
proceeding farther, what geographical and climatal conditions are
indicated by the presence of these fossil pachyderms.

It is now very generally conceded that the mammoth and tichorhine
rhinoceros were fitted to inhabit northern regions, and it is
therefore natural to begin by asking whether the extinct
hippopotamus may not in like manner have flourished in a cold
climate. In answer to this inquiry, it has been remarked that the
living hippopotami, anatomically speaking so closely allied to the
extinct species, are so aquatic and fluviatile in their habits as
to make it difficult to conceive that their congeners could have
thriven all the year round in regions where, during winter, the
rivers were frozen over for months. Moreover, I have been unable to
learn that, in any instance, bones of the hippopotamus have been
found in the drift of northern Germany associated with the remains
of the mammoth, tichorhine rhinoceros, musk-ox, reindeer, lemming,
and other arctic quadrupeds before alluded to; yet, though not
proved to have ever made a part of such a fauna, the presence of
the fossil hippopotamus north of the fiftieth parallel of latitude
naturally tempts us to speculate on the migratory powers and
instincts of some of the extinct species of the genus. They may
have resembled, in this respect, the living musk-ox, herds of which
pass for hundreds of miles over the ice to the rich pastures of
Melville Island, and then return again to southern latitudes before
the ice breaks up.

We are indebted to Sir Andrew Smith,* (* "Illustrations of the
Zoology of South Africa": article "Hippopotamus.") an experienced
zoologist, for having given us an account of the migratory habits
of the living hippopotamus of Southern Africa (H. amphibius, Linn.

He states that, when the Dutch first colonised the Cape of Good
Hope, this animal abounded in all the great rivers, as far south as
the land extends; whereas, in 1849, they had all disappeared,
scarcely one remaining even within a moderate distance of the
colony. He also tells us that this species evinces great sagacity
in changing its quarters whenever danger threatens, quitting every
district invaded by settlers bearing fire-arms. Bulky as they are,
they can travel speedily for miles over land from one pool of a
dried-up river to another; but it is by water that their powers of
locomotion are surpassingly great, not only in rivers, but in the
sea, for they are far from confining themselves to fresh water.
Indeed, Sir A. Smith finds it "difficult to decide whether, during
the daytime and when not feeding, they prefer the pools of rivers
or the waters of the ocean for their abode." In districts where
they have been disturbed by Man, they feed almost entirely in the
night, chiefly on certain kinds of grass, but also on brushwood.
Sir A. Smith relates that, in an expedition which he made north of
Port Natal, he found them swarming in all the rivers about the
tropic of Capricorn. Here they were often seen to have left their
footprints on the sands, entering or coming out of the salt water;
and on one occasion Smith's party tried in vain to intercept a
female with her young as she was making her way to the sea. Another
female, which they had wounded on her precipitate retreat to the
sea, was afterwards shot in that element.

The geologist, therefore, may freely speculate on the time when
herds of hippopotami issued from North African rivers, such as the
Nile, and swam northwards in summer along the coasts of the
Mediterranean, or even occasionally visited islands near the shore.
Here and there they may have landed to graze or browse, tarrying
awhile and afterwards continuing their course northwards. Others
may have swum in a few summer days from rivers in the south of
Spain or France to the Somme, Thames, or Severn, making timely
retreat to the south before the snow and ice set in.


I have alluded in the beginning of the fourth chapter to a custom
prevalent among rude nations of consigning to the tomb works of
art, once the property of the dead, or objects of their affection,
and even of storing up, in many cases, animal food destined for the
manes of the defunct in a future life. I also cited M. Desnoyers'
comments on the absence among the bones of wild and domestic
animals found in old Gaulish tombs of all intermixture of extinct
species of quadrupeds, as proving that the oldest sepulchral
monuments then known in France (1845) had no claims to high
antiquity founded on palaeontological data.

M. Lartet, however, has recently published a circumstantial account
of what seems clearly to have been a sepulchral vault of the
Pleistocene period, near Aurignac, not far from the foot of the
Pyrenees. I have had the advantage of inspecting the fossil bones
and works of art obtained by him from that grotto, and of
conversing and corresponding with him on the subject, and can see
no grounds for doubting the soundness of his conclusions.* (* See
Lartet, "Annales des Sci. Nat." 4mo. Ser. Zoologie volume 15 page
177 translated in "Natural History Review" London January 1862.)


  a. Part of the vault in which the remains of seventeen human
    skeletons were found.
  b. Layer of made ground, two feet thick, inside the grotto in
    which a few human bones, with entire bones of extinct and
    living species of animals, and many works of art were embedded.
  c. Layers of ashes and charcoal, six inches thick, with broken,
    burnt, and gnawed bones of extinct and Recent mammalia; also
    hearth-stones and works of art; no human bones.
  d. Deposit with similar contents and a few scattered cinders.
  e. Talus of rubbish washed down from the hill above.
  f, g. Slab of rock which closed the vault, not ascertained
    whether it extended to h.
  f i. Rabbit burrow which led to the discovery of the grotto.
  h, k. Original terrace on which the grotto opened.
  N. Nummulitic limestone of hill of Fajoles.)

The town of Aurignac is situated in the department of the
Haute-Garonne, near a spur of the Pyrenees; adjoining it is the
small flat-topped hill of Fajoles, about 60 feet above the brook
called Rodes, which flows at its foot on one side. It consists of
Nummulitic limestone, presenting a steep escarpment towards the
north-west, on which side in the face of the rock, about 45 feet
above the brook, is now visible the entrance of a grotto a, Figure
25, which opened originally on the terrace h, c, k, which slopes
gently towards the valley.

Until the year 1852, the opening into this grotto was masked by a
talus of small fragments of limestone and earthy matter e, such as
the rain may have washed down the slope of the hill. In that year a
labourer named Bonnemaison, employed in repairing the roads,
observed that rabbits, when hotly pursued by the sportsman, ran
into a hole which they had burrowed in the talus, at i f, Figure
25. On reaching as far into the opening as the length of his arm,
he drew out, to his surprise, one of the long bones of the human
skeleton; and his curiosity being excited, and having a suspicion
that the hole communicated with a subterranean cavity, he commenced
digging a trench through the middle of the talus, and in a few
hours found himself opposite a large heavy slab of rock f h, placed
vertically against the entrance. Having removed this, he discovered
on the other side of it an arched cavity a, 7 or 8 feet in its
greatest height, 10 in width, and 7 in horizontal depth. It was
almost filled with bones, among which were two entire skulls, which
he recognised at once as human. The people of Aurignac, astonished
to hear of the occurrence of so many human relics in so lonely a
spot, flocked to the cave, and Dr. Amiel, the Mayor, ordered all
the bones to be taken out and reinterred in the parish cemetery.
But before this was done, having as a medical man a knowledge of
anatomy, he ascertained by counting the homologous bones that they
must have formed parts of no less than seventeen skeletons of both
sexes, and all ages; some so young that the ossification of some of
the bones was incomplete. Unfortunately the skulls were injured in
the transfer; and what is worse, after the lapse of eight years,
when M. Lartet visited Aurignac, the village sexton was unable to
tell him in what exact place the trench was dug, into which the
skeletons had been thrown, so that this rich harvest of
ethnological knowledge seems for ever lost to the antiquary and

M. Lartet having been shown, in 1860, the remains of some extinct
animals and works of art, found in digging the original trench made
by Bonnemaison through the bed d under the talus, and some others
brought out from the interior of the grotto, determined to
investigate systematically what remained intact of the deposits
outside and inside the vault, those inside, underlying the human
skeletons, being supposed to consist entirely of made ground.
Having obtained the assistance of some intelligent workmen, he
personally superintended their labours, and found outside the
grotto, resting on the sloping terrace h k, the layer of ashes and
charcoal c, about 6 inches thick, extending over an area of 6 or 7
square yards, and going as far as the entrance of the grotto and no
farther, there being no cinders or charcoal in the interior. Among
the cinders outside the vault were fragments of fissile sandstone,
reddened by heat, which were observed to rest on a levelled surface
of Nummulitic limestone and to have formed a hearth. The nearest
place from whence such slabs of sandstone could have been brought
was the opposite side of the valley.

Among the ashes, and in some overlying earthy layers, d, separating
the ashes from the talus e, were a great variety of bones and
implements; amongst the latter not fewer than a hundred flint
articles--knives, projectiles, sling stones, and chips, and among
them one of those siliceous cores or nuclei with numerous facets,
from which flint flakes or knives had been struck off, seeming to
prove that some instruments were occasionally manufactured on the
very spot.

Among other articles outside the entrance was found a stone of a
circular form, and flattened on two sides, with a central
depression, composed of a tough rock which does not belong to that
region of the Pyrenees. This instrument is supposed by the Danish
antiquaries to have been used for removing by skilful blows the
edges of flint knives, the fingers and thumb being placed in the
two opposite depressions during the operation. Among the bone
instruments were arrows without barbs, and other tools made of
reindeer horn, and a bodkin formed out of the more compact horn of
the roedeer. This instrument was well shaped, and sharply pointed,
and in so good a state of preservation that it might still be used
for piercing the tough skins of animals.

Scattered through the same ashes and earth were the bones of the
various species of animals enumerated in the subjoined lists, with
the exception of two, marked with an asterisk, which only occurred
in the interior of the grotto:--





1. Ursus spelaeus (cave-bear) : 5 to 6.
2. Ursus arctos ? (brown bear) : 1.
3. Meles taxus (badger) : 1 to 2.
4. Putorius vulgaris (polecat) : 1.
5. *Felis spelaea (cave-lion) : 1.
6. Felis catus ferus (wild cat) : 1.
7. Hyaena spelaea (cave-hyaena) : 5 to 6.
8. Canis lupus (wolf) : 3.
9. Canis vulpes (fox) : 18 to 20.


1. Elephas primigenius (mammoth, two molars).
2. Rhinoceros tichorhinus (Siberian rhinoceros) : 1.
3. Equus caballus (horse) : 12 to 15.
4. Equus asinus (?) (ass) : 1.
5. *Sus scrofa (pig, two incisors).
6. Cervus elaphus (stag) : 1.
7. Megaceros hibernicus (gigantic Irish deer) : 1.
8. C. capreolus (roebuck) : 3 to 4.
9. C. tarandus (reindeer) : 10 to 12.
10. Bison europaeus (aurochs) : 12 to 15.

The bones of the herbivora were the most numerous, and all those on
the outside of the grotto which had contained marrow were
invariably split open, as if for its extraction, many of them being
also burnt. The spongy parts, moreover, were wanting, having been
eaten off and gnawed after they were broken, the work, according to
M. Lartet, of hyaenas, the bones and coprolites of which were mixed
with the cinders, and dispersed through the overlying soil d. These
beasts of prey are supposed to have prowled about the spot and fed
on such relics of the funeral feasts as remained after the retreat
of the human visitors, or during the intervals between successive
funeral ceremonies which accompanied the interment of the corpses
within the sepulchre. Many of the bones were also streaked, as if
the flesh had been scraped off by a flint instrument.

Among the various proofs that the bones were fresh when brought to
the spot, it is remarked that those of the herbivora not only bore
the marks of having had the marrow extracted and having afterwards
been gnawed and in part devoured as if by carnivorous beasts, but
that they had also been acted upon by fire (and this was especially
noticed in one case of a cave-bear's bone), in such a manner as to
show that they retained in them at the time all their animal

Among other quadrupeds which appear to have been eaten at the
funeral feasts, and of which the bones occurred among the ashes,
were those of a young Rhinoceros tichorhinus, the bones of which
had been, like those of the accompanying herbivora, broken and
gnawed by a beast of prey at both extremities.

Outside of the great slab of stone forming the door, not one human
bone occurred; inside of it there were found, mixed with loose
soil, the remains of as many as seventeen human individuals, besides
some works of art and bones of animals. We know nothing of the
arrangement of these bones when they were first broken into. M.
Lartet inferred at first that the bodies were bent down upon
themselves in a squatting attitude, a posture known to have been
adopted in most of the sepulchres of primitive times; and he has so
represented them in his restoration of the cave: but this opinion
he has since retracted. His artist also has inadvertently, in the
same drawing, delineated the arched grotto as if it were shaped
very regularly and smoothly, like a finished piece of masonry,
whereas the surface was in truth as uneven and irregular as are the
roofs of all natural grottos.

There was no stalagmite in the grotto, and M. Lartet, an
experienced investigator of ossiferous caverns in the south of
France, came to the conclusion that all the bones and soil found in
the inside were artificially introduced. The substratum b, Figure
25, which remained after the skeletons had been removed, was about
2 feet thick. In it were found about ten detached human bones,
including a molar tooth; and M. Delesse ascertained by careful
analysis of one of these, as well as of the bones of a rhinoceros,
bear, and some other extinct animals, that they all contained
precisely the same proportion of nitrogen, or had lost an equal
amount of their animal matter. My friend Mr. Evans, before cited,
has suggested to me that such a fact, taken alone, may not be
conclusive in favour of the equal antiquity of the human and other
remains. No doubt, had the human skeletons been found to contain
more gelatine than those of the extinct mammalia, it would have
shown that they were the more modern of the two; but it is possible
that after a bone has gone on losing its animal matter up to a
certain point, it may then part with no more so long as it
continues enveloped in the same matrix. If this be so, it follows
that bones of very different degrees of antiquity, after they have
lain for many thousands of years in a particular soil, may all have
reached long ago the maximum of decomposition attainable in such a
matrix. In the present case, however, the proof of the
contemporaneousness of Man and the extinct animals does not depend
simply on the identity of their mineral condition. The chemical
analysis of M. Delesse is only a fact in corroboration of a great
mass of other evidence.

Mixed with the human bones inside the grotto first removed by
Bonnemaison, were eighteen small, round, and flat plates of a white
shelly substance, made of some species of cockle (Cardium), pierced
through the middle as if for being strung into a bracelet. In the
substratum also in the interior examined by M. Lartet was found the
tusk of a young Ursus spelaeus, the crown of which had been
stripped of its enamel, and which had been carved perhaps in
imitation of the head of a bird. It was perforated lengthwise as if
for suspension as an ornament or amulet. A flint knife also was
found in the interior which had evidently never been used; in this
respect, unlike the numerous worn specimens found outside, so that
it is conjectured that it may, like other associated works of art,
have been placed there as part of the funeral ceremonies.

A few teeth of the cave-lion, Felis spelaea, and two tusks of the
wild boar, also found in the interior, were memorials perhaps of
the chase. No remains of the same animals were met with among the
external relics.

On the whole, the bones of animals inside the vault offer a
remarkable contrast to those of the exterior, being all entire and
uninjured, none of them broken, gnawed, half-eaten, scraped, or
burnt like those lying among the ashes on the other side of the
great slab which formed the portal. The bones of the interior seem
to have been clothed with their flesh when buried in the layer of
loose soil strewed over the floor. In confirmation of this idea,
many bones of the skeleton were often observed to be in
juxtaposition, and in one spot all the bones of the leg of an Ursus
spelaeus were lying together uninjured. Add to this, the entire
absence in the interior of cinders and charcoal, and we can
scarcely doubt that we have here an example of an ancient place of
sepulture, closed at the opening so effectually against the hyaenas
or other carnivora that no marks of their teeth appear on any of
the bones, whether human or brute.

John Carver, in his travels in the interior of North America in a
1766-68 (chapter 15.), gave a minute account of the funeral rites
of an Indian tribe which inhabited the country now called Iowa, at
the junction of the St. Peter's River with the Mississippi; and
Schiller, in his famous "Nadowessische Todtenklage," has faithfully
embodied in a poetic dirge all the characteristic features of the
ceremonies so graphically described by the English traveller, not
omitting the many funeral gifts which, we are told, were placed "in
a cave" with the bodies of the dead. The lines beginning, "Bringet
her die letzten Gaben," have been thus translated, truthfully, and
with all the spirit of the original, by Sir E. L. Bulwer*:--

"Here bring the last gifts!--and with these
The last lament be said;
Let all that pleased, and yet may please,
Be buried with the dead.

"Beneath his head the hatchet hide,
That he so stoutly swung;
And place the bear's fat haunch beside--
The journey hence is long!

"And let the knife new sharpened be
That on the battle-day
Shore with quick strokes--he took but three--
The foeman's scalp away!

"The paints that warriors love to use,
Place here within his hand,
That he may shine with ruddy hues
Amidst the spirit-land."

(* "Poems and Ballads of Schiller.")

If we accept M. Lartet's interpretation of the ossiferous deposits
of Aurignac, both inside and outside the grotto, they add nothing
to the palaeontological evidence in favour of Man's antiquity, for
we have seen all the same mammalia associated elsewhere with flint
implements, and some species, such as the Elephas antiquus,
Rhinoceros hemitoechus, and Hippopotamus major, missing here, have
been met with in other places. An argument, however, having an
opposite leaning may perhaps be founded on the phenomena of
Aurignac. It may--indeed it has been said, that they imply that
some of the extinct mammalia survived nearly to our times:

First--Because of the modern style of the works of art at Aurignac.

Secondly--Because of the absence of any signs of change in the
physical geography of the country since the cave was used for a
place of sepulture.

In reference to the first of these propositions, the utensils, it
is said, of bone and stone indicate a more advanced state of the
arts than the flint implements of Abbeville and Amiens. M. Lartet,
however, is of opinion that they do not, and thinks that we have no
right to assume that the fabricators of the various spear-headed
and other tools of the Valley of the Somme possessed no bone
instruments or ornaments resembling those discovered at Aurignac.
These last, moreover, he regards as extremely rude in comparison
with others of the stone period in France, which can be proved
palaeontologically, at least by strong negative evidence, to be of
subsequent date. Thus, for example, at Savigne, near Civray, in the
department of Vienne, there is a cave in which there are no extinct
mammalia, but where remains of the reindeer abound. The works of
art of the stone period found there indicate considerable progress
in skill beyond that attested by the objects found in the Aurignac
grotto. Among the Savigne articles, there is the bone of a stag, on
which figures of two animals, apparently meant for deer, are
engraved in outline, as if by a sharp-pointed flint. In another
cave, that of Massat, in the department of Ariege, which M. Lartet
ascribes to the period of the aurochs, a quadruped which survived
the reindeer in the south of France, there are bone instruments of
a still more advanced state of the arts, as, for example, barbed
arrows with a small canal in each, believed to have served for the
insertion of poison; also a needle of bird's bone, finely shaped,
with an eye or perforation at one end, and a stag's horn, on which
is carved a representation of a bear's head, and a hole at one end
as if for suspending it. In this figure we see, says M. Lartet,
what may perhaps be the earliest known example of lines used to
express shading.

The fauna of the aurochs (Bison europaeus) agrees with that of the
earlier lake dwellings in Switzerland, in which hitherto the
reindeer is wanting; whereas the reindeer has been found in a Swiss
cave, in Mont Saleve, supposed by Lartet to be more ancient than
the lake dwellings.

According to this view, the mammalian fauna has undergone at least
two fluctuations since the remains of some extinct quadrupeds were
eaten, and others buried as funeral gifts in the sepulchral vault
of Aurignac.

As to the absence of any marked changes in the physical
configuration of the district since the same grotto was a place of
sepulture, we must remember that it is the normal state of the
earth's surface to be undergoing great alterations in one place,
while other areas, often in close proximity, remain for ages
without any modification. In one region, rivers are deepening and
widening their channels, or the waves of the sea are undermining
cliffs, or the land is sinking beneath or rising above the waters,
century after century, or the volcano is pouring forth torrents of
lava or showers of ashes; while, in tracts hard by, the ancient
forest, or extensive heath, or the splendid city continue
scatheless and motionless. Had the talus which concealed from view
the ancient hearth with its cinders and the massive stone portal of
the Aurignac grotto escaped all human interference for thousands of
years to come, there is no reason to suppose that the small stream
at the foot of the hill of Fajoles would have undermined it. At the
end of a long period the only alteration might have been the
thickening of the talus which protected the loose cinders and bones
from waste. We behold in many a valley of Auvergne, within 50 feet
of the present river channel, a volcanic cone of loose ashes, with
a crater at its summit, from which powerful currents of basaltic
lava have poured, usurping the ancient bed of the torrent. By the
action of the stream, in the course of ages, vast masses of the
hard columnar basalt have been removed, pillar after pillar, and
much vesicular lava, as in the case, for example, of the Puy Rouge,
near Chalucet, and of the Puy de Tartaret, near Nechers.* (*
Scrope's "Volcanoes of Central France" 1858 page 97.) The rivers
have even in some cases, as the Sioule, near Chalucet, cut through
not only the basalt which dispossessed them of their ancient
channels, but have actually eaten 50 feet into the subjacent
gneiss; yet the cone, an incoherent heap of scoriae and spongy
ejectamenta, stands unmolested. Had the waters once risen, even for
a day, so high as to reach the level of the base of one of these
cones--had there been a single flood 50 or 60 feet in height since
the last eruption occurred, a great part of these volcanoes must
inevitably have been swept away as readily as all traces of the
layer of cinders; and the accompanying bones would have been
obliterated by the Rodes near Aurignac, had it risen, since the
days of the mammoth, rhinoceros, and cave-bear, 50 feet above its
present level.

The Aurignac cave adds no new species to the list of extinct
quadrupeds, which we have elsewhere, and by independent evidence,
ascertained to have once flourished contemporaneously with Man. But
if the fossil memorials have been correctly interpreted--if we have
here before us at the northern base of the Pyrenees a sepulchral
vault with skeletons of human beings, consigned by friends and
relatives to their last resting-place--if we have also at the
portal of the tomb the relics of funeral feasts, and within it
indications of viands destined for the use of the departed on their
way to a land of spirits; while among the funeral gifts are weapons
wherewith in other fields to chase the gigantic deer, the
cave-lion, the cave-bear, and woolly rhinoceros--we have at last
succeeded in tracing back the sacred rites of burial, and, more
interesting still, a belief in a future state, to times long
anterior to those of history and tradition. Rude and superstitious
as may have been the savage of that remote era, he still deserved,
by cherishing hopes of a hereafter, the epithet of "noble," which
Dryden gave to what he seems to have pictured to himself as the
primitive condition of our race,

"as Nature first made Man
When wild in woods the noble savage ran."*
(* "Siege of Granada" Part 1 Act 1 Scene 1.)



Question as to the Authenticity of the Fossil Man of Denise,
   near Le Puy-en-Velay, considered.
Antiquity of the Human Race implied by that Fossil.
Successive Periods of Volcanic Action in Central France.
With what Changes in the Mammalian Fauna they correspond.
The Elephas meridionalis anterior in Time to the Implement-bearing
   Gravel of St. Acheul.
Authenticity of the Human Fossil of Natchez on the Mississippi
The Natchez Deposit, containing Bones of Mastodon and Megalonyx,
   probably not older than the Flint Implements of St. Acheul.

Among the fossil remains of the human species supposed to have
claims to high antiquity, and which have for many years attracted
attention, two of the most prominent examples are:--

First--"The fossil man of Denise," comprising the remains of more
than one skeleton, found in a volcanic breccia near the town of Le
Puy-en-Velay, in Central France.

Secondly--The fossil human bone of Natchez, on the Mississippi,
supposed to have been derived from a deposit containing remains of
Mastodon and Megalonyx. Having carefully examined the sites of both
of these celebrated fossils, I shall consider in this chapter the
nature of the evidence on which the remote date of their entombment
is inferred.


An account of the fossil remains, so called, was first published in
1844 by M. Aymard of Le Puy, a writer of deservedly high authority
both as a palaeontologist and archaeologist.* (* "Bulletin de la
Societe Geologique de France" 1844, 1845, 1847.) M. Pictet, after
visiting Le Puy and investigating the site of the alleged
discovery, was satisfied that the fossil bones belonged to the
period of the last volcanic eruptions of Velay; but expressly
stated in his important treatise on palaeontology that this
conclusion, though it might imply that Man had co-existed with the
extinct elephant, did not draw with it the admission that the human
race was anterior in date to the filling of the caverns of France
and Belgium with the bones of extinct mammalia.* (* "Traite de
Paleontologie" volume 1 1853 page 152.)

At a meeting of the "Scientific Congress" of France, held at Le Puy
in 1856, the question of the age of the Denise fossil bones was
fully gone into, and in the report of their proceedings published
in that year, the opinions of some of the most skilful osteologists
respecting the point in controversy are recorded. The late Abbe
Croizet, a most experienced collector of fossil bones in the
volcanic regions of Central France, and an able naturalist, and the
late M. Laurillard, of Paris, who assisted Cuvier in modelling many
fossil bones, and in the arrangement of the museum of the Jardin,
declared their opinion that the specimen preserved in the museum of
Le Puy is no counterfeit. They believed the human bones to have
been enveloped by natural causes in the tufaceous matrix in which
we now see them.

In the year 1859, Professor Hebert and M. Lartet visited Le Puy,
expressly to investigate the same specimen, and to inquire into the
authenticity of the bones and their geological age. Later in the
same year, I went myself to Le Puy, having the same object in view,
and had the good fortune to meet there my friend Mr. Poulett
Scrope, with whom I examined the Montagne de Denise, where a
peasant related to us how he had dug out the specimen with his own
hands and in his own vineyard, not far from the summit of the
volcano. I employed a labourer to make under his directions some
fresh excavations, following up those which had been made a month
earlier by MM. Hebert and Lartet, in the hope of verifying the true
position of the fossils, but all of us without success. We failed
even to find in situ any exact counterpart of the stone of the Le
Puy Museum.

The osseous remains of that specimen consist of a frontal and some
other parts of the skull, including the upper jaw with teeth, both
of an adult and young individual; also a radius, some lumbar
vertebrae, and some metatarsal bones. They are all embedded in a
light porous tuff, resembling in colour and mineral composition the
ejectamenta of several of the latest eruptions of Denise. But none
of the bones penetrate into another part of the same specimen,
which consists of a more compact rock thickly laminated.
Nevertheless, I agree with the Abbe Croizet and M. Aymard, that it
is not conceivable even that the less coherent part of the museum
Specimen which envelopes the human bones should have been
artificially put together, whatever may have been the origin of
certain other slabs of tuff which were afterwards sold as coming
from the same place, and which also contained human remains.
Whether some of these were spurious or not is a question more
difficult to decide. One of them, now in the possession of M.
Pichot-Dumazel, an advocate of Le Puy, is suspected of having had
some plaster of Paris introduced into it to bind the bones more
firmly together in the loose volcanic tuff. I was assured that a
dealer in objects of natural history at Le Puy had been in the
habit of occasionally securing the cohesion in that manner of
fragments of broken bones, and the juxtaposition of uninjured ones
found free and detachable in loose volcanic tuffs. From this to the
fabrication of a factitious human fossil was, it is suggested, but
a short step. But in reference to M. Pichot's specimen, an expert
anatomist remarked to me that it would far exceed the skill,
whether of the peasant who owned the vineyard or of the dealer
above mentioned, to put together in their true position all the
thirty-eight bones of the hand and fingers, or the sixteen of the
wrist, without making any mistake, and especially without mixing
those of the right with the homologous bones of the left hand,
assuming that they had brought bones, from some other spot, and
then artificially introduced them into a mixture of volcanic tuff
and plaster of Paris.

Granting, however, that the high prices given for "human fossils"
at Le Puy may have led to the perpetration of some frauds, it is
still an interesting question to consider whether the admission of
the genuineness of a single fossil, such as that now in the museum
at Le Puy, would lead us to assign a higher antiquity to the
existence of Man in France than is deducible from many other facts
explained in the last seven chapters. In reference to this point, I
may observe that although I was not able to fix with precision the
exact bed in the volcanic mountain from which the rock containing
the human bones was taken, M. Felix Robert has, nevertheless, after
studying "the volcanic alluviums" of Denise, ascertained that, on
the side of Cheyrac and the village of Malouteyre, blocks of tuff
frequently occur exactly like the one in the museum. That tuff he
considers a product of the latest eruption of the volcano. In it
have been found the remains of Hyaena spelaea and Hippopotamus
major. The eruptions of steam and gaseous matter which burst forth
from the crater of Denise broke through laminated Tertiary clays,
small pieces of which, some of them scarcely altered, others half
converted into scoriae, were cast out in abundance, while other
portions must have been in a state of argillaceous mud. Showers of
such materials would be styled by the Neapolitans "aqueous lava" or
"lava d'aqua," and we may well suppose that some human individuals,
if any existed, would, together with wild animals, be occasionally
overwhelmed in these tuffs. From near the place on the mountain
whence the block with human bones now in the museum is said to have
come, a stream of lava, well marked by its tabular structure,
flowed down the flanks of the hill, within a few feet of the
alluvial plain of the Borne, a small tributary of the Loire, on the
opposite bank of which stands the town of Le Puy. Its continuous
extension to so low a level clearly shows that the valley had
already been deepened to within a few feet of its present depth at
the time of the flowing of the lava.

We know that the alluvium of the same district, having a similar
relation to the present geographical outline of the valleys, is of
Pleistocene date, for it contains around Le Puy the bones of
Elephas primigenius and Rhinoceros tichorhinus; and this affords us
a palaeontological test of the age of the human skeleton of Denise,
if the latter be assumed to be coeval with the lava stream above
referred to.

It is important to dwell on this point, because some geologists
have felt disinclined to believe in the genuineness of the "fossil
man of Denise," on the ground that, if conceded, it would imply
that the human race was contemporary with an older fauna, or that
of the Elephas meridionalis. Such a fauna is found fossil in
another layer of tuff covering the slope of Denise, opposite to
that where the museum specimen was exhumed. The quadrupeds obtained
from that more ancient tuff comprise Elephas meridionalis,
Hippopotamus major, Rhinoceros megarhinus, Antilope torticornis,
Hyaena brevirostris, and twelve others of the genera horse, ox,
stag, goat, tiger, etc., all supposed to be of extinct species.
This tuff, found between Malouteyre and Polignac, M. Robert regards
as the product of a much older eruption, and referable to the
neighbouring Montagne de St. Anne, a volcano in a much more wasted
and denuded state than Denise, and classed by M. Bertrand de Doue
as of intermediate age between the ancient and modern cones of

The fauna to which Elephas meridionalis and its associates belong,
can be shown to be of anterior date, in the north of France, to the
flint implements of St. Acheul, by the following train of
reasoning. The valley of the Seine is not only geographically
contiguous to the valley of the Somme, but its ancient alluvium
contains the same mammoth and other fossil species. The Eure, one
of the tributaries of the Seine, in its way to join that river,
flows in a valley which follows a line of fault in the Chalk; and
this valley is seen to be comparatively modern, because it
intersects at St. Prest, 4 miles below Chartres, an older valley
belonging to an anterior system of drainage, which has been filled
by a more ancient fluviatile alluvium, consisting of sand and
gravel, 90 feet thick. I have examined the site of this older
drift, and the fossils have been determined by Dr. Falconer. They
comprise Elephas meridionalis, a species of rhinoceros (not R.
tichorhinus), and other mammalia differing from those of the
implement-bearing gravels of the Seine and Somme. The latter,
belonging to the period of the mammoth, might very well have been
contemporary with the modern volcanic eruptions of Central France;
and we may presume, even without the aid of the Denise fossil, that
Man may have witnessed these. But the tuffs and gravels in which
the Elephas meridionalis are embedded were synchronous with an
older epoch of volcanic action, to which the cone of St. Anne, near
Le Puy, and many other mountains of M. Bertrand de Doue's middle
period belong, having cones and craters, which have undergone much
waste by aqueous erosion. We have as yet no proof that Man
witnessed the origin of these hills of lava and scoriae of the
middle phase of volcanic action.

Some surprise was expressed in 1856, by several of the assembled
naturalists at Le Puy, that the skull of the "fossil man of
Denise," although contemporary with the mammoth, and coeval with
the last eruptions of the Le Puy volcanoes [Note 18], should be of
the ordinary Caucasian or European type; but the observations of
Professor Huxley on the Engis skull, cited in the fifth chapter,
showing the near approach of that ancient cranium to the European
standard, will help to remove this source of perplexity.


I have already alluded to Dr. Dowler's attempt to calculate, in
years, the antiquity of the human skeleton said to have been buried
under four cypress forests in the delta of the Mississippi, near
New Orleans (see above, Chapter 3). In that case no remains of
extinct animals were found associated with those of Man: but in
another part of the basin of the Mississippi, a human bone,
accompanied by bones of Mastodon and Megalonyx, is supposed to have
been washed out of a more ancient alluvial deposit.

After visiting the spot in 1846, I described the geological
position of the bones, and discussed their probable age, with a
stronger bias, I must confess, as to the antecedent improbability
of the contemporaneous entombment of Man and the mastodon than any
geologist would now be justified in entertaining.


1. Modern alluvium of the Mississippi.
2. Loam or loess.
3, f. Eocene.
4. Cretaceous.)

In the latitude of Vicksburg, 32 degrees 50 minutes north, the
broad, flat, alluvial plain of the Mississippi, a b, Figure 26, is
bounded on its eastern side by a table-land d e, about 200 feet
higher than the river, and extending 12 miles eastward with a
gentle upward slope. This elevated platform ends abruptly at d, in
a line of perpendicular cliffs or bluffs, the base of which is
continually undermined by the great river.

The table-land d-e consists at Vicksburg, through which the annexed
section, Figure 26, passes, of loam, overlying the Tertiary strata
f-f. Between the loam and the Tertiary formation there is usually a
deposit of stratified sand and gravel, containing large fragments
of silicified corals and the wreck of older Palaeozoic rocks. The
age of this underlying drift, which is 140 feet thick at Natchez,
has not yet been determined; but it may possibly belong to the
glacial period. Natchez is about 80 miles in a straight line south
of Vicksburg, on the same left bank of the Mississippi. Here there
is a bluff, the upper 60 feet of which consists of a continuous
portion of the same calcareous loam as at Vicksburg, equally
resembling the Rhenish loess in mineral character and in being
sometimes barren of fossils, sometimes so full of them that
bleached land-shells stand out conspicuously in relief in the
vertical and weathered face of cliffs which form the banks of
streams, everywhere intersecting the loam.

So numerous are the shells that I was able to collect at Natchez,
in a few hours, in 1846, no less than twenty species of the genera
Helix, Helicina, Pupa, Cyclostoma, Achatina, and Succinea, all
identical with shells now living in the same country; and in one
place I observed (as happens also occasionally in the valley of the
Rhine) a passage of the loam with land-shells into an underlying
marly deposit of subaqueous origin, in which shells of the genera
Limnaea, Planorbis, Paludina, Physa, and Cyclas were embedded, also
consisting of recent American species. Such deposits, more
distinctly stratified than the loam containing land-shells, are
produced, as before stated, in all great alluvial plains, where the
river shifts its position, and where marshes, ponds, and lakes are
formed in its old deserted channels. In this part of America,
however, it may have happened that some of these lakes were caused
by partial subsidences, such as were witnessed, during the
earthquakes of 1811-12, around New Madrid, in the valley of the

Owing to the destructible nature of the yellow loam, d e, Figure
26, every streamlet flowing over the platform has cut for itself,
in its way to the Mississippi, a deep gully or ravine; and this
erosion has of late years, especially since 1812, proceeded with
accelerated speed, ascribable in some degree to the partial
clearing of the native forest, but partly also to the effects of
the earthquake of 1811-12. By that convulsion the region around
Natchez was rudely shaken and much fissured. One of the narrow
valleys near Natchez, due to this fissuring, is now called the
Mammoth Ravine. Though no less than 7 miles long, and in some parts
60 feet deep, I was assured by a resident proprietor, Colonel
Wiley, that it had no existence before 1812. With its numerous
ramifications, it is said to have been entirely formed since the
earthquake at New Madrid. Before that event, Colonel Wiley had
ploughed some of the land exactly over a spot now traversed by part
of this water-course.

I satisfied myself that the ravine had been considerably enlarged
and lengthened a short time before my visit, and it was then
freshly undermined and undergoing constant waste. From a clayey
deposit immediately below the yellow loam, bones of the Mastodon
ohioticus, a species of Megalonyx, bones of the genera Equus, Bos,
and others, some of extinct and others presumed to be of living
species, had been detached, and had fallen to the base of the
cliffs. Mingled with the rest, the pelvic bone of a man, os
innominatum, was obtained by Dr. Dickeson of Natchez, in whose
collection I saw it. It appeared to be quite in the same state of
preservation, and was of the same black colour as the other
fossils, and was believed to have come like them from a depth of
about 30 feet from the surface. In my "Second Visit to America," in
1846, I suggested, as a possible explanation of this association of
a human bone with remains of Mastodon and Megalonyx, that the
former may possibly have been derived from the vegetable soil at
the top of the cliff, whereas the remains of extinct mammalia were
dislodged from a lower position, and both may have fallen into the
same heap or talus at the bottom of the ravine. The pelvic bone
might, I conceived, have acquired its black colour by having lain
for years or centuries in a dark superficial peaty soil, common in
that region. I was informed that there were many human bones, in
old Indian graves in the same district, stained of as black a dye.
On suggesting this hypothesis to Colonel Wiley of Natchez, I found
that the same idea had already occurred to his mind. No doubt, had
the pelvic bone belonged to any recent mammifer other than Man,
such a theory would never have been resorted to; but so long as we
have only one isolated case, and are without the testimony of a
geologist who was present to behold the bone when still engaged in
the matrix, and to extract it with his own hands, it is allowable
to suspend our judgment as to the high antiquity of the fossil.

If, however, I am asked whether I consider the Natchez loam, with
land-shells and the bones of Mastodon and Megalonyx, to be more
ancient than the alluvium of the Somme containing flint implements
and the remains of the mammoth and hyaena, I must declare that I do
not. Both in Europe and America the land and freshwater shells
accompanying the extinct pachyderms are of living species, and I
could detect no shell in the Natchez loam so foreign to the basin
of the Mississippi as is the Cyrena fluminalis to the rivers of
modern Europe. If, therefore, the relative ages of the Picardy and
Natchez alluvium were to be decided on conchological data alone,
the fluvio-marine beds of Abbeville might rank as a shade older
than the loess of Natchez. My reluctance in 1846 to regard the
fossil human bone as of Pleistocene date arose in part from the
reflection that the ancient loess of Natchez is anterior in time to
the whole modern delta of the Mississippi. The table-land, d e,
Figure 26, was, I believe, once a part of the original alluvial
plain or delta of the great river before it was upraised. It has
now risen more than 200 feet above its pristine level. After the
upheaval, or during it, the Mississippi cut through the old
fluviatile formation of which its bluffs are now formed, just as
the Rhine has in many parts of its valley excavated a passage
through the ancient loess. If I was right in calculating that the
present delta of the Mississippi must have required many tens of
thousands of years for its growth, and if the claims of the Natchez
man to have co-existed with the mastodon are admitted, it would
follow that North America was peopled by the human race many tens
of thousands of years before our time. But even were that true, we
could not presume, reasoning from ascertained geological data, that
the Natchez bone was anterior in date to the antique flint hatchets
of St. Acheul. When we ascend the Mississippi from Natchez to
Vicksburg, and then enter the Ohio, we are accompanied everywhere
by a continuous fringe of terraces of sand and gravel at a certain
height above the alluvial plain, first of the great river, and then
of its tributary. We also find that the older alluvium contains the
remains of Mastodon everywhere, and in some places, as at
Evansville, those of the Megalonyx. As in the valley of the Somme
in Europe, those old Pleistocene gravels often occur at more than
one level, and the ancient mounds of the Ohio, with their works of
art, are newer than the old terraces of the mastodon period, just
as the Gallo-Roman tombs of St. Acheul or the Celtic weapons of the
Abbeville peat are more modern than the tools of the
mammoth-bearing alluvium.

In the first place, I may remind the reader that the vertical
movement of 250 feet, required to elevate the loess of Natchez to
its present height, is exceeded by the upheaval which the marine
stratum of Cagliari, containing pottery, has been ascertained by
Count de la Marmora to have experienced. Such changes of level,
therefore, have actually occurred in Europe in the human epoch, and
may therefore have happened in America. In the second place, I may
observe that if, since the Natchez mastodon was embedded in clay,
the delta of the Mississippi has been formed, so, since the mammoth
and rhinoceros of Abbeville and Amiens were enveloped in fluviatile
mud and gravel, together with flint tools, a great thickness of
peat has accumulated in the valley of the Somme; and antecedently
to the first growth of peat, there had been time for the extinction
of a great many mammalia, requiring, perhaps, a lapse of ages many
times greater than that demanded for the formation of 30 feet of
peat, for since the earliest growth of the latter there has been no
change in the species of mammalia in Europe.

Should future researches, therefore, confirm the opinion that the
Natchez man co-existed with the mastodon, it would not enhance the
value of the geological evidence in favour of Man's antiquity, but
merely render the delta of the Mississippi available as a
chronometer, by which the lapse of Pleistocene time could be
measured somewhat less vaguely than by any means of measuring which
have as yet been discovered or rendered available in Europe.



Chronological Relation of the Glacial Period, and the earliest
   known Signs of Man's Appearance in Europe.
Series of Tertiary Deposits in Norfolk and Suffolk immediately
   antecedent to the Glacial Period.
Gradual Refrigeration of Climate proved by the Marine Shells
   of successive Groups.
Marine Newer Pliocene Shells of Northern Character near Woodbridge.
Section of the Norfolk Cliffs.
Norwich Crag.
Forest Bed and Fluvio-marine Strata.
Fossil Plants and Mammalia of the same.
Overlying Boulder Clay and Contorted Drift.
Newer freshwater Formation of Mundesley compared to that of Hoxne.
Great Oscillations of Level implied by the Series of Strata in the
   Norfolk Cliffs.
Earliest known Date of Man long subsequent to the existing Fauna
   and Flora.

Frequent allusions have been made in the preceding pages to a
period called the glacial, to which no reference is made in the
Chronological Table of Formations given above (Chapter 1). It
comprises a long series of ages, during which the power of cold,
whether exerted by glaciers on the land, or by floating ice on the
sea, was greater in the northern hemisphere, and extended to more
southern latitudes than now. [Note 19.]

It often happens that when in any given region we have pushed back
our geological investigations as far as we can in search of
evidence of the first appearance of Man in Europe, we are stopped
by arriving at what is called the "boulder clay" or "northern
drift." This formation is usually quite destitute of organic
remains, so that the thread of our inquiry into the history of the
animate creation, as well as of man, is abruptly cut short. The
interruption, however, is by no means encountered at the same point
of time in every district. In the case of the Danish peat, for
example, we get no farther back than the Recent period of our
Chronologic Table, and then meet with the boulder clay; and it is
the same in the valley of the Clyde, where the marine strata
contain the ancient canoes before described (Chapter 3), and where
nothing intervenes between that Recent formation and the glacial
drift. But we have seen that, in the neighbourhood of Bedford the
memorials of Man can be traced much farther back into the past,
namely, into the Pleistocene epoch, when the human race was
contemporary with the mammoth and many other species of mammalia
now extinct. Nevertheless, in Bedfordshire as in Denmark, the
formation next antecedent in date to that containing the human
implements is still a member of the glacial drift, with its erratic

If the reader remembers what was stated in the eighth chapter as to
the absence or extreme scarcity of human bones and works of art in
all strata, whether marine or freshwater, even in those formed in
the immediate proximity of land inhabited by millions of human
beings, he will be prepared for the general dearth of human
memorials in glacial formations, whether Recent, Pleistocene, or of
more ancient date. If there were a few wanderers over lands covered
with glaciers, or over seas infested with ice-bergs, and if a few
of them left their bones or weapons in moraines or in marine drift,
the chances, after the lapse of thousands of years, of a geologist
meeting with one of them must be infinitesimally small.

It is natural, therefore, to encounter a gap in the regular
sequence of geological monuments bearing on the past history of
Man, wherever we have proofs of glacial action having prevailed
with intensity, as it has done over large parts of Europe and North
America, in the Pleistocene period. As we advance into more
southern latitudes approaching the 50th parallel of latitude in
Europe, and the 40th in North America, this disturbing cause ceases
to oppose a bar to our inquiries; but even then, in consequence of
the fragmentary nature of all geological annals, our progress is
inevitably slow in constructing anything like a connected chain of
history, which can only be effected by bringing the links of the
chain found in one area to supply the information which is wanting
in another.

The least interrupted series of consecutive documents to which we
can refer in the British Islands, when we desire to connect the
Pliocene with the Pleistocene periods, are found in the counties of
Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex; and I shall speak of them in this
chapter, as they have a direct bearing on the relations of the
human and glacial periods, which will be the subject of several of
the following chapters. The fossil shells of the deposits in
question clearly point to a gradual refrigeration of climate, from
a temperature somewhat warmer than that now prevailing in our
latitudes to one of intense cold; and the successive steps which
have marked the coming on of the increasing cold are matters of no
small geological interest. [Note 20.]

It will be seen in the Chronological Table, that next before the
Pleistocene period stands the Pliocene. The shelly and sandy beds
representing these periods in Norfolk and Suffolk are termed
provincially Crag, having under the name been long used in
agriculture to fertilise soils deficient in calcareous matter, or
to render them less stiff and impervious. In Suffolk, the older
Pliocene strata called Crag are divisible into the Coralline and
the Red Crags, the former being the older of the two. In Norfolk, a
more modern formation, commonly termed the "Norwich," or sometimes
the "mammaliferous" Crag, which is referable to the newer Pliocene
period, occupies large areas.

We are indebted to Mr. Searles Wood, F.G.S., for an admirable
monograph on the fossil shells of these British Pliocene
formations. He has not himself given us an analysis of the results
of his treatise, but the following tables have been drawn up for me
by Mr. S.P. Woodward, the well-known author of the "Manual of
Mollusca, Recent and Fossil" (London 1851-56), in order to
illustrate some of the general conclusions to which Mr. Wood's
careful examination of 442 species of mollusca has led.




Brachiopoda : 6.
Lamellibranchia : 206.
Gasteropoda : 230.

TOTAL : 442.




Norwich Crag : 81.
Red Crag : 225.
Coralline Crag : 327.

Species common to the Norwich and Red Crag (not in Coralline) : 33.
Species common to the Norwich and Coralline (not in Red) : 4.
Species common to the Red and Coralline (not in Norwich) : 116.
Species common to the Norwich, Red, and Coralline : 19.*
   (* These 19 species must be added to the numbers 33, 4, and
   116 respectively, in order to obtain the full amount of common
   species in each of those cases.)






Norwich Crag : 69 : 12 : 85%.
Red Crag : 130 : 95 : 57%.
Coralline Crag : 168 : 159 : 51%.





Norwich Crag : 12 : 0.

Red Crag : 8 : 16.

Coralline Crag : 2 : 27.

In the above list I have not included the shells of the glacial
beds of the Clyde and of several other British deposits of newer
origin than the Norwich Crag, in which nearly all--perhaps all--the
species are Recent. The land and freshwater shells, thirty-two in
number, have also been purposely omitted, as well as three species
of London Clay shells, suspected by Mr. Wood himself to be

By far the greater number of the living marine species included in
these tables are still inhabitants of the British seas; but even
these differ considerably in their relative abundance, some of the
commonest of the Crag shells being now extremely scarce; as, for
example, Buccinopsis Dalei; and others, rarely met with in a fossil
state, being now very common, as Murex erinaceus and Cardium

The last table throws light on a marked alteration in the climate
of the three successive periods. It will be seen that in the
Coralline Crag there are twenty-seven southern shells, including
twenty-six Mediterranean, and one West Indian species (Erato
Maugeriae). Of these only thirteen occur in the Red Crag,
associated with three new southern species, while the whole of them
disappear from the Norwich beds. On the other hand, the Coralline
Crag contains only two shells closely related to arctic forms of
the genera Admete and Limopsis. The Red Crag contains, as stated in
the table, eight northern species, all of which recur in the
Norwich Crag, with the addition of four others, also inhabitants of
the arctic regions; so that there is good evidence of a continual
refrigeration of climate during the Pliocene period in Britain. The
presence of these northern shells cannot be explained away by
supposing that they were inhabitants of the deep parts of the sea;
for some of them, such as Tellina calcarea and Astarte borealis,
occur plentifully, and sometimes, with the valves united by their
ligament, in company with other littoral shells, such as Mya
arenaria and Littorina rudis, and evidently not thrown up from deep
water. Yet the northern character of the Norwich Crag is not fully
shown by simply saying that it contains twelve northern species. It
is the predominance of certain genera and species, such as Tellina
calcarea, Astarte borealis, Scalaria groenlandica, and Fusus
carinatus, which satisfies the mind of a conchologist as to the
arctic character of the Norwich Crag. In like manner, it is the
presence of such genera as Pyrula, Columbella, Terebra, Cassidaria,
Pholadomya, Lingula, Discina, and others which give a southern
aspect to the Coralline Crag shells.

The cold, which had gone on increasing from the time of the
Coralline to that of the Norwich Crag, continued, though not
perhaps without some oscillations of temperature, to become more
and more severe after the accumulation of the Norwich Crag, until
it reached its maximum in what has been called the glacial epoch.
The marine fauna of this last period contains, both in Ireland and
Scotland, Recent species of mollusca now living in Greenland and
other seas far north of the areas where we find their remains in a
fossil state.

The refrigeration of climate from the time of the older to that of
the newer Pliocene strata is not now announced for the first time,
as it was inferred from a study of the Crag shells in 1846 by the
late Edward Forbes.* (* "Memoirs of the Geological Survey" London
1846 page 391.)

The most southern point to which the marine beds of the Norwich
Crag have yet been traced is at Chillesford, near Woodbridge, in
Suffolk, about 80 miles north-east of London, where, as Messrs.
Prestwich and Searles Wood have pointed out,* they exhibit decided
marks of having been deposited in a sea of a much lower temperature
than that now prevailing in the same latitude. (* "Quarterly
Journal of the Geological Society" volume 5 1849 page 345.) Out of
twenty-three shells obtained in that locality from argillaceous
strata 20 feet thick, two only, namely, Nucula Cobboldiae and
Tellina obliqua, are extinct, and not a few of the other species,
such as Leda lanceolata, Cardium groenlandicum, Lucina borealis,
Cyprina islandica, Panopaea norvegica, and Mya truncata, betray a
northern, and some of them an arctic character.

These Chillesford beds are supposed to be somewhat more modern than
any of the purely marine strata of the Norwich Crag exhibited by
the sections of the Norfolk cliffs north-west of Cromer, which I am
about to describe. Yet they probably preceded in date the "Forest
Bed" and fluvio-marine deposits of those same cliffs. They are,
therefore, of no small importance in reference to the chronology of
the glacial period, since they afford evidence of an assemblage of
fossil shells with a proportion of between eight and nine in a
hundred of extinct species occurring so far south as latitude 53
degrees north, and indicating so cold a climate as to imply that
the glacial period commenced before the close of the Pliocene era.


  A. Site of Cromer Jetty.
  1. Upper Chalk with flints in regular stratification.
  2. Norwich Crag, rising from low water at Cromer to the top
     of the cliffs at Weybourn, seven miles distant.
  3. "Forest Bed," with stumps of trees in situ and remains of
     Elephas meridionalis, E. primigenius, E. antiquus, Rhinoceros
     etruscus, etc. This bed increases in depth and thickness
     eastward. No Crag (Number 2) known east of Cromer Jetty.
  3 prime. Fluvio-marine series. At Cromer and eastward, with
     abundant lignite beds and mammalian remains, and with cones
     of the Scotch and spruce firs and wood. At Runton, north-west
     of Cromer, expanding into a thick freshwater deposit, with
     overlying marine strata, elsewhere consisting of alternating
     sands and clays, tranquilly deposited, some with marine,
     others with freshwater shells.
  4. Boulder clay of glacial period, with far transported erratics,
     some of them polished and scratched, 20 to 80 feet in thickness.
  5. Contorted drift.
  6. Superficial gravel and sand with covering of vegetable soil.)

The annexed section (Figure 27) will give a general idea of the
ordinary succession of the Pliocene and Pleistocene strata which
rest upon the Chalk in the Norfolk and Suffolk cliffs. These cliffs
vary in height from fifty to above three hundred feet. At the
north-western extremity of the section at Weybourn (beyond the
limits of the annexed diagram), and from thence to Cromer, a
distance of 7 miles, the Norwich Crag, a marine deposit, reposes
immediately upon the Chalk. A vast majority of its shells are of
living species such as Cardium edule, Cyprina islandica, Scalaria
groenlandica, and Fusus antiquus, and some few extinct, as Tellina
obliqua, and Nucula Cobboldiae. At Cromer jetty this formation
thins out, as expressed in the diagram at A; and to the south we
find Number 3, or what is commonly called the "Forest Bed,"
reposing immediately upon the Chalk, and occupying, as it were, the
place previously held by the marine Crag Number 2. This buried
forest has been traced for more than 40 miles, being exposed at
certain seasons and states of the beach between high and low water
mark. It extends from Cromer to near Kessingland, and consists of
the stumps of numerous trees standing erect, with their roots
attached to them, and penetrating in all directions into the loam
or ancient vegetable soil on which they grew. They mark the site of
a forest which existed there for a long time, since, besides the
erect trunks of trees, some of them 2 and 3 feet in diameter, there
is a vast accumulation of vegetable matter in the immediately
overlying clays. Thirty years ago, when I first examined this bed,
I saw many trees, with their roots in the old soil, laid open at
the base of the cliff near Happisburgh; and long before my visit,
other observers, and among them the late Mr. J.C. Taylor, had
noticed the buried forest. Of late years it has been repeatedly
seen at many points by Mr. Gunn, and, after the great storms of the
autumn of 1861, by Mr. King. In order to expose the stumps to view,
a vast body of sand and shingle must be cleared away by the force
of the waves. [Note 21.]

As the sea is always gaining on the land, new sets of trees are
brought to light from time to time, so that the breadth as well as
length of the area of ancient forest land seems to have been
considerable. Next above Number 3, we find a series of sands and
clays with lignite (Number 3 prime), sometimes 10 feet thick, and
containing alternations of fluviatile and marine strata, implying
that the old forest land, which may at first have been considerably
elevated above the level of the sea, had sunk down so as to be
occasionally overflowed by a river, and at other times by the salt
waters of an estuary. There were probably several oscillations of
level which assisted in bringing about these changes, during which
trees were often uprooted and laid prostrate, giving rise to layers
of lignite. Occasionally marshes were formed and peaty matter
accumulated, after which salt water again predominated, so that
species of Mytilus, Mya, Leda, and other marine genera, lived in
the same area where the Unio, Cyclas, and Paludina had flourished
for a time. That the marine shells lived and died on the spot, and
were not thrown up by the waves during a storm, is proved, as Mr.
King has remarked, by the fact that at West Runton, north-west of
Cromer, the Mya truncata and Leda myalis are found with both valves
united and erect in the loam, all with their posterior or
siphuncular extremities uppermost. This attitude affords as good
evidence to the conchologist that those mollusca lived and died on
the spot as the upright position of the trees proves to the
botanist that there was a forest over the Chalk east of Cromer.

Between the stumps of the buried forest, and in the lignite above
them, are many well-preserved cones of the Scotch and spruce firs,
Pinus sylvestris, and Pinus abies. The specific names of these
fossils were determined for me in 1840, by a botanist of no less
authority than the late Robert Brown; and Professor Heer has lately
examined a large collection from the same stratum, and recognised
among the cones of the spruce some which had only the central part
or axis remaining, the rest having been bitten off, precisely in
the same manner as when in our woods the squirrel has been feeding
on the seeds. There is also in the forest-bed a great quantity of
resin in lumps, resembling that gathered for use, according to
Professor Heer, in Switzerland, from beneath spruce firs.

The following is a list of some of the plants and seeds which were
collected by the Reverend S.W. King, in 1861, from the forest bed
at Happisburgh, and named by Professor Heer:--


Pinus sylvestris, Scotch fir.
Pinus abies, spruce fir.
Taxus baccata, yew.
Nuphar luteum, yellow water-lily.
Ceratophyllum demersum, hornwort.
Potamogeton, pondweed.
Prunus spinosus, common sloe.
Menyanthes trifoliata, buckbean.
Nymphaea alba, white water-lily.
Alnus, alder.
Quercus, oak.
Betula, birch.

The insects, so far as they are known, including several species of
Donacia, are, like the plants and freshwater shells, of living
species. It may be remarked, however, that the Scotch fir has been
confined in historical times to the northern parts of the British
Isles, and the spruce fir is nowhere indigenous in Great Britain.
The other plants are such as might now be found in Norfolk, and
many of them indicate fenny or marshy ground.* (* Mr. King
discovered in 1863, in the forest bed, several rhizomes of the
large British fern Osmunda regalis, of such dimensions as they are
known to attain in marshy places. They are distinguishable from
those of other British ferns by the peculiar arrangement of the
vessels, as seen under the microscope in a cross section.)

When we consider the familiar aspect of the flora, the accompanying
mammalia are certainly most extraordinary. There are no less than
three elephants, a rhinoceros and hippopotamus, a large extinct
beaver, and several large estuarine and marine mammalia, such as
the walrus, the narwhal, and the whale.

The following is a list of some of the species of which the bones
have been collected by Messrs. Gunn and King.

Those marked (asterisk) have been recorded by Professor Owen in his
British Fossil Mammalia. Those marked (dagger) have been recognised
by the same authority in the cabinets of Messrs. Gunn and King, or
in the Norwich Museum; the other three are given on the authority
of Dr. Falconer.


Elephas meridionalis.
(asterisk) Elephas primigenius.
Elephas antiquus.
Rhinoceros etruscus.
(asterisk) Hippopotamus (major ?).
(asterisk) Sus scrofa.
(asterisk) Equus (fossilis ?).
(asterisk) Ursus (sp.?).
(dagger) Canis lupus.
(dagger) Bison priscus.
(dagger) Megaceros hibernicus.
(asterisk) Cervus capreolus.
(dagger) Cervus tarandus.
(dagger) Cervus Sedgwickii.
(asterisk) Arvicola amphibia.
(asterisk) Castor (Trogontherium) Cuvieri.
(asterisk) Castor europaeus.
(asterisk) Palaeospalax magnus.
(dagger) Trichecus rosmarus, Walrus.
(dagger) Monodon monoceros, Narwhal.
(dagger) Balaenoptera.

Mr. Gunn informs me that the vertebrae of two distinct whales were
found in the fluvio-marine beds at Bacton, and that one of them,
shown to Professor Owen, is said by him to imply that the animal
was 60 feet long. A narwhal's tusk was discovered by Mr. King near
Cromer, and the remains of a walrus. No less than three species of
elephant, as determined by Dr. Falconer, have been obtained from
the strata 3 and 3 prime, of which, according to Mr. King, E.
meridionalis is the most common, the mammoth next in abundance, and
the third, E. antiquus, comparatively rare.

The freshwater shells accompanying the fossil quadrupeds, above
enumerated, are such as now inhabit rivers and ponds in England;
but among them, as at Runton, between the "forest bed" and the
glacial deposits, a remarkable variety of the Cyclas amnica occurs
(Figure 28), identical with that which accompanies the Elephas
antiquus at Ilford and Grays in the valley of the Thames.

All the freshwater shells of the beds intervening between the
Forest-bed Number 3, and the glacial formation 4, Figure 27, are of
Recent species. As to the small number of marine shells occurring
in the same fluvio-marine series, I have seen none which belonged
to extinct species, although one or two have been cited by authors.
I am in doubt, therefore, whether to class the forest bed and
overlying strata as Pleistocene, or to consider them as beds of
passage between the Pliocene and Pleistocene periods. The
fluvio-marine series usually terminates upwards in finely laminated
sands and clays without fossils, on which reposes the boulder clay.

(FIGURE 28. Cyclas (Pisidium) amnica var.?
   The two middle figures are of the natural size.)

This formation, Number 4, is of very varying thickness. Its glacial
character is shown, not only by the absence of stratification, and
the great size and angularity of some of the included blocks of
distant origin, but also by the polished and scratched surfaces of
such of them as are hard enough to retain any markings.

Near Cromer, blocks of granite from 6 to 8 feet in diameter have
been met with, and smaller ones of syenite, porphyry, and trap,
besides the wreck of the London Clay, Chalk, Oolite, and Lias,
mixed with more ancient fossiliferous rocks. Erratics of
Scandinavian origin occur chiefly in the lower portions of the
till. I came to the conclusion in 1834, that they had really come
from Norway and Sweden, after having in that year traced the course
of a continuous stream of such blocks from those countries to
Denmark, and across the Elbe, through Westphalia, to the borders of
Holland. It is not surprising that they should then reappear on our
eastern coast between the Tweed and the Thames, regions not half so
remote from parts of Norway as are many Russian erratics from the
sources whence they came. [Note 22.]

   Section through Gravel (top), Sand, Loam and Till (bottom).)

According to the observations of the Reverend J. Gunn and the late
Mr. Trimmer, the glacial drift in the cliffs at Lowestoft consists
of two divisions, the lower of which abounds in the Scandinavian
blocks, supposed to have come from the north-east; while the upper,
probably brought by a current from the north-west, contains chiefly
fragments of Oolitic rocks, more rolled than those of the lower
deposit. The united thickness of the two divisions, without
reckoning some interposed laminated beds, is 80 feet, but it
probably exceeds 100 feet near Happisburgh.* (* "Quarterly Journal
of the Geological Society" volume 7 1851 page 21.) Although these
subdivisions of the drift may be only of local importance, they
help to show the changes of currents and other conditions, and the
great lapse of time which the accumulation of so varied a series of
deposits must have required.

The lowest part of the glacial till, resting on the laminated clays
before mentioned, is very even and regular, while its upper surface
is remarkable for the unevenness of its outline, owing partly, in
all likelihood, to denudation, but still more to other causes
presently to be discussed.

The overlying strata of sand and gravel, Number 5, Figure 27, often
display a most singular derangement in their stratification, which
in many places seems to have a very intimate relation to the
irregularities of outline in the subjacent till. There are some
cases, however, where the upper strata are much bent, while the
lower beds of the same series have continued horizontal. Thus the
annexed section (Figure 29) represents a cliff about 50 feet high,
at the bottom of which is till, or unstratified clay, containing
boulders, having an even horizontal surface, on which repose
conformably beds of laminated clay and sand about 5 feet thick,
which, in their turn, are succeeded by vertical, bent, and
contorted layers of sand and loam 20 feet thick, the whole being
covered by flint gravel. The curves of the variously coloured beds
of loose sand, loam, and pebbles, are so complicated that not only
may we sometimes find portions of them which maintain their
verticality to a height of 10 or 15 feet, but they have also been
folded upon themselves in such a manner that continuous layers
might be thrice pierced in one perpendicular boring.



  1. Blue clay.
  2. White sand.
  3. Yellow Sand.
  4. Striped loam and clay.
  5. Laminated blue clay.)

At some points there is an apparent folding of the beds round a
central nucleus, as at a, Figure 30, where the strata seem bent
round a small mass of Chalk, or, as in Figure 31, where the blue
clay Number 1 is in the centre; and where the other strata 2, 3, 4,
5 are coiled round it; the entire mass being 20 feet in
perpendicular height. This appearance of concentric arrangement
around a nucleus is, nevertheless, delusive, being produced by the
intersection of beds bent into a convex shape; and that which seems
the nucleus being, in fact, the innermost bed of the series, which
has become partially visible by the removal of the protuberant
portions of the outer layers.

To the north of Cromer are other fine illustrations of contorted
drift reposing on a floor of Chalk horizontally stratified and
having a level surface. These phenomena, in themselves sufficiently
difficult of explanation, are rendered still more anomalous by the
occasional enclosure in the drift of huge fragments of Chalk many
yards in diameter. One striking instance occurs west of Sheringham,
where an enormous pinnacle of Chalk, between 70 and 80 feet in
height, is flanked on both sides by vertical layers of loam, clay,
and gravel (Figure 32).


  d. Chalk with regular layers of flints.
  c. Layer called "the pan," of Chalk, flints, and marine shells
     of Recent species, cemented by oxide of iron.)

This chalky fragment is only one of many detached masses which have
been included in the drift, and forced along with it into their
present position. The level surface of the Chalk in situ (d) may be
traced for miles along the coast, where it has escaped the violent
movements to which the incumbent drift has been exposed.* (* For a
full account of the drift of East Norfolk, see a paper by the
author, "Philosophical Magazine" Number 104 May 1840.)

We are called upon, then, to explain how any force can have been
exerted against the upper masses, so as to produce movements in
which the subjacent strata have not participated. It may be
answered that, if we conceive the till and its boulders to have
been drifted to their present place by ice, the lateral pressure
may have been supplied by the stranding of ice-islands. We learn,
from the observations of Messrs. Dease and Simpson in the polar
regions, that such islands, when they run aground, push before them
large mounds of shingle and sand. It is therefore probable that
they often cause great alterations in the arrangement of pliant and
incoherent strata forming the upper part of shoals or submerged
banks, the inferior portions of the same remaining unmoved. Or many
of the complicated curvatures of these layers of loose sand and
gravel may have been due to another cause, the melting on the spot
of ice-bergs and coast ice in which successive deposits of pebbles,
sand, ice, snow, and mud, together with huge masses of rock fallen
from cliffs, may have become interstratified. Ice-islands so
constituted often capsize when afloat, and gravel once horizontal
may have assumed, before the associated ice was melted, an inclined
or vertical position. The packing of ice forced up on a coast may
lead to a similar derangement in a frozen conglomerate of sand or
shingle, and, as Mr. Trimmer has suggested,* (* "Quarterly Journal
of the Geological Society" volume 7 1851 pages 22, 30.) alternate
layers of earthy matter may have sunk down slowly during the
liquefaction of the intercalated ice so as to assume the most
fantastic and anomalous positions, while the strata below, and
those afterwards thrown down above, may be perfectly horizontal
(see above).

In most cases where the principal contortions of the layers of
gravel and sand have a decided correspondence with deep
indentations in the underlying till, the hypothesis of the melting
of large lumps and masses of ice once mixed up with the till
affords the most natural explanation of the phenomena. The quantity
of ice now seen in the cliffs near Behring's Straits, in which the
remains of fossil elephants are common, and the huge fragments of
solid ice which Meyendorf discovered in Siberia, after piercing
through a considerable thickness of incumbent soil, free from ice,
is in favour of such an hypothesis, the partial failure of support
necessarily giving rise to foldings in the overlying and previously
horizontal layers, as in the case of creeps in coal mines.* (* See
"Manual of Geology" by the author, page 51.)

In the diagram of the cliffs at page 167, the bent and contorted
beds Number 5, last alluded to, are represented as covered by
undisturbed beds of gravel and sand Number 6. These are usually
destitute of organic remains; but at some points marine shells of
Recent species are said to have been found in them. They afford
evidence at many points of repeated denudation and redeposition,
and may be the monuments of a long series of ages.


In the range of cliffs above described at Mundesley, about 8 miles
south-east of Cromer, a fine example is seen of a freshwater
formation, newer than all those already mentioned, a deposit which
has filled up a depression hollowed out of all the older beds 3, 4,
and 5 of the section Figure 27.

      Height of cliff where lowest, 35 feet above high water.

   1. Fundamental Chalk, below the beach line.
   3. Forest bed, with elephant, rhinoceros, stag, etc., and with
      tree roots and stumps, also below the beach line.
   3 prime. Finely laminated sands and clays, with thin layer of
      lignite, and shells of Cyclas and Valvata, and with Mytilus
      in some beds.
   4. Glacial boulder till.
   5. Contorted drift.
   6. Gravel overlying contorted drift.
     N.B.--Number 2 of the section, Figure 27, is wanting here.

   A. Coarse river gravel, with shells of Anodon, Valvata, Cyclas,
      Succinea, Limnaea, Paludina, etc., seeds of Ceratophyllum
      demersum, Nuphar lutea, scales and bones of pike, perch,
      salmon, etc., elytra of Donacia, Copris, Harpalus,
      and other beetles.
   C. Yellow sands.
   D. Drift gravel.)

When I examined this line of coast in 1839, the section alluded to
was not so clearly laid open to view as it has been of late years,
and finding at that period not a few of the fossils in the lignite
beds Number 3 prime above the forest bed, identical in species with
those from the post-glacial deposits B C, I supposed the whole to
have been of contemporaneous origin, and so described them in my
paper on the Norfolk cliffs.* (* "Philosophical Magazine" volume 16
1840 page 345.)

Mr. Gunn was the first to perceive this mistake, which he explained
to me on the spot when I revisited Mundesley in the autumn of 1859
in company with Dr. Hooker and Mr. King. The last-named geologist
has had the kindness to draw up for me the annexed diagram (Figure
33) of the various beds which he has recently studied in detail.*
(* Mr. Prestwich has given a correct account of this section in a
paper read to the British Association, Oxford, 1860. See "The
Geologist" volume 4 1861.)

The formations 3, 4, and 5 already described, Figure 27, were
evidently once continuous, for they may be followed for miles
north-west and south-east without a break, and always in the same
order. A valley or river channel was cut through them, probably
during the gradual upheaval of the country, and the hollow became
afterwards the receptacle of the comparatively modern freshwater
beds A, B, C, and D. They may well represent a silted up
river-channel, which remained for a time in the state of a lake or
mere, and in which the black peaty mass B accumulated by a very
slow growth over the gravel of the river-bed A. In B we find
remains of some of the same plants which were enumerated as common
in the ancient lignite in 3 prime, such as the yellow water-lily
and hornwort, together with some freshwater shells which occur in
the same fluvio-marine series 3 prime.

(FIGURE 34. Paludina marginata, Michaud (P. minuta, Strickland).
   Hydrobia marginata.*

    (* This shell is said to have a sub-spiral operculum (not a
      concentric one, as in Paludina), and therefore to be
      referable to the Hydrobia, a sub-genus of Rissoa. But
      this species is always associated with freshwater shells,
      while the Rissoae frequent marine and brackish waters.)
   The middle figure is of the natural size.)

The only shell which I found not referable to a British species is
the minute Paludina, Figure 34, already alluded to.

When I showed the scales and teeth of the pike, perch, roach, and
salmon, which I obtained from this formation, to M. Agassiz, he
thought they varied so much from their nearest living
representatives that they might rank as distinct species; but Mr.
Yarrell doubted the propriety of so distinguishing them. The
insects, like the shells and plants, are identical, so far as they
are known, with living British species. No progress has yet been
made at Mundesley in discovering the contemporary mammalia.

By referring to the description and section before given of the
freshwater deposit at Hoxne, the reader will at once perceive the
striking analogy of the Mundesley and Hoxne deposits, the latter so
productive of flint implements of the Amiens type. Both of them,
like the Bedford gravel with flint tools and the bones of extinct
mammalia, are post-glacial. It will also be seen that a long series
of events, accompanied by changes in physical geography, intervened
between the "forest bed," Number 3, Figure 27, when the Elephas
meridionalis flourished, and the period of the Mundesley fluviatile
beds A, B, C; just as in France I have shown that the same E.
meridionalis belonged to a system of drainage different from and
anterior to that with which the flint implements of the old
alluvium of the Somme and the Seine were connected.

Before the growth of the ancient forest, Number 3, Figure 33, the
Mastodon arvernensis, a large proboscidian, characteristic of the
Norwich Crag, appears to have died out, or to have become scarce,
as no remains of it have yet been found in the Norfolk cliffs.
There was, no doubt, time for other modifications in the mammalian
fauna between the era of the marine beds, Number 2, Figure 27 (the
shells of which imply permanent submergence beneath the sea), and
the accumulation of the uppermost of the fluvio-marine, and lignite
beds, Number 3 prime, which overlie both Numbers 3 and 2, or the
buried forest and the Crag. In the interval we must suppose
repeated oscillations of level, during which land covered with
trees, an estuary with its freshwater shells, and the sea with its
Mya truncata and other mollusca still retaining their erect
position, gained by turns the ascendency. These changes were
accompanied by some denudation followed by a grand submergence of
several hundred feet, probably brought about slowly, and when
floating ice aided in transporting erratic blocks from great
distances. The glacial till Number 4 then originated, and the
gravel and sands Number 5 were afterwards superimposed on the
boulder clay, first in horizontal beds, which became subsequently
contorted. These were covered in their turn by other layers of
gravel and sand, Number 6, Figures 27 and 33, the downward movement
still continuing.

The entire thickness of the beds above the Chalk at some points
near the coast, and the height at which they now are raised, are
such as to show that the subsidence of the country after the growth
of the forest bed exceeded 400 feet. The re-elevation must have
amounted to nearly as many feet, as the site of the ancient forest,
originally sub-aerial, has been brought up again to within a few
feet of high-water mark. Lastly, after all these events, and
probably during the final process of emergence, the valley was
scooped out in which the newer freshwater strata of Mundesley,
Figure 33, were gradually deposited.

Throughout the whole of this succession of geographical changes,
the flora and invertebrate fauna of Europe appear to have undergone
no important revolution in their specific characters. The plants of
the forest bed belonged already to what has been called the
Germanic flora. The mollusca, the insects, and even some of the
mammalia, such as the European beaver and roebuck, were the same as
those now co-existing with Man. Yet the oldest memorials of our
species at present discovered in Great Britain are post-glacial, or
posterior in date to the boulder clay, Number 4, Figures 27 and 33.
The position of the Hoxne flint implements corresponds with that of
the Mundesley beds, from A to D, Figure 33, and the most likely
stratum in which to find hereafter flint tools is no doubt the
gravel A of that section, which has all the appearance of an old
river-bed. No flint tools have yet been observed there, but had the
old alluvium of Amiens or Abbeville occurred in the Norfolk cliffs
instead of the valley of the Somme, and had we depended on the
waves of the sea instead of the labour of many hundred workmen
continued for twenty years, for exposing the flint implements to
view, we might have remained ignorant to this day of the fossil
relics brought to light by M. Boucher de Perthes and those who have
followed up his researches.

Neither need we despair of one day meeting with the signs of Man's
existence in the forest bed Number 3, or in the overlying strata 3
prime, on the ground of any uncongeniality in the climate or
incongruity in the state of the animate creation with the
well-being of our species. For the present we must be content to
wait and consider that we have made no investigations which entitle
us to wonder that the bones or stone weapons of the era of the
Elephas meridionalis have failed to come to light. If any such lie
hid in those strata, and should hereafter be revealed to us, they
would carry back the antiquity of Man to a distance of time
probably more than twice as great as that which separates our era
from that of the most ancient of the tool-bearing gravels yet
discovered in Picardy, or elsewhere. But even then the reader will
perceive that the age of Man, though pre-glacial, would be so
modern in the great geological calendar, as given in Chapter 1,
that he would scarcely date so far back as the commencement of the
Pleistocene period.



Chronological Relations of the Close of the Glacial Period and
   the earliest geological Signs of the Appearance of Man.
Effects of Glaciers and Icebergs in polishing and scoring Rocks.
Scandinavia once encrusted with Ice like Greenland.
Outward Movement of Continental Ice in Greenland.
Mild Climate of Greenland in the Miocene Period.
Erratics of Recent Period in Sweden.
Glacial State of Sweden in the Pleistocene Period.
Scotland formerly encrusted with Ice.
Its subsequent Submergence and Re-elevation.
Latest Changes produced by Glaciers in Scotland.
Remains of the Mammoth and Reindeer in Scotch Boulder Clay.
Parallel Roads of Glen Roy formed in Glacier Lakes.
Comparatively modern Date of these Shelves.

The chronological relations of the human and glacial periods were
frequently alluded to in the last chapter, and the sections
obtained near Bedford, and at Hoxne, in Suffolk, and a general view
of the Norfolk cliffs, have taught us that the earliest signs of
Man's appearance in the British isles, hitherto detected, are of
post-glacial date. We may now therefore inquire whether the
peopling of Europe by the human race and by the mammoth and other
mammalia now extinct, was brought about during the concluding
phases of the glacial epoch.

Although it may be impossible in the present state of our knowledge
to come to a positive conclusion on this head, I know of no inquiry
better fitted to clear up our views respecting the geological state
of the northern hemisphere at the time when the fabricators of the
flint implements of the Amiens type flourished. I shall therefore
now proceed to consider the chronological relations of that ancient
people with the final retreat of the glaciers from the mountains of
Scandinavia, Scotland, Wales, and Switzerland.


In order fully to discuss this question, I must begin by referring
to some of the newest theoretical opinions entertained on the
glacial question. When treating of this subject in the "Principles
of Geology," chapter 15, and in the "Manual (or Elements) of
Geology," chapter 11, I have stated that the whole mass of the ice
in a glacier is in constant motion, and that the blocks of stone
detached from boundary precipices, and the mud and sand swept down
by avalanches of snow, or by rain from the surrounding heights, are
lodged upon the surface and slowly borne along in lengthened
mounds, called in Switzerland moraines. These accumulations of
rocky fragments and detrital matter are left at the termination of
the glacier, where it melts in a confused heap called the "terminal
moraine," which is unstratified, because all the blocks, large and
small, as well as the sand and the finest mud, are carried to equal
distances and quietly deposited in a confused mass without being
subjected to the sorting power of running water, which would convey
the finer materials farther than the coarser ones, and would
produce, as the strength of the current varied from time to time in
the same place, a stratified arrangement.

In those regions where glaciers reach the sea, and where large
masses of ice break off and float away, moraines, such as I have
just alluded to, may be transported to indefinite distances, and
may be deposited on the bottom of the sea wherever the ice happens
to melt. If the liquefaction take place when the berg has run
aground and is stationary, and if there be no current, the heap of
angular and rounded stones, mixed with sand and mud, may fall to
the bottom in an unstratified form called "till" in Scotland, and
which has been shown in the last chapter to abound in the Norfolk
cliffs; but should the action of a current intervene at certain
points or at certain seasons, then the materials will be sorted as
they fall, and arranged in layers according to their relative
weight and size. Hence there will be passages from till to
stratified clay, gravel, and sand.

Some of the blocks of stone with which the surfaces of glaciers are
loaded, falling occasionally through fissures in the ice, get fixed
and frozen into the bottom of the moving mass, and are pushed along
under it. In this position, being subjected to great pressure, they
scoop out long rectilinear furrows or grooves parallel to each
other on the subjacent solid rock. Smaller scratches and striae are
made on the polished surface by crystals or projecting edges of the
hardest minerals, just as a diamond cuts glass.

In all countries the fundamental rock on which the boulder
formation reposes, if it consists of granite, gneiss, marble, or
other hard stone capable of permanently retaining any superficial
markings which may have been imprinted upon it, is smoothed or
polished, and exhibits parallel striae and furrows having a
determinate direction. This prevailing direction, both in Europe
and North America, is evidently connected with the course taken by
the erratic blocks in the same district, and is very commonly from
north to south, or if it be twenty or thirty or more degrees to the
east or west of north, still always corresponds to the direction in
which the large angular and rounded stones have travelled. These
stones themselves also are often furrowed and scratched on more
than one side, like those already spoken of as occurring in the
glacial drift of Bedford, and in that of Norfolk.

When we contemplate the area which is now exposed to the abrading
action of ice, or which is the receptacle of moraine matter thrown
down from melting glaciers or bergs, we at once perceive that the
submarine area is the most extensive of the two. The number of
large icebergs which float annually to great distances in the
northern and southern hemispheres is extremely great, and the
quantity of stone and mud which they carry about with them
enormous. Some floating islands of ice have been met with from 2 to
5 miles in length, and from 100 to 225 feet in height above water,
the submerged portion, according to the weight of ice relatively to
sea water, being from six to eight times more considerable than the
part which is visible. Such masses, when they run aground on the
bottom of the sea, must exert a prodigious mechanical power, and
may polish and groove the subjacent rocks after the manner of
glaciers on the land. Hence there will often be no small difficulty
in distinguishing between the effects of the submarine and
supramarine agency of ice.


In the north of Europe, along the borders of the Baltic, where the
boulder formation is continuous for hundreds of miles east and
west, it has been long known that the erratic blocks, often of very
large size, are of northern origin. Some of them have come from
Norway and Sweden, others from Finland, and their present
distribution implies that they were carried southwards, for a part
at least of their way, by floating ice, at a time when much of the
area over which they are scattered was under water. But it appears
from the observations of Boetlingk, in 1840, and those of more
recent inquirers, that while many blocks have travelled to the
south, others have been carried northwards, or to the shores of the
Polar Sea, and others north-eastward, or to those of the White Sea.
In fact, they have wandered towards all points of the compass, from
the mountains of Scandinavia as a centre, and the rectilinear
furrows imprinted by them on the polished surfaces of the mountains
where the rocks are hard enough to retain such markings, radiate in
all directions, or point outwards from the highest land, in a
manner corresponding to the course of the erratics above mentioned.
* (* Sir R.I. Murchison, in his "Russia and the Ural Mountains"
(1845) has indicated on a map not only the southern limits of the
Scandinavian drift, but by arrows the direction in which "it
proceeded eccentrically from a common central region.")

Before the glacial theory was adopted, the Swedish and Norwegian
geologists speculated on a great flood, or the sudden rush of an
enormous body of water charged with mud and stones, descending from
the central heights or watershed into the adjoining lower lands.
The erratic blocks were supposed in their downward passage to have
smoothed and striated the rock surfaces over which they were forced

It would be a waste of time, in the present state of science, to
controvert this hypothesis, as it is now admitted that even if the
rush of a diluvial current, invented for the occasion and wholly
without analogy in the known course of nature, be granted, it would
be inadequate to explain the uniformity, parallelism, persistency,
and rectilinearity of the so-called glacial furrows. It is moreover
ascertained that heavy masses of rock, not fixed in ice, and moving
as freely as they do when simply swept along by a muddy current, do
not give rise to such scratches and furrows.

M. Kjerulf of Christiania, in a paper lately communicated to the
Geological Society of Berlin,* (* "Zeitschrift der Deutschen
Geologischen Gesellschaft" Berlin 1860.) has objected, and perhaps
with reason, to what he considers the undue extent to which I have,
in some of my writings, supposed the mountains of northern Europe,
to have been submerged during the glacial period. He remarks that
the signs of glacial action on the Scandinavian mountains ascend as
high as 6000 feet, whereas fossil marine shells of the same period
never reach elevations exceeding 600 feet. The land, he says, may
have been much higher than it now is, but it has evidently not been
much lower since the commencement of the glacial period, or marine
shells would be traceable to more elevated points. In regard to the
absence of marine shells, I shall point out in the sequel how small
is the dependence we can place on this kind of negative evidence,
if we desire to test by it the extent to which the land has been
submerged. I cannot therefore consent to limit the probable
depression and re-elevation of Scandinavia to 600 feet. But that
the larger part of the glaciation of that country has been
supramarine, I am willing to concede. In support of this view M.
Kjerulf observes that the direction of the furrows and striae,
produced by glacial abrasion, neither conforms to a general
movement of floating ice from the Polar regions, nor to the shape
of the existing valleys, as it would do if it had been caused by
independent glaciers generated in the higher valleys after the land
had acquired its actual shape. Their general arrangement and
apparent irregularities are, he contends, much more in accordance
with the hypothesis of there having been at one time a universal
covering of ice over the whole of Norway and Sweden, like that now
existing in Greenland, which, being annually recruited by fresh
falls of snow, was continually pressing outwards and downwards to
the coast and lower regions, after crossing many of the lower
ridges, and having no relation to the minor depressions, which were
all choked up with ice and reduced to one uniform level.


In support of this view, he appeals to the admirable description of
the continental ice of Greenland, lately published by Dr. H. Rink
of Copenhagen,* (* "Journal of Royal Geographical Society" volume
23 1853 page 145.) who resided three or four years in the Danish
settlements in Baffin's Bay, on the west coast of Greenland,
between latitudes 69 and 73 degrees north. "In that country, the
land," says Dr. Rink, "may be divided into two regions, the
'inland' and the 'outskirts.' The 'inland,' which is 800 miles from
west to east, and of much greater length from north to south, is a
vast unknown continent, buried under one continuous and colossal
mass of permanent ice, which is always moving seaward, but a small
proportion only of it in an easterly direction, since nearly the
whole descends towards Baffin's Bay." At the heads of the fjords
which intersect the coast, the ice is seen to rise somewhat
abruptly from the level of the sea to the height of 2000 feet,
beyond which the ice of the interior rises continuously as far as
the eye can reach, and to an unknown altitude. All minor ridges and
valleys are levelled and concealed, but here and there steep
mountains protrude abruptly from the icy slope, and a few
superficial lines of stones or moraines are visible at seasons when
no recent snow has fallen. [Note 23.]

Although all the ice is moving seaward, the greatest quantity is
discharged at the heads of certain large fjords, usually about 4
miles wide, which, if the climate were milder, would be the outlet
of as many great rivers. Through these the ice is now protruded in
huge blocks, several miles wide, and from 1000 to 1500 feet in
height or thickness. When these masses reach the fjords, they do
not melt or break up into fragments, but continue their course in a
solid form in the salt water, grating along the rocky bottom, which
they must polish and score at depths of hundreds and even of more
than 1000 feet. At length, when there is water enough to float
them, huge portions, having broken off, fill Baffin's Bay with
icebergs of a size exceeding any which could be produced by
ordinary valley glaciers. Stones, sand, and mud are sometimes
included in these bergs which float down Baffin's Bay. At some
points, where the ice of the interior of Greenland reaches the
coast, Dr. Rink saw mighty springs of clayey water issuing from
under the edge of the ice even in winter, showing the grinding
action of the glacial mass mixed with sand on the subjacent surface
of the rocks.

The "outskirts," where the Danish colonies are stationed, consist
of numerous islands, of which Disco island is the largest in
latitude 70 degrees north, and of many peninsulas, with fjords from
50 to 100 miles long, running into the land, and through which the
ice above alluded to passes on its way to the bay. This area is 30,
000 square miles in extent, and contains in it some mountains 4000
feet to 5000 feet high. The perpetual snow usually begins at the
height of 2000 feet, below which level the land is for the most
part free from snow between June and August, and supports a
vegetation of several hundred species of flowering plants, which
ripen their seeds before the winter. There are even some places
where phanerogamous plants have been found at an elevation of 4500
feet; a fact which, when we reflect on the immediate vicinity of so
large and lofty a region of continental ice in the same latitude,
well deserves the attention of the geologist, who should also bear
in mind, that while the Danes are settled to the west in the
"outskirts," there exists, due east of the most southern portion of
this ice-covered continent, at the distance of about 1200 miles,
the home of the Laplanders with their reindeer, bears, wolves,
seals, walruses, and whales. If, therefore, there are geological
grounds for suspecting that Scandinavia or Scotland or Wales was
ever in the same glacial condition as Greenland now is, we must not
imagine that the contemporaneous fauna and flora were everywhere
poor and stunted, or that they may not, especially at the distance
of a few hundred miles in a SOUTHWARD direction, have been very
luxuriant. [Note 24.]

Another series of observations made by Captain Graah, during a
survey of Greenland between 1823 and 1829, and by Dr. Pingel in
1830-32, adds not a little to the geological interest of the
"outskirts," in their bearing on glacial phenomena of ancient date.
Those Danish investigators, with one of whom, Dr. Pingel, I
conversed at Copenhagen in 1834, ascertained that the whole coast
from latitude 60 to about 70 degrees north has been subsiding for
the last four centuries, so that some ancient piles driven into the
beach to support the boats of the settlers have been gradually
submerged, and wooden buildings have had to be repeatedly shifted
farther inland.* (* "Principles of Geology" chapter 30.)

In Norway and Sweden, instead of such a subsiding movement, the
land is slowly rising; but we have only to suppose that formerly,
when it was covered like Greenland with continental ice, it sank at
the rate of several feet in a century, and we shall be able to
explain why marine deposits are found above the level of the sea,
and why these generally overlie polished and striated surfaces of

We know that Greenland was not always covered with snow and ice,
for when we examine the Tertiary strata of Disco Island (of the
Upper Miocene period) we discover there a multitude of fossil
plants, which demonstrate that, like many other parts of the arctic
regions, it formerly enjoyed a mild and genial climate. Among the
fossils brought from that island, latitude 70 degrees north,
Professor Heer has recognised Sequoia Langsdorfii, a coniferous
species which flourished throughout a great part of Europe in the
Miocene period, and is very closely allied to the living Sequoia
sempervirens of California. The same plant has been found fossil by
Sir John Richardson within the arctic circle, far to the west on
the Mackenzie River, near the entrance of Bear River, also by some
Danish naturalists in Iceland to the east. The Icelandic
surturbrand, or lignite, of this age has also yielded a rich
harvest of plants, more than thirty-one of them, according to
Steenstrup and Heer, in a good state of preservation, and no less
than fifteen specifically identical with Miocene plants of Europe.
Thirteen of the number are arborescent; and amongst others is a
tulip-tree (Liriodendron), with its fruit and characteristic
leaves, a plane (Platanus), a walnut, and a vine, affording
unmistakable evidence of a climate in the parallel of the arctic
circle which precludes the supposition of glaciers then existing in
the neighbourhood, still less any general crust of continental ice,
like that of Greenland.* (* Heer, "Recherches sur la Vegetation du
Pays tertiaire" etc. 1861 page 178.)

As the older Pliocene flora of the Tertiary strata of Italy, like
the shells of the Coralline Crag, before adverted to, Chapter 12,
indicate a temperature milder than that now prevailing in Europe,
though not so warm as that of the Upper Miocene period, it is
probable that the accumulation of snow and glaciers on the
mountains and valleys of Greenland did not begin till after the
commencement of the Pliocene period, and may not have reached its
maximum until the close of that period.

Norway and Sweden appear to have passed through all the successive
phases of glaciation which Greenland has experienced, and others
which that country will one day undergo, if the climate which it
formerly enjoyed should ever be restored to it. There must have
been first a period of separate glaciers in Scandinavia, then a
Greenlandic state of continental ice, and thirdly, when that
diminished, a second period of enormous separate glaciers filling
many a valley now wooded with fir and birch. Lastly, under the
influence of the Gulf Stream, and various changes in the height and
extent of land in the arctic circle, a melting of nearly all the
permanent ice between latitudes 60 and 70 north, corresponding to
the parallels of the continental ice of Greenland, has occurred, so
that we have now to go farther north than latitude 70 degrees
before we encounter any glacier coming down to the sea coast. Among
other signs of the last retreat of the extinct glaciers, Kjerulf
and other authors describe large transverse moraines left in many
of the Norwegian and Swedish glens.


We may now consider whether any, and what part, of these changes in
Scandinavia may have been witnessed by Man. In Sweden, in the
immediate neighbourhood of Upsala, I observed, in 1834, a ridge of
stratified sand and gravel, in the midst of which occurs a layer of
marl, evidently formed originally at the bottom of the Baltic, by
the slow growth of the mussel, cockle, and other marine shells of
living species intermixed with some proper to fresh water. The
marine shells are all of dwarfish size, like those now inhabiting
the brackish waters of the Baltic; and the marl, in which myriads
of them are embedded, is now raised more than 100 feet above the
level of the Gulf of Bothnia. Upon the top of this ridge (one of
those called osars in Sweden) repose several huge erratics
consisting of gneiss, for the most part unrounded, from 9 to 16
feet in diameter, and which must have been brought into their
present position since the time when the neighbouring gulf was
already characterised by its peculiar fauna. Here, therefore, we
have proof that the transport of erratics continued to take place,
not merely when the sea was inhabited by the existing Testacea, but
when the north of Europe had already assumed that remarkable
feature of its physical geography, which separates the Baltic from
the North Sea, and causes the Gulf of Bothnia to have only
one-fourth of the saltness belonging to the ocean.

I cannot doubt that these large erratics of Upsala were brought
into their present position during the Recent period, not only
because of their moderate elevation above the sea-level in a
country where the land is now rising every century, but because I
observed signs of a great oscillation of level which had taken
place at Sodertelje, south of Stockholm (about 45 miles distant
from Upsala), after the country had been inhabited by Man. I
described, in the "Philosophical Transactions" for 1835, the
section there laid open in digging a level in 1819, which showed
that a subsidence followed by a re-elevation of land, each movement
amounting to more than 60 feet, had occurred since the time when a
rude hut had been built on the ancient shore. The wooden frame of
the hut, with a ring of hearthstones on the floor, and much
charcoal, were found, and over them marine strata, more than 60
feet thick, containing the dwarf variety of Mytilus edulis, and
other brackish-water shells of the Bothnian Gulf. Some vessels put
together with wooden pegs, of anterior date to the use of metals,
were also embedded in parts of the same marine formation, which has
since been raised, so that the upper beds are more than 60 feet
above the sea-level, the hut being thus restored to about its
original position relatively to the sea.

We have seen in the account of the Danish kitchen-middens of the
Recent period that even at the comparatively late period of their
origin the waters of the Baltic had been rendered more salt than
they are now. The Upsala erratics may belong to nearly the same era
as these. But were we to go back to a long antecedent epoch, or to
that of the Belgian and British caves with their extinct animals,
and the signs they afford of a state of physical geography
departing widely from the present, or to the era of the
implement-bearing alluvium of St. Acheul, we might expect to find
Scandinavia overwhelmed with glaciers, and the country
uninhabitable by Man. At a much remoter period the same country was
in the state in which Greenland now is, overspread with one
uninterrupted coating of continental ice, which has left its
peculiar markings on the highest mountains. This period, probably
anterior to the earliest traces yet brought to light of the human
race, may have coincided with the submergence of England, and the
accumulation of the boulder-clay of Norfolk, Suffolk, and
Bedfordshire, before mentioned. It has already been stated that the
syenite and some other rocks of the Norfolk till seem to have come
from Scandinavia, and there is no era when icebergs are so likely
to have floated them so far south as when the whole of Sweden and
Norway were enveloped in a massive crust of ice; a state of things
the existence of which is deduced from the direction of the glacial
furrows, and their frequent unconformity to the shape of the minor


Professor Agassiz, after his tour in Scotland in 1840, announced
the opinion that erratic blocks had been dispersed from the
Scottish mountains as from an independent centre, and that the
capping of ice had been of extraordinary thickness.* (* Agassiz,
"Proceedings of the Geological Society" 1840 and "Edinburgh
Philosophical Journal" 49 page 79.)

Mr. Robert Chambers, after visiting Norway and Sweden, and
comparing the signs of glacial action observed there with similar
appearances in the Grampians, came to the conclusion that the
Highlands both of Scandinavia and Scotland had once been "moulded
in ice," and that the outward and downward movement and pressure of
the frozen mass had not only smoothed, polished, and scratched the
rocks, but had, in the course of ages, deepened and widened the
valleys, and produced much of that denudation which has commonly
been ascribed exclusively to aqueous action. The glaciation of the
Scotch mountains was traced by him to the height of at least 3000
feet.* (* "Ancient Sea Margins" Edinburgh 1848. Glacial Phenomena
"Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" April 1853 and January 1855.)

Mr. T.F. Jamieson, of Ellon, in Aberdeenshire, has recently brought
forward an additional body of facts in support of this theory.
According to him the Grampians were at the period of extreme cold
enveloped "in one great winding sheet of snow and ice," which
reached everywhere to the coast-line, the land being then more
elevated than it is now. He describes the glacial furrows
sculptured on the solid rocks as pointing in Aberdeenshire to the
south-east, those of the valley of the Forth at Edinburgh, from
west to east, and higher up the same valley at Stirling, from
north-west to south-east, as they should do if the ice had followed
the lines of what is now the principal drainage. The observations
of Sir James Hall, Mr. Maclaren, Mr. Chambers, and Dr. Fleming, are
cited by him in confirmation of this arrangement of the glacial
markings, while in Sutherland and Ross-shire he shows that the
glacial furrows along the north coast point northwards, and in
Argyleshire westwards, always in accordance with the direction of
the principal glens and fjords.

Another argument is also adduced by him in proof of the ice having
exerted its mechanical force in a direction from the higher and
more inland country to the lower region and sea-coast. Isolated
hills and minor prominences of rock are often polished and striated
on the land side, while they remain rough and jagged on the side
fronting the sea. This may be seen both on the east and west coast.
Mention is also made of blocks of granite which have travelled from
south to north in Aberdeenshire, of which there would have been no
examples had the erratics been all brought by floating ice from the
arctic regions when Scotland was submerged. It is also urged
against the doctrine of attributing the general glaciation to
submergence, that the glacial grooves, instead of radiating as they
do from a centre, would, if they had been due to ice coming from
the north, have been parallel to the coast-line, to which they are
now often almost at right angles. The argument, moreover, which
formerly had most weight in favour of floating ice, namely, that it
explained why so many of the stones did not conform to the contour
and direction of the minor hills and valleys, is now brought
forward, and with no small effect, in favour of the doctrine of
continental ice on the Greenlandic scale, which, after levelling up
the lesser inequalities, would occasionally flow in mighty
ice-currents, in directions often at a high angle to the smaller
ridges and glens.

The application to Scandinavia and Scotland of this theory makes it
necessary to reconsider the validity of the proofs formerly relied
on as establishing the submergence of a great part of Scotland
beneath the sea, at some period subsequent to the commencement of
the glacial period. In all cases where marine shells overlie till,
or rest on polished and striated surfaces of rock, the evidence of
the land having been under water, and having been since upheaved,
remains unshaken; but this special proof rarely extends to heights
exceeding 500 feet. In the basin of the Clyde we have already seen
that Recent strata occur 25 feet above the sea-level, with existing
species of marine testacea, and with buried canoes, and other works
of art. At the higher level of 50 feet occurs the well-known raised
beach of the western coast, which, according to Mr. Jamieson,
contains, near Fort William and on Loch Fyne and elsewhere, an
assemblage of shells implying a colder climate than that of the
25-foot terrace, or that of the present sea; just as, in the valley
of the Somme, the higher-level gravels are supposed to belong to a
colder period than the lower ones, and still more decidedly than
that of the present era. At still greater elevations, older beds
containing a still more arctic group of shells have been observed
at Airdrie, 14 miles south-east of Glasgow, 524 feet above the
level of the sea. They were embedded in stratified clays, with the
unstratified boulder till both above and below them, and in the
overlying unstratified drift were some boulders of granite which
must have come from distances of 60 miles at the least.* (* Smith
of Jordanhill, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume
6 1850 page 387.) The presence of Tellina calcarea, and several
other northern shells, implies a climate colder than that of the
present Scottish seas. In the north of Scotland, marine shells have
been found in deposits of the same age in Caithness and in
Aberdeenshire at heights of 250 feet, and on the shores of the
Moray Firth, as at Gamrie in Banff, at an elevation of 350 feet;
and the stratified sands and beds of pebbles which belong to the
same formation ascend still higher--to heights of 500 feet at
least.* (* Prestwich, "Proceedings of the Geological Society"
volume 2 page 545; Jamieson, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological
Society" volume 16 1860.)

At much greater heights, stratified masses of drift occur in which
hitherto no organic remains, whether of marine or freshwater
animals, have ever been found. It is still an undecided question
whether the origin of all such deposits in the Grampians can be
explained without the intervention of the sea. One of the most
conspicuous examples has been described by Mr. Jamieson as resting
on the flank of a hill called Meal Uaine, in Perthshire, on the
east side of the valley of the Tummel, just below Killiecrankie. It
consists of perfectly horizontal strata, the lowest portion of them
300 feet above the river and 600 feet above the sea. From this
elevation to an altitude of nearly 1200 feet the same series of
strata is traceable, continuously, up the slope of the mountain,
and some patches are seen here and there even as high as 1550 feet
above the sea. They are made up in great part of finely laminated
silt, alternating with coarser materials, through which stones from
4 to 5 feet in length are scattered. These large boulders, and some
smaller ones, are polished on one or more sides, and marked with
glacial striae. The subjacent rocks, also, of gneiss, mica slate,
and quartz, are everywhere grooved and polished as if by the
passage of a glacier.* (* Jamieson, "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" volume 16 1860 page 360.)

At one spot a vertical thickness of 130 feet of this series of
strata is exposed to view by a mountain torrent, and in all more
than 2000 layers of clay, sand, and gravel were counted, the whole
evidently accumulated under water. Some beds consist of an
impalpable mud, like putty, apparently derived from the grinding
down of felspar, and resembling the mud produced by the grinding
action of modern glaciers.

Mr. Jamieson, when he first gave an account of this drift,
inferred, in spite of the absence of marine shells, that it implied
the submergence of Scotland beneath the ocean after the
commencement of the glacial period, or after the era of continental
ice indicated by the subjacent floor of polished and grooved rock.
This conclusion would require a submergence of the land as far up
as 1550 feet above the present sea-level, after which a great
re-upheaval must have occurred. But the same author, having lately
revisited the valley of the Tummel, suggests another possible, and
I think probable, explanation of the same phenomena. The stratified
drift in question is situated in a deep depression between two
buttresses of rock, and if an enormous glacier be supposed to have
once filled the valley of the Tummel to the height of the
stratified drift, it may have dammed up the mouth of a mountain
torrent by a transverse barrier, giving rise to a deep pond, in
which beds of clay and sand brought down by the waters of the
torrent were deposited. Charpentier in his work on the Swiss
glaciers has described many such receptacles of stratified matter
now in progress, and due to such blockages, and he has pointed out
the remnants of ancient and similar formations left by extinct
glaciers of an earlier epoch. He specially notices that angular
stones of various dimensions, often polished and striated, which
rest on the glacier and are let fall when the torrent undermines
the side of the moving ice, descend into the small lake and become
interstratified with the gravel and fine sediment brought down by
the torrent into the same.* (* Charpentier, "Essai sur les
Glaciers" page 63 1841.)

The evidence of the former sojourn of the sea upon the land after
the commencement of the glacial period was formerly inferred from
the height to which erratic blocks derived from distant regions
could be traced, besides the want of conformity in the glacial
furrows to the present contours of many of the valleys. Some of
these phenomena may now, as we have seen, be accounted for by
assuming that there was once a crust of ice resembling that now
covering Greenland.

The Grampians in Forfarshire and in Perthshire are from 3000 to
4000 feet high. To the southward lies the broad and deep valley of
Strathmore, and to the south of this again rise the Sidlaw Hills to
the height of 1500 feet and upwards. On the highest summits of this
chain, formed of sandstone and shale, and at various elevations, I
have observed huge angular fragments of mica-schist, some 3 and
others 15 feet in diameter, which have been conveyed for a distance
of at least 15 miles from the nearest Grampian rocks from which
they could have been detached. Others have been left strewed over
the bottom of the large intervening vale of Strathmore.* (*
"Proceedings of the Geological Society" volume 3 page 344.)

It may be argued that the transportation of such blocks may have
been due not to floating ice, but to a period when Strathmore was
filled up with land ice, a current of which extended from the
Perthshire Highlands to the summit of the Sidlaw Hills, and the
total absence of marine or freshwater shells from all deposits,
stratified or unstratified, which have any connection with these
erratics in Forfarshire and Perthshire may be thought to favour
such a theory.

But the same mode of transport can scarcely be imagined for those
fragments of mica-schist, one of them weighing from 8 to 10 tons,
which were observed much farther south by Mr. Maclaren on the
Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, at the height of 1100 feet above
the sea, the nearest mountain composed of this formation being 50
miles distant.* (* Maclaren, "Geology of Fife" etc. page 220.) On
the same hills, also, at all elevations, stratified gravels occur
which, although devoid of shells, it seems hardly possible to refer
to any but a marine origin.

Although I am willing, therefore, to concede that the glaciation of
the Scotch mountains, at elevations exceeding 2000 feet, may be
explained by land ice, it seems difficult not to embrace the
conclusion that a subsidence took place not merely of 500 or 600
feet, as demonstrated by the marine shells, but to a much greater
amount, as shown by the present position of erratics and some
patches of stratified drift. The absence of marine shells at
greater heights than 525 feet above the sea, will be treated of in
a future chapter. It may in part, perhaps, be ascribed to the
action of glaciers, which swept out marine strata from all the
higher valleys, after the re-emergence of the land.


We may next consider the state of Scotland after its emergence from
the glacial sea, when we cannot fail to be approaching the time
when Man co-existed with the mammoth and other mammalia now
extinct. In a paper which I published in 1840, on the ancient
glaciers of Forfarshire, I endeavoured to show that some of these
existed after the mountains and glens had acquired precisely their
present shape,* (* "Proceedings of the Geological Society" volume 3
page 337.) and had left moraines even in the minor valleys, just
where they would now leave them were the snow and ice again to gain
ground. I described also one remarkable transverse mound, evidently
the terminal moraine of a retreating glacier, which crosses the
valley of the South Esk, a few miles above the point where it
issues from the Grampians, and about 6 miles below the Kirktown of
Clova. Its central part, at a place called Glenarm, is 800 feet
above the level of the sea. The valley is about half a mile broad,
and is bounded by steep and lofty mountains, but immediately above
the transverse barrier it expands into a wide alluvial plain,
several miles broad, which has evidently once been a lake. The
barrier itself, about 150 feet high, consists in its lower part of
till with boulders, 50 feet thick, precisely resembling the moraine
of a Swiss glacier, above which there is a mass of stratified sand,
varying in thickness from 50 to 100 feet, which has the appearance
of consisting of the materials of the moraine rearranged in a
stratified form, possibly by the waters of a glacier lake. The
structure of the barrier has been laid open by the Esk, which has
cut through it a deep passage about 400 yards wide.

I have also given an account of another striking feature in the
physical geography of Perthshire and Forfarshire, which I consider
to belong to the same period; namely, a continuous zone of boulder
clay, forming ridges and mounds from 50 to 70 feet high (the upper
part of the mounds usually stratified), enclosing numerous lakes,
some of them several miles long, and many ponds and swamps filled
with shell-marl and peat. This band of till, with Grampian boulders
and associated river-gravel, may be traced continuously for a
distance of 34 miles, with a width of 3 1/2 miles, from near
Dunkeld, by Coupar, to the south of Blairgowrie, then through the
lowest part of Strathmore, and afterwards in a straight line
through the greatest depression in the Sidlaw Hills, from Forfar to
Lunan Bay.

Although no great river now takes its course through this line of
ancient lakes, moraines, and river gravel, yet it evidently marks
an ancient line by which, first, a great glacier descended from the
mountains to the sea, and by which, secondly, at a later period,
the principal water drainage of this country was effected. The
subsequent modification in geography is comparable in amount to
that which has taken place since the higher level gravels of the
valley of the Somme were formed, or since the Belgian caves were
filled with mud and bone-breccia.


Mr. Jamieson has remarked, in reference to this and some other
extinct river-channels of corresponding date, that we have the
means of ascertaining the direction in which the waters flowed by
observing the arrangement of the oval and flattish pebbles in their
deserted channels; for in the bed of a fast-flowing river such
pebbles are seen to dip towards the current, as represented in
Figure 35, such being the position of greatest resistance to the
stream.* (* Jamieson, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society"
volume 16 1860 page 349.) If this be admitted, it follows that the
higher or mountainous country bore the same relation to the lower
lands, at the time when a great river passed through this chain of
lakes, as it does at present.

We also seem to have a test of the comparatively modern origin of
the mounds of till which surround the above-mentioned chain of
lakes (of which that of Forfar is one), in the species of organic
remains contained in the shell-marl deposited at their bottom. All
the mammalia as well as shells are of recent species.
Unfortunately, we have no information as to the fauna which
inhabited the country at the time when the till itself was formed.
There seem to be only three or four instances as yet known in all
Scotland of mammalia having been discovered in boulder clay.

Mr. R. Bald has recorded the circumstances under which a single
elephant's tusk was found in the unstratified drift of the valley
of the Forth, with the minuteness which such a discovery from its
rarity well deserved. He distinguishes the boulder clay, under the
name of "the old alluvial cover," from that more modern alluvium,
in which the whales of Airthrie, described in Chapter 3, were
found. This cover he says is sometimes 160 feet thick. Having never
observed any organic remains in it, he watched with curiosity and
care the digging of the Union Canal between Edinburgh and Falkirk,
which passed for no less than 28 miles almost continuously through
it. Mr. Baird, the engineer who superintended the works, assisted
in the inquiry, and at one place only in this long section did they
meet with a fossil, namely, at Cliftonhall, in the valley of the
Almond. It lay at a depth of between 15 and 20 feet from the
surface, in very stiff clay, and consisted of an elephant's tusk,
39 inches long and 13 in circumference, in so fresh a state that an
ivory turner purchased it and turned part of it into chessmen
before it was rescued from destruction. The remainder is still
preserved in the museum at Edinburgh, but by exposure to the air it
has shrunk considerably.* (* "Memoirs of the Wernerian Society"
Edinburgh volume 4 page 58.) In 1817, two other tusks and some
bones of the elephant, as we learn from the same authority (Mr.
Bald), were met with, 3 1/2 feet long and 13 inches in
circumference, lying in an horizontal position, 17 feet deep in
clay, with marine shells, at Kilmaurs, in Ayrshire. The species of
shells are not given.* (* Ibid. volume 4 page 63.)

In another excavation through the Scotch boulder clay, made in
digging the Clyde and Forth Junction Railway, the antlers of a
reindeer were found at Croftamie, in Dumbartonshire, in the basin
of the river Endrick, which flows into Loch Lomond. They had cut
through 12 feet of till with angular and rounded stones, some of
large size, and then through 6 feet of underlying clay, when they
came upon the deer's horns, 18 feet from the surface, and within a
foot of the sandstone on which the till rested. At the distance of
a few yards, and in the same position, but a foot or two deeper,
were observed marine shells, Cyprina islandica, Astarte elliptica,
A. compressa, Fusus antiquus, Littorina littorea, and a Balanus.
The height above the level of the sea was between 100 and 103 feet.
The reindeer's horn was seen by Professor Owen, who considered it
to be that of a young female of the large variety, called by the
Hudson's Bay trappers the caribou.

The remains of elephants, now in the museums of Glasgow and
Edinburgh, purporting to come from the superficial deposits of
Scotland have been referred to Elephas primigenius. In cases where
tusks alone have been found unaccompanied by molar teeth, such
specific determinations may be uncertain; but if any one specimen
be correctly named, the occurrence of the mammoth and reindeer in
the Scotch boulder-clay, as both these quadrupeds are known to have
been contemporary with Man, favours the idea which I have already
expressed, that the close of the glacial period in the Grampians
may have coincided in time with the existence of Man in those parts
of Europe where the climate was less severe, as, for example, in
the basins of the Thames, Somme, and Seine, in which the bones of
many extinct mammalia are associated with flint implements of the
antique type.


   VV. Hill of Bohuntine.
   VVV. Glen Roy.
   V(inverted)V. Mealderry.
   V. Entrance of Glen Spean
   VV(superscript)V. Point of division between Glens Roy
     and Spean.)

Perhaps no portion of the superficial drift of Scotland can lay
claim to so modern an origin on the score of the freshness of its
aspect, as that which forms what are called the Parallel Roads of
Glen Roy. If they do not belong to the Recent epoch, they are at
least posterior in date to the present outline of mountain and
glen, and to the time when every one of the smaller burns ran in
their present channels, though some of them have since been
slightly deepened. The almost perfect horizontality, moreover, of
the roads, one of which is continuous for about 20 miles from east
to west, and 12 miles from north to south, shows that since the era
of their formation no change has taken place in the relative levels
of different parts of the district.


   A. five miles distant south-west from this point is
     Fort William, where the Lochy joins an arm of the sea,
     called Loch Eil.
   Vertical lines. Cols or watersheds at the heads of the
     glens--once the westward outlet of the lakes.
   Dots. Conspicuous delta deposits as laid down by
     Mr. T.F. Jamieson.)

Glen Roy is situated in the Western Highlands, about 10 miles
east-north-east of Fort William, near the western end of the great
glen of Scotland, or Caledonian Canal, and near the foot of the
highest of the Grampians, Ben Nevis. (See map, Figure 36.)
Throughout nearly its whole length, a distance of more than 10
miles, three parallel roads or shelves are traced along the steep
sides of the mountains, as represented in the annexed view, Plate
2, by the late Sir T. Dick Lauder, each maintaining a perfect
horizontality, and continuing at exactly the same level on the
opposite sides of the glen. Seen at a distance, they appear like
ledges, or roads, cut artificially out of the sides of the hills;
but when we are upon them, we can scarcely recognise their
existence, so uneven is their surface, and so covered with
boulders. They are from 10 to 60 feet broad, and merely differ from
the side of the mountain by being somewhat less steep.

On closer inspection, we find that these terraces are stratified in
the ordinary manner of alluvial or littoral deposits, as may be
seen at those points where ravines have been excavated by torrents.
The parallel shelves, therefore, have not been caused by
denudation, but by the deposition of detritus, precisely similar to
that which is dispersed in smaller quantities over the declivities
of the hills above. These hills consist of clay-slate, mica schist,
and granite, which rocks have been worn away and laid bare at a few
points immediately above the parallel roads. The lowest of these
roads is about 850 feet above the level of the sea, the next about
212 feet higher, and the third 82 feet above the second. There is a
fourth shelf, which occurs only in a contiguous valley called Glen
Gluoy, which is 12 feet above the highest of all the Glen Roy
roads, and consequently about 1156 feet above the level of the sea.
* (* Another detached shelf also occurs at Kilfinnan. (See Map,
Figure 36.)) One only, the lowest of the three roads of Glen Roy,
is continued throughout Glen Spean, a large valley with which Glen
Roy unites. (See Plate 2 and map, Figure 36.) As the shelves,
having no slope towards the sea like ordinary river terraces, are
always at the same absolute height, they become continually more
elevated above the river in proportion as we descend each valley;
and they at length terminate very abruptly, without any obvious
cause, or any change either in the shape of the ground or in the
composition or hardness of the rocks.

I should exceed the limits of this work, were I to attempt to give
a full description of all the geographical circumstances attending
these singular terraces, or to discuss the ingenious theories which
have been severally proposed to account for them by Dr. Macculloch,
Sir T. Lauder, and Messrs. Darwin, Agassiz, Milne, and Chambers.
There is one point, however, on which all are agreed, namely, that
these shelves are ancient beaches, or littoral formations,
accumulated round the edges of one or more sheets of water which
once stood for a long time successively at the level of the several


   AB. Supposed original surface of rock.
   CD. Roads or shelves in the outer alluvial covering of the hill.)

It is well known, that wherever a lake or marine fjord exists
surrounded by steep mountains subject to disintegration by frost or
the action of torrents, some loose matter is washed down annually,
especially during the melting of snow, and a check is given to the
descent of this detritus at the point where it reaches the waters
of the lake. The waves then spread out the materials along the
shore, and throw some of them upon the beach; their dispersing
power being aided by the ice, which often adheres to pebbles during
the winter months, and gives buoyancy to them. The annexed diagram
(Figure 37) illustrates the manner in which Dr. MacCulloch and Mr.
Darwin suppose "the roads" to constitute mere excrescences of the
superficial alluvial coating which rests upon the hillside, and
consists chiefly of clay and sharp unrounded stones.

Among other proofs that the parallel roads have really been formed
along the margin of a sheet of water, it may be mentioned, that
wherever an isolated hill rises in the middle of the glen above the
level of any particular shelf, as in Mealderry, Plate 2, a
corresponding shelf is seen at the same level passing round the
hill, as would have happened if it had once formed an island in a
lake or fjord. Another very remarkable peculiarity in these
terraces is this; each of them comes in some portion of its course
to a col, or parting ridge, between the heads of glens, the
explanation of which will be considered in the sequel.

Those writers who first advocated the doctrine that the roads were
the ancient beaches of freshwater lakes, were unable to offer any
probable hypothesis respecting the formation and subsequent removal
of barriers of sufficient height and solidity to dam up the water.
To introduce any violent convulsion for their removal was
inconsistent with the uninterrupted horizontality of the roads, and
with the undisturbed aspect of those parts of the glens where the
shelves come suddenly to an end.

Mr. Agassiz and Dr. Buckland, desirous, like the defenders of the
lake theory, to account for the limitation of the shelves to
certain glens, and their absence in contiguous glens, where the
rocks are of the same composition, and the slope and inclination of
the ground very similar, first started the theory that these
valleys were once blocked up by enormous glaciers descending from
Ben Nevis, giving rise to what are called, in Switzerland and in
the Tyrol, glacier-lakes. In corroboration of this view, they
contended that the alluvium of Glen Roy, as well as of other parts
of Scotland, agrees in character with the moraines of glaciers seen
in the Alpine valleys of Switzerland. It will readily be conceded
that this hypothesis was preferable to any previous lacustrine
theory, by accounting more easily for the temporary existence and
entire disappearance of lofty transverse barriers, although the
height required for the supposed dams of ice appeared very

Before the idea of glacier-lakes had been suggested by Agassiz, Mr.
Darwin examined Glen Roy, and came to the opinion that the shelves
were formed when the glens were still arms of the sea, and,
consequently, that there never were any seaward barriers. According
to him, the land emerged during a slow and uniform upward movement,
like that now experienced throughout a large part of Sweden and
Finland; but there were certain pauses in the upheaving process, at
which times the waters of the sea remained stationary for so many
centuries as to allow of the accumulation of an extraordinary
quantity of detrital matter, and the excavation, at many points
immediately above the sea-level, of deep notches and bare cliffs in
the hard and solid rock.

This theory I adopted in 1841 ("Elements," 2nd edition), as
appearing to me less objectionable than any other then proposed.
The phenomena most difficult to reconcile with it are, first, the
abrupt cessation of the roads at certain points in the different
glens; secondly, their unequal number in different valleys
connecting with each other, there being three, for example, in Glen
Roy, and only one in Glen Spean; thirdly, the precise horizontality
of level maintained by the same shelf over a space many leagues in
length, requiring us to assume, that during a rise of 1156 feet no
one portion of the land was raised even a few yards above another;
fourthly, the coincidence of level already alluded to of each shelf
with a col, or the point forming the head of two glens, from which
the rain-waters flow in opposite directions. This last-mentioned
feature in the physical geography of Lochaber Mr. Darwin
endeavoured to explain in the following manner. He called these
cols "land-straits," and regarding them as having been anciently
sounds or channels between islands, he pointed out that there is a
tendency in such sounds to be silted up, and always the more so in
proportion to their narrowness. In a chart of the Falkland Islands,
by Captain Sulivan, R.N., it appears that there are several
examples there of straits where the soundings diminish regularly
towards the narrowest part. One is so nearly dry that it can be
walked over at low water, and another, no longer covered by the
sea, is supposed to have recently dried up in consequence of a
small alteration in the relative level of sea and land. "Similar
straits," observes Mr. Chambers, "hovering, in character, between
sea and land, and which may be called fords, are met with in the
Hebrides. Such, for example, is the passage dividing the islands of
Lewis and Harris, and that between North Uist and Benbecula, both
of which would undoubtedly appear as cols, coinciding with a
terrace or raised beach, all round the islands if the sea were to
subside."* (* R. Chambers, "Ancient Sea Margins" page 114.)

The first of the difficulties above alluded to, namely, the
non-extension of the shelves over certain parts of the glens, might
be explained, said Mr. Darwin, by supposing in certain places a
quick growth of green turf on a good soil, which prevented the rain
from washing away any loose materials lying on the surface. But
wherever the soil was barren, and where green sward took long to
form, there may have been time for the removal of the gravel. In
one case an intermediate shelf appears for a short distance (three
quarters of a mile) on the face of the mountain called Tombhran,
between the two upper shelves, and is seen nowhere else. It occurs
where there was the longest space of open water, and where the
waves may have acquired a more than ordinary power to heap up

The unequal number of the shelves in valleys communicating with
each other, and in which the boundary rocks are similar in
composition, and the general absence of any shelves at
corresponding altitudes in glens on the opposite watershed, like
that of the Spey, and in valleys where the waters flow eastward,
are difficulties attending the marine theory which have never yet
been got over. Mr. T.F. Jamieson, before cited, has, during a late
visit to Lochaber, in 1861, observed many facts highly confirmatory
of the hypothesis of glacier-lakes which, as I have already stated,
was originally advanced by Mr. Agassiz. In the first place, he
found much superficial scoring and polishing of rocks, and
accumulation of boulders at those points where signs of glacial
action ought to appear, if ice had once dammed up the waters of the
glens in which the "roads" occur. Ben Nevis may have sent down its
glaciers from the south, and Glen Arkaig from the north, for the
mountains at the head of the last-mentioned glen are 3000 feet
high, and may, together with other tributary glens, have helped to
choke up the great Caledonian valley with ice, so as to block up
for a time the mouths of the Spean, Roy, and Gluoy. The temporary
conversion of these glens into glacier-lakes is the more
conceivable, because the hills at their upper ends not being lofty
nor of great extent, they may not have been filled with ice at a
time when great glaciers were generated in other adjoining and much
higher regions.

Secondly. The shelves, says Mr. Jamieson, are more precisely
defined and unbroken than any of the raised beaches or acknowledged
ancient coast-lines visible on the west of Scotland, as in
Argyllshire, for example.

Thirdly. At the level of the lower shelf in Glen Roy, at points
where torrents now cut channels through the shelf as they descend
the hill-side, there are small delta-like extensions of the shelf,
perfectly preserved, as if the materials, whether fine or coarse,
had originally settled there in a placid lake, and had not been
acted upon by tidal currents, mingling them with the sediment of
other streams. These deltas are too entire to allow us to suppose
that they have at any time since their origin been exposed to the
waves of the sea.

Fourthly. The alluvium on the cols or watersheds, before alluded
to, is such as would have been formed if the waters of the rivers
had been made to flow east, or out of the upper ends of the
supposed glacier-lakes, instead of escaping at the lower ends, in a
westerly direction, where the great blockages of ice are assumed to
have occurred.

In addition to these arguments of Mr. Jamieson, I may mention that
in Switzerland, at present, no testacea live in the cold waters of
glacier-lakes; so that the entire absence of fossil shells, whether
marine or freshwater, in the stratified materials of each shelf,
would be accounted for if the theory above mentioned be embraced.

When I examined "the parallel roads" in 1825, in company with Dr.
Buckland, neither this glacier theory nor Mr. Darwin's suggestion
of ancient sea-margins had been proposed, and I have never since
revisited Lochaber. But I retain in my memory a vivid recollection
of the scenery and physical features of the district, and I now
consider the glacier-lake theory as affording by far the most
satisfactory solution of this difficult problem. The objection to
it, which until lately appeared to be the most formidable, and
which led Mr. Robert Chambers in his "Sea Margins," to reject it
entirely, was the difficulty of conceiving how the waters could be
made to stand so high in Glen Roy as to allow the uppermost shelf
to be formed. Grant a barrier of ice in the lower part of the glen
of sufficient altitude to stop the waters from flowing westward,
still, what prevented them from escaping over the col at the head
of Glen Glaster? This col coincides exactly in level, as Mr. Milne
Home first ascertained, with the second or middle shelf of Glen
Roy. The difficulty here stated appears now to be removed by
supposing that the higher lines or roads were formed before the
lower ones, and when the quantity of ice was most in excess. We
must imagine that at the time when the uppermost shelf of Glen Roy
was forming in a shallow lake, the lower part of that glen was
filled up with ice, and, according to Mr. Jamieson, a glacier from
Loch Treig then protruded itself across Glen Spean and rested on
the flank of the hill on the opposite side in such a manner as
effectually to prevent any water from escaping over the Glen
Glaster col. The proofs of such a glacier having actually existed
at the point in question consist, he says, in numerous cross striae
observable in the bottom of Glen Spean, and in the presence of
moraine matter in considerable abundance on the flanks of the hill
extending to heights above the Glen Glaster col. When the ice
shrank into less dimensions the second shelf would be formed,
having its level determined by the col last mentioned, Glen Spean
in the meantime being filled with a glacier. Finally, the ice
blockage common to glens Roy, Spean, and Laggan, which consisted
probably of a glacier from Ben Nevis, gave rise to the lowest and
most extensive lake, the waters of which escaped over the pass of
Muckul or the col at the head of Loch Laggan, which, as Mr.
Jamieson has now ascertained: agrees precisely in level with the
lowest of all the shelves, and where there are unequivocal signs of
a river having flowed out for a considerable period.

Dr. Hooker has described some parallel terraces, very analogous in
their aspect to those of Glen Roy, as existing in the higher
valleys of the Himalaya, of which his pencil has given us several
graphic illustrations. He believes these Indian shelves to have
originated on the borders of glacier-lakes, the barriers of which
were usually formed by the ice and moraines of lateral or tributary
glaciers, which descended into and crossed the main valley, as we
have supposed in the case of Glen Roy; but others he ascribes to
the terminal moraine of the principal glacier itself, which had
retreated during a series of milder seasons, so as to leave an
interval between the ice and the terminal moraine. This interspace
caused by the melting of ice becomes filled with water and forms a
lake, the drainage of which usually takes place by percolation
through the porous parts of the moraine, and not by a stream
overflowing that barrier. Such a glacier-lake Dr. Hooker actually
found in existence near the head of the Yangma valley in the
Himalaya. It was moreover partially bounded by recently formed
marginal terraces or parallel roads, implying changes of level in
the barrier of ice and moraine matter.* (* Hooker, "Himalayan
Journal" volume 1 page 242; 2 pages 119, 121, 166. I have also
profited by the author's personal explanations.)

It has been sometimes objected to the hypothesis of glacier-lakes,
as applied to the case of Glen Roy, that the shelves must have
taken a very long period for their formation. Such a lapse of time,
it is said, might be consistent with the theory of pauses or
stationary periods in the rise of the land during an intermittent
upward movement, but it is hardly compatible with the idea of so
precarious and fluctuating a barrier as a mass of ice. But the
reader will have seen that the permanency of level in such
glacier-lakes has no necessary connection with minor changes in the
height of the supposed dam of ice. If a glacier descending from
higher mountains through a tributary glen enters the main valley in
which there happens to be no glacier, the river is arrested in its
course and a lake is formed. The dam may be constantly repaired and
may vary in height several hundreds of feet without affecting the
level of the lake, so long as the surplus waters escape over a col
or parting ridge of rock. The height at which the waters remain
stationary is determined solely by the elevation of the col, and
not by the barrier of ice, provided the barrier is higher than the

But if we embrace the theory of glacier-lakes, we must be prepared
to assume not only that the sea had nothing to do with the original
formation of the "parallel roads," but that it has never, since the
disappearance of the lakes, risen in any one of the glens up to the
level of the lowest shelf, which is about 850 feet high; for in
that case the remarkable persistency and integrity of the roads and
deltas, before described, must have been impaired.

We have seen that 50 miles to the south of Lochaber, the glacier
formations of Lanarkshire with marine shells of arctic character
have been traced to the height of 524 feet. About 50 miles to the
south-east in Perthshire are those stratified clays and sands, near
Killiecrankie, which were once supposed to be of submarine origin,
and which in that case would imply the former submergence of what
is now dry land to the extent of 1550 feet, or several hundred feet
beyond the highest of the parallel roads. Even granting that these
laminated drifts may have had a different origin, as above
suggested, there are still many facts connected with the
distribution of erratics and the striation of rocks in Scotland
which are not easily accounted for without supposing the country to
have sunk, since the era of continental ice, to a greater depth
than 525 feet, the highest point to which marine shells have yet
been traced.

After what was said of the pressure and abrading power of a general
crust of ice, like that now covering Greenland, it is almost
superfluous to say that the parallel roads must have been of later
date than such a state of things, for every trace of them must have
been obliterated by the movement of such a mass of ice. It is no
less clear that as no glacier-lakes can now exist in Greenland
[Note 26], so there could have been none in Scotland, when the
mountains were covered with one great crust of ice. It may,
however, be contended that the parallel roads were produced when
the general crust of ice first gave place to a period of separate
glaciers, and that no period of deep submergence ever intervened in
Lochaber after the time of the lakes. Even in that case, however,
it is difficult not to suppose that the Glen Roy country
participated in the downward movement which sank part of
Lanarkshire 525 feet beneath the sea, subsequently to the first
great glaciation of Scotland. Yet that amount of subsidence might
have occurred, and even a more considerable one, without causing
the sea to rise to the level of the lowest shelf, or to a height of
850 feet above the present sea-level.

This is a question on which I am not prepared at present to offer a
decided opinion.

Whether the horizontality of the shelves or terrace-lines is really
as perfect as has been generally assumed is a point which will
require to be tested by a more accurate trigonometrical survey than
has yet been made. The preservation of precisely the same level in
the lowest line throughout the glens of Roy, Spean, and Laggan, for
a distance of 20 miles east and west, and 10 or 12 miles north and
south, would be very wonderful if ascertained with mathematical
precision. Mr. Jamieson, after making in 1862 several measurements
with a spirit-level, has been led to suspect a rise in the lowest
shelf of one foot in a mile in a direction from west to east, or
from the mouth of Glen Roy to a point 6 miles east of it in Glen
Spean. To confirm such observations, and to determine whether a
similar rate of rise continues eastward, as far as the pass of
Muckul, would be most important.

On the whole, I conclude that the Glen Roy terrace-lines and those
of some neighbouring valleys, were formed on the borders of
glacier-lakes, in times long subsequent to the principal glaciation
of Scotland. They may perhaps have been nearly as late, especially
the lowest of the shelves, as that portion of the Pleistocene
period in which Man co-existed in Europe with the mammoth.



Signs of extinct Glaciers in Wales.
Great Submergence of Wales during the Glacial Period proved by
   Marine Shells.
Still greater Depression inferred from Stratified Drift.
Scarcity of Organic Remains in Glacial Formations.
Signs of extinct Glaciers in England.
Ice Action in Ireland.
Maps illustrating successive Revolutions in Physical Geography
   during the Pleistocene Period.
Southernmost Extent of Erratics in England.
Successive Periods of Junction and Separation of England, Ireland,
   and the Continent.
Time required for these Changes.
Probable Causes of the Upheaval and Subsidence of the Earth's Crust.
Antiquity of Man considered in relation to the Age of the existing
   Fauna and Flora.


The considerable amount of vertical movement in opposite
directions, which was suggested in the last chapter, as affording
the most probable explanation of the position of some of the
stratified and fossiliferous drifts of Scotland, formed since the
commencement of the glacial period, will appear less startling if
it can be shown that independent observations lead us to infer that
a geographical revolution of still greater magnitude accompanied
the successive phases of glaciation through which the Welsh
mountains have passed.

That Wales was once an independent centre of the dispersion of
erratic blocks has long been acknowledged. Dr. Buckland published
in 1842 his reasons for believing that the Snowdonian mountains in
Caernarvonshire were formerly covered with glaciers, which radiated
from the central heights through the seven principal valleys of
that chain, where striae and flutings are seen on the polished
rocks directed towards as many different points of the compass. He
also described the "moraines" of the ancient glaciers, and the
rounded masses of polished rock, called in Switzerland "roches
moutonnees." His views respecting the old extinct glaciers of North
Wales were subsequently confirmed by Mr. Darwin, who attributed the
transport of many of the larger erratic blocks to floating ice.
Much of the Welsh glacial drift had already been shown by Mr.
Trimmer to have had a submarine origin, and Mr. Darwin maintained
that when the land rose again to nearly its present height,
glaciers filled the valleys, and "swept them clean of all the
rubbish left by the sea."* (* "Philosophical Magazine" series 3
volume 21 page 180.)

Professor Ramsay, in a paper read to the Geological Society in
1851, and in a later work on the glaciation of North Wales,
described three successive glacial periods, during the first of
which the land was much higher than it now is, and the quantity of
ice excessive; secondly, a period of submergence when the land was
2300 feet lower than at present, and when the higher mountain tops
only stood out of the sea as a cluster of low islands, which
nevertheless were covered with snow; and lastly, a third period
when the marine boulder drift formed in the middle period was
ploughed out of the larger valleys by a second set of glaciers,
smaller than those of the first period. This last stage of
glaciation may have coincided with that of the parallel roads of
Glen Roy, spoken of in the last chapter. In Wales it was certainly
preceded by submergence, and the rocks had been exposed to glacial
polishing and friction before they sank.

Fortunately the evidence of the sojourn of the Welsh mountains
beneath the waters of the sea is not deficient, as in Scotland, in
that complete demonstration which the presence of marine shells
affords. The late Mr. Trimmer discovered such shells on Moel
Tryfan, in North Wales, in drift elevated more than 1300 feet above
the level of the sea. It appears from his observations, and those
of the late Edward Forbes, corroborated by others of Professor
Ramsay and Mr. Prestwich, that about twelve species of shells,
including Fusus bamfius, F. antiquus, Venus striatula (Forbes and
Hanley), have been met with at heights of between 1000 and 1400
feet, in drift, reposing on a surface of rock which had been
previously exposed to glacial friction and striation.* (* Ramsay,
"Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 8 1852 page
372.) The shells, as a whole, are those of the glacial period, and
not of the Norwich Crag. Two localities of these shells in Wales,
in addition to that first pointed out by Mr. Trimmer, have since
been observed by Professor Ramsay, who, however, is of opinion that
the amount of submergence can by no means be limited to the extreme
height to which the shells happen to have been traced; for drift of
the same character as that of Moel Tryfan extends continuously to
the height of 2300 feet. [Note 27.]


The general dearth of shells in such formations, below as well as
above the level at which Mr. Trimmer first found them, deserves
notice. Whether we can explain it or not, it is a negative
character which seems to belong very generally to deposits formed
in glacial seas. The porous nature of the strata, and the length of
time during which they have been permeated by rain-water, may
partly account, as we hinted in a former chapter, for the
destruction of organic remains. But it is also possible that they
were originally scarce, for we read of the waters of the sea being
so freshened and chilled by the melting of ice-bergs in some
Norwegian and Icelandic fjords, that the fish are driven away, and
all the mollusca killed. The moraines of glaciers are always from
the first devoid of shells, and if transported by ice-bergs to a
distance, and deposited where the ice melts, may continue as barren
of every indication of life as they were when they originated.

Nevertheless, it may be said, on the other hand, that herds of
seals and walruses crowd the floating ice of Spitzbergen in
latitude 80 degrees north, of which Mr. Lamont has recently given
us a lively picture,* (* "Seasons with the Sea-Horses" 1861.) and
huge whales fatten on myriads of pteropods in polar regions. It had
been suggested that the bottom of the sea, at the era of extreme
submergence in Scotland and Wales, was so deep as to reach the zero
of animal life, which, in part of the Mediterranean (the Aegean,
for example), the late Edward Forbes fixed, after a long series of
dredgings, at 300 fathoms. But the shells of the glacial drift of
Scotland and Wales, when they do occur, are not always those of
deep seas; and, moreover, our faith in the uninhabitable state of
the ocean at great depths has been rudely shaken, by the recent
discovery of Captain McClintock and Dr. Wallich, of starfish in
water more than a thousand fathoms deep (7560 feet!), midway
between Greenland and Iceland. That these radiata were really
dredged up from the bottom, and that they had been living and
feeding there, appeared from the fact that their stomachs were full
of Globigerina, of which foraminiferous creatures, both living and
dead, the oozy bed of the ocean at that vast depth was found to be
exclusively composed. [Note 28.]

Whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain, that over large
areas in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I might add throughout the
northern hemisphere on both sides of the Atlantic, the stratified
drift of the glacial period is very commonly devoid of fossils, in
spite of the occurrence here and there, at the height of 500, 700,
and even 1400 feet, of marine shells. These, when met with, belong,
with few exceptions, to known living species. I am therefore unable
to agree with Mr. Kjerulf that the amount of former submergence can
be measured by the extreme height at which shells happen to have
been found.


   (* "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" volume 11 Plate 1 page 31

The mountains of Cumberland and Westmorland, and the English lake
district, afford equally unequivocal vestiges of ice-action not
only in the form of polished and grooved surfaces, but also of
those rounded bosses before mentioned as being so abundant in the
Alpine valleys of Switzerland, where glaciers exist, or have
existed. Mr. Hall has lately published a faithful account of these
phenomena, and has given a representation of some of the English
"roches moutonnees," which precisely resemble hundreds of
dome-shaped protuberances in North Wales, Sweden, and North
America.* (* Hull, "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" July 1860.

The marks of glaciation on the rocks, and the transportation of
erratics from Cumberland to the eastward, have been traced by
Professor Phillips over a large part of Yorkshire, extending to a
height of 1500 feet above the sea; and similar northern drift has
been observed in Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire,
Staffordshire, and Worcestershire. It is rare to find marine
shells, except at heights of 200 or 300 feet; but a few instances
of their occurrence have been noticed, especially of Turritella
communis (a gregarious shell), far in the interior, at elevations
of 500 feet, and even of 700 in Derbyshire, and some adjacent
counties, as I learn from Mr. Binney and Mr. Prestwich.

Such instances are of no small theoretical interest, as enabling us
to account for the scattering of large erratic blocks at equal or
much greater elevations, over a large part of the northern and
midland counties, such as could only have been conveyed to their
present sites by floating ice. Of this nature, among others, is a
remarkable angular block of syenitic greenstone, 4 1/2 feet by 4
feet square, and 2 feet thick, which Mr. Darwin describes as lying
on the summit of Ashley Heath, in Staffordshire, 803 feet above the
sea, resting on New Red Sandstone.* (* Ancient Glaciers of
Caernarvonshire, "Philosophical Magazine" series 3, 21 page 180.)


In Ireland we encounter the same difficulty as in Scotland in
determining how much of the glaciation of the higher mountains
should be referred to land glaciers, and how much to floating ice,
during submergence. The signs of glacial action have been traced by
Professor Jukes to elevations of 2500 feet in the Killarney
district, and to great heights in other mountainous regions; but
marine shells have rarely been met with higher than 600 feet above
the sea, and that chiefly in gravel, clay, and sand in Wicklow and
Wexford. They are so rare in the drift east of the Wicklow
mountains, that an exception to the rule, lately observed at
Ballymore Eustace, by Professor Jukes, is considered as a fact of
no small geological interest. The wide extent of drift of the same
character, spread over large areas in Ireland, shows that the whole
island was, in some part of the glacial period, an archipelago, as
represented in the maps, Figures 39 and 40.

Speaking of the Wexford drift, the late Professor E. Forbes states
that Sir H. James found in it, together with many of the usual
glacial shells, several species which are characteristic of the
Crag; among others the reversed variety of Fusus antiquus, called
F. contrarius, and the extinct species Nucula Cobboldiae, and
Turritella incrassata. Perhaps a portion of this drift of the south
of Ireland may belong to the close of the Pliocene period, and may
be of a somewhat older date than the shells of the Clyde, alluded
to in Chapter 13. They may also correspond still more nearly in age
with the fauna of the uppermost strata of the Norwich Crag,
occurring at Chillesford. [Note 29.]

The scarcity of mammalian remains in the Irish drift favours the
theory of its marine origin. In the superficial deposits of the
whole island, I have only met with three recorded examples of the
mammoth, one in the south near Dungarvan, where the bones of
Elephas primigenius, two species of bear (Ursus arctos and Ursus
spelaeus ?), the reindeer, horse, etc., were found in a cave;* (*
E. Brenan and Dr. Carte, Dublin 1859.) another in the centre of the
island near Belturbet, in the county of Cavan.

Perhaps the conversion into land of the bed of the glacial sea, and
the immigration into the newly upheaved region of the elephant,
rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, which co-existed with the fabricators
of the St. Acheul flint hatchets, were events which preceded in
time the elevation of the Irish drift, and the union of that island
with England. Ireland may have continued for a longer time in the
state of an archipelago, and was therefore for a much shorter time
inhabited by the large extinct Pleistocene pachyderms.

In one of the reports of the Geological Survey of Ireland,
published in 1859, Professor Jukes, in explanation of sheet 184 of
the maps, alludes to beds of sand and gravel, and signs of the
polishing and furrowing of the rocks in the counties of Kerry and
Killarney, as high as 2500 feet above the sea, and supposes
(perhaps with good reason) that the land was depressed even to that
extent. He observes that above that elevation (2500 feet) the rocks
are rough, and not smoothed, as if by ice. Some of the drift was
traced as high as 1500 feet, the highest hills there exceeding 3400
feet. Mr. Jukes, however, is by no means inclined to insist on
submergence to the extent of 2500 feet, as he is aware that ice,
like that now prevailing in Greenland, might explain most, if not
all, the appearances of glaciation in the highest regions.

Although the course taken by the Irish erratics in general is such
that their transportation seems to have been due to floating ice or
coast-ice, yet some granite blocks have travelled from south to
north, as recorded by Sir R. Griffiths, namely, those of the Ox
Mountains in Sligo; a fact from which Mr. Jamieson infers that
those mountains formed at one time a centre of dispersion. In the
same part of Ireland, the general direction in which the boulders
have travelled is everywhere from north-west to south-east, a
course directly at right angles to the prevailing trend of the
present mountain ridges.



    The submergence of Scotland is to the extent of 2000 feet,
    and of other parts of the British Isles, 1300.
    In the map, the dark shade expresses the land which alone
    remained above water. The area shaded by diagonal lines is
    that which cannot be shown to have been under water at the
    period of floating ice by the evidence of erratics, or by
    marine shells of northern species. How far the several parts
    of the submerged area were simultaneously or successively laid
    under water, in the course of the glacial period, cannot, in
    the present state of our knowledge, be determined.)


   The authorities to whom I am indebted for the information
      contained in this map are--for:

    A. Geikie, Esquire, F.G.S., and T.F. Jamieson, Esquire,
     of Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

    For the counties of:
     Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Durham: Colonel Sir Henry James, R.E.
     Dorsetshire, Hampshire, and Isle of Wight: H.W. Bristow, Esquire.
     Gloucestershire, Somersetshire, and part of Devon: R. Etheridge,
     Kent and Sussex: Frederick Drew, Esquire.
     Isle of Man: W. Whitaker, Esquire.

     Reduced from a contour map constructed by Lieutenant Larcom,
        R.E., in 1837, for the Railway Commissioners.)

   OF 600 FEET.

    The darker shade expresses what is now land, the lighter shade
      the space intervening between the present coastline and the
      100 fathom line, which would be converted by such a movement
      into land.
    The original of this map will be found in Sir H. de la Beche's
      "Theoretical Researches" page 190, 1834, but several important
      corrections have been introduced into it from recently
      published Admiralty Surveys, especially:
       1st. A deep channel passing from the North Sea into the
        entrance of the Baltic.
       2nd. The more limited westerly extension of the West Coast
        of Ireland.)

The late Mr. Trimmer, before referred to, has endeavoured to assist
our speculations as to the successive revolutions in physical
geography, through which the British Islands have passed since the
commencement of the glacial period, by four "sketch maps" as he
termed them, in the first of which he gave an ideal restoration of
the original Continental period, called by him the first
elephantine period, or that of the forest of Cromer, before
described. He was not aware that the prevailing elephant of that
era (E. meridionalis) was distinct from the mammoth. At this era he
conceived Ireland and England to have been united with each other
and with France, but much of the area represented as land in the
map, Figure 41, was supposed to be under water. His second map, of
the great submergence of the glacial period, was not essentially
different from our map, Figure 39. His third map expressed a period
of partial re-elevation, when Ireland was reunited to Scotland and
the north of England; but England still separated from France. This
restoration appears to me to rest on insufficient data, being
constructed to suit the supposed area over which the gigantic Irish
deer, or Megaceros, migrated from east to west, also to explain an
assumed submergence of the district called the Weald, in the
south-east of England, which had remained land during the grand
glacial submergence.

The fourth map is a return to nearly the same continental
conditions as the first--Ireland, England, and the Continent being
united. This he called the second elephantine period; and it would
coincide very closely with that part of the Pleistocene era in
which Man co-existed with the mammoth, and when, according to Mr.
Trimmer's hypothesis previously indicated by Mr. Godwin-Austen, the
Thames was a tributary of the Rhine.* (* Joshua Trimmer, "Quarterly
Journal of the Geological Society" volume 9 1853, Plate 13, and
Godwin-Austen, ibid. volume 7 1851 page 134 and Plate 7.)

These geographical speculations were indulged in ten years after
Edward Forbes had published his bold generalisations on the
geological changes which accompanied the successive establishment
of the Scandinavian, Germanic, and other living floras and faunas
in the British Islands, and, like the theories of his predecessor,
were the results of much reflection on a vast body of geological
facts. It is by repeated efforts of this kind, made by geologists
who are prepared for the partial failure of some of their first
attempts, that we shall ultimately arrive at a knowledge of the
long series of geographical revolutions which have followed each
other since the beginning of the Pleistocene period.

The map, Figure 39, will give some idea of the great extent of land
which would be submerged, were we to infer, as many geologists have
done, from the joint evidence of marine shells, erratics, glacial
striae and stratified drift at great heights, that Scotland was,
during part of the glacial period, 2000 feet below its present
level, and other parts of the British Isles, 1300 feet. A
subsidence to this amount can be demonstrated in the case of North
Wales by marine shells. In the lake district of Cumberland, in
Yorkshire, and in Ireland, we must depend on proofs derived from
glacial striae and the transportation of erratics for so much of
the supposed submergence as exceeds 600 feet. As to central
England, or the country north of the Thames and Bristol Channel,
marine shells of the glacial period sometimes reach as high as 600
and 700 feet, and erratics still higher, as we have seen above. But
this region is of such moderate elevation above the sea, that it
would be almost equally laid under water, were there a sinking of
no more than 600 feet.

To make this last proposition clear, I have constructed, from
numerous documents, many of them unpublished, the map, Figure 40,
which shows how that small amount of subsidence would reduce the
whole of the British Isles to an archipelago of very small islands,
with the exception of parts of Scotland, and the north of England
and Wales, where four islands of considerable dimensions would
still remain.

The map does not indicate a state of things supposed to have
prevailed at any one moment of the past, because the district south
of the Thames and the Bristol Channel seems to have remained land
during the whole of the glacial period, at a time when the northern
area was under water. The map simply represents the effects of a
downward movement of a hundred fathoms, or 600 English feet,
assumed to be uniform over the whole of the British Isles. It shows
the very different state of the physical geography of the area in
question, when contrasted with the results of an opposite movement,
or one of upheaval, to an equal amount, of which Sir Henry de la
Beche had already given us a picture, in his excellent treatise
called "Theoretical Researches."* (* Also repeated in De la Beche's
"Geological Observer.") His map I have borrowed (Figure 41), after
making some important corrections in it.

If we are surprised when looking at the first map, Figure 40, at
the vast expanse of sea which so moderate a subsidence as 600 feet
would cause, we shall probably be still more astonished to
perceive, in Figure 41, that a rise of the same number of feet
would unite all the British Isles, including the Hebrides, Orkneys,
and Shetlands, with one another and the Continent, and lay dry the
sea now separating Great Britain from Sweden and Denmark.

It appears from soundings made during various Admiralty surveys,
that the gained land thus brought above the level of the sea,
instead of presenting a system of hills and valleys corresponding
with those usually characterising the interior of most of our
island, would form a nearly level terrace, or gently inclined
plane, sloping outwards like those terraces of denudation and
deposition which I have elsewhere described as occurring on the
coasts of Sicily and the Morea.* (* "Manual of Geology" page 74.)

It seems that, during former and perhaps repeated oscillations of
level undergone by the British Isles, the sea has had time to cut
back the cliffs for miles in many places, while in others the
detritus derived from wasting cliffs drifted along the shores,
together with the sediment brought down by rivers and swept by
currents into submarine valleys, has exerted a levelling power,
filling up such depressions as may have pre-existed. Owing to this
twofold action few marked inequalities of level have been left on
the sea-bottom, the "silver-pits" off the mouth of the Humber
offering a rare exception to the general rule, and even there the
narrow depression is less than 300 feet in depth.

Beyond the 100 fathom line, the submarine slope surrounding the
British coast is so much steeper that a second elevation of equal
amount (or of 600 feet) would add but slightly to the area of
gained land; in other words, the 100 and 200 fathom lines run very
near each other.* (* De la Beche, "Geological Researches" page 191.

The naturalist would have been entitled to assume the former union,
within the Pleistocene period, of all the British Isles with each
other and with the Continent, as expressed in the map, Figure 41,
even if there had been no geological facts in favour of such a
junction. For in no other way would he be able to account for the
identity of the fauna and flora found throughout these lands. Had
they been separated ever since the Miocene period, like Madeira,
Porto Santo, and the Desertas, constituting the small Madeiran
Archipelago, we might have expected to discover a difference in the
species of land-shells, not only when Ireland was compared to
England, but when different islands of the Hebrides were contrasted
one with another, and each of them with England. It would not,
however, be necessary, in order to effect the complete fusion of
the animals and plants which we witness, to assume that all parts
of the area formed continuous land at one and the same moment of
time, but merely that the several portions were so joined within
the Pleistocene era as to allow the animals and plants to migrate
freely in succession from one district to another.


In reference to that portion of the south of England which is
marked by diagonal lines in Figure 39, the theory of its having
been an area of dry land during the period of great submergence and
floating ice does not depend merely on negative evidence, such as
the absence of the northern drift or boulder clay on its surface;
but we have also, in favour of the same conclusion, the remarkable
fact of the presence of erratic blocks on the southern coast of
Sussex, implying the existence there of an ancient coast-line at a
period when the cold must have been at its height.

These blocks are to be seen in greatest number at Pagham and
Selsea, 15 miles south of Chichester, in latitude 50 degrees 40
minutes north.

They consist of fragments of granite, syenite and greenstone, as
well as of Devonian and Silurian rocks, some of them of large size.
I measured one of granite at Pagham, 27 feet in circumference. They
are not of northern origin, but must have come from the coast of
Normandy or Brittany, or from land which may once have existed to
the south-west, in what is now the English Channel.

They were probably drifted into their present site by coast ice,
and the yellow clay and gravel in which they are embedded are a
littoral formation, as shown by the shells. Beneath the gravel
containing these large erratics, is a blue mud in which skeletons
of Elephas antiquus, and other mammalia, have been observed. Still
lower occurs a sandy loam, from which Mr. R.G. Austen* (*
"Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 13 1857 page
50.) has collected thirty-eight species of marine shells, all
Recent, but forming an assemblage differing as a whole from that
now inhabiting the English Channel. The presence among them of
Lutraria rugosa and Pecten polymorphus, not known to range farther
north in the actual seas than the coast of Portugal, indicates a
somewhat warmer temperature at the time when they flourished.
Subsequently, there must have been great cold when the Selsea
erratics were drifted into their present position, and this cold
doubtless coincided in time with a low temperature farther north.
[Note 30.] These transported rocks of Sussex are somewhat older
than a sea-beach with Recent marine shells which at Brighton is
covered by Chalk rubble, called the "elephant-bed" which I cannot
describe in this place, but I allude to it as one of many
geological proofs of the former existence of a seashore in this
region, and of ancient cliffs bounding the channel between France
and England, all of older date than the close of the glacial
period. [Note 31.]

In order to form a connected view of the most simple series of
changes in physical geography which can possibly account for the
phenomena of the glacial period, and the period of the
establishment of the present provinces of animals and plants, the
following geographical states of the British and adjoining areas
may be enumerated.

First, a continental period, towards the close of which the forest
of Cromer flourished: when the land was at least 500 feet above its
present level, perhaps much higher, and its extent probably greater
than that given in the map, Figure 41.

Secondly, a period of submergence, by which the land north of the
Thames and Bristol Channel, and that of Ireland, was gradually
reduced to such an archipelago as is pictured in map, Figure 40;
and finally to such a general prevalence of sea as is seen in map,
Figure 39. This was the period of great submergence and of floating
ice, when the Scandinavian flora, which occupied the lower grounds
during the first continental period, may have obtained exclusive
possession of the only lands not covered with perpetual snow.

Thirdly, a second continental period when the bed of the glacial
sea, with its marine shells and erratic blocks, was laid dry, and
when the quantity of land equalled that of the first period, and
therefore probably exceeded that represented in the map, Figure 41.
During this period there were glaciers in the higher mountains of
Scotland and Wales, and the Welsh glaciers, as we have seen, pushed
before them and cleared out the marine drift with which some
valleys had been filled during the period of submergence. The
parallel roads of Glen Roy are referable to some part of the same

As a reason for presuming that the land which in map, Figure 41, is
only represented as 600 feet above its present level, was during
part of this period much higher, Professor Ramsay has suggested
that, as the previous depression far exceeded 100 fathoms
(amounting in Wales to 1400 feet, as shown by marine shells, and to
2300, by stratified drift), it is not improbable that the upward
movement was on a corresponding scale.

In passing from the period of chief submergence to this second
continental condition of things, we may conceive a gradual change
first from that of Map 39 to Map 40, then from the latter phase to
that of Map 41, and finally to still greater accessions of land.
During this last period the passage of the Germanic flora into the
British area took place, and the Scandinavian plants, together with
northern insects, birds, and quadrupeds, retreated into the higher

Judging from the evidence at present before us, the first
appearance of Man, when, together with the mammoth and woolly
rhinoceros, or with the Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros hemitoechus,
and Hippopotamus major, he ranged freely from all parts of the
Continent into the British area, took place during this second
continental period.

Fourthly, the next and last change comprised the breaking up of the
land of the British area once more into numerous islands, ending in
the present geographical condition of things. There were probably
many oscillations of level during this last conversion of
continuous land into islands, and such movements in opposite
directions would account for the occurrence of marine shells at
moderate heights above the level of the sea, notwithstanding a
general lowering of the land. To the close of this era belong the
marine deposits of the Clyde and the Carses of the Tay and Forth,
before alluded to.

In a memoir by Professor E. Forbes, before cited, he observes, that
the land of passage by which the plants and animals migrated into
Ireland consisted of the upraised marine drift which had previously
formed the bottom of the glacial sea. Portions of this drift extend
to the eastern shores of Wicklow and Wexford, others are found in
the Isle of Man full of arctic shells, others on the British coast
opposite Ireland. The freshwater marl, containing numerous
skeletons of the great deer, or Megaceros, overlie in the Isle of
Man that marine glacial drift. Professor Forbes also remarks that
the subsequent disjunction of Ireland from England, or the
formation of the Irish Channel, which is less than 400 feet in its
greatest depth, preceded the opening of the Straits of Dover, or
the final separation of England from the Continent. This he
inferred from the present distribution of species both in the
animal and vegetable kingdoms. Thus, for example, there are twice
as many reptiles in Belgium as in England, and the number
inhabiting England is twice that found in Ireland. Yet the Irish
species are all common to England, and all the English to Belgium.
It is therefore assumed that the migration of species westward
having been the work of time, there was not sufficient lapse of
ages to complete the fusion of the continental and British
reptilian fauna, before France was separated from England and
England from Ireland.

For the same reason there are also a great number of birds of short
flight, and small quadrupeds, inhabiting England which do not cross
to Ireland, the Irish Channel seeming to have arrested them in
their westward course.* (* E. Forbes, Fauna and Flora of British
Isles, "Memoir of the Geological Survey" volume 1 1846 page 344.)

The depth of the Irish Channel in the narrower parts is only 360
feet, and the English Channel between Dover and Calais less than
200, and rarely anywhere more than 300 feet; so that vertical
movements of slight amount compared to some of those previously
considered, with the aid of denuding operations or the waste of sea
cliffs, and the scouring out of the channel, might in time effect
the insulation of the lands above alluded to.


The time which it would require to bring about such changes of
level, according to the average rate assumed in Chapter 3, however
vast, will not be found to exceed that which would best explain the
successive fluctuations in terrestrial temperature, the glaciation
of solid rocks, the transportation of erratics above and below the
sea-level, the height of arctic shells above the sea, and last, not
least, the migration of the existing species of animals and plants
into their actual stations, and the extinction of some conspicuous
forms which flourished during the Pleistocene ages. When we duly
consider all these changes which have taken place since the
beginning of the glacial epoch, or since the forest of Cromer and
the Elephas meridionalis flourished, we shall find that the
phenomena become more and more intelligible in proportion to the
slowness of the rate of elevation and depression which we assume.

The submergence of Wales to the extent of 1400 feet, as proved by
glacial shells, would require 56,000 years, at the rate of 2 1/2
feet per century; but taking Professor Ramsay's estimate of 800
feet more, that depression being implied by the position of some of
the stratified drift, we must demand an additional period of 32,000
years, amounting in all to 88,000; and the same time would be
required for the re-elevation of the tract to its present height.
But if the land rose in the second continental period as much as
600 feet above its present level, as in Figure 41, this 600 feet,
first of rising and then of sinking, would require 48,000 years
more; the whole of the grand oscillation, comprising the
submergence and re-emergence, having taken about 224,000 years for
its completion; and this, even if there were no pause or stationary
period, when the downward movement ceased, and before it was
converted into an upward one.

I am aware that it may be objected that the average rate here
proposed is a purely arbitrary and conjectural one, because, at the
North Cape, it is supposed that there has been a rise of about 5
feet in a century, and at Spitsbergen, according to Mr. Lamont, a
still faster upheaval during the last 400 years.* (* "Seasons with
the Sea-Horses" page 202.) But, granting that in these and some
exceptional cases (none of them as yet very well established) the
rising or sinking has, for a time, been accelerated, I do not
believe the average rate of motion to exceed that above proposed.
Mr. Darwin, I find, considers that such a mean rate of upheaval
would be as high as we could assume for the west coast of South
America, where we have more evidence of sudden changes of level
than anywhere else. He has not, however, attempted to estimate the
probable rate of secular elevation in that or any other region.

Little progress has yet been made in divining the most probable
causes of these great movements of the earth's crust; yet what
little we know of the state of the interior leads us to expect that
the gradual expansion or contraction of large portions of the solid
crust may be the result of fluctuations in temperature, with which
the existence of hundreds of active and thousands of extinct
volcanoes is probably connected.

It is ascertained that solid rocks, such as granite and sandstone,
expand and contract annually, even under such a moderate range of
temperature as that of a Canadian winter and summer. If the heat
should go on increasing through a thickness, say only of 10 miles
of the earth's crust, the gradual upheaval of the incumbent mass
may amount to many hundreds of feet; and the elevation may be
carried still farther, by the complete fusion of part of the
inferior rocks.

According to the experiments of Deville, the contraction of
granite, in passing from a melted, or as some would say its plastic
condition, to a solid state, must be more than 10 per cent.* (*
"Bull. Societe Geologique France" 2nd series volume 4 page 1312.)
So that we have at our command a source of depression on a grand
scale, at every period when granitic rocks have originated in the
interior of the earth's crust. All mineralogists are agreed that
the passage of voluminous masses, from a liquid or pasty to a solid
and crystalline state, must be an extremely slow process. It may
often happen that, in the same series of superimposed rocks, some
are expanding while still solid or while partially melting, while
others are at the same time crystallising and contracting; so that
the alterations of level at the surface may be the result of
complicated and often of conflicting agencies. The more gradually
we conceive such changes to take place, the more comprehensible
they become in the eyes of the chemist and natural philosopher who
speculates on the changes of the earth's interior; and the more
fertile are they in the hands of the geologist in accounting for
revolutions on the habitable surface.

We may presume, that after the movement has gone on for a long time
in one determinate direction, whether of elevation or depression,
the change to an opposite movement, implying the substitution of a
heating for a refrigerating operation, or the reverse, would not
take place suddenly; but would be marked by a period of inaction,
or of slight movement, or such a state of quiescence, as prevails
throughout large areas of dry land in the normal condition of the

I see no reason for supposing that any part of the revolutions in
physical geography, to which the maps above described have
reference, indicate any catastrophes greater than those which the
present generation has witnessed. If Man was in existence when the
Cromer forest was becoming submerged, he would have felt no more
alarm than the Danish settlers on the east coast of Baffin's Bay,
when they found the poles, which they had driven into the beach to
secure their boats, had subsided below their original level.

Already, perhaps, the melting ice has thrown down till and boulders
upon those poles, a counterpart of the boulder clay which overlies
the forest-bed on the Norfolk cliffs.

We have seen that all the plants and shells, marine and freshwater,
of the forest bed, and associated fluvio-marine strata of Norfolk,
are specifically identical with those of the living European flora
and fauna; so that if upon such a stratum a deposit of the present
period, whether freshwater or marine, should be thrown down, it
might lie conformably over it, and contain the same invertebrate
fauna and flora. The strata so superimposed would, in ordinary
geological language, be called contemporaneous, not only as
belonging to the same epoch, but as appertaining strictly to the
same subdivision of one and the same epoch; although they would in
fact have been separated by an interval of several hundred thousand

If, in the lower of the two formations, some of the mammalia of the
genera elephant and rhinoceros were found to be distinct in species
from those of the same genera in the upper or "recent" stratum, it
might appear as though there had been a sudden coming in of new
forms, and a sudden dying out of old ones; for there would not have
been time in the interval for any perceptible change in the
invertebrate fauna, by which alone we usually measure the lapse of
time in the older formations.

When we are contrasting the vertebrate contents of two sets of
superimposed strata of the Cretaceous, Oolitic, or any other
ancient formation in which the shells are identical in species, we
ought never to lose sight of the possibility of their having been
separated by such intervals or by two or three thousand centuries.
That number of years may sometimes be of small moment in reference
to the rate of fluctuation of species in the lower animals, but
very important when the succession of forms in the highest classes
of vertebrata is concerned.

If we reflect on the long series of events of the Pleistocene and
Recent periods contemplated in this chapter, it will be remarked
that the time assigned to the first appearance of Man, so far as
our geological inquiries have yet gone, is extremely modern in
relation to the age of the existing fauna and flora, or even to the
time when most of the living species of animals and plants attained
their actual geographical distribution. At the same time it will
also be seen, that if the advent of Man in Europe occurred before
the close of the second continental period, and antecedently to the
separation of Ireland from England and of England from the
Continent, the event would be sufficiently remote to cause the
historical period to appear quite insignificant in duration, when
compared to the antiquity of the human race.



Extinct Glaciers of Switzerland.
Alpine Erratic Blocks on the Jura.
Not transported by floating Ice.
Extinct Glaciers of the Italian Side of the Alps.
Theory of the Origin of Lake-Basins by the erosive Action of
   Glaciers considered.
Successive phases in the Development of Glacial Action in the Alps.
Probable Relation of these to the earliest known Date of Man.
Correspondence of the same with successive Changes in the Glacial
   Condition of the Scandinavian and British Mountains.
Cold Period in Sicily and Syria.


We have seen in the preceding chapters that the mountains of
Scandinavia, Scotland, and North Wales have served, during the
glacial period, as so many independent centres for the dispersion
of erratic blocks, just as at present the ice-covered continent of
North Greenland is sending down ice in all directions to the coast,
and filling Baffin's Bay with floating bergs, many of them laden
with fragments of rocks.

Another great European centre of ice-action during the Pleistocene
period was the Alps of Switzerland, and I shall now proceed to
consider the chronological relations of the extinct Alpine glaciers
to those of more northern countries previously treated of. [Note

The Alps lie far south of the limits of the northern drift
described in the foregoing pages, being situated between the 44th
and 47th degrees of north latitude. On the flanks of these
mountains, and on the sub-Alpine ranges of hills or plains
adjoining them, those appearances which have been so often alluded
to, as distinguishing or accompanying the drift, between the 50th
and 70th parallels of north latitude, suddenly reappear and assume,
in a southern region, a truly arctic development. Where the Alps
are highest, the largest erratic blocks have been sent forth; as,
for example, from the regions of Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, into
the adjoining parts of Switzerland and Italy; while in districts
where the great chain sinks in altitude, as in Carinthia, Carniola,
and elsewhere, no such rocky fragments, or a few only and of
smaller bulk, have been detached and transported to a distance.

In the year 1821, M. Venetz first announced his opinion that the
Alpine glaciers must formerly have extended far beyond their
present limits, and the proofs appealed to by him in confirmation
of this doctrine were afterwards acknowledged by M. Charpentier,
who strengthened them by new observations and arguments, and
declared in 1836 his conviction that the glaciers of the Alps must
once have reached as far as the Jura, and have carried thither
their moraines across the great valley of Switzerland. M. Agassiz,
after several excursions in the Alps with M. Charpentier, and after
devoting himself some years to the study of glaciers, published in
1840 an admirable description of them and of the marks which attest
the former action of great masses of ice over the entire surface of
the Alps and the surrounding country.* (* Agassiz, "Etudes sur les
Glaciers et Systeme Glaciaire.") He pointed out that the surface of
every large glacier is strewed over with gravel and stones detached
from the surrounding precipices by frost, rain, lightning, or
avalanches. And he described more carefully than preceding writers
the long lines of these stones, which settle on the sides of the
glacier, and are called the lateral moraines; those found at the
lower end of the ice being called terminal moraines. Such heaps of
earth and boulders every glacier pushes before it when advancing,
and leaves behind it when retreating. When the Alpine glacier
reaches a lower and a warmer situation, about 3000 or 4000 feet
above the sea, it melts so rapidly that, in spite of the downward
movement of the mass, it can advance no farther. Its precise limits
are variable from year to year, and still more so from century to
century; one example being on record of a recession of half a mile
in a single year. We also learn from M. Venetz, that whereas,
between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, all the Alpine
glaciers were less advanced than now, they began in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries to push forward, so as to cover roads
formerly open, and to overwhelm forests of ancient growth.

These oscillations enable the geologist to note the marks which a
glacier leaves behind it as it retrogrades; and among these the
most prominent, as before stated, are the terminal moraines, or
mounds of unstratified earth and stones, often divided by
subsequent floods into hillocks, which cross the valley like
ancient earthworks, or embankments made to dam up a river. Some of
these transverse barriers were formerly pointed out by Saussure
below the glacier of the Rhone, as proving how far it had once
transgressed its present boundaries. On these moraines we see many
large angular fragments, which, having been carried along the
surface of the ice, have not had their edges worn off by friction;
but the greater number of the boulders, even those of large size,
have been well rounded, not by the power of water, but by the
mechanical force of the ice, which has pushed them against each
other, or against the rocks flanking the valley. Others have fallen
down the numerous fissures which intersect the glacier, where,
being subject to the pressure of the whole mass of ice, they have
been forced along, and either well rounded or ground down into
sand, or even the finest mud, of which the moraine is largely

As the terminal moraines are the most prominent of all the
monuments left by a receding glacier, so are they the most liable
to obliteration; for violent floods or debacles are sometimes
occasioned in the Alps by the sudden bursting of glacier-lakes, or
those temporary sheets of water before alluded to which are caused
by the damming up of a river by a glacier which has increased
during a succession of cold seasons, and descending from a
tributary into the main valley, has crossed it from side to side.
On the failure of this icy barrier the accumulated waters, being
let loose, sweep away and level many a transverse mound of gravel
and loose boulders below, and spread their materials in confused
and irregular beds over the river-plain.

Another mark of the former action of glaciers in situations where
they exist no longer, is the polished, striated, and grooved
surfaces of rocks before described. Stones which lie underneath the
glacier and are pushed along by it sometimes adhere to the ice, and
as the mass glides slowly along at the rate of a few inches, or at
the utmost 2 or 3 feet per day, abrade, groove, and polish the
rock, and the larger blocks are reciprocally grooved and polished
by the rock on their lower sides. As the forces both of pressure
and propulsion are enormous, the sand acting like emery polishes
the surface; the pebbles, like coarse gravers, scratch and furrow
it; and the large stones scoop out grooves in it. Lastly,
projecting eminences of rock, called "roches moutonnees," are
smoothed and worn into the shape of flattened domes where the
glaciers have passed over them.

Although the surface of almost every kind of rock when exposed to
the open air wastes away by decomposition, yet some retain for ages
their polished and furrowed exterior: and if they are well
protected by a covering of clay or turf, these marks of abrasion
seem capable of enduring for ever. They have been traced in the
Alps to great heights above the present glaciers, and to great
horizontal distances beyond them.

Another effect of a glacier is to lodge a ring of stones round the
summit of a conical peak which may happen to project through the
ice. If the glacier is lowered greatly by melting, these circles of
large angular fragments, which are called "perched blocks," are
left in a singular situation near the top of a steep hill or
pinnacle, the lower parts of which may be destitute of boulders.


Now some or all the marks above enumerated,--the moraines,
erratics, polished surfaces, domes, striae, and perched rocks--are
observed in the Alps at great heights above the present glaciers
and far below their actual extremities; also in the great valley of
Switzerland, 50 miles broad; and almost everywhere on the Jura, a
chain which lies to the north of this valley. The average height of
the Jura is about one-third that of the Alps, and it is now
entirely destitute of glaciers; yet it presents almost everywhere
moraines, and polished and grooved surfaces of rocks. The erratics,
moreover, which cover it present a phenomenon which has astonished
and perplexed the geologist for more than half a century. No
conclusion can be more incontestable than that these angular blocks
of granite, gneiss, and other crystalline formations, came from the
Alps, and that they have been brought for a distance of 50 miles
and upwards across one of the widest and deepest valleys of the
world; so that they are now lodged on the hills and valleys of a
chain composed of limestone and other formations, altogether
distinct from those of the Alps. Their great size and angularity,
after a journey of so many leagues, has justly excited wonder, for
hundreds of them are as large as cottages; and one in particular,
composed of gneiss, celebrated under the name of Pierre a Bot,
rests on the side of a hill about 900 feet above the lake of
Neufchatel, and is no less than 40 feet in diameter. But there are
some far-transported masses of granite and gneiss which are still
larger, and which have been found to contain 50,000 and 60,000
cubic feet of stone; and one limestone block at Devens, near Bex,
which has travelled 30 miles, contains 161,000 cubic feet, its
angles being sharp and unworn.

Von Buch, Escher, and Studer inferred, from an examination of the
mineral composition of the boulders, that those resting on the
Jura, opposite the lakes of Geneva and Neufchatel, have come from
the region of Mont Blanc and the Valais, as if they had followed
the course of the Rhone to the lake of Geneva, and had then pursued
their way uninterruptedly in a northerly direction.

M. Charpentier, who conceived the Alps in the period of greatest
cold to have been higher by several thousand feet than they are
now, had already suggested that the Alpine glaciers once reached
continuously to the Jura, conveying thither the large erratics in
question.* (* D'Archiac, "Histoire des Progres" etc. volume 2 page
249.) M. Agassiz, on the other hand, instead of introducing
distinct and separate glaciers, imagined that the whole valley of
Switzerland might have been filled with ice, and that one great
sheet of it extended from the Alps to the Jura, the two chains
being of the same height as now relatively to each other. To this
idea it was objected that the difference of altitude, when
distributed over a space of 50 miles, would give an inclination of
two degrees only, or far less than that of any known glacier. In
spite of this difficulty, the hypothesis has since received the
support of Professor James Forbes in his very able work on the Alps
published in 1843.

In 1841, I advanced jointly with Mr. Darwin* (* See "Elements of
Geology" 2nd edition 1841.) the theory that the erratics may have
been transferred by floating ice to the Jura, at the time when the
greater part of that chain and the whole of the Swiss valley to the
south was under the sea. We pointed out that if at that period the
Alps had attained only half their present altitude they would yet
have constituted a chain as lofty as the Chilean Andes, which in a
latitude corresponding to Switzerland now send down glaciers to the
head of every sound, from which icebergs covered with blocks of
granite are floated seaward. Opposite that part of Chile where the
glaciers abound is situated the island of Chiloe 100 miles in
length with a breadth of 30 miles, running parallel to the
continent. The channel which separates it from the main land is of
considerable depth and 25 miles broad. Parts of its surface, like
the adjacent coast of Chile, are overspread with Recent marine
shells, showing an upheaval of the land during a very modern
period; and beneath these shells is a boulder deposit in which Mr.
Darwin found large blocks of granite and syenite which had
evidently come from the Andes.

A continuance in future of the elevatory movement now observed to
be going on in this region of the Andes and of Chiloe might cause
the former chain to rival the Alps in altitude and give to Chiloe a
height equal to that of the Jura. The same rise might dry up the
channel between Chiloe and the main land so that it would then
represent the great valley of Switzerland.

Sir Roderick I. Murchison, after making several important
geological surveys of the Alps, proposed in 1849 a theory agreeing
essentially with that suggested by Mr. Darwin and myself, namely
that the erratics were transported to the Jura at a time when the
great strath of Switzerland and many valleys receding far into the
Alps were under water. He thought it impossible that the glacial
detritus of the Rhone could ever have been carried to the Lake of
Geneva and beyond it by a glacier, or that so vast a body of ice
issuing from one narrow valley could have spread its erratics over
the low country of the cantons of Vaud, Fribourg, Berne, and
Soleure, as well as the slopes of the Jura, comprising a region of
about 100 miles in breadth from south-west to north-east, as laid
down in the map of Charpentier. He therefore imagined the granitic
blocks to have been translated to the Jura by ice-floats when the
intermediate country was submerged.* (* "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" volume 6 1850 page 65.) It may be remarked that
this theory, provided the water be assumed to have been salt or
brackish, demands quite as great an oscillation in the level of the
land as that on which Charpentier had speculated, the only
difference being that the one hypothesis requires us to begin with
a subsidence of 2500 or 3000 feet, and the other with an elevation
to the same amount. We should also remember that the crests or
watersheds of the Alps and Jura are about 80 miles apart, and if
once we suppose them to have been in movement during the glacial
period it is very probable that the movements at such a distance
may not have been strictly uniform. If so the Alps may have been
relatively somewhat higher, which would have greatly facilitated
the extension of Alpine glaciers to the flanks of the less elevated

Five years before the publication of the memoir last mentioned, M.
Guyot had brought forward a great body of new facts in support of
the original doctrine of Charpentier, that the Alpine glaciers once
reached as far as the Jura and that they had deposited thereon a
portion of their moraines.* (* "Bulletin de la Societe des Sciences
Naturelles de Neufchatel" 1845.) The scope of his observations and
argument was laid with great clearness before the British public in
1852 by Mr. Charles Maclaren, who had himself visited Switzerland
for the sake of forming an independent opinion on a theoretical
question of so much interest and on which so many eminent men of
science had come to such opposite conclusions.* (* "Edinburgh New
Philosophical Magazine" October 1852.)

M. Guyot had endeavoured to show that the Alpine erratics, instead
of being scattered at random over the Jura and the great plain of
Switzerland, are arranged in a certain determinate order strictly
analogous to that which ought to prevail if they had once
constituted the lateral, medial, and terminal moraines of great
glaciers. The rocks chiefly relied on as evidence of this
distribution consist of three varieties of granite, besides gneiss,
chlorite-slate, euphotide, serpentine, and a peculiar kind of
conglomerate, all of them foreign alike to the great Strath between
the Alps and Jura and to the structure of the Jura itself. In these
two regions limestones, sandstones, and clays of the Secondary and
Tertiary formations alone crop out at the surface, so that the
travelled fragments of Alpine origin can easily be distinguished
and in some cases the precise localities pointed out from whence
they must have come.


The accompanying map or diagram (Figure 42) slightly altered from
one given by Mr. Maclaren will enable the reader more fully to
appreciate the line of argument relied on by M. Guyot. The dotted
area is that over which the Alpine fragments were spread by the
supposed extinct glacier of the Rhone. The site of the present
reduced glacier of that name is shown at A. From that point the
boulders may first be traced to B, or Martigny, where the valley
takes an abrupt turn at right angles to its former course. Here the
blocks belonging to the right side of the river or derived from c d
e have not crossed over to the left side at B, as they should have
done had they been transported by floating ice, but continue to
keep to the side to which they belonged, assuming that they once
formed part of a right lateral moraine of a great extinct glacier.
That glacier, after arriving at the lower end of the long narrow
valley of the upper Rhone at F, filled the Lake of Geneva, F, I,
with ice. From F, as from a great vomitory, it then radiated in all
directions bearing along with it the moraines with which it was
loaded and spreading them out on all sides over the great plain.
But the principal icy mass moved straight onwards in a direct line
towards the hill of Chasseron, G (precisely opposite F), where the
Alpine erratics attain their maximum of height on the Jura, that is
to say 2015 English feet above the level of the Lake of Neufchatel
or 3450 feet above the sea. The granite blocks which have ascended
to this eminence G came from the east shoulder of Mont Blanc h,
having travelled in the direction B, F, G.

When these and the accompanying blocks resting on the south-eastern
declivity of the Jura are traced from their culminating point G in
opposite directions, whether westward towards Geneva or eastwards
towards Soleure, they are found to decline in height from the
middle of the arc G towards the two extremities I and K, both of
which are at a lower level than G, by about 1500 feet. In other
words the ice of the extinct glacier, having mounted up on the
sloping flanks of the Jura in the line of greatest pressure to its
highest elevation, began to decline laterally in the manner of a
pliant or viscous mass with a gentle inclination till it reached
two points distant from each other no less than 100 miles. [Note

In further confirmation of this theory M. Guyot observed that
fragments derived from the right bank of the great valley of the
Rhone c d e are found on the right side of the great Swiss basin or
Strath as at l and m, while those derived from the left bank p h
occur on the left side of the basin or on the Jura between G and I;
and those again derived from places farthest up on the left bank
and nearest the source of the Rhone, as n o, occupy the middle of
the great basin, constituting between m and K what M. Guyot calls
the frontal or terminal moraine of the eastern prolongation of the
old glacier.

A huge boulder of talcose granite, now at Steinhoff, 10 miles east
from K, or Soleure, containing 61,000 French cubic feet, or equal
in bulk to a mass measuring 40 feet in every direction, was
ascertained by Charpentier from its composition to have been
derived from n, one of the highest points on the left side of the
Rhone valley far above Martigny. From this spot it must have gone
all round by F, which is the only outlet to the deep valley, so as
to have performed a journey of no less than 150 miles!


It is evident that the above described restriction of certain
fragments of peculiar lithological character to that bank of the
Rhone where the parent rocks are alone met with and the linear
arrangement of the blocks in corresponding order on the opposite
side of the great plain of Switzerland, are facts which harmonise
singularly well with the theory of glaciers while they are wholly
irreconcilable with that of floating ice. Against the latter
hypothesis all the arguments which Charpentier originally brought
forward in opposition to the first popular doctrine of a grand
debacle or sudden flood rushing down from the Alps to the Jura
might be revived. Had there ever been such a rush of muddy water,
said he, the blocks carried down the basins of the principal Swiss
rivers, such as the Rhone, Aar, Reuss, and Limmat, would all have
been mingled confusedly together instead of having each remained in
separate and distinct areas as they do and should do according to
the glacial hypothesis.

M. Morlot presented me in 1857 with an unpublished map of
Switzerland in which he had embodied the results of his own
observations and those of MM. Guyot, Escher, and others, marking
out by distinct colours the limits of the ice-transported detritus
proper to each of the great river-basins. The arrangement of the
drift and erratics thus depicted accords perfectly well with
Charpentier's views and is quite irreconcilable with the
supposition of the scattered blocks having been dispersed by
floating ice when Switzerland was submerged.

As opposed to the latter hypothesis, I may also state that nowhere
as yet have any marine shells or other fossils than those of a
terrestrial character, such as the bones of the mammoth and a few
other mammalia and some coniferous wood, been detected in those
drifts, though they are often many hundreds of feet in thickness.

A glance at M. Morlot's map, above mentioned,* (* See map,
"Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 18 1862 page
185 Plate 18.) will show that the two largest areas, indicated by a
single colour, are those over which the Rhone and the Rhine are
supposed to have spread out in ancient times their enormous
moraines. One of these only, that of the Rhone, has been exhibited
in our diagram, Figure 42. The distinct character of the drift in
the two cases is such as it would be if two colossal glaciers
should now come down from the higher Alps through the valleys
traversed by those rivers, leaving their moraines in the low
country. The space occupied by the glacial drift of the Rhine is
equal in dimensions or rather exceeds that of the Rhone, and its
course is not interfered with in the least degree by the Lake of
Constance, 45 miles long, any more than is the dispersion of the
erratics of the Rhone by the Lake of Geneva, about 50 miles in
length. The angular and other blocks have in both instances
travelled on precisely as if those lakes had no existence, or as
if, which was no doubt the case, they had been filled with solid

During my last visit to Switzerland in 1857, I made excursions, in
company with several distinguished geologists, for the sake of
testing the relative merits of the two rival theories above
referred to, and I examined parts of the Jura above Neufchatel in
company with M. Desor, the country round Soleure with M. Langen,
the southern side of the great strath near Lausanne with M. Morlot,
the basin of the Aar around Berne with M. Escher von der Linth; and
having satisfied myself that all the facts which I saw north of the
Alps were in accordance with M. Guyot's views, I crossed to the
Italian side of the great chain and became convinced that the same
theory was equally applicable to the ancient moraines of the plains
of the Po.

M. Escher pointed out to me at Trogen in Appenzel on the left bank
of the Rhine fragments of a rock of a peculiar mineralogical
character, commonly called the granite of Pontelyas, the natural
position of which is well known near Trons, 100 miles from Trogen,
on the left bank of the Rhine about 30 miles from the source of
that river. All the blocks of this peculiar granite keep to the
left bank, even where the valley turns almost at right angles to
its former course near Mayenfeld below Chur, making a sharp bend
resembling that of the valley of the Rhone at Martigny. The granite
blocks, where they are traced to the low country, still keep to the
left side of the Lake of Constance. That they should not have
crossed over to the opposite river-bank below Chur is quite
inexplicable if, rejecting the aid of land-ice, we appeal to
floating ice as the transporting power.

In M. Morlot's map already cited we behold between the areas
occupied by the glacial drift of the Rhine and Rhone three smaller
yet not inconsiderable spaces distinguished by distinct colours,
indicating the peculiar detritus brought down by the three great
rivers, the Aar, Reuss, and Limmat. The ancient glacier of the
first of these, the Aar, has traversed the lakes of Brienz and Thun
and has borne angular, polished, and striated blocks of limestone
and other rocks as far as Berne and somewhat below that city. The
Reuss has also stamped the lithological character of its own
mountainous region upon the lower part of its hydrographical basin
by covering it with its peculiar Alpine drift. In like manner the
old extinct glacier of the Limmat during its gradual retreat has
left monuments of its course in the Lake of Zurich in the shape of
terminal moraines, one of which has almost divided that great sheet
of water into two lakes.

The ice-work done by the extinct glaciers, as contrasted with that
performed by their dwarfed representatives of the present day, is
in due proportion to the relative volume of the supposed glaciers,
whether we measure them by the distances to which they have carried
erratic blocks or the areas which they have strewed over with drift
or the hard surfaces of rock and number of boulders which they have
polished and striated. Instead of a length of 5, 10, or 20 miles
and a thickness of 200, 300, or at the utmost 800 feet, those
giants of the olden time must have been from 50 to 150 miles long
and between 1000 and 3000 feet deep. In like manner the glaciation
although identical in kind is on so small a scale in the existing
Alpine glaciers as at first sight to disappoint a Swedish, Scotch,
Welsh, or North American geologist. When I visited the terminal
moraine of the glacier of the Rhone in 1859 and tried to estimate
the number of angular or rounded pebbles and blocks which exhibited
glacial polishing or scratches as compared to those bearing no such
markings, I found that several thousand had to be reckoned before I
arrived at the first which was so striated or polished as to differ
from the stones of an ordinary torrent-bed. Even in the moraines of
the glaciers of Zermatt, Viesch, and others, in which fragments of
limestone and serpentine are abundant (rocks which most readily
receive and most faithfully retain the signs of glaciation), I
found, for one which displayed such indications, several hundreds
entirely free from them. Of the most opposite character were the
results obtained by me from a similar scrutiny of the boulders and
pebbles of the terminal moraine of one of the old extinct glaciers,
namely, that of the Rhone in the suburbs of Soleure. Thus at the
point K in the map, Figure 42, I observed a mass of unstratified
clay or mud, through which a variety of angular and rubbed stones
were scattered and a marked proportion of the whole were polished
and scratched and the clay rendered so compact, as if by the
incumbent pressure of a great mass of ice, that it has been found
necessary to blow it up with gunpowder in making railway cuttings
through part of it. A limestone of the age of our Portland stone on
which this old moraine rests, has its surface polished like a
looking-glass, displaying beautiful sections of fossil shells of
the genera Nerinaea and Pteroceras, while occasionally, besides
finer striae, there are deep rectilinear grooves, agreeing in
direction with the course in which the extinct glacier would have
moved according to the theory of M. Guyot, before explained.


   From Map of the ancient Glaciers of the Italian side of the Alps
     by Signor Gabriel de Mortillet.

  A. Crest or watershed of the Alps.
  B. Snow-covered Alpine summits which fed the ancient glaciers.
  C. Moraines of ancient or extinct glaciers.)

To select another example from the opposite or southern side of the
Alps. It will be seen in the elaborate map recently executed by
Signor Gabriel de Mortillet of the ancient glaciers of the Italian
flank of the Alps that the old moraines descend in narrow strips
from the snow-covered ridges through the principal valleys to the
great basin of the Po, on reaching which they expand and cover
large circular or oval areas. Each of these groups of detritus is
observed (see map, Figure 43) to contain exclusively the wreck of
such rocks as occur in situ on the Alpine heights of the
hydrographical basins to which the moraines respectively belong.

I had an opportunity of verifying this fact, in company with Signor
Gastaldi as my guide, by examining the erratics and boulder
formation between Susa and Turin, on the banks of the Dora Riparia,
which brings down the waters from Mont Cenis and from the Alps
south-west of it. I there observed striated fragments of dolomite
and gypsum, which had come down from Mont Cenis and had travelled
as far as Avigliana; also masses of serpentine brought from less
remote points, some of them apparently exceeding in dimensions the
largest erratics of Switzerland. I afterwards visited, in company
with Signori Gastaldi and Michelotti, a still grander display of
the work of a colossal glacier of the olden time, 20 miles
north-east of Turin, the moraine of which descended from the two
highest of the Alps, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, and after passing
through the valley of Aosta, issued from a narrow defile above
Ivrea (see map, Figure 43). From this vomitory the old glacier
poured into the plains of the Po that wonderful accumulation of
mud, gravel, boulders, and large erratics, which extend for 15
miles from above Ivrea to below Caluso and which when seen in
profile from Turin have the aspect of a chain of hills. In many
countries, indeed, they might rank as an important range of hills,
for where they join the mountains they are more than 1500 feet
high, and retain more than half that height for a great part of
their course, rising very abruptly from the plain, often with a
slope of from 20 to 30 degrees. This glacial drift reposes near the
mountains on ancient metamorphic rocks and farther from them on
marine Pliocene strata. Portions of the ridges of till and
stratified matter have been cut up into mounds and hillocks by the
action of the river, the Dora Baltea, and there are numerous lakes,
so that the entire moraine much resembles, except in its greater
height and width, the line of glacial drift of Perthshire and
Forfarshire before described. Its complicated structure can only be
explained by supposing that the ancient glacier advanced and
retreated several times and left large lateral moraines, the more
modern mounds within the limits of the older ones, and masses of
till thrown down upon the rearranged and stratified materials of
the first set of moraines. Such appearances accord well with the
hypothesis of the successive phases of glacial action in
Switzerland, to which I shall presently advert.


At Mazze near Caluso (see Figure 43), the southern extremity of
this great moraine has recently been cut through in making a tunnel
for the railway which runs from Turin to Ivrea. In the fine section
thus exposed Signor Gastaldi and I had an opportunity of observing
the internal structure of the glacial formation. In close
juxtaposition to a great mass of till with striated boulders, we
saw stratified beds of alternating gravel, sand, and loam, which
were so sharply bent that many of them had been twice pierced
through in the same vertical cutting. Whether they had been thus
folded by the mechanical power of an advancing glacier, which had
pushed before it a heap of stratified matter, as the glacier of
Zermatt has been sometimes known to shove forward blocks of stone
through the walls of houses, or whether the melting of masses of
ice, once interstratified with sand and gravel, had given rise to
flexures in the manner before suggested; it is at least
satisfactory to have detected this new proof of a close connection
between ice-action and contorted stratification, such as has been
described as so common in the Norfolk cliffs and which is also very
often seen in Scotland and North America, where stratified gravel
overlies till. I have little doubt that if the marine Pliocene
strata which underlie a great part of the moraine below Ivrea were
exposed to view in a vertical section, those fundamental strata
would be found not to participate in the least degree in the
plications of the sands and gravels of the overlying glacial drift.

To return to the marks of glaciation: in the moraine at Mazze there
are many large blocks of protogine and large and small ones of
limestone and serpentine which have been brought down from Monte
Rosa, through the gorge of Ivrea, after having travelled for a
distance of 50 miles. Confining my attention to a part of the
moraine where pieces of limestone and serpentine were very
numerous, I found that no less than one-third of the whole number
bore unequivocal signs of glacial action; a state of things which
seems to bear some relation to the vast volume and pressure of the
ice which once constituted the extinct glacier and to the distance
which the stones had travelled. When I separated the pebbles of
quartz, which were never striated, and those of granite,
mica-schist, and diorite, which do not often exhibit glacial
markings, and confined my attention to the serpentine alone I found
no less than nineteen in twenty of the whole number polished and
scratched; whereas in the terminal moraines of some modern
glaciers, where the materials have travelled not more than 10 or
15, instead of 100 miles, scarce one in twenty even of the
serpentine pebbles exhibit glacial polish and striation.


Geologists are all agreed that the last series of movements to
which the Alps owe their present form and internal structure
occurred after the deposition of the Miocene strata; and it has
been usual to refer the origin of the numerous lake-basins of
Alpine and sub-Alpine regions both in Switzerland and Northern
Italy to the same movements; for it seemed not unnatural to
suppose, that forces capable of modifying the configuration of the
greatest European chain, by uplifting some of its component
Tertiary strata (those of marine origin of the Miocene period)
several thousand feet above their former level, after throwing them
into vertical and contorted positions, must also have given rise to
many superficial inequalities, in some of which large bodies of
water would collect. M. Desor, in a memoir on the Swiss and Italian
lakes, suggested that they may have escaped being obliterated by
sedimentary deposition by having been filled with ice during the
whole of the glacial period.

Subsequently to the retreat of the great glaciers we know that the
lake-basins have been to a certain extent encroached upon and
turned into land by river deltas; one of which, that of the Rhone
at the head of the Lake of Geneva, is no less than 12 miles long
and several miles broad, besides which there are many torrents on
the borders of the same lake, forming smaller deltas.

M. Gabriel de Mortillet after a careful study of the glacial
formations of the Alps agreed with his predecessors that the great
lakes had existed before the glacial period, but came to the
opinion in 1859 that they had all been first filled up with
alluvial matter and then re-excavated by the action of ice, which
during the epoch of intense cold had by its weight and force of
propulsion scooped out the loose and incoherent alluvial strata,
even where they had accumulated to a thickness of 2000 feet.
Besides this erosion, the ice had carried the whole mass of mud and
stones up the inclined planes, from the central depths to the lower
outlets of the lakes and sometimes far beyond them. As some of
these rock-basins are 500, others more than 2000 feet deep, having
their bottoms in some cases 500, in others 1000 feet below the
level of the sea, and having areas from 20 to 50 miles in length
and from 4 to 12 in breadth, we may well be startled at the
boldness of this hypothesis.

The following are the facts and train of reasoning which induced M.
de Mortillet to embrace these views. At the lower ends of the great
Italian lakes, such as Maggiore, Como, Garda, and others, there are
vast moraines which are proved by their contents to have come from
the upper Alpine valleys above the lakes. Such moraines often
repose on an older stratified alluvium, made up of rounded and worn
pebbles of precisely the same rocks as those forming the moraines,
but not derived from them, being small in size, never angular,
polished, or striated, and the whole having evidently come from a
great distance. These older alluvial strata must, according to M.
de Mortillet, be of pre-glacial date and could not have been
carried past the sites of the lakes, unless each basin had
previously been filled and levelled up with mud, sand, and gravel,
so that the river channel was continuous from the upper to the
lower extremity of each basin.

Professor Ramsay, after acquiring an intimate knowledge of the
glacial phenomena of the British Isles, had taught many years
before that small tarns and shallow rock-basins such as we see in
many mountain regions owe their origin to glaciers which erode the
softer rocks, leaving the harder ones standing out in relief and
comparatively unabraded. Following up this idea after he had
visited Switzerland and without any communication with M. de
Mortillet or cognisance of his views, he suggested in 1859 that the
lake-basins were not of pre-glacial date, but had been scooped out
by ice during the glacial period, the excavation having for the
most part been effected in Miocene sandstone, provincially called,
on account of its softness, "molasse." By this theory he dispensed
with the necessity of filling up pre-existing cavities with
stratified alluvium, in the manner proposed by M. de Mortillet.

I will now explain to what extent I agree with, and on what points
I feel compelled to differ from the two distinguished geologists
above cited. First. It is no doubt true, as Professor Ramsay
remarks, that heavy masses of ice, creeping for ages over a surface
of dry land (whether this comprise hills, plateaus, and valleys, as
in the case of Greenland, before described, or be confined to the
bottoms of great valleys, as now in the higher Alps), must often by
their grinding action produce depressions, in consequence of the
different degrees of resistance offered by rocks of unequal
hardness. Thus, for example, where quartzose beds of mica-schist
alternate with clay-slate, or where trap-dykes, often causing
waterfalls in the courses of torrents, cut through sandstone or
slate--these and innumerable other common associations of
dissimilar stony compounds must give rise to a very unequal amount
of erosion and consequently to lake-basins on a small scale. But
the larger the size of any lake, the more certain it will be to
contain within it rocks of every degree of hardness, toughness, and
softness; and if we find a gradual deepening from the head towards
the central parts and a shallowing again from the middle to the
lower end, as in several of the great Swiss and Italian lakes,
which are 30 or 40 miles in length, we require a power capable of
acting with a considerable degree of uniformity on these masses of
varying powers of resistance.

Secondly. Several of the great lakes are by no means in the line of
direction which they ought to have taken had they been scooped out
by the pressure and onward movement of the extinct glaciers. The
Lake of Geneva, for instance, had it been the work of ice, would
have been prolonged from the termination of the upper valley of the
Rhone towards the Jura, in the direction from F to G of the map,
Figure 42, instead of running from F to I.

Thirdly. It has been ascertained experimentally, that in a glacier,
as in a river, the rate of motion is accelerated or lessened,
according to the greater or less slope of the ground; also, that
the lower strata of ice, like those of water, move more slowly than
those above them. In the Lago Maggiore, which is more than 2600
feet deep (797 metres), the ice, says Professor Ramsay, had to
descend a slope of about 3 degrees for the first 25 miles, and then
to ASCEND for the last 12 miles (from the deepest part towards the
outlet) at an angle of 5 degrees. It is for those who are
conversant with the dynamics of glacier motion to divine whether in
such a case the discharge of ice would not be entirely effected by
the superior and faster moving strata, and whether the lowest would
not be motionless or nearly so, and would therefore exert very
little, if any, friction on the bottom.

Fourthly. But the gravest objection to the hypothesis of glacial
erosion on so stupendous a scale is afforded by the entire absence
of lakes of the first magnitude in several areas where they ought
to exist if the enormous glaciers which once occupied those spaces
had possessed the deep excavating power ascribed to them. Thus in
the area laid down on the map, Figure 43, or that covered by the
ancient moraine of the Dora Baltea, we see the monuments of a
colossal glacier derived from Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, which
descended from points nearly 100 miles distant, and then emerging
from the narrow gorge above Ivrea deployed upon the plains of the
Po, advancing over a floor of marine Pliocene strata of no greater
solidity than the Miocene sandstone and conglomerate in which the
lake-basins of Geneva, Zurich, and some others are situated. Why
did this glacier fail to scoop out a deep and wide basin rivalling
in size the lakes of Maggiore or Como, instead of merely giving
rise to a few ponds above Ivrea, which may have been due to ice
action? There is one lake, it is true--that of Candia, near the
southern extremity of the moraine--which is larger; but even this,
as will be seen by the map, is quite of subordinate importance, and
whether it is situated in a rock basin or is simply caused by a dam
of moraine matter has not yet been fully made out.

There ought also to have been another great lake, according to the
theory under consideration, in the space now occupied by the
moraine of the Dora Riparia, between Susa and Turin (see map,
Figure 43). Signor Gastaldi has shown that all the ponds in that
area consist exclusively of what M. de Mortillet has denominated
morainic lakes, i.e. caused by barriers of glacier-mud and stones.

Fifthly. In proof of the great lakes having had no existence before
the glacial period, Professor Ramsay observes that we do not find
in the Alps any freshwater strata of an age intermediate between
"the close of the Miocenic and the commencement of the glacial
epoch."* (* "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 18
1862.) But although such formations are scarce, they are by no
means wholly wanting; and if it can be shown that any one of the
principal lakes, that of Zurich for example, existed prior to the
glacial era it will follow that in the Alps the erosive power of
ice was not required to produce lake-basins on a large scale. The
deposits alluded to on the borders of the Lake of Zurich are those
of Utznach and Durnten, situated each about 350 feet above the
present level of the lake and containing valuable beds of lignite.

The first of them, that of Utznach, is a delta formed at the head
of the ancient and once more extensive lake. The argillaceous and
lignite-bearing strata, more than 100 feet in thickness, rest
unconformably on highly inclined and sometimes vertical Miocene
molasse. These clays are covered conformably by stratified sand and
gravel 60 feet thick, partly consolidated, in which the pebbles are
of rocks belonging to the upper valleys of the Limmat and its
tributaries, all of them small and not glacially striated and
wholly without admixture of large angular stones. On the top of all
repose very large erratic blocks, affording clear evidence that the
colossal glacier which once filled the valley of the Limmat covered
the old littoral deposit. The great age of the lignite is partly
indicated by the bones of Elephas antiquus found in it.

I visited Utznach in company with M. Escher von der Linth in 1857,
and during the same year examined the lignite of Durnten, many
miles farther down on the right bank of the lake, in company with
Professor Heer and M. Marcou. The beds there are of the same age
and within a few feet of the same height above the level of the
lake. They might easily have been overlooked or confounded with the
general glacial drift of the neighbourhood, had not the bed of
lignite, which is from 5 to 12 feet thick, been worked for fuel,
during which operation many organic remains came to light. Among
these are the teeth of Elephas antiquus, determined by Dr.
Falconer, and Rhinoceros leptorhinus ? (R. megarhinus, Christol),
the wild bull and red deer (Bos primigenius, Boj., and Cervus
elaphus, L.), the last two determined by Professor Rutimeyer. In
the same beds I found many freshwater shells of the genera
Paludina, Limnaea, etc., all of living species. The plants named by
Professor Heer are also Recent and agree singularly with those of
the Cromer buried forest, before described.

Among them are the Scotch and spruce firs, Pinus sylvestris and
Pinus abies, and the buckbean, or Menyanthes trifoliata, etc.,
besides the common birch and other European plants.

Overlying this lignite are first, as at Utznach, stratified gravel
not of glacial origin, about 30 feet thick; and secondly, highest
of all, huge angular erratic blocks clearly indicating the presence
of a great glacier posterior in date to all the organic remains
above enumerated.

If any one of the existing Swiss lakes were now lowered by
deepening its outlet, or by raising the higher portion of it
relatively to the lower, we should see similar deltas of
comparatively modern date exposed to view, some of them with
embedded trunks of pines of the same species drifted down during
freshets. Such deposits would be most frequent at the upper ends of
the lakes, but a few would occur on either bank not far from the
shore where torrents once entered, agreeing in geographical
position with the lignite formations of Utznach and Durnten.

There are other freshwater formations with lignite, besides those
on the Lake of Zurich, as those of Wetzikon near the Pfaffikon
Lake, of Kaltbrunnen, of Buchberg, and that of Morschweil between
St. Gall and Rorschach, but none probably older than the Durnten
beds. Like the buried forest of Cromer they are all pre-glacial,
yet they by no means represent the older nor even the newer
Pliocene period, but rather the beginning of the Pleistocene. It is
therefore true, as Professor Ramsay remarks, that, as yet, no
strata "of the age of the English Crag" have been detected in any
Alpine valley. In other words, there are no freshwater formations
yet known corresponding in date to the Pliocene beds of the upper
Val d'Arno, above Florence--a fact from which we may infer (though
with diffidence, as the inference is based on negative evidence),
that, although the great Alpine valleys were eroded in Pliocene
times, the lake-basins were, nevertheless, of Pleistocene
date--some of them formed before, others during, the glacial epoch.

Sixthly. In what manner then did the great lake-basins originate if
they were not hollowed out by ice? My answer is, they are all due
to unequal movements of upheaval and subsidence. We have already
seen that the buried forest of Cromer, which by its organic
contents seems clearly to be of the same age as the lignite of
Durnten, was pre-glacial and that it has undergone a great
oscillation of level (about 500 feet in both directions) since its
origin, having first sunk to that extent below the sea and then
been raised up again to the sea-level. In the countless
Post-Miocene ages which preceded the glacial period there was ample
time for the slow erosion by water of all the principal
hydrographical basins of the Alps, and the sites of all the great
lakes coincide, as Professor Ramsay truly says, with these great
lines of drainage. The lake-cavities do not lie in synclinal
troughs, following the strike and foldings of the strata, but
often, as the same geologist remarks, cross them at high angles;
nor are they due to rents or gaping fissures, although these, with
other accidents connected with the disturbing movements of the
Alps, may sometimes have determined originally the direction of the
valleys. The conformity of the lake-basins to the principal
watercourses is explicable if we assume them to have resulted from
inequalities in the upward and downward movements of the whole
country in Pleistocene times, after the valleys were eroded.

We know that in Sweden the rate of the rise of the land is far from
uniform, being only a few inches in a century near Stockholm, while
north of it and beyond Gefle it amounts to as many feet in the same
number of years. Let us suppose with Charpentier that the Alps
gained in height several thousand feet at the time when the intense
cold of the glacial period was coming on. This gradual rise would
be an era of aqueous erosion and of the deepening, widening, and
lengthening of the valleys. It is very improbable that the
elevation would be everywhere identical in quantity, but if it was
never in excess in the outskirts as compared to the central region
or crest of the chain, it would not give rise to lakes. When,
however, the period of upheaval was followed by one of gradual
subsidence, the movement not being everywhere strictly uniform,
lake-basins would be formed wherever the rate of depression was in
excess in the upper country. Let the region, for example, near the
head waters of the great rivers sink at the rate of from 4 to 6
feet per century, while only half as much subsidence occurs towards
the circumference of the mountains--the rate diminishing about an
inch per mile in a distance, say of 40 miles--this might convert
many of the largest and deepest valleys at their lower ends into

We have no certainty that such movements may not now be in progress
in the Alps; for if they are as slow as we have assumed, they would
be as insensible to the inhabitants as is the upheaval of
Scandinavia or the subsidence of Greenland to the Swedes and Danes
who dwell there. They only know of the progress of such
geographical revolutions because a slight change of level becomes
manifest on the margin of the sea. The lines of elevation or
depression above supposed might leave no clear geological traces of
their action on the high ridges and table-lands separating the
valleys of the principal rivers; it is only when they cross such
valleys that the disturbance caused in the course of thousands of
years in the drainage becomes apparent. If there were no ice, the
sinking of the land might not give rise to lakes. To accomplish
this in the absence of ice, it is necessary that the rate of
depression should be sufficiently fast to make it impossible for
the depositing power of the river to keep pace with it, or in other
words to fill up the incipient cavity as fast as it begins to form.
Such levelling operations once complete, the running water, aided
by sand and pebbles, will gradually cut a gorge through the newly
raised rock so as to prevent it from forming a barrier. But if a
great glacier fill the lower part of the valley all the conditions
of the problem are altered. Instead of the mud, sand, and stones
drifted down from the higher regions being left behind in the
incipient basin, they all travel onwards in the shape of moraines
on the top of the ice, passing over and beyond the new depression,
so that when at the end of fifty or a thousand centuries the
glacier melts, a large and deep basin representing the difference
in the movement of two adjoining mountain areas--namely, the
central and the circumferential--is for the first time rendered

By adopting this hypothesis, we concede that there is an intimate
connection between the glacial period and a predominance of lakes,
in producing which the action of ice is threefold; first, by its
direct power in scooping out shallow basins where the rocks are of
unequal hardness; an operation which can by no means be confined to
the land, for it must extend to below the level of high water a
thousand feet and more in such fjords as have been described as
filled with ice in Greenland.

Secondly. The ice will act indirectly by preventing cavities caused
by inequalities of subsidence or elevation from becoming the
receptacles first of water and then of sediment, by which the
cavities would be levelled up and the lakes obliterated.

Thirdly. The ice is also an indirect cause of lakes, by heaping up
mounds of moraine matter and thus giving rise to ponds and even to
sheets of water several miles in diameter.

The comparative scarcity, therefore, of lakes of Pleistocene date
in tropical countries, and very generally south of the fortieth and
fiftieth parallels of latitude, may be accounted for by the absence
of glacial action in such regions.


We learn from M. de Mortillet that in the peat which has filled up
one of the "morainic lakes" formed by the ancient glacier of the
Ticino, M. Moro has discovered at Mercurago the piles of a
lake-dwelling like those of Switzerland, together with various
utensils and a canoe hollowed out of the trunk of a tree. From this
fact we learn that south of the Alps as well as north of them a
primitive people having similar habits flourished after the retreat
of the great glaciers.


According to the geological observations of M. Morlot, the
following successive phases in the development of ice-action in the
Alps are plainly recognisable:--

First. There was a period when the ice was in its greatest excess,
when the glacier of the Rhone not only reached the Jura, but
climbed to the height of 2015 feet above the Lake of Neufchatel,
and 3450 feet above the sea, at which time the Alpine ice actually
entered the French territory at some points, penetrating by certain
gorges, as through the defile of the Fort de l'Ecluse, among

Second. To this succeeded a prolonged retreat of the great
glaciers, when they evacuated not only the Jura and the low country
between that chain and the Alps, but retired some way back into the
Alpine valleys. M. Morlot supposes their diminution in volume to
have accompanied a general subsidence of the country to the extent
of at least 1000 feet. The geological formations of the second
period consist of stratified masses of sand and gravel, called the
"ancient alluvium" by MM. Necker and Favre, corresponding to the
"older or lower diluvium" of some writers. Their origin is
evidently due to the action of rivers, swollen by the melting of
ice, by which the materials of parts of the old moraines were
rearranged and stratified and left usually at considerable heights
above the level of the present valley plains.

Third. The glaciers again advanced and became of gigantic
dimensions, though they fell far short of those of the first
period. That of the Rhone, for example, did not again reach the
Jura, though it filled the Lake of Geneva and formed enormous
moraines on its borders and in many parts of the valley between the
Alps and Jura.

Fourth. A second retreat of the glaciers took place when they
gradually shrank nearly into their present limits, accompanied by
another accumulation of stratified gravels which form in many
places a series of terraces above the level of the alluvial plains
of the existing rivers.

In the gorge of the Dranse, near Thonon, M. Morlot discovered no
less than three of these glacial formations in direct
superposition, namely, at the bottom of the section, a mass of
compact till or boulder-clay (Number 1) 12 feet thick, including
striated boulders of Alpine limestone, and covered by regularly
stratified ancient alluvium (Number 2) 150 feet thick, made up of
rounded pebbles in horizontal beds. This mass is in its turn
overlaid by a second formation (Number 3) of unstratified boulder
clay, with erratic blocks and striated pebbles, which constituted
the left lateral moraine of the great glacier of the Rhone when it
advanced for the second time to the Lake of Geneva. At a short
distance from the above section terraces (Number 4) composed of
stratified alluvium are seen at the heights of 20, 50, 100, and 150
feet above the Lake of Geneva, which by their position can be shown
to be posterior in date to the upper boulder-clay and therefore
belong to the fourth period, or that of the last retreat of the
great glaciers. In the deposits of this fourth period the remains
of the mammoth have been discovered, as at Morges, for example, on
the Lake of Geneva. The conical delta of the Tiniere, mentioned in
Chapter 2 as containing at different depths monuments of the Roman
as well as of the antecedent bronze and stone ages, is the work of
alluvial deposition going on when the terrace of 50 feet was in
progress. This modern delta is supposed by M. Morlot to have
required 10,000 years for its accumulation. At the height of 150
feet above the lake, following up the course of the same torrent,
we come to a more ancient delta, about ten times as large, which is
therefore supposed to be the monument of about ten times as many
centuries, or 100,000 years, all referable to the fourth period
mentioned in the preceding page, or that which followed the last
retreat of the great glaciers.* (* Morlot, Terrain quaternaire du
Bassin de Leman "Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sciences
Naturelles" Number 44.)

If the lower flattened cone of Tiniere be referred in great part to
the age of the oldest lake-dwellings, the higher one might perhaps
correspond with the Pleistocene period of St. Acheul, or the era
when Man and the Elephas primigenius flourished together; but no
human remains or works of art have as yet been found in deposits of
this age or in any alluvium containing the bones of extinct
mammalia in Switzerland.

Upon the whole, it is impossible not to be struck with an apparent
correspondence in the succession of events of the glacial period of
Switzerland and that of the British Isles before described. The
time of the first Alpine glaciers of colossal dimensions, when that
chain perhaps was several thousand feet higher than now, may have
agreed with the first continental period when Scotland was invested
with a universal crust of ice. The retreat of the first Alpine
glaciers, caused partly by a lowering of that chain, may have been
synchronous with the period of great submergence and floating ice
in England. The second advance of the glaciers may have coincided
in date with the re-elevation of the Alps, as well as of the Scotch
and Welsh mountains; and lastly, the final retreat of the Swiss and
Italian glaciers may have taken place when Man and the extinct
mammalia were colonising the north-west of Europe and beginning to
inhabit areas which had formed the bed of the glacial sea during
the era of chief submergence.

But it must be confessed that in the present state of our knowledge
these attempts to compare the chronological relations of the
periods of upheaval and subsidence of areas so widely separated as
are the mountains of Scandinavia, the British Isles, and the Alps,
or the times of the advance and retreat of glaciers in those
several regions and the greater or less intensity of cold, must be
looked upon as very conjectural.

We may presume with more confidence that when the Alps were highest
and the Alpine glaciers most developed, filling all the great lakes
of northern Italy and loading the plains of Piedmont and Lombardy
with ice, the waters of the Mediterranean were chilled and of a
lower average temperature than now. Such a period of refrigeration
is required by the conchologist to account for the prevalence of
northern shells in the Sicilian seas about the close of the
Pliocene or commencement of the Pleistocene period. For such shells
as Cyprina islandica, Panopoea norvegica (= P. bivonae, Philippi),
Leda pygmaea, Munst, and some others, enumerated among the fossils
of the latest Tertiary formations of Sicily by Philippi and Edward
Forbes, point unequivocally to a former more severe climate. Dr.
Hooker also in his late journey to Syria (in the autumn of 1860)
found the moraines of extinct glaciers, on which the whole of the
ancient cedars of Lebanon grow, to descend 4000 feet below the
summit of that chain. The temperature of Syria is now so much
milder that there is no longer perpetual snow even on the summit of
Lebanon, the height of which was ascertained to be 10,200 feet
above the Mediterranean.* (* Hooker, "Natural History Review"
Number 5 January 1862 page 11.)

Such monuments of a cold climate in latitudes so far south as Syria
and the north of Sicily, between 33 and 38 degrees north, may be
confidently referred to an early part of the glacial period, or to
times long anterior to those of Man and the extinct mammalia of
Abbeville and Amiens.



Nature, Origin, and Age of the Loess of the Rhine and Danube.
Impalpable Mud produced by the Grinding Action of Glaciers.
Dispersion of this Mud at the Period of the Retreat of the
   great Alpine Glaciers.
Continuity of the Loess from Switzerland to the Low Countries.
Characteristic Organic Remains not Lacustrine.
Alpine Gravel in the Valley of the Rhine covered by Loess.
Geographical Distribution of the Loess and its Height above the Sea.
Fossil Mammalia.
Loess of the Danube.
Oscillations in the Level of the Alps and lower Country required to
   explain the Formation and Denudation of the Loess.
More rapid Movement of the Inland Country.
The same Depression and Upheaval might account for the Advance
   and Retreat of the Alpine Glaciers.
Himalayan Mud of the Plains of the Ganges compared to
   European Loess.
Human Remains in Loess near Maestricht, and their probable


Intimately connected with the subjects treated of in the last
chapter, is the nature, origin, and age of certain loamy deposits,
commonly called loess, which form a marked feature in the
superficial deposits of the basins of the Rhine, Danube, and some
other large rivers draining the Alps, and which extend down the
Rhine into the Low Countries, and were once perhaps continuous with
others of like composition in the north of France. [Note 35.]

It has been reported of late years that human remains have been
detected at several points in the loess of the Meuse around and
below Maestricht. I have visited the localities referred to; but,
before giving an account of them, it will be desirable to explain
what is meant by the loess, a step the more necessary as a French
geologist for whose knowledge and judgment I have great respect,
tells me he has come to the conclusion that "the loess" is "a
myth," having no real existence in a geological sense or as holding
a definite place in the chronological series.

No doubt it is true that in every country, and at all geological
periods, rivers have been depositing fine loam on their inundated
plains in the manner explained above in Chapter 3, where the Nile
mud was spoken of. This mud of the plains of Egypt, according to
Professor Bischoff's chemical analysis agrees closely in
composition with the loess of the Rhine.* (* "Chemical and Physical
Geology" volume 1 page 132.) I have also shown when speaking of the
fossil man of Natchez, how identical in mineral character and in
the genera of its terrestrial and amphibious shells is the ancient
fluviatile loam of the Mississippi with the loess of the Rhine. But
granting that loam presenting the same aspect has originated at
different times and in distinct hydrographical basins, it is
nevertheless true that during the glacial period the Alps were a
great centre of dispersion, not only of erratics, as we have seen
in the last chapter, and of gravel which was carried farther than
the erratics, but also of very fine mud which was transported to
still greater distances and in greater volume down the principal
river-courses between the mountains and the sea.


They who have visited Switzerland are aware that every torrent
which issues from an icy cavern at the extremity of a glacier is
densely charged with an impalpable powder, produced by the grinding
action to which the subjacent floor of rock and the stones and sand
frozen into the ice are exposed in the manner before described. We
may therefore readily conceive that a much greater volume of fine
sediment was swept along by rivers swollen by melting ice at the
time of the retreat of the gigantic glaciers of the olden time. The
fact that a large proportion of this mud, instead of being carried
to the ocean where it might have formed a delta on the coast or
have been dispersed far and wide by the tides and currents, has
accumulated in inland valleys, will be found to be an additional
proof of the former occurrence of those grand oscillations in the
level of the Alps and parts of the adjoining continent which were
required to explain the alternate advance and retreat of the
glaciers, and the superposition of more than one boulder clay and
stratified alluvium.

The position of the loess between Basle and Bonn is such as to
imply that the great valley of the Rhine had already acquired its
present shape, and in some places, perhaps more than its actual
depth and width, previously to the time when it was gradually
filled up to a great extent with fine loam. The greater part of
this loam has been since removed, so that a fringe only of the
deposit is now left on the flanks of the boundary hills, or
occasionally some outliers in the middle of the great plain of the
Rhine where it expands in width.

These outliers are sometimes on such a scale as to admit of minor
hills and valleys, having been shaped out of them by the action of
rain and small streamlets, as near Freiburg in the Breisgau and
other districts.


(FIGURE 44. Succinea oblonga.)

(FIGURE 45. Pupa muscorum.)

(FIGURE 46. Helix hispida, Lin.; H. plebeia, Drap.)

The loess is generally devoid of fossils, although in many places
they are abundant, consisting of land-shells, all of living
species, and comprising no small part of the entire molluscous
fauna now inhabiting the same region. The three shells most
frequently met with are those represented in the annexed figures
(44, 45 and 46). The slug, called Succinea, is not strictly
aquatic, but lives in damp places, and may be seen in full activity
far from rivers, in meadows where the grass is wet with rain or
dew; but shells of the genera Limnaea, Planorbis, Paludina, Cyclas,
and others, requiring to be constantly in the water, are extremely
exceptional in the loess, occurring only at the bottom of the
deposit where it begins to alternate with ancient river-gravel on
which it usually reposes.

This underlying gravel consists in the valley of the Rhine for the
most part of pebbles and boulders of Alpine origin, showing that
there was a time when the rivers had power to convey coarse
materials for hundreds of miles northwards from Switzerland towards
the sea; whereas at a later period an entire change was brought
about in the physical geography of the same district, so that the
same river deposited nothing but fine mud, which accumulated to a
thickness of 800 feet or more above the original alluvial plain.

But although most of the fundamental gravel was derived from the
Alps, there has been observed in the neighbourhood of the principal
mountain chains bordering the great valley, such as the Black
Forest, Vosges, and Odenwald, an admixture of detritus
characteristic of those several chains. We cannot doubt therefore
that as some of these mountains, especially the Vosges, had during
the glacial period their own glaciers, a part of the fine mud of
their moraines must have been mingled with loess of Alpine origin;
although the principal mass of the latter must have come from
Switzerland, and can in fact be traced continuously from Basle to


It was stated in the last chapter that at the time of the greatest
extension of the Swiss glaciers the Lake of Constance and all the
other great lakes were filled with ice, so that gravel and mud
could pass freely from the upper Alpine valley of the Rhine to the
lower region between Basle and the sea, the great lake intercepting
no part of the moraines whether fine or coarse. On the other hand
the Aar with its great tributaries the Limmat and the Reuss does
not join the Rhine till after it issues from the Lake of Constance;
and by their channels a large part of the Alpine gravel and mud
could always have passed without obstruction into the lower
country, even after the ice of the great lake had melted.

It will give the reader some idea of the manner in which the
Rhenish loess occurs, if he is told that some of the earlier
scientific observers imagined it to have been formed in a vast lake
which occupied the valley of the Rhine from Basle to Mayence,
sending up arms or branches into what are now the valleys of the
Main, Neckar, and other large rivers. They placed the barrier of
this imaginary lake in the narrow and picturesque gorge of the
Rhine between Bingen and Coblenz: and when it was objected that the
lateral valley of the Lahn, communicating with that gorge, had also
been filled with loess, they were compelled to transfer the great
dam farther down and to place it below Bonn. Strictly speaking it
must be placed much farther north, or in the 51st parallel of
latitude, where the limits of the loess have been traced out by MM.
Omalius D'Halloy, Dumont, and others, running east and west by
Cologne, Juliers, Louvain, Oudenarde, and Courtrai in Belgium to
Cassel, near Dunkirk in France. This boundary line may not indicate
the original seaward extent of the formation, as it may have
stretched still farther north and its present abrupt termination
may only show how far it was cut back at some former period by the
denuding action of the sea.

Even if the imbedded fossil shells of the loess had been
lacustrine, instead of being, as we have seen, terrestrial and
amphibious, the vast height and width of the required barrier would
have been fatal to the theory of a lake: for the loess is met with
in great force at an elevation of no less than 1600 feet above the
sea, covering the Kaiserstuhl, a volcanic mountain which stands in
the middle of the great valley of the Rhine, near Freiburg in
Breisgau. The extent to which the valley has there been the
receptacle of fine mud afterwards removed is most remarkable.

The loess of Belgium was called "Hesbayan mud" in the geological
map of the late M. Dumont, who, I am told, recognised it as being
in great part composed of Alpine mud. M. d'Archiac, when speaking
of the loess, observes that it envelopes Hainault, Brabant, and
Limburg like a mantle everywhere uniform and homogeneous in
character, filling up the lower depressions of the Ardennes and
passing thence into the north of France, though not crossing into
England. In France, he adds, it is found on high plateaus 600 feet
above some of the rivers, such as the Marne; but as we go
southwards and eastwards of the basin of the Seine, it diminishes
in quantity, and finally thins out in those directions.* (*
D'Archiac, "Histoire des Progres" volume 2 pages 169, 170.) It may
even be a question whether the "limon des plateaux," or upland loam
of the Somme valley, before alluded to,* (* Number 4 Figure 7.) may
not be a part of the same formation. As to the higher and lower
level gravels of that valley, which, like that of the Seine,
contain no foreign rocks, we have seen that they are each of them
covered by deposits of loess or inundation-mud belonging
respectively to the periods of the gravels, whereas the upland loam
is of much older date, more widely spread, and occupying positions
often independent of the present lines of drainage. To restore in
imagination the geographical outline of Picardy, to which rivers
charged with so much homogeneous loam and running at such heights
may once have belonged is now impossible.* (* See above, Chapter 8.

In the valley of the Rhine, as I before observed, the body of the
loess, instead of having been formed at successively lower and
lower levels as in the case of the basin of the Somme, was
deposited in a wide and deep pre-existing basin, or strath, bounded
by lofty mountain chains such as the Black Forest, Vosges, and
Odenwald. In some places the loam accumulated to such a depth as
first to fill the valley and then to spread over the adjoining
table-lands, as in the case of the Lower Eifel, where it encircled
some of the modern volcanic cones of loose pumice and ashes. In
these instances it does not appear to me that the volcanoes were in
eruption during the time of the deposition of the loess, as some
geologists have supposed. The interstratification of loam and
volcanic ejectamenta was probably occasioned by the fluviatile mud
having gradually enveloped the cones of loose scoriae after they
were completely formed. I am the more inclined to embrace this view
after having seen the junction of granite and loess on the steep
slopes of some of the mountains bounding the great plain of the
Rhine on its right bank in the Bergstrasse. Thus between Darmstadt
and Heidelberg perpendicular sections are seen of loess 200 feet
thick, at various heights above the river, some of them at
elevations of 800 feet and upwards. In one of these may be seen,
resting on the hill side of Melibocus in the Odenwald, the usual
yellow loam free from pebbles at its contact with a steep slope of
granite, but divided into horizontal layers for a short distance
from the line of junction. In these layers, which abut against the
granite, a mixture of mica and of unrounded grains of quartz and
felspar occur, evidently derived from the disintegration of the
crystalline rock, which must have decomposed in the atmosphere
before the mud had reached this height. Entire shells of Helix,
Pupa, and Succinea, of the usual living species, are embedded in
the granitic mixture. We may therefore be sure that the valley
bounded by steep hills of granite existed before the tranquil
accumulation of this vast body of loess.

During the re-excavation of the basin of the Rhine successive
deposits of loess of newer origin were formed at various heights;
and it is often difficult to distinguish their relative ages,
especially as fossils are often entirely wanting, and the mineral
composition of the formation is so uniform.

The loess in Belgium is variable in thickness, usually ranging from
10 to 30 feet. It caps some of the highest hills or table-land
around Brussels at the height of 300 feet above the sea. In such
places it usually rests on gravel and rarely contains shells, but
when they occur they are of Recent species. I found the Succinea
oblonga, before mentioned, and Helix hispida in the Belgian loess
at Neerepen, between Tongres and Hasselt, where M. Bosquet had
previously obtained remains of an elephant referred to E.
primigenius. This pachyderm and Rhinoceros tichorhinus are cited as
characterising the loess in various parts of the valley of the
Rhine. Several perfect skeletons of the marmot have been
disinterred from the loess of Aix-la-Chapelle. But much remains to
be done in determining the species of mammalia of this formation
and the relative altitudes above the valley-plain at which they

If we ascend the basin of the Neckar, we find that it is filled
with loess of great thickness, far above its junction with the
Rhine. At Canstadt near Stuttgart, loess resembling that of the
Rhine contains many fossil bones, especially those of Elephas
primigenius, together with some of Rhinoceros tichorhinus, the
species having been lately determined by Dr. Falconer. At this
place the loess is covered by a thick bed of travertine, used as a
building stone, the product of a mineral spring. In the travertine
are many fossil plants, all Recent except two, an oak and poplar,
the leaves of which Professor Heer has not been able to identify
with any known species.

Below the loess of Canstadt, in which bones of the mammoth are so
abundant, is a bed of gravel evidently an old river channel now
many feet above the level of the Neckar, the valley having there
been excavated to some depth below its ancient channel so as to lie
in the underlying red sandstone of Keuper. Although the loess, when
traced from the valley of the Rhine into that of the Neckar, or
into any other of its tributaries, often undergoes some slight
alteration in its character, yet there is so much identity of
composition as to suggest the idea that the mud of the main river
passed far up the tributary valleys, just as that of the
Mississippi during floods flows far up the Ohio, carrying its mud
with it into the basin of that river. But the uniformity of colour
and mineral composition does not extend indefinitely into the
higher parts of every basin. In that of the Neckar, for example,
near Tubingen, I found the fluviatile loam or brick-earth,
enclosing the usual Helices and Succineae, together with the bones
of the mammoth, very distinct in colour and composition from
ordinary Rhenish loess, and such as no one could confound with
Alpine mud. It is mottled with red and green, like the New Red
Sandstone or Keuper, from which it has clearly been derived.

Such examples, however, merely show that where a basin is so
limited in size that the detritus is derived chiefly or exclusively
from one formation, the prevailing rock will impart its colour and
composition in a very decided manner to the loam; whereas, in the
basin of a great river which has many tributaries, the loam will
consist of a mixture of almost every variety of rock, and will
therefore exhibit an average result nearly the same in all
countries. Thus, the loam which fills to a great depth the wide
valley of the Saone, which is bounded on the west side by an
escarpment of Inferior Oolite, and by the chain of the Jura on the
east, is very like the loess found in the continuation of the same
great basin after the junction of the Rhone, by which a large
supply of Alpine mud has been added and intermixed.

In the higher parts of the basin of the Danube, loess of the same
character as that of the Rhine, and which I believe to be chiefly
of Alpine origin, attains a far greater elevation above the sea
than any deposits of Rhenish loess; but the loam which, according
to M. Stur, fills valleys on the north slope of the Carpathians
almost up to the watershed between Galicia and Hungary, may be
derived from a distinct source.


A theory, therefore, which attempts to account for the position of
the loess cannot be satisfactory unless it be equally applicable to
the basins of the Rhine and Danube. So far as relates to the source
of so much homogeneous loam, there are many large tributaries of
the Danube which, during the glacial period, may have carried an
ample supply of moraine-mud from the Alps to that river; and in
regard to grand oscillations in the level of the land, it is
obvious that the same movements both downward and upward of the
great mountain-chain would be attended with analogous effects,
whether the great rivers flowed northwards or eastwards. In each
case fine loam would be accumulated during subsidence and removed
during the upheaval of the land. Changes, therefore, of level
analogous to those on which we have been led to speculate when
endeavouring to solve the various problems presented by the glacial
phenomena, are equally available to account for the nature and
geological distribution of the loess. But we must suppose that the
amount of depression and re-elevation in the central region was
considerably in excess of that experienced in the lower countries,
or those nearer the sea, and that the rate of subsidence in the
latter was never so considerable as to cause submergence, or the
admission of the sea into the interior of the continent by the
valleys of the principal rivers.

We have already assumed that the Alps were loftier than now, when
they were the source of those gigantic glaciers which reached the
flanks of the Jura. At that time gravel was borne to the greatest
distances from the central mountains through the main valleys,
which had a somewhat steeper slope than now, and the quantity of
river-ice must at that time have aided in the transportation of
pebbles and boulders. To this state of things gradually succeeded
another of an opposite character, when the fall of the rivers from
the mountains to the sea became less and less, while the Alps were
slowly sinking, and the first retreat of the great glaciers was
taking place. Suppose the depression to have been at the rate of 5
feet in a century in the mountains and only as many inches in the
same time nearer the coast, still, in such areas as the eye could
survey at once, comprising a small part only of Switzerland or of
the basin of the Rhine, the movement might appear to be uniform and
the pre-existing valleys and heights might seem to remain
relatively to each other as before.

Such inequality in the rate of rising or sinking, when we
contemplate large continental spaces, is quite consistent with what
we know of the course of nature in our own times as well as at
remote geological epochs. Thus in Sweden, as before stated, the
rise of land now in progress is nearly uniform as we proceed from
north to south for moderate distances; but it greatly diminishes
southwards if we compare areas hundreds of miles apart; so that
instead of the land rising about 5 feet in a hundred years as at
the North Cape, it becomes less than the same number of inches at
Stockholm, and farther south the land is stationary, or, if not,
seems rather to be descending than ascending.* (* "Principles of
Geology" chapter 30 9th edition page 519 et seq.)

To cite an example of high geological antiquity, M. Hebert has
demonstrated that, during the Oolitic and Cretaceous periods,
similar inequalities in the vertical movements of the earth's crust
took place in Switzerland and France. By his own observations and
those of M. Lory he has proved that the area of the Alps was rising
and emerging from beneath the ocean towards the close of the
Oolitic epoch, and was above water at the commencement of the
Cretaceous era; while, on the other hand, the area of the Jura,
about 100 miles to the north, was slowly sinking at the close of
the Oolitic period, and had become submerged at the commencement of
the Cretaceous. Yet these oscillations of level were accomplished
without any perceptible derangement in the strata, which remained
all the while horizontal, so that the Lower Cretaceous or Neocomian
beds were deposited conformably on the Oolitic.* (* "Bulletin de la
Societe Geologique de France" 2 series volume 16 1859 page 596.)

Taking for granted then that the depression was more rapid in the
more elevated region, the great rivers would lose century after
century some portion of their velocity or carrying power, and would
leave behind them on their alluvial plains more and more of the
moraine-mud with which they were charged, till at length, in the
course of thousands or some tens of thousands of years, a large
part of the main valleys would begin to resemble the plains of
Egypt where nothing but mud is deposited during the flood season.
The thickness of loam containing shells of land and amphibious
mollusca might in this way accumulate to any extent, so that the
waters might overflow some of the heights originally bounding the
valley and deposits of "platform mud," as it has been termed in
France, might be extensively formed. At length, whenever a
re-elevation of the Alps at the time of the second extension of the
glaciers took place, there would be renewed denudation and removal
of such loess; and if, as some geologists believe, there has been
more than one oscillation of level in the Alps since the
commencement of the glacial period, the changes would be
proportionally more complicated and terraces of gravel covered with
loess might be formed at different heights and at different


Some of the revolutions in physical geography above suggested for
the continent of Europe during the Pleistocene epoch, may have had
their counterparts in India in the Recent Period. The vast plains
of Bengal are overspread with Himalayan mud, which as we ascend the
Ganges extends inland for 1200 miles from the sea, continuing very
homogeneous on the whole, though becoming more sandy as it nears
the hills. They who sail down the river during a season of
inundation see nothing but a sheet of water in every direction,
except here and there where the tops of trees emerge above its
level. To what depth the mud extends is not known, but it resembles
the loess in being generally devoid of stratification, and of
shells, though containing occasionally land shells in abundance, as
well as calcareous concretions, called kunkur, which may be
compared to the nodules of carbonate of lime sometimes observed to
form layers in the Rhenish loess. I am told by Colonel Strachey and
Dr. Hooker that above Calcutta, in the Hooghly, when the flood
subsides, the Gangetic mud may be seen in river cliffs 80 feet
high, in which they were unable to detect organic remains, a remark
which I found to hold equally in regard to the Recent mud of the

Dr. Wallich, while confirming these observations, informs me that
at certain points in Bengal, farther inland, he met with
land-shells in the banks of the great river. Borings have been made
at Calcutta, beginning not many feet above the sea-level, to the
depth of 300 and 400 feet; and wherever organic remains were found
in the strata pierced through they were of a fluviatile or
terrestrial character, implying that during a long and gradual
subsidence of the country the sediment thrown down by the Ganges
and Brahmaputra had accumulated at a sufficient rate to prevent the
sea from invading that region.

At the bottom of the borings, after passing through much fine loam,
beds of pebbles, sand, and boulders were reached, such as might
belong to an ancient river channel; and the bones of a crocodile
and the shell of a freshwater tortoise were met with at the depth
of 400 feet from the surface. No pebbles are now brought down
within a great distance of this point, so that the country must
once have had a totally different character and may have had its
valleys, hills, and rivers, before all was reduced to one common
level by the accumulation upon it of fine Himalayan mud. If the
latter were removed during a gradual re-elevation of the country,
many old hydrographical basins might reappear, and portions of the
loam might alone remain in terraces on the flanks of hills, or on
platforms, attesting the vast extent in ancient times of the muddy
envelope. A similar succession of events has, in all likelihood,
occurred in Europe during the deposition and denudation of the
loess of the Pleistocene period, which, as we have seen in a former
chapter, was long enough to allow of the gradual development of
almost any amount of such physical changes.


M. Ami Boue, well known by his numerous works on geology and a
well-practised observer in every branch of the science, disinterred
in the year 1823 with his own hands many bones of a human skeleton
from ancient undisturbed loess at Lahr, nearly opposite Strasburg,
on the right side of the great valley of the Rhine. No skull was
detected, but the tibia, fibula, and several other bones were
obtained in a good state of preservation and shown at the time to
Cuvier, who pronounced them to be human.


The banks of the Meuse at Maestricht, like those of the Rhine at
Bonn and Cologne, are slightly elevated above the level of the
alluvial plain. On the right bank of the Meuse, opposite
Maestricht, the difference of level is so marked that a bridge with
many arches has been constructed to keep up, during the flood
season, a communication between the higher parts of the alluvial
plain and the hills or bluffs which bound it. This plain is
composed of modern loess, undistinguishable in mineral character
from that of higher antiquity, before alluded to, and entirely
without signs of successive deposition and devoid of terrestrial or
fluviatile shells. It is extensively worked for brick-earth to the
depth of about 8 feet. The bluffs before alluded to often consist
of a terrace of gravel, from 30 to 40 feet in thickness, covered by
an older loess, which is continuous as we ascend the valley to
Liege. In the suburbs of that city patches of loess are seen at the
height of 200 feet above the level of the Meuse. The table-land in
that region, composed of Carboniferous and Devonian rocks, is about
450 feet high, and is not overspread with loess.

A terrace of gravel covered with loess has been mentioned as
existing on the right bank of the Meuse at Maestricht. Answering to
it another is also seen on the left bank below that city, and a
promontory of it projecting into the alluvial plain of the Meuse
and approaching to within a hundred yards of the river, was cut
through during the excavation of a canal running from Maestricht to
Hocht, between the years 1815 and 1823. This section occurs at the
village of Smeermass, and is about 60 feet deep, the lower 40 feet
consisting of stratified gravel and the upper of 20 feet of loess.
The number of molars, tusks, and bones (probably parts of entire
skeletons) of elephants obtained during these diggings, was
extraordinary. Not a few of them are still preserved in the museums
of Maestricht and Leyden, together with some horns of deer, bones
of the ox-tribe and other mammalia, and a human lower jaw, with
teeth. According to Professor Crahay, who published an account of
it at the time, this jaw, which is now preserved at Leyden, was
found at the depth of 19 feet from the surface, where the loess
joins the underlying gravel, in a stratum of sandy loam resting on
gravel and overlaid by some pebbly and sandy beds. The stratum is
said to have been intact and undisturbed, but the human jaw was
isolated, the nearest tusk of an elephant being six yards removed
from it in horizontal distance.

Most of the other mammalian bones were found; like these human
remains, in or near the gravel, but some of the tusks and teeth of
elephants were met with much nearer the surface. I visited the site
of these fossils in 1860 in company with M. van Binkhorst, and we
found the description of the ground, published by the late
Professor Crahay of Louvain, to be very correct.* (* M. van
Binkhorst has shown me the original manuscript read to the
Maestricht Athenaeum in 1823. The memoir was published in 1836 in
the "Bulletin de l'Academie Royale de Belgique" volume 3 page 43.)
The projecting portion of the terrace, which was cut through in
making the canal, is called the hill of Caberg, which is
flat-topped, 60 feet high, and has a steep slope on both sides
towards the alluvial plain. M. van Binkhorst (who is the author of
some valuable works on the palaeontology of the Maestricht Chalk)
has recently visited Leyden, and ascertained that the human fossil
above mentioned is still entire in the museum of the University.
Although we had no opportunity of verifying the authenticity of
Professor Crahay's statements, we could see no reason for
suspecting the human jaw to belong to a different geological period
from that of the extinct elephant. If this were granted, it might
have no claims to a higher antiquity than the human remains which
Dr. Schmerling disentombed from the Belgian caverns; but the fact
of their occurring in a Pleistocene alluvial deposit in the open
plains, would be one of the first examples of such a phenomenon.
The top of the hill of Caberg is not so high above the Meuse as is
the terrace of St. Acheul with its flint implements above the
Somme, but at St. Acheul no human bones have yet been detected.

In the museum at Maestricht are preserved a human frontal and a
pelvic bone, stained of a dark peaty colour; the frontal very
remarkable for its lowness and the prominence of the superciliary
ridges, which resemble those of the Borreby skull, Figure 5. These
remains may be the same as those alluded to by Professor Crahay in
his memoir, where he says that in a black deposit in the suburbs of
Hocht were found leaves, nuts, and freshwater shells in a very
perfect state, and a human skull of a dark colour. They were of an
age long posterior to that of the loess containing the bones of
elephants and in which the human jaw now at Leyden is said to have
been embedded.



Geological Structure of the Island of Moen.
Great Disturbances of the Chalk posterior in Date to the
   Glacial Drift, with Recent Shells.
M. Puggaard's Sections of the Cliffs of Moen.
Flexures and Faults common to the Chalk and Glacial Drift.
Different Direction of the Lines of successive Movement,
   Fracture, and Flexure.
Undisturbed Condition of the Rocks in the adjoining Danish Islands.
Unequal Movements of Upheaval in Finmark.
Earthquake of New Zealand in 1855.
Predominance in all Ages of uniform Continental Movements over
   those by which the Rocks are locally convulsed.

In the preceding chapters I have endeavoured to show that the study
of the successive phases of the glacial period in Europe, and the
enduring marks which they have left on many of the solid rocks and
on the character of the superficial drift are of great assistance
in enabling us to appreciate the vast lapse of ages which are
comprised in the Pleistocene epoch. They enlarge at the same time
our conception of the antiquity, not only of the living species of
animals and plants but of their present geographical distribution,
and throw light on the chronological relations of these species to
the earliest date yet ascertained for the existence of the human
race. That date, it will be seen, is very remote if compared to the
times of history and tradition, yet very modern if contrasted with
the length of time during which all the living testacea, and even
many of the mammalia, have inhabited the globe.

In order to render my account of the phenomena of the glacial epoch
more complete, I shall describe in this chapter some other changes
in physical geography and in the internal structure of the earth's
crust, which have happened in the Pleistocene period, because they
differ in kind from any previously alluded to, and are of a class
which were thought by the earlier geologists to belong exclusively
to epochs anterior to the origin of the existing fauna and flora.
Of this nature are those faults and violent local dislocations of
the rocks, and those sharp bendings and foldings of the strata,
which we so often behold in mountain chains, and sometimes in low
countries also, especially where the rock-formations are of ancient


A striking illustration of such convulsions of Pleistocene date may
be seen in the Danish island of Moen, which is situated about 50
miles south of Copenhagen. The island is about 60 miles in
circumference, and consists of white Chalk, several hundred feet
thick, overlaid by boulder clay and sand, or glacial drift which is
made up of several subdivisions, some unstratified and others
stratified, the whole having a mean thickness of 60 feet, but
sometimes attaining nearly twice that thickness. In one of the
oldest members of the formation fossil marine shells of existing
species have been found.

Throughout the greater part of Moen the strata of the drift are
undisturbed and horizontal, as are those of the subjacent Chalk;
but on the north-eastern coast they have been throughout a certain
area bent, folded, and shifted, together with the beds of the
underlying Cretaceous formation. Within this area they have been
even more deranged than is the English Chalk-with-flints along the
central axis of the Isle of Wight in Hampshire, or of Purbeck in
Dorsetshire. The whole displacement of the Chalk is evidently
posterior in date to the origin of the drift, since the beds of the
latter are horizontal where the fundamental Chalk is horizontal,
and inclined, curved, or vertical where the Chalk displays signs of
similar derangement. Although I had come to these conclusions
respecting the structure of Moen in 1835, after devoting several
days in company with Dr. Forchhammer to its examination,* (* Lyell,
"Geological Transactions" 2nd series volume 2 page 243.) I should
have hesitated to cite the spot as exemplifying convulsions on so
grand a scale, of such extremely modern date, had not the island
been since thoroughly investigated by a most able and reliable
authority, the Danish geologist, Professor Puggaard, who has
published a series of detailed sections of the cliffs.

These cliffs extend through the north-eastern coast of the island,
called Moens Klint,* (* Puggaard, "Geologie d. Insel Moen" Bern
1851; and "Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France" 1851.)
where the Chalk precipices are bold and picturesque, being 300 and
400 feet high, with tall beech-trees growing on their summits, and
covered here and there at their base with huge taluses of fallen
drift, verdant with wild shrubs and grass, by which the monotony of
a continuous range of white Chalk cliffs is prevented.


  A. Horizontal drift.
  B. Chalk and overlying drift beginning to rise.
  C. First flexure and fault. Height of cliff at this point,
     180 feet.)


  S. Fossil shells of recent species in the drift at this point.
  G. Greatest height near G, 280 feet.)

In the low part of the island, at A, Figure 47, or the southern
extremity of the line of section above alluded to, the drift is
horizontal, but when we reach B, a change, both in the height of
the cliffs and in the inclination of the strata, begins to be
perceptible, and the Chalk Number 1 soon makes its appearance from
beneath the overlying members of the drift Numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5.

This Chalk, with its layers of flints, is so like that of England
as to require no description. The incumbent drift consists of the
following subdivisions, beginning with the lowest:

Number 2. Stratified loam and sand, 5 feet thick, containing at one
spot near the base of the cliff, at s, Figure 48, Cardium edule,
Tellina solidula, and Turritella, with fragments of other shells.
Between Number 2 and the Chalk Number 1, there usually intervenes a
breccia of broken flints.

Number 3. Unstratified blue clay or till, with small pebbles and
fragments of Scandinavian rocks occasionally scattered through it,
20 feet thick.

Number 4. A second unstratified mass of yellow and more sandy clay
40 feet thick, with pebbles and angular polished and striated
blocks of granite and other Scandinavian rocks, transported from a

Number 5. Stratified sands and gravel, with occasionally large
erratic blocks; the whole mass varying from 40 to 100 feet in
thickness, but this only in a few spots.

The angularity of many of the blocks in Numbers 3 and 4, the
glaciated surfaces of others, and the transportation from a
distance attested by their crystalline nature, prove them to belong
to the northern drift or glacial period.

It will be seen that the four subdivisions 2, 3, 4, and 5 begin to
rise at B, Figure 47, and that at C, where the cliff is 180 feet
high, there is a sharp flexure shared equally by the Chalk and the
incumbent drift. Between D and G, Figure 48, we observe a great
fracture in the rocks with synclinal and anticlinal folds,
exhibited in cliffs nearly 300 feet high, the drift beds
participating in all the bendings of the Chalk; that is to say, the
three lower members of the drift, including Number 2, which, at the
point S in this diagram, contains the shells of Recent species
before alluded to.

Near the northern end of the Moens Klint, at a place called "Taler,"
more than 300 feet high, are seen similar folds, so sharp that
there is an appearance of four distinct alternations of the glacial
and Cretaceous formations in vertical or highly inclined beds; the
Chalk at one point bending over so that the position of all the
beds is reversed.


  1. Chalk with flints.
  2. Marine stratified loam, lowest member of glacial formation.
  3. Blue clay or till, with erratic blocks unstratified.
  4. Yellow sandy till, with pebbles and glaciated boulders.
  5. Stratified sand and gravel with erratics.)

But the most wonderful shiftings and faultings of the beds are
observable in the Dronningestol part of the same cliff, 400 feet in
perpendicular height, where, as shown in Figure 49, the drift is
thoroughly entangled and mixed up with the dislocated Chalk.

If we follow the lines of fault, we may see, says M. Puggaard,
along the planes of contact of the shifted beds, the marks of
polishing and rubbing which the Chalk flints have undergone, as
have many stones in the gravel of the drift, and some of these have
also been forced into the soft Chalk. The manner in which the top
of some of the arches of bent Chalk have been cut off in this and
several adjoining sections, attests the great denudation which
accompanied the disturbances, portions of the bent strata having
been removed, probably while they were emerging from beneath the

M. Puggaard has deduced the following conclusions from his study of
these cliffs.

First. The white Chalk, when it was still in horizontal
stratification, but after it had suffered considerable denudation,
subsided gradually, so that the lower beds of drift Number 2, with
their littoral shells, were superimposed on the Chalk in a shallow

Second. The overlying unstratified boulder clays 3 and 4 were
thrown down in deeper water by the aid of floating ice coming from
the north.

Third. Irregular subsidences then began, and occasionally partial
failures of support, causing the bending and sometimes the
engulfment of overlying masses both of the Chalk and drift, and
causing the various dislocations above described and depicted. The
downward movement continued till it exceeded 400 feet, for upon the
surface even of Number 5, in some parts of the island, lie huge
erratics 20 feet or more in diameter, which imply that they were
carried by ice in a sea of sufficient depth to float large
icebergs. But these big erratics, says Puggaard, never enter into
the fissures as they would have done had they been of date anterior
to the convulsions.

Fourth. After this subsidence, the re-elevation and partial
denudation of the Cretaceous and glacial beds took place during a
general upward movement, like that now experienced in parts of
Sweden and Norway.

In regard to the lines of movement in Moen, M. Puggaard believes,
after an elaborate comparison of the cliffs with the interior of
the island, that they took at least three distinct directions at as
many successive eras, all of post-glacial date; the first line
running from east-south-east to west-north-west, with lines of
fracture at right angles to them; the second running from
south-south-east to north-north-west, also with fractures in a
transverse direction; and lastly, a sinking in a north and south
direction, with other subsidences of contemporaneous date running
at right angles or east and west.

When we approach the north-west end of Moens Klint, or the range of
coast above described, the strata begin to be less bent and broken,
and after travelling for a short distance beyond we find the Chalk
and overlying drift in the same horizontal position as at the
southern end of the Moens Klint. What makes these convulsions the
more striking is the fact that in the other adjoining Danish
islands, as well as in a large part of Moen itself, both the
Secondary and Tertiary formations are quite undisturbed.

It is impossible to behold such effects of reiterated local
movements, all of post-Tertiary date, without reflecting that, but
for the accidental presence of the stratified drift, all of which
might easily have been missing, where there has been so much
denudation, even if it had once existed, we might have referred the
verticality and flexures and faults of the rocks to an ancient
period, such as the era between the Chalk with flints and the
Maestricht Chalk, or to the time of the latter formation, or to the
Eocene, or Miocene, or Pliocene eras, even the last of them long
prior to the commencement of the glacial epoch. Hence we may be
permitted to suspect that in some other regions, where we have no
such means at our command for testing the exact date of certain
movements, the time of their occurrence may be far more modern than
we usually suppose. In this way some apparent anomalies in the
position of erratic blocks, seen occasionally at great heights
above the parent rocks from which they have been detached, might be
explained, as well as the irregular direction of certain glacial
furrows like those described by Professor Keilhau and Mr. Horbye on
the mountains of the Dovrefjeld in latitude 62 degrees north, where
the striation and friction is said to be independent of the present
shape and slope of the mountains.* (* "Observations sur les
Phenomenes d'Erosion en Norwege" 1857.) Although even in such cases
it remains to be proved whether a general crust of continental ice,
like that of Greenland described by Rink (see above, Chapter 13),
would not account for the deviation of the furrows and striae from
the normal directions which they ought to have followed had they
been due to separate glaciers filling the existing valleys.

It appears that in general the upward movements in Scandinavia,
which have raised sea-beaches containing marine shells of Recent
species to the height of several hundred feet, have been tolerably
uniform over very wide spaces; yet a remarkable exception to this
rule was observed by M. Bravais at Altenfjord in Finmark, between
latitude 70 and 71 degrees north. An ancient water-level, indicated
by a sandy deposit forming a terrace and by marks of the erosion of
the waves, can be followed for 30 miles from south to north along
the borders of a fjord rising gradually from a height of 85 feet to
an elevation of 220 feet above the sea, or at the rate of about 4
feet in a mile.* (* "Proceedings of the Geological Society" 1845
volume 4 page 94.)

To pass to another and very remote part of the world, we have
witnessed so late as January 1855 in the northern island of New
Zealand a sudden and permanent rise of land on the northern shores
of Cook's Straits, which at one point, called Muko-muka, was so
unequal as to amount to 9 feet vertically, while it declined
gradually from this maximum of upheaval in a distance of about 23
miles north-west of the greatest rise, to a point where no change
of level was perceptible. Mr. Edward Roberts of the Royal
Engineers, employed by the British Government at the time of the
shock in executing public works on the coast, ascertained that the
extreme upheaval of certain ancient rocks followed a line of fault
running at least 90 miles from south to north into the interior;
and what is of great geological interest, immediately to the east
of this fault the country, consisting of Tertiary strata, remained
unmoved or stationary; a fact well established by the position of a
line of Nullipores marking the sea-level before the earthquake,
both on the surface of the Tertiary and Palaeozoic rocks.* (*
"Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France" volume 13 1856 page
660, where I have described the facts communicated to me by Messrs.
Roberts and Walter Mantell.)

The repetition of such unequal movements, especially if they
recurred at intervals along the same lines of fracture, would in
the course of ages cause the strata to dip at a high angle in one
direction, while towards the opposite point of the compass they
would terminate abruptly in a steep escarpment.

But it is probable that the multiplication of such movements in the
post-Tertiary period has rarely been so great as to produce results
like those above described in Moen, for the principal movements in
any given period seem to be of a more uniform kind, by which the
topography of limited districts and the position of the strata are
not visibly altered except in their height relatively to the sea.
Were it otherwise we should not find conformable strata of all
ages, including the primary fossiliferous of shallow-water origin,
which must have remained horizontal throughout vast areas during
downward movements of several thousand feet going on at the period
of their accumulation. Still less should we find the same primary
strata, such as the Carboniferous, Devonian, or Silurian, still
remaining horizontal over thousands of square leagues, as in parts
of North America and Russia, having escaped dislocation and flexure
throughout the entire series of epochs which separate Palaeozoic
from Recent times. Not that they have been motionless, for they
have undergone so much denudation, and of such a kind, as can only
be explained by supposing the strata to have been subjected to
great oscillations of level, and exposed in some cases repeatedly
to the destroying and planing action of the waves of the sea.

It seems probable that the successive convulsions in Moen were
contemporary with those upward and downward movements of the
glacial period which were described in the thirteenth and some of
the following chapters, and that they ended before the upper beds
of Number 5, Figure 49, with its large erratic blocks, were
deposited, as some of those beds occurring in the disturbed parts
of Moen appear to have escaped the convulsions to which Numbers 2,
3, and 4 were subjected. If this be so, the whole derangement,
although Pleistocene, may have been anterior to the human epoch, or
rather to the earliest date to which the existence of man has as
yet been traced back.



Post-glacial Strata containing Remains of Mastodon giganteus
   in North America.
Scarcity of Marine Shells in Glacial Drift of Canada and the
   United States.
Greater southern Extension of Ice-action in North America
   than in Europe.
Trains of Erratic Blocks of vast Size in Berkshire, Massachusetts.
Description of their Linear Arrangement and Points of Departure.
Their Transportation referred to Floating and Coast Ice.
General Remarks on the Causes of former Changes of Climate at
   successive geological Epochs.
Supposed Effects of the Diversion of the Gulf Stream in a
   Northerly instead of North-Easterly Direction.
Development of extreme Cold on the opposite Sides of the Atlantic
   in the Glacial period not strictly simultaneous.
Effect of Marine Currents on Climate.
Pleistocene Submergence of the Sahara.

On the North American continent, between the arctic circle and the
42nd parallel of latitude, we meet with signs of ice-action on a
scale as grand as, if not grander than, in Europe; and there also
the excess of cold appears to have been first felt at the close of
the Tertiary, and to have continued throughout a large portion of
the Pleistocene period. [Note 36.]

The general absence of organic remains in the North American
glacial formation makes it as difficult as in Europe to determine
what mammalia lived on the continent at the time of the most
intense refrigeration, or when extensive areas were becoming
strewed over with glacial drift and erratic blocks, but it is
certain that a large proboscidean now extinct, the Mastodon
giganteus, Cuv., together with many other quadrupeds, some of them
now living and others extinct, played a conspicuous part in the
post-glacial era. By its frequency as a fossil species, this
pachyderm represents the European Elephas primigenius, although the
latter also occurs fossil in the United States and Canada, and
abounds, as I learn from Sir John Richardson, in latitudes farther
north than those to which the mastodon has been traced.

In the state of New York, the mastodon is not unfrequently met with
in bogs and lacustrine deposits formed in hollows in the drift, and
therefore, in a geological position, much resembling that of Recent
peat and shell-marl in the British Isles, Denmark, or the valley of
the Somme, as before described. Sometimes entire skeletons have
been discovered within a few feet of the surface, in peaty earth at
the bottom of small ponds, which the agriculturists had drained.
The shells in these cases belong to freshwater genera, such as
Limnaea, Physa, Planorbis, Cyclas, and others, differing from
European species, but the same as those now proper to ponds and
lakes in the same parts of America.

I have elsewhere given an account of several of these localities
which I visited in 1842,* (* "Travels in North America" volume 1
page 55 London 1845; and "Manual of Geology" chapter 12 5th edition
page 144.) and can state that they certainly have a more modern
aspect than almost all the European deposits in which remains of
the mammoth occur, although a few instances are cited of Elephas
Primigenius having been dug out of peat in Great Britain. Thus I
was shown a mammoth's tooth in the museum at Torquay in Devonshire
which is believed to have been dredged up from a deposit of
vegetable matter now partially submerged beneath the sea. A more
elevated part of the same peaty formation constitutes the bottom of
the valley in which Tor Abbey stands. This individual elephant must
certainly have been of more modern date than his fellows found
fossil in the gravel of the Brixham cave, before described, for it
flourished when the physical geography of Devonshire, unlike that
of the cave period, was almost identical with that now established.

I cannot help suspecting that many tusks and teeth of the mammoth,
said to have been found in peat, may be as spurious as are the
horns of the rhinoceros cited more than once in the "Memoirs of the
Wernerian Society" as having been obtained from shell-marl in
Forfarshire and other Scotch counties; yet, between the period when
the mammoth was most abundant and that when it died out, there must
have elapsed a long interval of ages when it was growing more and
more scarce; and we may expect to find occasional stragglers buried
in deposits long subsequent in date to others, until at last we may
succeed in tracing a passage from the Pleistocene to the Recent
fauna, by geological monuments, which will fill up the gap before
alluded to as separating the era of the flint tools of Amiens and
Abbeville from that of the peat of the valley of the Somme.

How far the lacustrine strata of North America above mentioned may
help to lessen this hiatus, and whether some individuals of the
Mastodon giganteus may have come down to the confines of the
historical period, is a question not so easily answered as might at
first sight be supposed. A geologist might naturally imagine that
the fluviatile formation of Goat Island, seen at the falls of
Niagara, and at several points below the falls,* (* "Travels in
North America" by the author, volume 1 chapter 2 and volume 2
chapter 19.) was very modern, seeing that the fossil shells
contained in it are all of species now inhabiting the waters of the
Niagara, and seeing also that the deposit is more modern than the
glacial drift of the same locality. In fact, the old river bed, in
which bones of the mastodon occur, holds the same position
relatively to the boulder formation as the strata of shell-marl and
bog-earth with bones of mastodon, so frequent in the State of New
York, bear to the glacial drift, and all may be of contemporaneous
date. But in the case of the valley of the Niagara we happen to
have a measure of time which is wanting in the other localities,
namely, the test afforded by the recession of the falls, an
operation still in progress, by which the deep ravine of the
Niagara, 7 miles long, between Queenstown and Goat Island has been
hollowed out. This ravine is not only post-glacial, but also
posterior in date to the fluviatile or mastodon-bearing beds. The
individual therefore found fossil near Goat Island flourished
before the gradual excavation of the deep and long chasm, and we
must reckon its antiquity, not by thousands, but by tens of
thousands of years, if I have correctly estimated the minimum of
time which was required for the erosion of that great ravine.* (*
"Principles of Geology" 9th edition page 2; and "Travels in North
America" volume 1 page 32 1845.)

The stories widely circulated of bones of the mastodon having been
observed with their surfaces pierced as if by arrow-heads or
bearing the marks of wounds inflicted by some stone implement, must
in future be more carefully inquired into, for we can scarcely
doubt that the mastodon in North America lived down to a period
when the mammoth co-existed with Man in Europe. But I need say no
more on this subject, having already explained my views in regard
to the evidence of the antiquity of Man in North America when
treating of the human bone discovered at Natchez on the

In Canada and the United States we experience the same difficulty
as in Europe when we attempt to distinguish between glacial
formations of submarine and those of supra-marine origin. In the
New World, as in Scotland and England, marine shells of this era
have rarely been traced higher than 500 feet above the sea, and 700
feet seems to be the maximum to which at present they are known to
ascend. In the same countries, erratic blocks have travelled from
north to south, following the same direction as the glacial furrows
and striae imprinted almost everywhere on the solid rocks
underlying the drift. Their direction rarely deviates more than
fifteen degrees east or west of the meridian, so that we can
scarcely doubt, in spite of the general dearth of marine shells,
that icebergs floating in the sea and often running aground on its
rocky bottom were the instruments by which most of the blocks were
conveyed to southern latitudes.

There are, nevertheless, in the United States, as in Europe,
several groups of mountains which have acted as independent centres
for the dispersion of erratics, as, for example, the White
Mountains, latitude 44 degrees north, the highest of which, Mount
Washington, rises to about 6300 feet above the sea; and according
to Professor Hitchcock some of the loftiest of the hills of
Massachusetts once sent down their glaciers into the surrounding
lower country.


Having treated so fully in this volume of the events of the glacial
period, I am unwilling to conclude without laying before the reader
the evidence displayed in North America of ice-action in latitudes
farther south by about ten degrees than any seen on an equal scale
in Europe. This extension southwards of glacial phenomena in
regions where there are no snow-covered mountains like the Alps to
explain the exception, nor any hills of more than moderate
elevation, constitutes a feature of the western as compared to the
eastern side of the Atlantic, and must be taken into account when
we speculate on the causes of the refrigeration of the northern
hemisphere during the Pleistocene period.

     Distance in a straight line, between the mountain ranges
       A and C, about eight miles.

  A. Canaan range, in the State of New York. The crest consists of
     green chloritic rock.
  B. Richmond range, the western division of which consists in
     Merriman's Mount of the same green rock as A, but in a more
     schistose form, while the eastern division is composed of
     slaty limestone.
  C. The Lenox range, consisting in part of mica-schist, and in some
     districts of crystalline limestone.
  d. Knob in the range A, from which most of the train Number 6 is
     supposed to have been derived.
  e. Supposed starting point of the train Number 5 in the range A.
  f. Hiatus of 175 yards, or space without blocks.
  g. Sherman's House.
  h. Perry's Peak.
  k. Flat Rock.
  l. Merriman's Mount.
  m. Dupey's Mount.
  n. Largest block of train, Number 6. See Figures 51 and 52.
  p. Point of divergence of part of the train Number 6, where a
     branch is sent off to Number 5.
  Number 1. The most southerly train examined by Messrs. Hall and
     Lyell, between Stockbridge and Richmond, composed of blocks
     of black slate, blue limestone and some of the green Canaan
     rock, with here and there a boulder of white quartz.
  Number 2. Train composed chiefly of large limestone masses, some
     of them divided into two or more fragments by natural joints.
  Number 3. Train composed of blocks of limestone and the green
     Canaan rock; passes south of the Richmond Station on the Albany
     and Boston railway; is less defined than Numbers 1 and 2.
  Number 4. Train chiefly of limestone blocks, some of them thirty
     feet in diameter, running to the north-west of the Richmond
     Station, and passing south of the Methodist Meeting-house,
     where it is intersected by a railway cutting.
  Number 5. South train of Dr. Reid, composed entirely of large
     blocks of the green chloritic Canaan rock; passes north of
     the Old Richmond Meeting-house, and is three-quarters of a mile
     north of the preceding train (Number 4).
  Number 6. The great or principal train (north train of Dr. Reid),
     composed of very large blocks of the Canaan rock, diverges at p,
     and unites by a branch with train Number 5.
  Number 7. A well-defined train of limestone blocks, with a few
     of the Canaan rock, traced from the Richmond to the slope
     of the Lenox range.)

In 1852, accompanied by Mr. James Hall, state geologist of New
York, author of many able and well-known works on geology and
palaeontology, I examined the glacial drift and erratics of the
county of Berkshire, Massachusetts, and those of the adjoining
parts of the state of New York, a district about 130 miles inland
from the Atlantic coast and situated due west of Boston in latitude
42 degrees 25 minutes north. This latitude corresponds in Europe to
that of the north of Portugal. Here numerous detached fragments of
rock are seen, having a linear arrangement or being continuous in
long parallel trains, running nearly in straight lines over hill
and dale for distances of 5, 10, and 20 miles, and sometimes
greater distances. Seven of the more conspicuous of these trains,
from 1 to 7 inclusive, Figure 50, are laid down in the accompanying
map or ground plan.* (* This ground plan, and a farther account of
the Berkshire erratics was given in an abstract of a lecture
delivered by me to the Royal Institution of Great Britain, April
27, 1855 and published in their Proceedings.) It will be remarked
that they run in a north-west and south-east direction, or almost
transversely to the ranges of hills A, B, and C, which run
north-north-east and south-south-west. The crests of these chains
are about 800 feet in height above the intervening valleys. The
blocks of the northernmost train, Number 7, are of limestone
derived from the calcareous chain B; those of the two trains next
to the south, Numbers 6 and 5, are composed exclusively in the
first part of their course of a green chloritic rock of great
toughness, but after they have passed the ridge B, a mixture of
calcareous blocks is observed. After traversing the valley for a
distance of 6 miles these two trains pass through depressions or
gaps in the range C, as they had previously done in crossing the
range B, showing that the dispersion of the erratics bears some
relation to the acutal inequalities of the surface, although the
course of the same blocks is perfectly independent of the more
leading features of the geography of the country, or those by which
the present lines of drainage are determined. The greater number of
the green chloritic fragments in trains 5 and 6 have evidently come
from the ridge A, and a large proportion of the whole from its
highest summit d, where the crest of the ridge has been worn into
those dome-shaped masses called "roches moutonnees," already
alluded to, and where several fragments having this shape, some of
them 30 feet long, are seen in situ, others only slightly removed
from their original position, as if they had been just ready to set
out on their travels. Although smooth and rounded on their tops
they are angular on their lower parts, where their outline has been
derived from the natural joints of the rock. Had these blocks been
conveyed from d by glaciers, they would have radiated in all
directions from a centre, whereas not one even of the smaller ones
is found to the westward of A, though a very slight force would
have made them roll down to the base of that ridge, which is very
steep on its western declivity. It is clear, therefore, that the
propelling power, whatever it may have been, acted exclusively in a
south-easterly direction. Professor Hall and I observed one of the
green blocks--24 feet long, poised upon another about 19 feet in
length. The largest of all on the west flank of m, or Dupey's
Mount, called the Alderman, is above 90 feet in diameter, and
nearly 300 feet in circumference. We counted at some points between
forty and fifty blocks visible at once, the smallest of them larger
than a camel.

  (n in map in Figure 50), near the Richmond Meeting-house,
    Berkshire, Massachusetts, latitude 42 degrees 25 minutes
    North. Length, 52 feet; width, 40 feet; height above the
    soil, 15 feet.)

The annexed drawing (Figure 51) represents one of the best known of
train Number 6, being that marked n on the map (Figure 50).
According to our measurement it is 52 feet long by 40 in width, its
height above the drift in which it is partially buried being 15
feet. At the distance of several yards occurs a smaller block, 3 or
4 feet in height, 20 feet long, and 14 broad, composed of the same
compact chloritic rock, and evidently a detached fragment from the
bigger mass, to the lower and angular part of which it would fit on
exactly. This erratic n has a regularly rounded top, worn and
smoothed like the "roches moutonnees" before mentioned, but no part
of the attrition can have occurred since it left its parent rock,
the angles of the lower portion being quite sharp and unblunted.


  a. The large block in Figure 51 and n in the map in Figure 50.
  b. Fragment detached from the same.
  c. Unstratified drift with boulders.
  d. Silurian limestone in inclined stratification.)

From railway cuttings through the drift of the neighbourhood and
other artificial excavations, we may infer that the position of the
block n, if seen in a vertical section, would be as represented in
Figure 52. The deposit c in that section consists of sand, mud,
gravel, and stones, for the most part unstratified, resembling the
till or boulder clay of Europe. It varies in thickness from 10 to
50 feet, being of greater depth in the valleys. The uppermost
portion is occasionally, though rarely, stratified. Some few of the
imbedded stones have flattened, polished, striated, and furrowed
sides. They consist invariably, like the seven trains above
mentioned, of kinds of rock confined to the region lying to the
north-west, none of them having come from any other quarter.
Whenever the surface of the underlying rock has been exposed by the
removal of the superficial detritus, a polished and furrowed
surface is seen, like that underneath a glacier, the direction of
the furrows being from north-west to south-east, or corresponding
to the course of the large erratics.

As all the blocks, instead of being dispersed from a centre, have
been carried in one direction and across the ridges A, B, C and the
intervening valleys, the hypothesis of glaciers is out of the
question. I conceive, therefore, that the erratics were conveyed to
the places they now occupy by coast ice, when the country was
submerged beneath the waters of a sea cooled by icebergs coming
annually from arctic regions.


  d, e. Masses of floating ice carrying fragments of rock.)

Suppose the highest peaks of the ridges A, B, C in the annexed
diagram (Figure 53) to be alone above water, forming islands, and d
e to be masses of floating ice, which drifted across the Canaan and
Richmond valleys at a time when they were marine channels,
separating islands or rather chains of islands, having a
north-north-east and south-south-west direction. A fragment of ice
such as d, freighted with a block from A, might run aground and add
to the heap of erratics at the north-west base of the island (now
ridge) B, or, passing through a sound between B and the next island
of the same group, might float on till it reached the channel
between B and C. Year after year two such exposed cliffs in the
Canaan range as d and e of the map, Figure 50, undermined by the
waves, might serve as the points of departure of blocks, composing
the trains Numbers 5 and 6. It may be objected that oceanic
currents could not always have had the same direction; this may be
true, but during a short season of the year when the ice was
breaking up the prevailing current may have always run south-east.

If it be asked why the blocks of each train are not more scattered,
especially when far from their source, it may be observed that
after passing through sounds separating islands, they issued again
from a new and narrow starting-point; moreover, we must not
exaggerate the regularity of the trains, as their width is
sometimes twice as great in one place in as another; and Number 6
sends off a branch at p, which joins Number 5. There are also
stragglers, or large blocks here and there in the spaces between
the two trains. As to the distance to which any given block would
be carried, that must have depended on a variety of circumstances;
such as the strength of the current, the direction of the wind, the
weight of the block or the quantity and draught of the ice attached
to it. The smaller fragments would, on the whole, have the best
chance of going farthest; because, in the first place, they were
more numerous, and then, being lighter, they required less ice to
float them, and would not ground so readily on shoals, or if
stranded, would be more easily started again on their travels. Many
of the blocks, which at first sight seem to consist of single
masses, are found when examined to be made up of two, three, or
more pieces divided by natural joints. In the case of a second
removal by ice, one or more portions would become detached and be
drifted to different points further on. Whenever this happened, the
original size would be lessened, and the angularity of the block
previously worn by the breakers would be restored, and this
tendency to split may explain why some of the far-transported
fragments remain very angular.

These various considerations may also account for the fact that the
average size of the blocks of all the seven trains laid down on the
plan, Figure 50, lessens sensibly in proportion as we recede from
the principal points of departure of particular kinds of erratics,
yet not with any regularity, a huge block now and then recurring
when the rest of the train consists of smaller ones.

All geologists acquainted with the district now under consideration
are agreed that the mountain ranges A, B, and c, as well as the
adjoining valleys, had assumed their actual form and position
before the drift and erratics accumulated on and in them and before
the surface of the fixed rocks was polished and furrowed. I have
the less hesitation in ascribing the transporting power to
coast-ice, because I saw in 1852 an angular block of sandstone, 8
feet in diameter, which had been brought down several miles by ice
only three years before to the mouth of the Petitcodiac estuary, in
Nova Scotia, where it joins the Bay of Fundy; and I ascertained
that on the shores of the same bay, at the South Joggins, in the
year 1850, much larger blocks had been removed by coast-ice, and
after they had floated half a mile, had been dropped in salt water
by the side of a pier built for loading vessels with coal, so that
it was necessary at low tide to blast these huge ice-borne rocks
with gunpowder in order that the vessels might be able to draw up
alongside the pier. These recent exemplifications of the vast
carrying powers of ice occurred in latitude 46 degrees north
(corresponding to that of Bordeaux), in a bay never invaded by

I may here remark that a sheet of ice of moderate thickness, if it
extend over a wide area, may suffice to buoy up the largest
erratics which fall upon it. The size of these will depend, not on
the intensity of the cold but on the manner in which the rock is
jointed, and the consequent dimensions of the blocks into which it
splits when falling from an undermined cliff.

When I first endeavoured in the "Principles of Geology" in 1830,*
(* 1st edition chapter 7; 9th edition ibid.) to explain the causes,
both of the warmer and colder climates which have at former periods
prevailed on the globe, I referred to successive variations in the
height and position of the land and its extent relatively to the
sea in polar and equatorial latitudes--also to fluctuations in the
course of oceanic currents and other geographical conditions, by
the united influence of which I still believe the principal
revolutions in the meteorological state of the atmosphere at
different geological periods have been brought about. The Gulf
Stream was particularly alluded to by me as moderating the winter
climate of northern Europe and as depending for its direction on
temporary and accidental peculiarities in the shape of the land,
especially that of the narrow Straits of Bahama, which a slight
modification in the earth's crust would entirely alter.

Mr. Hopkins, in a valuable essay on the causes of former changes of
climate,* (* Hopkins, "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society"
volume 8 1852 page 56.) has attempted to calculate how much the
annual temperature of Europe would be lowered if this Gulf Stream
were turned in some other and new direction, and estimates the
amount at about six or seven degrees of Fahrenheit. He also
supposes that if at the same time a considerable part of northern
and central Europe were submerged, so that a cold current from the
arctic seas should sweep over it, an additional refrigeration of
three or four degrees would be produced. He has speculated in the
same essay on the effects which would be experienced in the eastern
hemisphere if the same mighty current of warm water, instead of
crossing the Atlantic, were made to run northwards from the Gulf of
Mexico through the region now occupied by the valley of the
Mississippi, and so onwards to the arctic regions.

After reflecting on what has been said in the thirteenth chapter of
the submergence and re-elevation of the British Isles and the
adjoining parts of Europe, and the rising and sinking of the Alps
and the basins of some of the great rivers flowing from that chain,
since the commencement of the glacial period, a geologist will not
be disposed to object to the theory above adverted to, on the score
of its demanding too much conversion of land into sea, or almost
any amount of geographical change in Pleistocene times. But a
difficulty of another kind presents itself. We have seen that,
during the glacial period, the cold in Europe extended much farther
south than it does at present, and in this chapter we have
demonstrated that in North America the cold also extended no less
than 10 degrees of latitude still farther southwards than in
Europe; so that if a great body of heated water, instead of flowing
north-eastward, were made to pass through what is now the centre of
the American continent towards the Arctic Circle, it could not fail
to mitigate the severity of the winter's cold in precisely those
latitudes where the cold was greatest and where it has left
monuments of ice-action surpassing in extent any exhibited on the
European side of the ocean.

In the actual state of the globe, the isothermal lines, or lines of
equal winter temperature when traced westward from Europe to North
America bend 10 degrees south, there being a marked excess of
winter cold in corresponding latitudes west of the Atlantic. During
the glacial period, viewing it as a whole, we behold signs of a
precisely similar deflection of these same isothermal lines when
followed from east to west; so that if, in the hope of accounting
for the former severity of glacial action in Europe, we suppose the
absence of the Gulf Stream and imagine a current of equivalent
magnitude to have flowed due north from the Gulf of Mexico, we
introduce, as we have just hinted, a source of heat into precisely
that part of the continent where the extreme conditions of
refrigeration are most manifest. Viewed in this light, the
hypothesis in question would render the glacial phenomena described
in the present chapter more perplexing and anomalous than ever. But
here another question arises, whether the eras at which the maximum
of cold was attained on the opposite sides of the Atlantic were
really contemporaneous? We have now discovered not only that the
glacial period was of vast duration, but that it passed through
various phases and oscillations of temperature; so that, although
the chief polishing and furrowing of the rocks and transportation
of erratics in Europe and North America may have taken place
contemporaneously, according to the ordinary language of geology,
or when the same testacea and the same Pleistocene assemblage of
mammalia flourished, yet the extreme development of cold on the
opposite sides of the ocean may not have been strictly
simultaneous, but on the contrary the one may have preceded or
followed the other by a thousand or more than a thousand centuries.

It is probable that the greatest refrigeration of Norway, Sweden,
Scotland, Wales, the Vosges, and the Alps coincided very nearly in
time; but when the Scandinavian and Scotch mountains were encrusted
with a general covering of ice, similar to that now enveloping
Greenland, this last country may not have been in nearly so glacial
a condition as now, just as we find that the old icy crust and
great glaciers, which have left their mark on the mountains of
Norway and Sweden, have now disappeared, precisely at a time when
the accumulation of ice in Greenland is so excessive. In other
words, we see that in the present state of the northern hemisphere,
at the distance of about 1500 miles, two meridional zones enjoying
very different conditions of temperature may co-exist, and we are,
therefore, at liberty to imagine some former alternations of colder
and milder climates on the opposite sides of the ocean throughout
the Pleistocene era of a compensating kind, the cold on the one
side balancing the milder temperature on the other. By assuming
such a succession of events we can more easily explain why there
has not been a greater extermination of species, both terrestrial
and aquatic, in polar and temperate regions during the glacial
epoch, and why so many species are common to pre-glacial and
post-glacial times.

The numerous plants which are common to the temperate zones north
and south of the equator have been referred by Mr. Darwin and Dr.
Hooker to migrations which took place along mountain chains running
from north to south during some of the colder phases of the glacial
epoch.* (* Darwin, "Origin of Species" chapter 11 page 365; Hooker,
"Flora of Australia" Introduction page 18 1859.) Such an hypothesis
enables us to dispense with the doctrine that the same species ever
originated independently in two distinct and distant areas; and it
becomes more feasible if we admit the doctrine of the co-existence
of meridional belts of warmer and colder climate, instead of the
simultaneous prevalence of extreme cold both in the eastern and
western hemisphere. It also seems necessary, as colder currents of
water always flow to lower latitudes, while warmer ones are running
towards polar regions, that some such compensation should take
place, and that an increase of cold in one region must to a certain
extent be balanced by a mitigation of temperature elsewhere.

Sir John F. Herschel, in his recent work on "Physical Geography,"
when speaking of the open sea which is caused in part of the polar
regions by the escape of ice through Behring's Straits, and the
flow of warmer water northwards through the same channel, observes
that these straits, by which the continents of Asia and North
America are now parted, "are only thirty miles broad where
narrowest and only twenty-five fathoms in their greatest depth."
But "this narrow channel," he adds, "is yet important in the
economy of nature, inasmuch as it allows a portion of the
circulating water from a warmer region to find its way into the
polar basin, aiding thereby not only to mitigate the extreme rigour
of the polar cold, but to prevent in all probability a continual
accretion of ice, which else might rise to a mountainous height."*
(* Herschel's "Physical Geography" page 41 1861.)

Behring's Straits, here alluded to, happen to agree singularly in
width and depth with the Straits of Dover, the difference in depth
not being more than 3 or 4 feet; so that at the rate of upheaval,
which is now going on in many parts of Scandinavia, of 2 1/2 feet
in a century, such straits might be closed in 3000 years, and a
vast accumulation of ice to the northward commence forthwith.

But, on the other hand, although such an accumulation might spread
its refrigerating influence for many miles southwards beyond the
new barrier, the warm current which now penetrates through the
straits, and which at other times is chilled by floating ice
issuing from them, would when totally excluded from all
communication with the icy sea have its temperature raised and its
course altered, so that the climate of some other area must
immediately begin to improve.

There is still another probable cause of a vast change in the
temperature of central Europe in comparatively modern times, to
which no allusion has yet been made; namely, the conversion of the
great desert of the Sahara from sea into land since the
commencement of the Pleistocene period. When that vast region was
still submerged, no sirocco blowing for days in succession carried
its hot blasts from a wide expanse of burning sand across the
Mediterranean. The south winds were comparatively cool, allowing
the snows of the Alps to augment to an extent which the colossal
dimensions of the moraines of extinct glaciers can alone enable us
to estimate.

The scope and limits of this volume forbid my pursuing these
speculations and reasonings farther; but I trust I have said enough
to show that the monuments of the glacial period, when more
thoroughly investigated, will do much towards expanding our views
as to the antiquity of the fauna and flora now contemporary with
Man, and will therefore enable us the better to determine the time
at which Man began in the northern hemisphere to form part of the
existing fauna. [Note 37.]



Recapitulation of Results arrived at in the earlier Chapters.
Ages of Stone and Bronze.
Danish Peat and Kitchen-Middens.
Swiss Lake-Dwellings.
Local Changes in Vegetation and in the wild and domesticated
   Animals and in Physical Geography coeval with the Age of
   Bronze and the later Stone Period.
Estimates of the positive Date of some Deposits of the later
   Stone Period.
Ancient Division of the Age of Stone of St. Acheul and Aurignac.
Migrations of Man in that Period from the Continent to England
   in Post-Glacial Times.
Slow Rate of Progress in barbarous Ages.
Doctrine of the superior Intelligence and Endowments of the
   original Stock of Mankind considered.
Opinions of the Greeks and Romans, and their Coincidence with
   those of the Modern Progressionist.

The ages of stone and bronze, so called by archaeologists, were
spoken of in the earlier chapters of this work. That of bronze has
been traced back to times anterior to the Roman occupation of
Helvetia, Gaul, and other countries north of the Alps. When weapons
of that mixed metal were in use, a somewhat uniform civilisation
seems to have prevailed over a wide extent of central and northern
Europe, and the long duration of such a state of things in Denmark
and Switzerland is shown by the gradual improvement which took
place in the useful and ornamental arts. Such progress is attested
by the increasing variety of the forms, and the more perfect finish
and tasteful decoration of the tools and utensils obtained from the
more modern deposits of the bronze age, those from the upper layers
of peat, for example, as compared to those found in the lower ones.
The great number also of the Swiss lake-dwellings of the bronze age
(about seventy villages having been already discovered), and the
large population which some of them were capable of containing,
afford indication of a considerable lapse of time, as does the
thickness of the stratum of mud in which in some of the lakes the
works of art are entombed. The unequal antiquity, also, of the
settlements is occasionally attested by the different degrees of
decay which the wooden stakes or piles have undergone, some of them
projecting more above the mud than others, while all the piles of
the antecedent age of stone have rotted away quite down to the
level of the mud, such part of them only as was originally driven
into the bed of the lake having escaped decomposition.* (* Troyon,
"Habitations lacustres" Lausanne 1860.)

Among the monuments of the stone period, which immediately preceded
that of bronze, the polished hatchets called celts are abundant,
and were in very general use in Europe before metallic tools were
introduced. We learn, from the Danish peat and shell-mounds, and
from the older Swiss lake-settlements, that the first inhabitants
were hunters who fed almost entirely on game, but their food in
after ages consisted more and more of tamed animals and still later
a more complete change to a pastoral state took place, accompanied
as population increased by the cultivation of some cereals.

Both the shells and quadrupeds belonging to the later stone period
and to the age of bronze consist exclusively of species now living
in Europe, the fauna being the same as that which flourished in
Gaul at the time when it was conquered by Julius Caesar, even the
Bos primigenius, the only animal of which the wild type is lost,
being still represented, according to Cuvier, Bell, and Rutimeyer,
by one of the domesticated races of cattle now in Europe.

These monuments, therefore, whether of stone or bronze, belong to
what I have termed geologically the Recent period, the definition
of which some may think rather too dependent on negative evidence,
or on the non-discovery hitherto of extinct mammalia, such as the
mammoth, which may one day turn up in a fossil state in some of the
oldest peaty deposits, as indeed it is already said to have done at
some spots, though I have failed as yet to obtain authentic
evidence of the fact.* (* A molar of E. primigenius, in a very
fresh state, in the museum at Torquay, believed to have been washed
up by the waves of the sea out of the submerged mass of vegetable
matter at the extremity of the valley in which Tor Abbey stands, is
the best case I have seen. See above, Chapter 18.) No doubt some
such exceptional cases may be met with in the course of future
investigations, for we are still imperfectly acquainted with the
entire fauna of the age of stone in Denmark as we may infer from an
opinion expressed by Steenstrup, that some of the instruments
exhumed by antiquaries from the Danish peat are made of the bones
and horns of the elk and reindeer. Yet no skeleton or uncut bone of
either of those species has hitherto been observed in the same

Nevertheless, the examination made by naturalists of the various
Danish and Swiss deposits of the Recent period has been so
searching, that the finding in them of a stray elephant or
rhinoceros, should it ever occur, would prove little more than that
some few individuals lingered on, when the species was on the verge
of extinction, and such rare exceptions would not render the
classification above proposed inappropriate.

At the time when many wild quadrupeds and birds were growing scarce
and some of them becoming locally extirpated in Denmark, great
changes were taking place in the vegetation. The pine, or Scotch
fir, buried in the oldest peat, gave place at length to the oak,
and the oak, after flourishing for ages, yielded in its turn to the
beech, the periods when these three forest trees predominated in
succession tallying pretty nearly with the ages of stone, bronze,
and iron in Denmark. In the same country also, during the stone
period, various fluctuations, as we have seen, occurred in physical
geography. Thus, on the ocean side of certain islands, the old
refuse-heaps, or "kitchen-middens," were destroyed by the waves,
the cliffs having wasted away, while on the side of the Baltic,
where the sea was making no encroachment or where the land was
sometimes gaining on the sea, such mounds remained uninjured. It
was also shown that the oyster, which supplied food to the
primitive people, attained its full size in parts of the Baltic
where it cannot now exist owing to a want of saltness in the water,
and that certain marine univalves and bivalves, such as the common
periwinkle, mussel, and cockle, of which the castaway shells are
found in the mounds, attained in the olden time their full
dimensions, like the oysters, whereas the same species, though they
still live on the coast of the inland sea adjoining the mounds, are
dwarfed and never half their natural size, the water being rendered
too fresh for them by the influx of so many rivers.

Some archaeologists and geologists of merit have endeavoured to
arrive at positive dates, or an exact estimate of the minimum of
time assignable to the later age of stone. These computations have
been sometimes founded on changes in the level of the land, or on
the increase of peat, as in the Danish bogs, or on the conversion
of water into land by alluvial deposits, since certain
lake-settlements in Switzerland were abandoned. Alterations also in
the geographical distribution or preponderance of certain living
species of animals and plants have been taken into account in
corroboration, as have the signs of progress in human civilisation,
as serving to mark the lapse of time during the stone and bronze

M. Morlot has estimated with care the probable antiquity of three
superimposed vegetable soils cut open at different depths in the
delta of the Tiniere, each containing human bones or works of art,
belonging successively to the Roman, bronze, and later stone
periods. According to his estimate, an antiquity of 7000 years at
least must be assigned to the oldest of these remains, though
believed to be long posterior in date to the time when the mammoth
and other extinct mammalia flourished together with Man in Europe.
Such computations of past time must be regarded as tentative in the
present state of our knowledge and much collateral evidence will be
required to confirm them; yet the results appear to me already to
afford a rough approximation to the truth.

Between the newer or Recent division of the stone period and the
older division, which has been called the Pleistocene, there was
evidently a vast interval of time--a gap in the history of the
past, into which many monuments of intermediate date will one day
have to be intercalated. Of this kind are those caves in the south
of France, in which M. Lartet has lately found bones of the
reindeer, associated with works of art somewhat more advanced in
style than those of St. Acheul or of Aurignac. In the valley of the
Somme we have seen that peat exists of great thickness, containing
in its upper layers Roman and Celtic memorials, the whole of which
has been of slow growth, in basins or depressions conforming to the
present contour and drainage levels of the country, and long
posterior in date to older gravels, containing bones of the mammoth
and a large number of flint implements of a very rude and antique
type. Some of those gravels were accumulated in the channels of
rivers which flowed at higher levels by 100 feet than the present
streams, and before the valley had attained its present depth and
form. No intermixture has been observed in those ancient river beds
of any of the polished weapons, called "celts," or other relics of
the more modern times, or of the second or Recent stone period, nor
any interstratified peat; and the climate of those Pleistocene
ages, when Man was a denizen of the north-west of France and of
southern and central England, appears to have been much more severe
in winter than it is now in the same region, though far less cold
than in the glacial period which immediately preceded.

We may presume that the time demanded for the gradual dying out or
extirpation of a large number of wild beasts which figure in the
Pleistocene strata and are missing in the Recent fauna was of
protracted duration, for we know how tedious a task it is in our
own times, even with the aid of fire-arms, to exterminate a noxious
quadruped, a wolf, for example, in any region comprising within it
an extensive forest or a mountain chain. In many villages in the
north of Bengal, the tiger still occasionally carries off its human
victims, and the abandonment of late years by the natives of a part
of the Sunderbunds or lower delta of the Ganges, which they once
peopled, is attributed chiefly to the ravages of the tiger. It is
probable that causes more general and powerful than the agency of
Man, alterations in climate, variations in the range of many
species of animals, vertebrate and invertebrate, and of plants,
geographical changes in the height, depth, and extent of land and
sea, some or all of these combined, have given rise in a vast
series of years to the annihilation, not only of many large
mammalia, but to the disappearance of the Cyrena fluminalis, once
common in the rivers of Europe, and to the different range or
relative abundance of other shells which we find in the European

That the growing power of Man may have lent its aid as the
destroying cause of many Pleistocene species, must, however, be
granted; yet, before the introduction of fire-arms, or even the use
of improved weapons of stone, it seems more wonderful that the
aborigines were able to hold their own against the cave-lion,
hyaena, and wild bull, and to cope with such enemies, than that
they failed to bring about their speedy extinction.

It is already clear that Man was contemporary in Europe with two
species of elephant, now extinct, E. primigenius and E. antiquus,
two also of rhinoceros, R. tichorhinus and R. hemitoechus (Falc.),
at least one species of hippopotamus, the cave-bear, cave-lion, and
cave-hyaena, various bovine, equine, and cervine animals now
extinct, and many smaller Carnivora, Rodentia, and Insectivora.
While these were slowly passing away, the musk ox, reindeer, and
other arctic species which have survived to our times were
retreating northwards from the valleys of the Thames and Seine to
their present more arctic haunts.

The human skeletons of the Belgian caverns of times coeval with the
mammoth and other extinct mammalia do not betray any signs of a
marked departure in their structure, whether of skull or limb, from
the modern standard of certain living races of the human family. As
to the remarkable Neanderthal skeleton (Chapter 5), it is at
present too isolated and exceptional, and its age too uncertain, to
warrant us in relying on its abnormal and ape-like characters, as
bearing on the question whether the farther back we trace Man into
the past, the more we shall find him approach in bodily
conformation to those species of the anthropoid quadrumana which
are most akin to him in structure.

In the descriptions already given of the geographical changes which
the British Isles have undergone since the commencement of the
glacial period (as illustrated by several maps, Figures 39 to 41),
it has been shown that there must have been a free communication by
land between the Continent and these islands, and between the
several islands themselves, within the Pleistocene epoch, in order
to account for the Germanic fauna and flora having migrated into
every part of the area, as well as for the Scandinavian plants and
animals to have retreated into the higher mountains. During some
part of the Pleistocene ages, the large pachyderms and accompanying
beasts of prey, now extinct, wandered from the Continent to
England; and it is highly probable that France was united with some
part of the British Isles as late as the period of the gravels of
St. Acheul and the era of those engulfed rivers which, in the basin
of the Meuse near Liege, swept into many a rent and cavern the
bones of Man and of the mammoth and cave-bear. There have been vast
geographical revolutions in the times alluded to, and oscillations
of land, during which the English Channel, which can be shown by
the Pagham erratics and the old Brighton beach (Chapter 14), to be
of very ancient origin, may have been more than once laid dry and
again submerged. During some one of these phases, Man may have
crossed over, whether by land or in canoes, or even on the ice of a
frozen sea (as Mr. Prestwich has hinted), for the winters of the
period of the higher-level gravels of the valley of the Somme were
intensely cold.

The primitive people, who co-existed with the elephant and
rhinoceros in the valley of the Ouse at Bedford, and who made use
of flint tools of the Amiens type, certainly inhabited part of
England which had already emerged from the waters of the glacial
sea and the fabricators of the flint tools of Hoxne, in Suffolk,
were also, as we have seen, post-glacial. We may likewise presume
that the people of Pleistocene date, who have left their memorials
in the valley of the Thames, were of corresponding antiquity,
posterior to the boulder clay but anterior to the time when the
rivers of that region had settled into their present channels.

The vast distance of time which separated the origin of the higher
and lower gravels of the valley of the Somme, both of them rich in
flint implements of similar shape (although those of oval form
predominate in the newer gravels), leads to the conclusion that the
state of the arts in those early times remained stationary for
almost indefinite periods. There may, however, have been different
degrees of civilisation and in the art of fabricating flint tools,
of which we cannot easily detect the signs in the first age of
stone, and some contemporary tribes may have been considerably in
advance of others. Those hunters, for example, who feasted on the
rhinoceros and buried their dead with funeral rites at Aurignac may
have been less barbarous than the savages of St. Acheul, as some of
their weapons and utensils have been thought to imply. To a
European who looks down from a great eminence on the products of
the humble arts of the aborigines of all times and countries, the
stone knives and arrows of the Red Indian of North America, the
hatchets of the native Australian, the tools found in the ancient
Swiss lake-dwellings or those of the Danish kitchen-middens and of
St. Acheul, seem nearly all alike in rudeness and very uniform in
general character. The slowness of the progress of the arts of
savage life is manifested by the fact that the earlier instruments
of bronze were modelled on the exact plan of the stone tools of the
preceding age, although such shapes would never have been chosen
had metals been known from the first. The reluctance or incapacity
of savage tribes to adopt new inventions has been shown in the East
by their continuing to this day to use the same stone implements as
their ancestors, after that mighty empires, where the use of metals
in the arts was well known, had flourished for three thousand years
in their neighbourhood.

We see in our own times that the rate of progress in the arts and
sciences proceeds in a geometrical ratio as knowledge increases,
and so when we carry back our retrospect into the past, we must be
prepared to find the signs of retardation augmenting in a like
geometrical ratio; so that the progress of a thousand years at a
remote period may correspond to that of a century in modern times,
and in ages still more remote Man would more and more resemble the
brutes in that attribute which causes one generation exactly to
imitate in all its ways the generation which preceded it.

The extent to which even a considerably advanced state of
civilisation may become fixed and stereotyped for ages, is the
wonder of Europeans who travel in the East. One of my friends
declared to me, that whenever the natives expressed to him a wish
"that he might live a thousand years," the idea struck him as by no
means extravagant, seeing that if he were doomed to sojourn for
ever among them, he could only hope to exchange in ten centuries as
many ideas, and to witness as much progress as he could do at home
in half a century.

It has sometimes happened that one nation has been conquered by
another less civilised though more warlike, or that during social
and political revolutions, people have retrograded in knowledge. In
such cases, the traditions of earlier ages, or of some higher and
more educated caste which has been destroyed, may give rise to the
notion of degeneracy from a primaeval state of superior
intelligence, or of science supernaturally communicated. But had
the original stock of mankind been really endowed with such
superior intellectual powers and with inspired knowledge and had
possessed the same improvable nature as their posterity, the point
of advancement which they would have reached ere this would have
been immeasurably higher. We cannot ascertain at present the
limits, whether of the beginning or the end, of the first stone
period when Man co-existed with the extinct mammalia, but that it
was of great duration we cannot doubt. During those ages there
would have been time for progress of which we can scarcely form a
conception, and very different would have been the character of the
works of art which we should now be endeavouring to
interpret--those relics which we are now disinterring from the old
gravel-pits of St. Acheul, or from the Liege caves. In them, or in
the upraised bed of the Mediterranean, on the south coast of
Sardinia, instead of the rudest pottery or flint tools so irregular
in form as to cause the unpractised eye to doubt whether they
afford unmistakable evidence of design, we should now be finding
sculptured forms surpassing in beauty the masterpieces of Phidias
or Praxiteles; lines of buried railways or electric telegraphs from
which the best engineers of our day might gain invaluable hints;
astronomical instruments and microscopes of more advanced
construction than any known in Europe, and other indications of
perfection in the arts and sciences such as the nineteenth century
has not yet witnessed. Still farther would the triumphs of
inventive genius be found to have been carried, when the later
deposits, now assigned to the ages of bronze and iron, were formed.
Vainly should we be straining our imaginations to guess the
possible uses and meaning of such relics--machines, perhaps, for
navigating the air or exploring the depths of the ocean, or for
calculating arithmetical problems beyond the wants or even the
conception of living mathematicians.

The opinion entertained generally by the classical writers of
Greece and Rome, that Man in the first stage of his existence was
but just removed from the brutes, is faithfully expressed by Horace
in his celebrated lines, which begin:--

Quum prorepserunt primis animalia terris.--Sat. lib. 1, 3, 99.

The picture of transmutation given in these verses, however severe
and contemptuous the strictures lavishly bestowed on it by
Christian commentators, accords singularly with the train of
thought which the modern doctrine of progressive development has

"When animals," he says, "first crept forth from the newly formed
earth, a dumb and filthy herd, they fought for acorns and
lurking-places with their nails and fists, then with clubs, and at
last with arms, which, taught by experience, they had forged. They
then invented names for things and words to express their thoughts,
after which they began to desist from war, to fortify cities and
enact laws." They who in later times have embraced a similar
theory, have been led to it by no deference to the opinions of
their pagan predecessors, but rather in spite of very strong
prepossessions in favour of an opposite hypothesis, namely, that of
the superiority of their original progenitors, of whom they believe
themselves to be the corrupt and degenerate descendants.

So far as they are guided by palaeontology, they arrive at this
result by an independent course of reasoning; but they have been
conducted partly to the same goal as the ancients by ethnological
considerations common to both, or by reflecting in what darkness
the infancy of every nation is enveloped and that true history and
chronology are the creation, as it were, of yesterday.



Antiquity and Persistence in Character of the existing Races of Mankind.
Theory of their Unity of Origin considered.
Bearing of the Diversity of Races on the Doctrine of Transmutation.
Difficulty of defining the Terms "Species" and "Race."
Lamarck's Introduction of the Element of Time into the
   Definition of a Species.
His Theory of Variation and Progression.
Objections to his Theory, how far answered.
Arguments of modern Writers in favour of Progression in the
   Animal and Vegetable World.
The old Landmarks supposed to indicate the first Appearance of Man,
   and of different Classes of Animals, found to be erroneous.
Yet the Theory of an advancing Series of Organic Beings not
   inconsistent with Facts.
Earliest known Fossil Mammalia of low Grade.
No Vertebrata as yet discovered in the oldest Fossiliferous Rocks.
Objections to the Theory of Progression considered.
Causes of the Popularity of the Doctrine of Progression as compared
   to that of Transmutation.

When speaking in a former work of the distinct races of mankind,*
(* "Principles of Geology" 7th edition page 637, 1847; see also 9th
edition page 660.) I remarked that, "if all the leading varieties
of the human family sprang originally from a single pair" (a
doctrine, to which then, as now, I could see no valid objection),
"a much greater lapse of time was required for the slow and gradual
formation of such races as the Caucasian, Mongolian, and Negro,
than was embraced in any of the popular systems of chronology."

In confirmation of the high antiquity of two of these, I referred
to pictures on the walls of ancient temples in Egypt, in which, a
thousand years or more before the Christian era, "the Negro and
Caucasian physiognomies were portrayed as faithfully, and in as
strong contrast, as if the likenesses of these races had been taken
yesterday." In relation to the same subject, I dwelt on the slight
modification which the Negro has undergone, after having been
transported from the tropics and settled for more than two
centuries in the temperate climate of Virginia. I therefore
concluded that, "if the various races were all descended from a
single pair, we must allow for a vast series of antecedent ages, in
the course of which the long-continued influence of external
circumstances gave rise to peculiarities increased in many
successive generations and at length fixed by hereditary

So long as physiologists continued to believe that Man had not
existed on the earth above six thousand years, they might with good
reason withhold their assent from the doctrine of a unity of origin
of so many distinct races but the difficulty becomes less and less,
exactly in proportion as we enlarge our ideas of the lapse of time
during which different communities may have spread slowly, and
become isolated, each exposed for ages to a peculiar set of
conditions, whether of temperature, or food, or danger, or ways of
living. The law of the geometrical rate of the increase of
population which causes it always to press hard on the means of
subsistence, would ensure the migration in various directions of
offshoots from the society first formed abandoning the area where
they had multiplied. But when they had gradually penetrated to
remote regions by land or water--drifted sometimes by storms and
currents in canoes to an unknown shore--barriers of mountains,
deserts, or seas, which oppose no obstacle to mutual intercourse
between civilised nations, would ensure the complete isolation for
tens or thousands of centuries of tribes in a primitive state of

Some modern ethnologists, in accordance with the philosophers of
antiquity, have assumed that men at first fed on the fruits of the
earth, before even a stone implement or the simplest form of canoe
had been invented. They may, it is said, have begun their career in
some fertile island in the tropics, where the warmth of the air was
such that no clothing was needed and where there were no wild
beasts to endanger their safety. But as soon as their numbers
increased they would be forced to migrate into regions less secure
and blest with a less genial climate. Contests would soon arise for
the possession of the most fertile lands, where game or pasture
abounded and their energies and inventive powers would be called
forth, so that at length they would make progress in the arts.

But as ethnologists have failed, as yet, to trace back the history
of any one race to the area where it originated, some zoologists of
eminence have declared their belief that the different races,
whether they be three, five, twenty, or a much greater number (for
on this point there is an endless diversity of opinion),* (* See
"Transactions of the Ethnological Society" volume 1 1861.) have all
been primordial creations, having from the first been stamped with
the characteristic features, mental and bodily, by which they are
now distinguished, except where intermarriage has given rise to
mixed or hybrid races. Were we to admit, say they, a unity of
origin of such strongly marked varieties as the Negro and European,
differing as they do in colour and bodily constitution, each fitted
for distinct climates and exhibiting some marked peculiarities in
their osteological, and even in some details of cranial and
cerebral conformation, as well as in their average intellectual
endowments--if, in spite of the fact that all these attributes have
been faithfully handed down unaltered for hundreds of generations,
we are to believe that, in the course of time, they have all
diverged from one common stock, how shall we resist the arguments
of the transmutationist, who contends that all closely allied
species of animals and plants have in like manner sprung from a
common parentage, albeit that for the last three or four thousand
years they may have been persistent in character? Where are we to
stop, unless we make our stand at once on the independent creation
of those distinct human races, the history of which is better known
to us than that of any of the inferior animals?

So long as Geology had not lifted up a part of the veil which
formerly concealed from the naturalist the history of the changes
which the animate creation had undergone in times immediately
antecedent to the Recent period, it was easy to treat these
questions as too transcendental, or as lying too far beyond the
domain of positive science to require serious discussion. But it is
no longer possible to restrain curiosity from attempting to pry
into the relations which connect the present state of the animal
and vegetable worlds, as well as of the various races of mankind,
with the state of the fauna and flora which immediately preceded.

In the very outset of the inquiry, we are met with the difficulty
of defining what we mean by the terms "species" and "race;" and the
surprise of the unlearned is usually great, when they discover how
wide is the difference of opinion now prevailing as to the
significance of words in such familiar use. But, in truth, we can
come to no agreement as to such definitions, unless we have
previously made up our minds on some of the most momentous of all
the enigmas with which the human intellect ever attempted to

It is now thirty years since I gave an analysis in the first
edition of my "Principles of Geology" (volume 2 1832) of the views
which had been put forth by Lamarck, in the beginning of the
century, on this subject. In that interval the progress made in
zoology and botany, both in augmenting the number of known animals
and plants, and in studying their physiology and geographical
distribution and above all in examining and describing fossil
species, is so vast that the additions made to our knowledge
probably exceed all that was previously known; and what Lamarck
then foretold has come to pass; the more new forms have been
multiplied, the less are we able to decide what we mean by a
variety, and what by a species. In fact, zoologists and botanists
are not only more at a loss than ever how to define a species, but
even to determine whether it has any real existence in nature, or
is a mere abstraction of the human intellect, some contending that
it is constant within certain narrow and impassable limits of
variability, others that it is capable of indefinite and endless

Before I attempt to explain a great step, which has recently been
made by Mr. Darwin and his fellow-labourers in this field of
inquiry, I think it useful to recapitulate in this place some of
the leading features of Lamarck's system, without attempting to
adjust the claims of some of his contemporaries (Geoffroy St.
Hilaire in particular) to share in the credit of some of his
original speculations.

From the time of Linnaeus to the commencement of the present
century, it seemed a sufficient definition of the term species to
say that "a species consisted of individuals all resembling each
other, and reproducing their like by generation." But Lamarck after
having first studied botany with success, had then turned his
attention to conchology, and soon became aware that in the newer
(or Tertiary) strata of the earth's crust there were a multitude of
fossil species of shells, some of them identical with living ones,
others simply varieties of the living, and which as such were
entitled to be designated, according to the ordinary rules of
classification, by the same names. He also observed that other
shells were so nearly allied to living forms that it was difficult
not to suspect that they had been connected by a common bond of
descent. He therefore proposed that the element of time should
enter into the definition of a species, and that it should run
thus: "A species consists of individuals all resembling each other,
and reproducing their like by generation, SO LONG AS THE
the conclusion that none of the animals and plants now existing
were primordial creations, but were all derived from pre-existing
forms, which, after they may have gone on for indefinite ages
reproducing their like, had at length, by the influence of
alterations in climate and in the animate world been made to vary
gradually, and adapt themselves to new circumstances, some of them
deviating in the course of ages so far from their original type as
to have claims to be regarded as new species.

In support of these views, he referred to wild and cultivated
plants and to wild and domesticated animals, pointing out how their
colour, form, structure, physiological attributes and even
instincts were gradually modified by exposure to new soils and
climates, new enemies, modes of subsistence, and kinds of food.

Nor did he omit to notice that the newly acquired peculiarities may
be inherited by the offspring for an indefinite series of
generations, whether they be brought about naturally--as when a
species, on the extreme verge of its geographical range, comes into
competition with new antagonists and is subjected to new physical
conditions; or artificially--as when by the act of the breeder or
horticulturist peculiar varieties of form or disposition are

But Lamarck taught not only that species had been constantly
undergoing changes from one geological period to another, but that
there also had been a progressive advance of the organic world from
the earliest to the latest times, from beings of the simplest to
those of more and more complex structure, and from the lowest
instincts up to the highest, and finally from brute intelligence to
the reasoning powers of Man. The improvement in the grade of being
had been slow and continuous, and the human race itself was at
length evolved out of the most highly organised and endowed of the
inferior mammalia.

In order to explain how, after an indefinite lapse of ages, so many
of the lowest grades of animal or plant still abounded, he imagined
that the germs or rudiments of living things, which he called
monads, were continually coming into the world and that there were
different kinds of these monads for each primary division of the
animal and vegetable kingdoms. This last hypothesis does not seem
essentially different from the old doctrine of equivocal or
spontaneous generation; it is wholly unsupported by any modern
experiments or observation, and therefore affords us no aid
whatever in speculating on the commencement of vital phenomena on
the earth.

Some of the laws which govern the appearance of new varieties were
clearly pointed out by Lamarck. He remarked, for example, that as
the muscles of the arm become strengthened by exercise or enfeebled
by disuse, some organs may in this way, in the course of time,
become entirely obsolete, and others previously weak become strong
and play a new or more leading part in the organisation of a
species. And so with instincts, where animals experience new
dangers they become more cautious and cunning, and transmit these
acquired faculties to their posterity. But not satisfied with such
legitimate speculations, the French philosopher conceived that by
repeated acts of volition animals might acquire new organs and
attributes, and that in plants, which could not exert a will of
their own, certain subtle fluids or organising forces might operate
so as to work out analogous effects.

After commenting on these purely imaginary causes, I pointed out in
1832, as the two great flaws in Lamarck's attempt to explain the
origin of species, first, that he had failed to adduce a single
instance of the initiation of a new organ in any species of animal
or plant; and secondly, that variation, whether taking place in the
course of nature or assisted artificially by the breeder and
horticulturist, had never yet gone so far as to produce two races
sufficiently remote from each other in physiological constitution
as to be sterile when intermarried, or, if fertile, only capable of
producing sterile hybrids, etc.* (* "Principles of Geology" 1st
edition volume 2 chapter 2.)

To this objection Lamarck would, no doubt, have answered that there
had not been time for bringing about so great an amount of
variation; for when Cuvier and some other of his contemporaries
appealed to the embalmed animals and plants taken from Egyptian
tombs, some of them 3000 years old, which had not experienced in
that long period the slightest modification in their specific
characters, he replied that the climate and soil of the valley of
the Nile had not varied in the interval, and that there was
therefore no reason for expecting that we should be able to detect
any change in the fauna and flora. "But if," he went on to say,
"the physical geography, temperature, and other conditions of life
had been altered in Egypt as much as we know from geology has
happened in other regions, some of the same animals and plants
would have deviated so far from their pristine types as to be
thought entitled to take rank as new and distinct species."

Although I cited this answer of Lamarck in my account of his
theory,* (* Ibid. page 587.) I did not at the time fully appreciate
the deep conviction which it displays of the slow manner in which
geological changes have taken place and the insignificance of
thirty or forty centuries in the history of a species, and that,
too, at a period when very narrow views were entertained of the
extent of past time by most of the ablest geologists, and when
great revolutions of the earth's crust, and its inhabitants, were
generally attributed to sudden and violent catastrophes.

While in 1832 I argued against Lamarck's doctrine of the gradual
transmutation of one species into another, I agreed with him in
believing that the system of changes now in progress in the organic
world would afford, when fully understood, a complete key to the
interpretation of all the vicissitudes of the living creation in
past ages. I contended against the doctrine, then very popular, of
the sudden destruction of vast multitudes of species and the abrupt
ushering into the world of new batches of plants and animals.

I endeavoured to sketch out (and it was, I believe, the first
systematic attempt to accomplish such a task) the laws which govern
the extinction of species, with a view of showing that the slow but
ceaseless variations now in progress in physical geography,
together with the migration of plants and animals into new regions,
must in the course of ages give rise to the occasional loss of some
of them and eventually cause an entire fauna and flora to die out;
also that we must infer from geological data that the places thus
left vacant from time to time are filled up without delay by new
forms adapted to new conditions, sometimes by immigration from
adjoining provinces, sometimes by new creations. Among the many
causes of extinction enumerated by me were the power of hostile
species, diminution of food, mutations in climate, the conversion
of land into sea and of sea into land, etc. I firmly opposed
Brocchi's hypothesis of a decline in the vital energy of each
species;* (* "Principles of Geology" 1st edition volume 2 chapter
8; and 9th edition page 668.) maintaining that there was every
reason to believe that the reproductive powers of the last
surviving representatives of a species were as vigorous as those of
their predecessors, and that they were as capable, under favourable
circumstances, of repeopling the earth with their kind. The manner
in which some species are now becoming scarce and dying out, one
after the other, appeared to me to favour the doctrine of the
fixity of the specific character, showing a want of pliancy and
capability of varying, which ensured their annihilation whenever
changes adverse to their well-being occurred; time not being
allowed for such a transformation as might be conceived capable of
adapting them to the new circumstances, and of converting them into
what naturalists would call new species.* (* Laws of Extinction,
"Principles of Geology" 1st edition 1832 volume 2 chapters 5 to 11
inclusive; and 9th edition chapters 37 to 42 inclusive 1853.)

But while rejecting transmutation, I was equally opposed to the
popular theory that the creative power had diminished in energy, or
that it had been in abeyance ever since Man had entered upon the
scene. That a renovating force which had been in full operation for
millions of years should cease to act while the causes of
extinction were still in full activity, or even intensified by the
accession of Man's destroying power, seemed to me in the highest
degree improbable. The only point on which I doubted was whether
the force might not be intermittent instead of being, as Lamarck
supposed, in ceaseless operation. Might not the births of new
species, like the deaths of old ones, be sudden? Might they not
still escape our observation? If the coming in of one new species,
and the loss of one other which had endured for ages, should take
place annually, still, assuming that there are a million of animals
and plants living on the globe, it would require, I observed, a
million of years to bring about a complete revolution in the fauna
and flora. In that case, I imagined that, although the first
appearance of a new form might be as abrupt as the disappearance of
an old one, yet naturalists might never yet have witnessed the
first entrance on the stage of a large and conspicuous animal or
plant, and as to the smaller kinds, many of them may be conceived
to have stolen in unseen, and to have spread gradually over a wide
area, like species migrating into new provinces.* (* "Principles of
Geology" 1st edition 1832 volume 2 chapter 11; and 9th edition page

It may now be useful to offer some remarks on the very different
reception which the twin branches of Lamarck's development theory,
namely, progression and transmutation, have met with, and to
inquire into the causes of the popularity of the one and the great
unpopularity of the other. We usually test the value of a
scientific hypothesis by the number and variety of the phenomena of
which it offers a fair or plausible explanation. If transmutation,
when thus tested, has decidedly the advantage over progression and
yet is comparatively in disfavour, we may reasonably suspect that
its reception is retarded, not so much by its own inherent
demerits, as by some apprehended consequences which it is supposed
to involve and which run counter to our preconceived opinions.


In treating of this question, I shall begin with the doctrine of
progression, a concise statement of which, so far as it relates to
the animal kingdom, was thus given twelve years ago by Professor
Sedgwick, in the preface to his "Discourse on the Studies of the
University of Cambridge."

"There are traces," he says, "among the old deposits of the earth
of an organic progression among the successive forms of life. They
are to be seen in the absence of mammalia in the older, and their
very rare appearance in the newer Secondary groups; in the
diffusion of warm-blooded quadrupeds (frequently of unknown genera)
in the older Tertiary system, and in their great abundance (and
frequently of known genera) in the upper portions of the same
series; and lastly, in the recent appearance of Man on the surface
of the earth."

"This historical development," continues the same author, of the
forms and functions of organic life during successive epochs, "seems
to mark a gradual evolution of creative power, manifested by a
gradual ascent towards a higher type of being." "But the elevation
of the fauna of successive periods was not made by transmutation,
but by creative additions; and it is by watching these additions
that we get some insight into Nature's true historical progress,
and learn that there was a time when Cephalopoda were the highest
types of animal life, the primates of this world; that Fishes next
took the lead, then Reptiles; and that during the secondary period
they were anatomically raised far above any forms of the reptile
class now living in the world. Mammals were added next, until
Nature became what she now is, by the addition of Man."* (*
Professor Sedgwick's "Discourse on the Studies of the University of
Cambridge" Preface to 5th edition pages 44, 154, 216, 1850.)

Although in the half century which has elapsed between the time of
Lamarck and the publication of the above summary, new discoveries
have caused geologists to assign a higher antiquity both to Man and
the oldest fossil mammalia, fish, and reptiles than formerly, yet
the generalisation, as laid down by the Woodwardian Professor, as
to progression, still holds good in all essential particulars.

The progressive theory was propounded in the following terms by the
late Hugh Miller in his "Footprints of the Creator."

"It is of itself an extraordinary fact without reference to other
considerations, that the order adopted by Cuvier in his "Animal
Kingdom," as that in which the four great classes of vertebrate
animals, when marshalled according to their rank and standing,
naturally range, should be also that in which they occur in order
of time. The brain, which bears an average proportion to the spinal
cord of not more than two to one, comes first--it is the brain of
the fish; that which bears to the spinal cord an average proportion
of two and a half to one succeeded it--it is the brain of the
reptile; then came the brain averaging as three to one--it is that
of the bird. Next in succession came the brain that averages as
four to one--it is that of the mammal; and last of all there
appeared a brain that averages as twenty-three to one--reasoning,
calculating Man had come upon the scene."* (* "Footprints of the
Creator" Edinburgh 1849 page 283.)

M. Agassiz, in his "Essay on Classification," has devoted a chapter
to the "Parallelism between the Geological Succession of Animals
and Plants and their present relative Standing;" in which he has
expressed a decided opinion that within the limits of the orders of
each great class there is a coincidence between their relative rank
in organisation and the order of succession of their
representatives in time.* (* "Contributions to the Natural History
of the United States" Part 1.--Essay on Classification page 108.)

Professor Owen, in his Palaeontology, has advanced similar views,
and has remarked, in regard to the vertebrata that there is much
positive as well as negative evidence in support of the doctrine of
an advance in the scale of being, from ancient to more modern
geological periods. We observe, for example, in the Triassic,
Oolitic, and Cretaceous strata, not only an absence of placental
mammalia, but the presence of innumerable reptiles, some of large
size, terrestrial and aquatic, herbivorous and predaceous, fitted
to perform the functions now discharged by the mammalia.

The late Professor Bronn, of Heidelberg, after passing in review
more than 24,000 fossil animals and plants, which he had classified
and referred each to their geological position in his "Index
Palaeontologicus," came to the conclusion that, in the course of
time, there had been introduced into the earth more and more highly
organised types of animal and vegetable life; the modern species
being, on the whole, more specialised, i.e. having separate organs,
or parts of the body, to perform different functions, which, in the
earlier periods and in beings of simpler structure, were discharged
in common by a single part or organ.

Professor Adolphe Brongniart, in an essay published in 1849 on the
botanical classification and geological distribution of the genera
of fossil plants,* (* Tableau des Genres de Vegetaux fossiles, etc.
"Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire Naturelle" Paris 1849.) arrives
at similar results as to the progress of the vegetable world from
the earliest periods to the present. He does not pretend to trace
an exact historical series from the sea-weed to the fern, or from
the fern again to the conifers and cycads, and lastly from those
families to the palms and oaks, but he, nevertheless, points out
that the cryptogamic forms, especially the acrogens, predominate
among the fossils of the primary formations, the Carboniferous
especially, while the gymnosperms or coniferous and cycadeous
plants abound in all the strata, from the Trias to the Wealden
inclusive; and lastly, the more highly developed angiosperms, both
monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous, do not become abundant until
the Tertiary period. It is a remarkable fact, as he justly
observes, that the angiospermous exogens, which comprise
four-fifths of living plants--a division to which all our native
European trees, except the Coniferae, belong, and which embrace all
the Compositae, Leguminosae, Umbelliferae, Cruciferae, Heaths, and
so many other families--are wholly unrepresented by any fossils
hitherto discovered in the Primary and Secondary formations from
the Silurian to the Oolitic inclusive. It is not till we arrive at
the Cretaceous period that they begin to appear, sparingly at
first, and only playing a conspicuous part, together with the palms
and other endogens, in the Tertiary epoch.

When commenting on the eagerness with which the doctrine of
progression was embraced from the close of the last century to the
time when I first attempted, in 1830, to give some account of the
prevailing theories in geology, I observed that far too much
reliance was commonly placed on the received dates of the first
appearances of certain orders or classes of animals or plants, such
dates being determined by the age of the stratum in which we then
happened to have discovered the earliest memorials of such types.
At that time (1830), it was taken for granted that Man had not
co-existed with the mammoth and other extinct mammalia, yet now
that we have traced back the signs of his existence to the
Pleistocene era, and may anticipate the finding of his remains on
some future day in the Pliocene period, the theory of progression
is not shaken; for we cannot expect to meet with human bones in the
Miocene formations, where all the species and nearly all the genera
of mammalia belong to types widely differing from those now living;
and had some other rational being, representing Man, then
flourished, some signs of his existence could hardly have escaped
unnoticed, in the shape of implements of stone or metal, more
frequent and more durable than the osseous remains of any of the

In the beginning of this century it was one of the canons of the
popular geological creed that the first warm-blooded quadrupeds
which had inhabited this planet were those derived from the Eocene
gypsum of Montmartre in the suburbs of Paris, almost all of which
Cuvier had shown to belong to extinct genera. This dogma continued
in force for more than a quarter of a century, in spite of the
discovery in 1818 of a marsupial quadruped in the Stonesfield
strata, a member of the Lower Oolite, near Oxford. Some disputed
the authority of Cuvier himself as to the mammalian character of
the fossil; others, the accuracy of those who had assigned to it so
ancient a place in the chronological series of rocks. In 1832 I
pointed out that the occurrence of this single fossil in the Oolite
was "fatal to the theory of successive development" as then
propounded.* (* "Principles of Geology" 2nd edition 1 173.) Since
that period great additions have been made to our knowledge of the
existence of land quadrupeds in the olden times. We have
ascertained that, in Eocene strata older than the gypsum of Paris,
no less than four distinct sets of placental mammalia have
flourished; namely, first, those of the Headon series in the Isle
of Wight, from which fourteen species have been procured; secondly,
those of the antecedent Bagshot and Bracklesham beds, which have
yielded, together with the contemporaneous "calcaire grossier" of
Paris, twenty species; thirdly, the still older beds of Kyson, near
Ipswich, and those of Herne Bay, at the mouth of the Thames, in
which seven species have been found; and fourthly, the Woolwich and
Reading beds, which have supplied ten species.* (* Lyell's
supplement to 5th edition of "Elements" 1857.)

We can scarcely doubt that we should already have traced back the
evidence of this class of fossils much farther had not our
inquiries been arrested, first by the vast gap between the Tertiary
and Secondary formations, and then by the marine nature of the
Cretaceous rocks.

The mammalia next in antiquity, of which we have any cognisance,
are those of the Upper Oolite of Purbeck, discovered between the
years 1854 and 1857, and comprising no less than fourteen species,
referable to eight or nine genera; one of them, Plagiaulax,
considered by Dr. Falconer to have been a herbivorous marsupial.
The whole assemblage appear, from the joint observations of
Professor Owen and Dr. Falconer, to indicate a low grade of
quadruped, probably of the marsupial type. They were, for the most
part, diminutive, the two largest not much exceeding our common
hedgehog and polecat in size.

Next anterior in age are the mammalia of the Lower Oolite of
Stonesfield, of which four species are known, also very small and
probably marsupial, with one exception, the Stereognathus
ooliticus, which, according to Professor Owen's conjecture, may
have been a hoofed quadruped and placental, though, as we have only
half of the lower jaw with teeth, and the molars are unlike any
living type, such an opinion is of course hazarded with due

Still older than the above are some fossil quadrupeds of small
size, found in the Upper Trias of Stuttgart in Germany, and more
lately by Mr. C. Moore in beds of corresponding age near Frome,
which are also of a very low grade, like the living Myrmecobius of
Australia. Beyond this limit our knowledge of the highest class of
vertebrata does not as yet extend into the past, but the frequent
shifting back of the old landmarks, nearly all of them once
supposed in their turn to indicate the date of the first appearance
of warm-blooded quadrupeds on this planet, should serve as a
warning to us not to consider the goal at present reached by
palaeontology as one beyond which they who come after us are never
destined to pass.

On the other hand, it may be truly said in favour of progression
that after all these discoveries the doctrine is not gainsaid, for
the less advanced marsupials precede the more perfect placental
mammalia in the order of their appearance on the earth.

If the three localities where the most ancient mammalia have been
found--Purbeck, Stonesfield, and Stuttgart--had belonged all of
them to formations of the same age, we might well have imagined so
limited an area to have been peopled exclusively with pouched
quadrupeds, just as Australia now is, while other parts of the
globe were inhabited by placentals, for Australia now supports one
hundred and sixty species of marsupials, while the rest of the
continents and islands are tenanted by about seventeen hundred
species of mammalia, of which only forty-six are marsupial, namely,
the opossums of North and South America. But the great difference
of age of the strata in each of these three localities seems to
indicate the predominance throughout a vast lapse of time (from the
era of the Upper Trias to that of the Purbeck beds) of a low grade
of quadrupeds; and this persistency of similar generic and ordinal
types in Europe while the species were changing, and while the
fish, reptiles, and mollusca were undergoing vast modifications,
raises a strong presumption that there was also a vast extension in
space of the same marsupial forms during that portion of the
Secondary epoch which has been termed "the age of reptiles."

As to the class Reptilia, some of the orders which prevailed when
the Secondary rocks were formed are confessedly much higher in
their organisation than any of the same class now living. If the
less perfect ophidians, or snakes, which now abound on the earth
had taken the lead in those ancient days among the land reptiles,
and the Deinosaurians had been contemporary with Man, there can be
no doubt that the progressionist would have seized upon this fact
with unfeigned satisfaction as confirmatory of his views. Now that
the order of succession is precisely reversed, and that the age of
the Iguanodon was long anterior to that of the Eocene Palaeophis
and living boa, while the crocodile is in our own times the highest
representative of its class, a retrograde movement in this
important division of the vertebrata must be admitted. It may
perhaps be accounted for by the power acquired by the placental
mammalia, when they became dominant, a power before which the class
of vertebrata next below them, as coming most directly in
competition with them, may more than any other have given way.

For no less than thirty-four years it had been a received axiom in
palaeontology that reptiles had never existed before the Permian or
Magnesian Limestone period, when at length in 1844 this supposed
barrier was thrown down, and Carboniferous reptiles, terrestrial
and aquatic, of several genera were brought to light; and
discussions are now going on as to whether some remains of an
Enaliosaur (perhaps a large Labyrinthodon) have not been detected
in the coal of Nova Scotia, and whether certain sandstones near
Elgin in Scotland, containing the bones of lacertian, crocodilian,
and rhynchosaurian reptiles, may not be referable to the "Old Red"
or Devonian group. Still, no traces of this class have yet been
detected in rocks as ancient as those in which the oldest fish have
been found. [Note 38.]

As to fossil representatives of the ichthyic type, the most ancient
were not supposed before 1838 to be of a date anterior to the Coal,
but they have since been traced back, first to the Devonian, and
then to the Silurian rocks. No remains, however, of them or of any
vertebrate animal have yet been discovered in the Ordovician
strata, rich as these are in invertebrate fossils, nor in the still
older Cambrian; so that we seem authorised to conclude, though not
without considerable reserve, that the vertebrate type was
extremely scarce, if not wholly wanting, in those epochs often
spoken of as "primitive," but which, if the Development Theory be
true, were probably the last of a long series of antecedent ages in
which living beings flourished.

As to the Mollusca, which afford the most unbroken series of
geological medals, the highest of that class, the Cephalopoda,
abounded in older Silurian times, comprising several hundred
species of chambered univalves. Had there been strong
prepossessions against the progressive theory, it would probably
have been argued that when these cephalopods abounded, and the
siphonated gasteropods were absent, a higher order of zoophagous
mollusca discharged the functions afterwards performed by an
inferior order in the Secondary, Tertiary, and Post-Tertiary seas.
But I have never seen this view suggested as adverse to the
doctrine of progress, although much stress has been laid on the
fact that the Silurian Brachiopoda, creatures of a lower grade,
formerly discharged the functions of the existing lamellibranchiate
bivalves, which are higher in the scale.

It is said truly that the Ammonite, Orthoceras, and Nautilus of
these ancient rocks were of the tetrabranchiate division, and none
of them so highly organised as the Belemnite and other dibranchiate
cephalopods which afterwards appeared, and some of which now
flourish in our seas. Therefore, we may infer that the simplest
forms of the Cephalopoda took precedence of the more complex in
time. But if we embrace this view, we must not forget that there
are living Cephalopoda, such as the Octopods, which are devoid of
any hard parts, whether external or internal, and which could leave
behind them no fossil memorials of their existence, so that we must
make a somewhat arbitrary assumption, namely, that at a remote era,
no such Dibranchiata were in being, in order to avail ourselves of
this argument in favour of progression. On the other hand, it is
true that in the Lower Cambrian not even the shell-bearing
tetrabranchiates have yet been discovered.

In regard to plants, although the generalisation above cited of M.
Adolphe Brongniart is probably true, there has been a tendency in
the advocates of progression to push the inferences deducible from
known facts, in support of their favourite dogma, somewhat beyond
the limits which the evidence justifies. Dr. Hooker observes, in
his recent "Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia," that it
is impossible to establish a parallel between the successive
appearances of vegetable forms in time, and their complexity of
structure or specialisation of organs as represented by the
successively higher groups in the natural method of classification.
He also adds that the earliest recognisable Cryptogams are not only
the highest now existing, but have more highly differentiated
vegetative organs than any subsequently appearing, and that the
dicotyledonous embryo and perfect exogenous wood, with the highest
specialised tissue known (the coniferous with glandular tissue),
preceded the monocotyledonous embryo and endogenous wood in date of
appearance on the globe--facts wholly opposed to the doctrine of
progression, and which can only be set aside on the supposition
that they are fragmentary evidence of a time farther removed from
the origin of vegetation than from the present day.* (*
"Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia," page 31 London
1859. Published separately.) [Note 39.]

It would be an easy task to multiply objections to the theory now
under consideration; but from this I refrain, as I regard it not
only as a useful, but rather in the present state of science as an
indispensable hypothesis, and one which though destined hereafter
to undergo many and great modifications will never be overthrown.

It may be thought almost paradoxical that writers who are most in
favour of transmutation (Mr. C. Darwin and Dr. J. Hooker, for
example) are nevertheless among those who are most cautious, and
one would say timid, in their mode of espousing the doctrine of
progression; while, on the other hand, the most zealous advocates
of progression are oftener than not very vehement opponents of
transmutation. We might have anticipated a contrary leaning on the
part of both, for to what does the theory of progression point? It
supposes a gradual elevation in grade of the vertebrate type in the
course of ages from the most simple ichthyic form to that of the
placental mammalia and the coming upon the stage last in the order
of time of the most anthropomorphous mammalia, followed by the
human race--this last thus appearing as an integral part of the
same continuous series of acts of development, one link in the same
chain, the crowning operation as it were of one and the same series
of manifestations of creative power. If the dangers apprehended
from transmutation arise from the too intimate connection which it
tends to establish between the human and merely animal natures, it
might have been expected that the progressive development of
organisation, instinct, and intelligence might have been unpopular,
as likely to pioneer the way for the reception of the less favoured
doctrine. But the true explanation of the seeming anomaly is this,
that no one can believe in transmutation who is not profoundly
convinced that all we know in palaeontology is as nothing compared
with what we have yet to learn, and they who regard the record as
so fragmentary, and our acquaintance with the fragments which are
extant as so rudimentary, are apt to be astounded at the confidence
placed by the progressionists in data which must be defective in
the extreme. But exactly in proportion as the completeness of the
record and our knowledge of it are overrated, in that same degree
are many progressionists unconscious of the goal towards which they
are drifting. Their faith in the fullness of the annals leads them
to regard all breaks in the series of organic existence, or in the
sequence of the fossiliferous rocks, as proofs of original chasms
and leaps in the course of nature--signs of the intermittent action
of the creational force, or of catastrophes which devastated the
habitable surface. They do not doubt that there is a continuity of
plan, but they believe that it exists in the Divine mind alone, and
they are therefore without apprehension that any facts will be
discovered which would imply a material connection between the
outgoing organisms and the incoming ones.



Mr. Darwin's Theory of the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.
Memoir by Mr. Wallace.
Manner in which favoured Races prevail in the Struggle for Existence.
Formation of new Races by breeding.
Hypotheses of definite and indefinite Modifiability equally arbitrary.
Competition and Extinction of Races.
Progression not a necessary Accompaniment of Variation.
Distinct Classes of Phenomena which Natural Selection explains.
Unity of Type, Rudimentary Organs, Geographical Distribution,
   Relation of the extinct to the living Fauna and Flora, and
   mutual Relations of successive Groups of Fossil Forms.
Light thrown on Embryological Development by Natural Selection.
Why large Genera have more variable Species than small ones.
Dr. Hooker on the Evidence afforded by the Vegetable Kingdom
   in favour of Creation by Variation.
Steenstrup on alternation of Generations.
How far the Doctrine of Independent Creation is opposed to the
   Laws now governing the Migration of Species.

For many years after the promulgation of Lamarck's doctrine of
progressive development, geologists were much occupied with the
question whether the past changes in the animate and inanimate
world were brought about by sudden and paroxysmal action, or
gradually and continuously, by causes differing neither in kind nor
degree from those now in operation.

The anonymous author of "The Vestiges of Creation" published in
1844 a treatise, written in a clear and attractive style, which
made the English public familiar with the leading views of Lamarck
on transmutation and progression, but brought no new facts or
original line of argument to support those views, or to combat the
principal objections which the scientific world entertained against

No decided step in this direction was made until the publication in
1858 of two papers, one by Mr. Darwin and another by Mr. Wallace,
followed in 1859 by Mr. Darwin's celebrated work on "The Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of
favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." The author of this
treatise had for twenty previous years strongly inclined to believe
that variation and the ordinary laws of reproduction were among the
secondary causes always employed by the Author of nature, in the
introduction from time to time of new species into the world, and
he had devoted himself patiently to the collecting of facts and
making of experiments in zoology and botany, with a view of testing
the soundness of the theory of transmutation. Part of the
manuscript of his projected work was read to Dr. Hooker as early as
1844 and some of the principal results were communicated to me on
several occasions. [Note 40.] Dr. Hooker and I had repeatedly urged
him to publish without delay, but in vain, as he was always
unwilling to interrupt the course of his investigations; until at
length Mr. Alfred R. Wallace, who had been engaged for years in
collecting and studying the animals of the East Indian archipelago,
thought out independently for himself one of the most novel and
important of Mr. Darwin's theories. This he embodied in an essay
"On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the
original Type." It was written at Ternate in February 1858, and
sent to Mr. Darwin with a request that it might be shown to me if
thought sufficiently novel and interesting. Dr. Hooker and I were
of opinion that it should be immediately printed, and we succeeded
in persuading Mr. Darwin to allow one of the manuscript chapters of
his "Origin of Species," entitled "On the Tendency of Species to
form Varieties, and on the Perpetuation of Species and Varieties by
natural Means of Selection," to appear at the same time.* (* See
"Proceedings of the Linnaean Society" 1858.)

By reference to these memoirs it will be seen that both writers
begin by applying to the animal and vegetable worlds the Malthusian
doctrine of population, or its tendency to increase in a
geometrical ratio, while food can only be made to augment even
locally in an arithmetical one. There being therefore no room or
means of subsistence for a large proportion of the plants and
animals which are born into the world, a great number must annually
perish. Hence there is a constant struggle for existence among the
individuals which represent each species and the vast majority can
never reach the adult state, to say nothing of the multitudes of
ova and seeds which are never hatched or allowed to germinate. Of
birds it is estimated that the number of those which die every year
equals the aggregate number by which the species to which they
respectively belong is on the average permanently represented.

The trial of strength which must decide what individuals are to
survive and what to succumb occurs in the season when the means of
subsistence are fewest, or enemies most numerous, or when the
individuals are enfeebled by climate or other causes; and it is
then that those varieties which have any, even the slightest,
advantage over others come off victorious. They may often owe their
safety to what would seem to a casual observer a trifling
difference, such as a darker or lighter shade of colour rendering
them less visible to a species which preys upon them, or sometimes
to attributes more obviously advantageous, such as greater cunning
or superior powers of flight or swiftness of foot. These peculiar
qualities and faculties, bodily and instinctive, may enable them to
outlive their less favoured rivals, and being transmitted by the
force of inheritance to their offspring will constitute new races,
or what Mr. Darwin calls "incipient species." If one variety, being
in other respects just equal to its competitors, happens to be more
prolific, some of its offspring will stand a greater chance of
being among those which will escape destruction, and their
descendants, being in like manner very fertile, will continue to
multiply at the expense of all less prolific varieties.

As breeders of domestic animals, when they choose certain varieties
in preference to others to breed from, speak technically of their
method as that of "selecting," Mr. Darwin calls the combination of
natural causes, which may enable certain varieties of wild animals
or plants to prevail over others of the same species, "natural

A breeder finds that a new race of cattle with short horns or
without horns may be formed in the course of several generations by
choosing varieties having the most stunted horns as his stock from
which to breed; so nature, by altering in the course of ages, the
conditions of life, the geographical features of a country, its
climate, the associated plants and animals, and consequently the
food and enemies of a species and its mode of life, may be said, by
this means to select certain varieties best adapted for the new
state of things. Such new races may often supplant the original
type from which they have diverged, although that type may have
been perpetuated without modification for countless anterior ages
in the same region, so long as it was in harmony with the
surrounding conditions then prevailing.

Lamarck, when speculating on the origin of the long neck of the
giraffe, imagined that quadruped to have stretched himself up in
order to reach the boughs of lofty trees, until by continued
efforts and longing to reach higher he obtained an elongated neck.
Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace simply suppose that, in a season of
scarcity, a longer-necked variety, having the advantage in this
respect over most of the herd, as being able to browse on foliage
out of their reach, survived them and transmitted its peculiarity
of cervical conformation to its successors.

By the multiplying of slight modifications in the course of
thousands of generations and by the handing down of the
newly-acquired peculiarities by inheritance, a greater and greater
divergence from the original standard is supposed to be effected,
until what may be called a new species, or in a greater lapse of
time a new genus will be the result.

Every naturalist admits that there is a general tendency in animals
and plants to vary; but it is usually taken for granted, though he
have no means of proving the assumption to be true, that there are
certain limits beyond which each species cannot pass under any
circumstances or in any number of generations. Mr. Darwin and Mr.
Wallace say that the opposite hypothesis, which assumes that every
species is capable of varying indefinitely from its original type,
is not a whit more arbitrary, and has this manifest claim to be
preferred, that it will account for a multitude of phenomena which
the ordinary theory is incapable of explaining.

We have no right, they say, to assume, should we find that a
variable species can no longer be made to vary in a certain
direction, that it has reached the utmost limit to which it might
under more favourable conditions or if more time were allowed be
made to diverge from the parent type.

Hybridisation is not considered by Mr. Darwin as a cause of new
species, but rather as tending to keep variation within bounds.
Varieties which are nearly allied cross readily with each other,
and with the parent stock, and such crossing tends to keep the
species true to its type, while forms which are less nearly
related, although they may intermarry, produce no mule offspring
capable of perpetuating their kind.

The competition of races and species, observes Mr. Darwin, is
always most severe between those which are most closely allied and
which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature. Hence
when the conditions of existence are modified the original stock
runs great risk of being superseded by some one of its modified
offshoots. The new race or species may not be absolutely superior
in the sum of its powers and endowments to the parent stock, and
may even be more simple in structure and of a lower grade of
intelligence, as well as of organisation, provided on the whole it
happens to have some slight advantage over its rivals. Progression,
therefore, is not a necessary accompaniment of variation and
natural selection, though when a higher organisation happens to be
coincident with superior fitness to new conditions, the new species
will have greater power and a greater chance of permanently
maintaining and extending its ground. One of the principal claims
of Mr. Darwin's theory to acceptance is that it enables us to
dispense with a law of progression as a necessary accompaniment of
variation. It will account equally well for what is called
degradation, or a retrograde movement towards a simpler structure,
and does not require Lamarck's continual creation of monads; for
this was a necessary part of his system, in order to explain how,
after the progressive power had been at work for myriads of ages,
there were as many beings of the simplest structure in existence as

Mr. Darwin argues, and with no small success, that all true
classification in zoology and botany is in fact genealogical, and
that community of descent is the hidden bond which naturalists have
been unconsciously seeking, while they often imagined that they
were looking for some unknown plan of creation.

As the "Origin of Species"* (* "Origin of Species" page 121.) is in
itself a condensed abstract of a much larger work not yet published
[Note 41] I could not easily give an analysis of its contents
within narrower limits than those of the original, but it may be
useful to enumerate briefly some of the principal classes of
phenomena on which the theory of "natural selection" would throw

In the first place it would explain, says Mr. Darwin, the unity of
type which runs through the whole organic world, and why there is
sometimes a fundamental agreement in structure in the same class of
beings which is quite independent of their habits of life, for such
structure, derived by inheritance from a remote progenitor, has
been modified in the course of ages in different ways according to
the conditions of existence. It would also explain why all living
and extinct beings are united, by complex radiating and circuitous
lines of affinity with one another into one grand system;* (*
"Origin" page 498.) also, there having been a continued extinction
of old races and species in progress and a formation of new ones by
variation, why in some genera which are largely represented, or to
which a great many species belong, many of these are closely but
unequally related; also, why there are distinct geographical
provinces of species of animals and plants, for after long
isolation by physical barriers each fauna and flora by varying
continually must become distinct from its ancestral type, and from
the new forms assumed by other descendants which have diverged from
the same stock.

The theory of indefinite modification would also explain why
rudimentary organs are so useful in classification, being the
remnants preserved by inheritance of organs which the present
species once used--as in the case of the rudiments of eyes in
insects and reptiles inhabiting dark caverns, or of the wings of
birds and beetles which have lost all power of flight. In such
cases the affinities of species are often more readily discerned by
reference to these imperfect structures than by others of much more
physiological importance to the individuals themselves.

The same hypothesis would explain why there are no mammalia in
islands far from continents, except bats, which can reach them by
flying; and also why the birds, insects, plants, and other
inhabitants of islands, even when specifically unlike, usually
agree generically with those of the nearest continent, it being
assumed that the original stock of such species came by migration
from the nearest land.

Variation and natural selection would also afford a key to a
multitude of geological facts otherwise wholly unaccounted for, as
for example why there is generally an intimate connection between
the living animals and plants of each great division of the globe
and the extinct fauna and flora of the Post-Tertiary or Tertiary
formations of the same region; as, for example, in North America,
where we not only find among the living mollusca peculiar forms
foreign to Europe, such as Gnathodon and Fulgur (a subgenus of
Fusus), but meet also with extinct species of those same genera in
the Tertiary fauna of the same part of the world. In like manner,
among the mammalia we find in Australia not only living kangaroos
and wombats, but fossil individuals of extinct species of the same
genera. So also there are recent and fossil sloths, armadilloes and
other Edentata in South America, and living and extinct species of
elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, and bear in the great Europeo-Asiatic
continent. The theory of the origin of new species by variation
will also explain why a species which has once died out never
reappears and why the fossil fauna and flora recede farther and
farther from the living type in proportion as we trace them back to
remoter ages. It would also account for the fact that when we have
to intercalate a new set of fossiliferous strata between two groups
previously known, the newly discovered fossils serve to fill up
gaps between specific or generic types previously familiar to us,
supplying often the missing links of the chain, which, if
transmutation is accepted, must once have been continuous.

One of the most original speculations in Mr. Darwin's work is
derived from the fact that, in the breeding of animals, it is often
observed that at whatever age any variation first appears in the
parent, it tends to reappear at a corresponding age in the
offspring. Hence the young individuals of two races which have
sprung from the same parent stock are usually more like each other
than the adults. Thus the puppies of the greyhound and bull-dog are
much more nearly alike in their proportions than the grown-up dogs,
and in like manner the foals of the carthorse and racehorse than
the adult individuals. For the same reason we may understand why
the species of the same genus, or genera of the same family,
resemble each other more nearly in their embryonic than in their
more fully developed state, or how it is that in the eyes of most
naturalists the structure of the embryo is even more important in
classification than that of the adult, "for the embryo is the
animal in its less modified state, and in so far it reveals the
structure of its progenitor. In two groups of animals, however much
they may at present differ from each other in structure and habits,
if they pass through the same or similar embryonic stages, we may
feel assured that they have both descended from the same or nearly
similar parents, and are therefore in that degree closely related.
Thus community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent,
however much the structure of the adult may have been modified."*
(* Darwin, "Origin" etc. page 448.)

If then there had been a system of progressive development, the
successive changes through which the embryo of a species of a high
class, a mammifer for example, now passes, may be expected to
present us with a picture of the stages through which, in the
course of ages, that class of animals has successively passed in
advancing from a lower to a higher grade. Hence the embryonic
states exhibited one after the other by the human individual bear a
certain amount of resemblance to those of the fish, reptile, and
bird before assuming those of the highest division of the

Mr. Darwin, after making a laborious analysis of many floras, found
that those genera which are represented by a large number of
species contain a greater number of variable species, relatively
speaking, than the smaller genera or those less numerously
represented. This fact he adduces in support of his opinion that
varieties are incipient species, for he observes that the existence
of the larger genera implies that the manufacturing of species has
been active in the period immediately preceding our own, in which
case we ought generally to find the same forces still in full
activity, more especially as we have every reason to believe the
process by which new species are produced is a slow one.* (*
"Origin of Species" chapter 2 page 56.)

Dr. Hooker tells us that he was long disposed to doubt this result,
as he was acquainted with so many variable small genera, but after
examining Mr. Darwin's data, he was compelled to acquiesce in his
generalisation.* (* "Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia"
page 6.)

It is one of those conclusions, to verify which requires the
investigation of many thousands of species, and to which exceptions
may easily be adduced both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, so
that it will be long before we can expect it to be thoroughly
tested, and if true, fairly appreciated. Among the most striking
exceptions will be some genera still large, but which are beginning
to decrease, the conditions favourable to their former predominance
having already begun to change. To many, this doctrine of "natural
selection," or "the preservation of favoured races in the struggle
for life," seems so simple, when once clearly stated, and so
consonant with known facts and received principles, that they have
difficulty in conceiving how it can constitute a great step in the
progress of science. Such is often the case with important
discoveries, but in order to assure ourselves that the doctrine was
by no means obvious, we have only to refer back to the writings of
skilful naturalists who attempted in the earlier part of the
nineteenth century to theorise on this subject, before the
invention of this new method of explaining how certain forms are
supplanted by new ones and in what manner these last are selected
out of innumerable varieties and rendered permanent.


Of Dr. Hooker, whom I have often cited in this chapter, Mr. Darwin
has spoken in the Introduction to his "Origin of Species," as one
"who had, for fifteen years, aided him in every possible way, by
his large stores of knowledge, and his excellent judgment." This
distinguished botanist published his "Introductory Essay to the
Flora of Australia" in December 1859, the year after the memoir on
"Natural Selection" was communicated to the Linnaean Society, and a
month after the appearance of the "Origin of Species."

Having, in the course of his extensive travels, studied the botany
of arctic, temperate, and tropical regions, and written on the
flora of India, which he had examined at all heights above the sea
from the plains of Bengal to the limits of perpetual snow in the
Himalaya, and having specially devoted his attention to
"geographical varieties," or those changes of character which
plants exhibit when traced over wide areas and seen under new
conditions; being also practically versed in the description and
classification of new plants, from various parts of the world, and
having been called upon carefully to consider the claims of
thousands of varieties to rank as species, no one was better
qualified by observation and reflection to give an authoritative
opinion on the question, whether the present vegetation of the
globe is or is not in accordance with the theory which Mr. Darwin
has proposed. We cannot but feel, therefore, deeply interested when
we find him making the following declaration:

"The mutual relations of the plants of each great botanical
province, and, in fact, of the world generally, is just such as
would have resulted if variation had gone on operating throughout
indefinite periods, in the same manner as we see it act in a
limited number of centuries, so as gradually to give rise in the
course of time, to the most widely divergent forms."

In the same essay, this author remarks, "The element of mutability
pervades the whole Vegetable Kingdom; no class, nor order, nor
genus of more than a few species claims absolute exemption from it,
whilst the grand total of unstable forms, generally assumed to be
species, probably exceeds that of the stable." Yet he contends that
species are neither visionary, nor even arbitrary creations of the
naturalist, but realities, though they may not remain true for
ever. The majority of them, he remarks, are so far constant,
"within the range of our experience," and their forms and
characters so faithfully handed down through thousands of
generations, that they admit of being treated as if they were
permanent and immutable. But the range of "our experience" is so
limited, that it will "not account for a single fact in the present
geographical distribution, or origin of any one species of plant,
nor for the amount of variation it has undergone, nor will it
indicate the time when it first appeared, nor the form it had when
created."* (* Hooker, "Introductory Essay to the Flora of

To what an extent the limits of species are indefinable, is
evinced, he says, by the singular fact that, among those botanists
who believe them to be immutable, the number of flowering plants is
by some assumed to be 80,000, and by others over 150,000. The
general limitation of species to certain areas suggests the idea
that each of them, with all their varieties, have sprung from a
common parent and have spread in various directions from a common
centre. The frequency also of the grouping of genera within certain
geographical limits is in favour of the same law, although the
migration of species may sometimes cause apparent exceptions to the
rule and make the same types appear to have originated
independently at different spots.* (* Ibid. page 13.)

Certain genera of plants, which, like the brambles, roses, and
willows in Europe, consist of a continuous series of varieties
between the terms of which no intermediate forms can be
intercalated, may be supposed to be newer types and on the
increase, and therefore undergoing much variation; whereas genera
which present no such perplexing gradations may be of older date
and may have been losing species and varieties by extinction. In
this case, the annihilation of intermediate forms which once
existed makes it an easy task to distinguish those which remain.

It had usually been supposed by the advocates of the immutability
of species that domesticated races, if allowed to run wild, always
revert to their parent type. Mr. Wallace had said in reply that a
domesticated species, if it loses the protection of Man, can only
stand its ground in a wild state by resuming those habits and
recovering those attributes which it may have lost when under
domestication. If these faculties are so much enfeebled as to be
irrecoverable it will perish; if not and if it can adapt itself to
the surrounding conditions, it will revert to the state in which
Man first found it: for in one, two, or three thousand years, which
may have elapsed since it was originally tamed, there will not have
been time for such geographical, climatal, and organic changes as
would only be suited to a new race or a new and allied species.

But in regard to plants Dr. Hooker questions the fact of reversion.
According to him, species in general do not readily vary, but when
they once begin to do so the new varieties, as every horticulturist
knows, show a great inclination to go on departing more and more
from the old stock. As the best marked varieties of a wild species
occur on the confines of the area which it inhabits, so the best
marked varieties of a cultivated plant are those last produced by
the gardener. Cabbages, for example, wall fruits, and cereal, show
no disposition, when neglected, to assume the characters of the
wild states of these plants. Hence the difficulty of determining
what are the true parent species of most of our cultivated plants.
Thus the finer kinds of apples, if grown from seed, degenerate and
become crabs, but in so doing they do not revert to the original
wild crab-apple, but become crab states of the varieties to which
they belong.* (* "Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia"
page 9.)

It would lead me into too long a digression were I to attempt to
give a fuller analysis of this admirable essay; but I may add that
none of the observations are more in point, as bearing on the
doctrine of what Hooker terms "creation by variation," than the
great extent to which the internal characters and properties of
plants, or their physiological constitution, are capable of being
modified, while they exhibit externally no visible departure from
the normal form. Thus, in one region a species may possess peculiar
medicinal qualities which it wants in another, or it may be hardier
and better able to resist cold. The average range in altitude, says
Hooker, of each species of flowering plant in the Himalayan
Mountains, whether in the tropical, temperate, or Alpine region, is
4000 feet, which is equivalent to twelve degrees of isothermals of
latitude. If an individual of any of these species be taken from
the upper limits of its range and carried to England, it is found
to be better able to stand our climate than those from the lower or
warmer stations. When several of these internal or physiological
modifications are accompanied by variation in size, habits of
growth, colour of the flowers, and other external characters, and
these are found to be constant in successive generations, botanists
may well begin to differ in opinion as to whether they ought to
regard them as distinct species or not.


Hitherto, no rival hypothesis has been proposed as a substitute for
the doctrine of transmutation; for what we term "independent
creation," or the direct intervention of the Supreme Cause, must
simply be considered as an avowal that we deem the question to lie
beyond the domain of science.

The discovery by Steenstrup of alternate generation enlarges our
views of the range of metamorphosis through which a species may
pass, so that some of its stages (as when a Sertularia and a Medusa
interchange) deviate so far from others as to have been referred by
able zoologists to distinct genera, or even families. But in all
these cases the organism, after running through a certain cycle of
change, returns to the exact point from which it set out, and no
new form or species is thereby introduced into the world. The only
secondary cause therefore which has as yet been even conjecturally
brought forward, to explain how in the ordinary course of nature a
new specific form may be generated is, as Lamarck declared,
"variation," and this has been rendered a far more probable
hypothesis by the way in which "natural selection" is shown to give
intensity and permanency to certain varieties.


When I formerly advocated the doctrine that species were primordial
creations and not derivative, I endeavoured to explain the manner
of their geographical distribution, and the affinity of living
forms to the fossil types nearest akin to them in the Tertiary
strata of the same part of the globe, by supposing that the
creative power, which originally adapts certain types to aquatic
and others to terrestrial conditions, has at successive geological
epochs introduced new forms best suited to each area and climate,
so as to fill the places of those which may have died out.

In that case, although the new species would differ from the old
(for these would not be revived, having been already proved by the
fact of their extinction to be incapable of holding their ground),
still they would resemble their predecessors generically. For, as
Mr. Darwin states in regard to new races, those of a dominant type
inherit the advantages which made their parent species flourish in
the same country, and they likewise partake in those general
advantages which made the genus to which the parent species
belonged a large genus in its own country.

We might therefore, by parity of reasoning, have anticipated that
the creative power, adapting the new types to the new combination
of organic and inorganic conditions of a given region, such as its
soil, climate, and inhabitants, would introduce new modifications
of the old types--marsupials, for example, in Australia, new sloths
and armadilloes in South America, new heaths at the Cape, new roses
in the northern and new calceolarias in the southern hemisphere.
But to this line of argument Mr. Darwin and Dr. Hooker reply that
when animals or plants migrate into new countries, whether assisted
by man or without his aid, the most successful colonisers appertain
by no means to those types which are most allied to the old
indigenous species. On the contrary it more frequently happens that
members of genera, orders, or even classes, distinct and foreign to
the invaded country, make their way most rapidly and become
dominant at the expense of the endemic species. Such is the case
with the placental quadrupeds in Australia, and with horses and
many foreign plants in the pampas of South America, and numberless
instances in the United States and elsewhere which might easily be
enumerated. Hence the transmutationists infer that the reason why
these foreign types, so peculiarly fitted for these regions, have
never before been developed there is simply that they were excluded
by natural barriers. But these barriers of sea or desert or
mountain could never have been of the least avail had the creative
force acted independently of material laws or had it not pleased
the Author of Nature that the origin of new species should be
governed by some secondary causes analogous to those which we see
preside over the appearance of new varieties, which never appear
except as the offspring of a parent stock very closely resembling



Statement of Objections to the Hypothesis of Transmutation
   founded on the Absence of Intermediate Forms.
Genera of which the Species are closely allied.
Occasional Discovery of the missing Links in a Fossil State.
Davidson's Monograph on the Brachiopoda.
Why the Gradational Forms, when found, are not accepted as
   Evidence of Transmutation.
Gaps caused by Extinction of Races and Species.
Vast Tertiary Periods during which this Extinction has been going
   on in the Fauna and Flora now existing.
Genealogical Bond between Miocene and Recent Plants and Insects.
Fossils of Oeningen.
Species of Insects in Britain and North America represented by
   distinct Varieties.
Falconer's Monograph on living and fossil Elephants.
Fossil Species and Genera of the Horse Tribe in North and
   South America.
Relation of the Pliocene Mammalia of North America, Asia,
   and Europe.
Species of Mammalia, though less persistent than the Mollusca,
   change slowly.
Arguments for and against Transmutation derived from the Absence
   of Mammalia in Islands.
Imperfection of the Geological Record.
Intercalation of newly discovered Formation of intermediate Age
   in the chronological Series.
Reference of the St. Cassian Beds to the Triassic Periods.
Discovery of new organic Types.
Feathered Archaeopteryx of the Oolite.


The most obvious and popular of the objections urged against the
theory of transmutation may be thus expressed: If the extinct
species of plants and animals of the later geological periods were
the progenitors of the living species, and gave origin to them by
variation and natural selection, where are all the intermediate
forms, fossil and living, through which the lost types must have
passed during their conversion into the living ones? And why do we
not find almost everywhere passages between the nearest allied
species and genera, instead of such strong lines of demarcation and
often wide intervening gaps?

We may consider this objection under two heads:--

First. To what extent are the gradational links really wanting in
the living creation or in the fossil world, and how far may we
expect to discover such as are missing by future research?

Secondly. Are the gaps more numerous than we ought to anticipate,
allowing for the original defective state of the geological
records, their subsequent dilapidation and our slight acquaintance
with such parts of them as are extant, and allowing also for the
rate of extinction of races and species now going on, and which has
been going on since the commencement of the Tertiary period?

First. As to the alleged absence of intermediate varieties
connecting one species with another, every zoologist and botanist
who has engaged in the task of classification has been occasionally
thrown into this dilemma--if I make more than one species in this
group, I must, to be consistent, make a great many. Even in a
limited region like the British Isles this embarrassment is
continually felt.

Scarcely any two botanists, for example, can agree as to the number
of roses, still less as to how many species of bramble we possess.
Of the latter genus, Rubus, there is one set of forms respecting
which it is still a question whether it ought to be regarded as
constituting three species or thirty-seven. Mr. Bentham adopts the
first alternative and Mr. Babington the second, in their well-known
treatises on British plants.

We learn from Dr. Hooker that at the antipodes, both in New Zealand
and Australia, this same genus Rubus is represented by several
species rich in individuals and remarkable for their variability.
When we consider how, as we extend our knowledge of the same plant
over a wider area, new geographical varieties commonly present
themselves, and then endeavour to imagine the number of forms of
the genus Rubus which may now exist, or probably have existed, in
Europe and in regions intervening between Europe and Australia,
comprehending all which may have flourished in Tertiary and
Post-Tertiary periods, we shall perceive how little stress should
be laid on arguments founded on the assumed absence of missing
links in the flora as it now exists.

If in the battle of life the competition is keenest between closely
allied varieties and species, as Mr. Darwin contends, many forms
can never be of long duration, nor have a wide range, and these
must often pass away without leaving behind them any fossil
memorials. In this manner we may account for many breaks in the
series which no future researches will ever fill up.


It is from fossil conchology more than from any other department of
the organic world that we may hope to derive traces of a transition
from certain types to others, and fossil memorials of all the
intermediate shades of form. We may especially hope to gain this
information from the study of some of the lower groups, such as the
Brachiopoda, which are persistent in type, so that the thread of
our inquiry is less likely to be interrupted by breaks in the
sequence of the fossiliferous rocks. The splendid monograph just
concluded by Mr. Davidson on the British Brachiopoda, illustrates,
in the first place, the tendency of certain generic forms in this
division of the mollusca to be persistent throughout the whole
range of geological time yet known to us; for the four genera,
Rhynchonella, Crania, Discina, and Lingula, have been traced
through the Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Jurassic,
Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Recent periods, and still retain in the
existing seas the identical shape and character which they
exhibited in the earliest formations. On the other hand, other
Brachiopoda have gone through in shorter periods a vast series of
transformations, so that distinct specific and even generic names
have been given to the same varying form, according to the
different aspects and characters it has put on in successive sets
of strata.

In proportion as materials of comparison have accumulated, the
necessity of uniting species previously regarded as distinct under
one denomination has become more and more apparent. Mr. Davidson,
accordingly, after studying not less than 260 reputed species from
the British Carboniferous rocks, has been obliged to reduce that
number to 100, to which he has added 20 species either entirely new
or new to the British strata; but he declares his conviction that,
when our knowledge of these 120 Brachiopoda is more complete, a
further reduction of species will take place.

Speaking of one of these forms, which he calls Spirifer trigonalis,
he says that it is so dissimilar to another extreme of the series,
S. crassa, that in the first part of his memoir (published some ten
years ago) he described them as distinct, and the idea of
confounding them together must, he admits, appear absurd to those
who have never seen the intermediate links, such as are presented
by S. bisulcata, and at least four others with their varieties,
most of them shells formerly recognised as distinct by the most
eminent palaeontologists, but respecting which these same
authorities now agree with Mr. Davidson in uniting them into one
species.* (* "Monograph on British Brachiopoda" Palaeontographical
Society page 222.)

The same species has sometimes continued to exist under slightly
modified forms throughout the whole of the Ordovician and Silurian
as well as the entire Devonian and Carboniferous periods, as in the
case of the shell generally known as Leptaena rhomboidalis,
Wahlenberg. No less than fifteen commonly received species are
demonstrated by Mr. Davidson by the aid of a long series of
transitional forms, to appertain to this one type; and it is
acknowledged by some of the best writers that they were induced on
purely theoretical grounds to give distinct names to some of the
varieties now suppressed, merely because they found them in rocks
so widely remote in time that they deemed it contrary to analogy to
suppose that the same species could have endured so long: a
fallacious mode of reasoning, analogous to that which leads some
zoologists and botanists to distinguish by specific names slight
varieties of living plants and animals met with in very remote
countries, as in Europe and Australia, for example; it being
assumed that each species has had a single birthplace or area of
creation, and that they could not by migration have gone from the
northern to the southern hemisphere across the intervening tropics.

Examples are also given by Mr. Davidson of species which pass from
the Devonian into the Carboniferous, and from that again into the
Permian rocks. The vast longevity of such specific forms has not
been generally recognised in consequence of the change of names
which they have undergone when derived from such distant
formations, as when Atrypa unguicularis assumes, when derived from
a Carboniferous rock, the name of Spirifer Urei, besides several
other synonyms, and then, when it reaches the Permian period, takes
the name of Spirifer Clannyana, King; all of which forms the author
of the monograph, now under consideration, asserts to be one and
the same.

No geologist will deny that the distance of time which separates
some of the eras above alluded to, or the dates of the earliest and
latest appearances of some of the fossils above mentioned, must be
reckoned by millions of years. According to Mr. Darwin's views, it
is only by having at our command the records of such enormous
periods that we can expect to be able to point out the gradations
which unite very distinct specific forms. But the advocate of
transmutation must not be disappointed if, when he has succeeded in
obtaining some of the proofs which he was challenged to produce,
they make no impression on the mind of his opponent. All that will
be conceded is that specific variation in the Brachiopoda, at
least, has a wider range than was formerly suspected. So long as
several allied species were brought nearer and nearer to each
other, considerable uneasiness might have been felt as to the
reality of species in general, but when fifteen or more are once
fairly merged in one group, constituting in the aggregate a single
species, one and indivisible, and capable of being readily
distinguished from every other group at present known, all
misgivings are at an end. Implicit trust in the immutability of
species is then restored, and the more insensible the shades from
one extreme to the other, in a word, the more complete the evidence
of transition, the more nugatory does the argument derived from it
appear. It then simply resolves itself into one of those
exceptional instances of what is called a protean form.

Thirty years ago a great London dealer in shells, himself an able
naturalist, told me that there was nothing he had so much reason to
dread, as tending to depreciate his stock in trade, as the
appearance of a good monograph on some large genus of mollusca;
for, in proportion as the work was executed in a philosophical
spirit, it was sure to injure him, every reputed species pronounced
to be a mere variety becoming from that time unsaleable.
Fortunately, so much progress has since been made in England in
estimating the true ends and aims of science, that specimens
indicating a passage between forms usually separated by wide gaps,
whether in the Recent or fossil fauna, are eagerly sought for, and
often more prized than the mere normal or typical forms.

It is clear that the more ancient the existing mollusca, or the
farther back into the past we can trace the remains of shells still
living, the more easy it becomes to reconcile with the doctrine of
transmutation the distinctness in character of the majority of
living species. For, what we want is time, first, for the gradual
formation, and then for the extinction of races and allied species,
occasioning gaps between the survivors.

In the year 1830 I announced, on the authority of M. Deshayes, that
about one-fifth of the mollusca of the Falunian or Upper Miocene
strata of Europe, belonged to living species. Although the
soundness of that conclusion was afterwards called in question by
two or three eminent conchologists (and by the late M. Alcide
d'Orbigny among others), it has since been confirmed by the
majority of living naturalists and is well borne out by the copious
evidence on the subject laid before the public in the magnificent
work edited by Dr. Hoernes, and published under the auspices of the
Austrian Government, "On the Fossil Shells of the Vienna Basin."

The collection of Tertiary shells from which those descriptions and
beautiful figures were taken is almost unexampled for the fine
state of preservation of the specimens, and the care with which all
the varieties have been compared. It is now admitted that about
one-third of these Miocene forms, univalves and bivalves included,
agree specifically with living mollusca, so that much more than the
enormous interval which divides the Miocene from the Recent period
must be taken into our account when we speculate on the origin by
transmutation of the shells now living, and the disappearance by
extinction of intermediate varieties and species.


Geologists were acquainted with about three hundred species of
marine shells from the Falunian strata on the banks of the Loire,
before they knew anything of the contemporary insects and plants.
At length, as if to warn us against inferring from negative
evidence the poverty of any ancient set of strata in organic
remains proper to the land, a rich flora and entomological fauna
was suddenly revealed to us characteristic of Central Europe during
the Upper Miocene period. This result followed the determination of
the true position of the Oeningen beds in Switzerland, and of
certain formations of "Brown Coal" in Germany.

Professor Heer, who has described nearly five hundred species of
fossil plants from Oeningen, besides many more from other Miocene
localities in Switzerland,* (* Heer, "Flora tertiaria Helvetiae"
1859; and Gaudin's French translation, with additions, 1861.)
estimates the phanerogamous species which must have flourished in
Central Europe at that time at 3000, and the insects as having been
more numerous in the same proportion as they now exceed the plants
in all latitudes. This European Miocene flora was remarkable for
the preponderance of arborescent and shrubby evergreens, and
comprised many generic types no longer associated together in any
existing flora or geographical province. Some genera, for example,
which are at present restricted to America, co-existed in
Switzerland with forms now peculiar to Asia, and with others at
present confined to Australia.

Professor Heer has not ventured to identify any of this vast
assemblage of Miocene plants and insects with living species, so
far at least as to assign to them the same specific names, but he
presents us with a list of what he terms homologous forms, which
are so like the living ones that he supposes the one to have been
derived genealogically from the others. He hesitates indeed as to
the manner of the transformation or the precise nature of the
relationship, "whether the changes were brought about by some
influence exerted continually for ages, or whether at some given
moment the old types were struck with a new image."

Among the homologous plants alluded to are forty species, of which
both the leaves and fruits are preserved, and thirty others, known
at present by their leaves only. In the first list we find many
American types, such as the tulip tree (Liriodendron), the
deciduous cypress (Taxodium), the red maple and others, together
with Japanese forms, such as a cinnamon, which is very abundant.
And what is worthy of notice, some of these fossils so closely
allied to living plants occur not only in the Upper, but even some
few of them as far back in time as the Lower Miocene formations of
Switzerland and Germany, which are probably as distant from the
Upper Miocene or Oeningen beds as are the latter from our own era.

Some of the fossil plants to which Professor Heer has given new
names have been regarded as Recent species by other eminent
naturalists. Thus, one of the trees allied to the elm Unger had
called Planera Richardi, a species which now flourishes in the
Caucasus and Crete. Professor Heer had attempted to distinguish it
from the living tree by the greater size of its fruit, but this
character he confessed did not hold good, when he had an
opportunity (1861) of comparing all the varieties of the living
Planera Richardi which Dr. Hooker laid before him in the rich
herbarium of Kew.

As to the "homologous insects" of the Upper Miocene period in
Switzerland, we find among them, mingled with genera now wholly
foreign to Europe, some very familiar forms, such as the common
glowworm, Lampyris noctiluca, Linn., the dung-beetle, Geotrupes
stercorarius, Linn., the ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata,
Linn., the ear-wig, Forficula auricularia, Linn., some of our
common dragon-flies, as Libellula depressa, Linn., the honey-bee,
Apis mellifera, Linn., the cuckoo spittle insect, Aphrophora
spumaria, Linn., and a long catalogue of others, to all of which
Professor Heer had given new names, but which some entomologists
may regard as mere varieties until some stronger reasons are
adduced for coming to a contrary opinion.

Several of the insects above enumerated, like the common ladybird,
are well known at present to have a very wide range over nearly the
whole of the Old World, for example, without varying, and might
therefore be expected to have been persistent throughout many
successive changes of the earth's surface and climate. Yet we may
fairly anticipate that even the most constant types will have
undergone some modifications in passing from the Miocene to the
Recent epoch, since in the former period the geography and climate
of Europe, the height of the Alps, and the general fauna and flora
were so different from what they now are. But the deviation may not
exceed that which would generally be expressed by what is called a
well-marked variety.

Before I pass on to another topic, it may be well to answer a
question which may have occurred to the reader; how it happens that
we remained so long ignorant of the vegetation and insects of the
Upper Miocene period in Europe? The answer may be instructive to
those who are in the habit of underrating the former richness of
the organic world wherever they happen to have no evidence of its
condition. A large part of the Upper Miocene insects and plants
alluded to have been met with at Oeningen, near the Lake of
Constance, in two or three spots embedded in thinly laminated
marls, the entire thickness of which scarcely exceeds 3 or 4 feet,
and in two quarries of very limited dimensions. The rare
combination of causes which seems to have led to the faithful
preservation of so many treasures of a perishable nature in so
small an area, appear to have been the following: first, a river
flowing into a lake; secondly, storms of wind, by which leaves and
sometimes the boughs of trees were torn off and floated by the
stream into the lake; thirdly, mephitic gases rising from the lake,
by which insects flying over its surface were occasionally killed:
and fourthly, a constant supply of carbonate of lime in solution
from mineral springs, the calcareous matter when precipitated to
the bottom mingling with fine mud and thus forming the
fossiliferous marls.


If we compare the living British insects with those of the American
continent, we frequently find that even those species which are
considered to be identical, are nevertheless varieties of the
European types. I have noticed this fact when speaking of the
common English butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, or "red admiral," which
I saw flying about the woods of Alabama in mid-winter. I was unable
to detect any difference myself, but all the American specimens
which I took to the British Museum were observed by Mr. Doubleday
to exhibit a slight peculiarity in the colouring of a minute part
of the anterior wing,* (* Lyell's "Second Visit to the United
States" volume 2 page 293.) a character first detected by Mr. T.F.
Stephens, who has also discovered that similar slight, but equally
constant variations, distinguish other Lepidoptera now inhabiting
the opposite sides of the Atlantic, insects which, nevertheless, he
and Mr. Westwood and the late Mr. Kirby, have always agreed to
regard as mere varieties of the same species.

Mr. T.V. Wollaston, in treating of the variation of insects in
maritime situations and small islands, has shown how the colour,
growth of the wings, and many other characters, undergo
modification under the influence of local conditions, continued for
long periods of time;* (* Wollaston, "On the Variation of Species"
etc. London 1856.) and Mr. Brown has lately called our attention to
the fact that the insects of the Shetland Isles present slight
deviations from the corresponding types occurring in Great Britain,
but far less marked than those which distinguish the American from
the European varieties.* (* "Transactions of Northern Entomological
Society" 1862.) In the case of Shetland, Mr. Brown remarks, a land
communication may well be supposed to have prevailed with Scotland
at a more modern era than that between Europe and America. In fact,
we have seen that Shetland can hardly fail to have been united with
Scotland after the commencement of the glacial period (see map,
Figure 41); whereas a communication between the north of Europe by
Iceland and Greenland (which, as before stated, once enjoyed a
genial climate) must have been anterior to the glacial epoch. A
much larger isolation, and the impossibility of varieties formed in
the two separated areas crossing with each other, would account,
according to Mr. Darwin's theory, for the much wider divergence
observed in the specific types of the two regions.

The reader will remember that at the commencement of the Glacial
period there was scarcely any appreciable difference between the
molluscous fauna and that now living. When therefore the events of
the Glacial period, as described in the earlier part of this
volume, are duly pondered on, and when we reflect that in the Upper
Miocene period the living species of mollusca constitute only
one-third of the whole fauna, we see clearly by how high a figure
we must multiply the time in order to express the distance between
the Miocene period and our own days.


But it may perhaps be said that the mammalia afford more
conspicuous examples than do the mollusca, insects, or plants of
the wide gaps which separate species and genera, and that if in
this higher class such a multitude of transitional forms had ever
existed as would be required to unite the Tertiary and Recent
species into one series or net-work of allied or transitional
forms, they could not so entirely have escaped observation whether
in the fossil or living fauna. A zoologist who entertains such an
opinion would do well to devote himself to the study of some one
genus of mammalia, such as the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus,
bear, horse, ox, or deer; and after collecting all the materials he
can get together respecting the extinct and Recent species, decide
for himself whether the present state of science justifies his
assuming that the chain could never have been continuous, the
number of the missing links being so great.

Among the extinct species formerly contemporary with man, no fossil
quadruped has so often been alluded to in this work as the mammoth,
Elephas primigenius. From a monograph on the proboscidians by Dr.
Falconer, it appears that this species represents one extreme of a
type of which the Pliocene Mastodon borsoni represents the other.
Between these extremes there are already enumerated by Dr. Falconer
no less than twenty-six species, some of them ranging as far back
in time as the Miocene period, others still living, like the Indian
and African forms. Two of these species, however, he has always
considered as doubtful, Stegodon ganesa, probably a mere variety of
one of the others, and Elephas priscus of Goldfuss, founded partly
on specimens of the African elephant, assumed by mistake to be
fossil, and partly on some aberrant forms of E. antiquus.

The first effect of the intercalation of so many intermediate forms
between the two most divergent types, has been to break down almost
entirely the generic distinction between Mastodon and Elephas. Dr.
Falconer, indeed, observes that Stegodon (one of several subgenera
which he has founded) constitutes an intermediate group, from which
the other species diverge through their dental characters, on the
one side into the mastodons, and on the other into the Elephants.*
(* "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society" volume 13 1857
page 314.) The next result is to diminish the distance between the
several members of each of these groups.

Dr. Falconer has discovered that no less than four species of
elephant were formerly confounded together under the title of
Elephas primigenius, whence its supposed ubiquity in Pleistocene
times, or its wide range over half the habitable globe. But even
when this form has been thus restricted in its specific characters,
it has still its geographical varieties; for the mammoth's teeth
brought from America may in most instances, according to Dr.
Falconer, be distinguished from those proper to Europe. On this
American variety Dr. Leidy has conferred the name of E. americanus.
Another race of the same mammoth (as determined by Dr. Falconer)
existed, as we have seen, before the Glacial period, or at the time
when the buried forest of Cromer and the Norfolk cliffs was
deposited; and the Swiss geologists have lately found remains of
the mammoth in their country, both in pre-glacial and post-glacial

Since the publication of Dr. Falconer's monograph, two other
species of elephant, F. mirificus, Leidy, and F. imperator, have
been obtained from the Pliocene formations of the Niobrara Valley
in Nebraska, one of which, however, may possibly be found hereafter
to be the same as E. columbi, Falc. A remarkable dwarf species also
(Elephas melitensis) has been discovered, belonging, like the
existing E. africanus, to the group Loxodon. This species has been
established by Dr. Falconer on remains found by Captain Spratt R.N.
in a cave in Malta.* (* "Proceedings of the Geological Society"
London 1862.)

How much the difficulty of discriminating between the fossil
representatives of this genus may hereafter augment, when all the
species with their respective geographical varieties are known, may
be inferred from the following fact--Professor H. Schlegel, in a
recently published memoir, endeavours to show that the living
elephant of Sumatra agrees with that of Ceylon, but is a distinct
species from that of Continental India, being distinguishable by
the number of its dorsal vertebrae and ribs, the form of its teeth,
and other characteristics.* (* Schlegel, "Natural History Review"
Number 5 1862 page 72.) Dr. Falconer, on the other hand, considers
these two living species as mere geographical varieties, the
characters referred to not being constant, as he has ascertained,
on comparing different individuals of E. indicus in different parts
of Bengal in which the ribs vary from nineteen to twenty, and
different varieties of E. africanus in which they vary from twenty
to twenty-one.

An inquiry into the various species of the genus Rhinoceros, recent
and fossil, has led Dr. Falconer to analogous results, as might be
inferred from what was said in Chapter 10, and as a forthcoming
memoir by the same writer will soon more fully demonstrate.

Among the fossils brought in 1858 by Mr. Hayden from the Niobrara
Valley, Dr. Leidy describes a rhinoceros so like the Asiatic
species, R. indicus, that he at first referred it to the same, and,
what is most singular, he remarks generally of the Pliocene fauna
of that part of North America that it is far more related in
character to the Pleistocene and Recent fauna of Europe than to
that now inhabiting the American continent.

It seems indeed more and more evident that when we speculate in
future on the pedigree of any extinct quadruped which abounds in
the drift or caverns of Europe, we shall have to look to North and
South America as a principal source of information. Thirty years
ago, if we had been searching for fossil types which might fill up
a gap between two species or genera of the horse tribe (or great
family of the Solipedes), we might have thought it sufficient to
have got together as ample materials as we could obtain from the
continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia. We might have presumed that
as no living representative of the equine family, whether horse,
ass, zebra, or quagga, had been furnished by North or South America
when those regions were first explored by Europeans, a search in
the transatlantic world for fossil species might be dispensed with.
But how different is the prospect now opening before us! Mr. Darwin
first detected the remains of a fossil horse during his visit to
South America, since which two other species have been met with on
the same continent, while in North America, in the valley of the
Nebraska alone, Mr. Hayden, besides a species not distinguishable
from the domestic horse, has obtained, according to Dr. Leidy,
representatives of five other fossil genera of Solipedes. These he
names, Hipparion, Protohippus, Merychippus, Hypohippus, and
Parahippus. On the whole, no less than twelve equine species,
belonging to seven genera (including the Miocene Anchitherium of
Nebraska), being already detected in the Tertiary and Post-Tertiary
formations of the United States.* (* "Proceedings of the Academy of
Natural Science" Philadelphia for 1858 page 89.)

Professors Unger* (* "Die versunkene Insel Atlantis.") and Heer* (*
"Flora tertiaria Helvetiae.") have advocated, on botanical grounds,
the former existence of an Atlantic continent during some part of
the Tertiary period, as affording the only plausible explanation
that can be imagined, of the analogy between the Miocene flora of
Central Europe and the existing flora of Eastern America. Professor
Oliver, on the other hand, after showing how many of the American
types found fossil in Europe are common to Japan, inclines to the
theory, first advanced by Dr. Asa Gray, that the migration of
species, to which the community of types in the eastern states of
North America and the Miocene flora of Europe is due, took place
when there was an overland communication from America to eastern
Asia between the fiftieth and sixtieth parallels of latitude, or
south of Behring Straits, following the direction of the Aleutian
islands.* (* Oliver, Lecture at the Royal Institution, March 7,
1862.) By this course they may have made their way, at any epoch,
Miocene, Pliocene, or Pleistocene, antecedently to the glacial
epoch, to Mongolia, on the east coast of northern Asia.

We have already seen that a large proportion of the living
quadrupeds of Mongolia (34 out of 48) are specifically identical
with those at present inhabiting the continent of Western Europe
and the British Isles.

A monograph on the hippopotamus, bear, ox, stag, or any other genus
of mammalia common in the European drift or caverns, might equally
well illustrate the defective state of the materials at present at
our command. We are rarely in possession of one perfect skeleton of
any extinct species, still less of skeletons of both sexes, and of
different ages. We usually know nothing of the geographical
varieties of the Pleistocene and Pliocene species, least of all,
those successive changes of form which they must have undergone in
the preglacial epoch between the Upper Miocene and Pleistocene
eras. Such being the poverty of our palaeontological data, we
cannot wonder that osteologists are at variance as to whether
certain remains found in caverns are of the same species as those
now living; whether, for example, the Talpa fossilis is really the
common mole, the Meles morreni the common badger, Lutra antiqua the
otter of Europe, Sciurus priscus the squirrel, Arctomys primigenia
the marmot, Myoxus fossilis the dormouse, Schmerling's Felis
engihoulensis the European lynx, or whether Ursus spelaeus and
Ursus priscus are not extinct races of the living brown bear (Ursus

If at some future period all the above-mentioned species should be
united with their allied congeners, it cannot fail to enlarge our
conception of the modifications which a species is capable of
undergoing in the course of time, although the same form may appear
absolutely immutable within the narrow range of our experience.


In the "Principles of Geology," in 1833,* (* 1st edition volume 3
pages 48 and 140.) I stated that the longevity of species in the
class mollusca exceeded that in the mammalia. It has been since
found that this generalisation can be carried much farther, and
that in fact the law which governs the changes in organic being is
such that the lower their place in a graduated scale, or the
simpler their structure, the more persistent are they in form and
organisation. I soon became aware of the force of this rule in the
class mollusca, when I first attempted to calculate the numerical
proportion of Recent species in the Newer Pliocene formations as
compared to the Older Pliocene, and of them again as contrasted
with the Miocene; for it appeared invariably that a greater number
of the lamellibranchs could be identified with living species than
of the gasteropods, and of these last a greater number in the lower
division, that of entire-mouthed univalves, than in that of the
siphonated. In whatever manner the changes have been brought about,
whether by variation and natural selection, or by any other causes,
the rate of change has been greater where the grade of organisation
is higher.

It is only, therefore, where there is a full representation of all
the principal orders of mollusca, or when we compare those of
corresponding grade, that we can fully rely on the percentage test,
or on the proportion of Recent to extinct species as indicating the
relation of two groups to the existing fauna.

The foraminifera which exemplify the lowest stage of animal
existence exhibit, as we learn from the researches of Dr. Carpenter
and of Messrs. Jones and Parker, extreme variability in their
specific forms, and yet these same forms are persistent throughout
vast periods of time, exceeding, in that respect, even the
brachiopods before mentioned.

Dr. Hooker observes, in regard to plants of complex floral
structure, that they manifest their physical superiority in a
greater extent of variation and in thus better securing a
succession of race, an attribute which in some senses he regards as
of a higher order than that indicated by mere complexity or
specialisation of organ.* (* "Introductory Essay to the Flora of
Australia" page 7.)

As one of the consequences of this law, he says that species,
genera, and orders are, on the whole, best limited in plants of
higher grade, the dicotyledons better than the monocotyledons, and
the Dichlamydeae better than the Achlamydeae.

Mr. Darwin remarks, "We can, perhaps, understand the apparently
quicker rate of change in terrestrial, and in more highly organised
productions, compared with marine and lower productions, by the
more complex relations of the higher beings to their organic and
inorganic conditions of life."* (* "Origin of Species" 3rd edition
page 340.)

If we suppose the mammalia to be more sensitive than are the
inferior classes of the vertebrata, to every fluctuation in the
surrounding conditions, whether of the animate or inanimate world,
it would follow that they would oftener be called upon to adapt
themselves by variation to new conditions, or if unable to do so,
to give place to other types. This would give rise to more frequent
extinction of varieties, species, and genera, whereby the surviving
types would be better limited, and the average duration of the same
unaltered specific types would be lessened.


But if mammalia vary upon the whole at a more rapid rate than
animals lower in the scale of being, it must not be supposed that
they can alter their habits and structures readily, or that they
are convertible in short periods into new species. The extreme
slowness with which such changes of habits and organisation take
place, when new conditions arise, appears to be well exemplified by
the absence even of small warm-blooded quadrupeds in islands far
from continents, however well such islands may be fitted by their
dimensions to support them.

Mr. Darwin has pointed to this absence of mammalia as favouring his
views, observing that bats, which are the only exceptions to the
rule, might have made their way to distant islands by flight, for
they are often met with on the wing far out at sea. Unquestionably,
the total exclusion of quadrupeds in general, which could only
reach such isolated habitations by swimming, seems to imply that
nature does not dispense with the ordinary laws of reproduction
when she peoples the earth with new forms; for if causes purely
immaterial were alone at work, we might naturally look for
squirrels, rabbits, polecats, and other small vegetable feeders and
beasts of prey, as often as for bats, in the spots alluded to.

On the other hand, I have found it difficult to reconcile the
antiquity of certain islands, such as those of the Madeiran
Archipelago, and those of still larger size in the Canaries, with
the total absence of small indigenous quadrupeds, for, judging by
ancient deposits of littoral shells, now raised high above the
level of the sea, several of these volcanic islands (Porto Santo
and the Grand Canary among others) must have existed ever since the
Upper Miocene period. But, waiving all such claims to antiquity, it
is at least certain that since the close of the Newer Pliocene
period, Madeira, and Porto Santo have constituted two separate
islands, each in sight of the other, and each inhabited by an
assemblage of land shells (Helix, Pupa, Clausilia, etc.), for the
most part different or proper to each island. About thirty-two
fossil species have been obtained in Madeira, and forty-two in
Porto Santo, only five of the whole being common to both islands.
In each the living land-shells are equally distinct, and
correspond, for the most part, with the species found fossil in
each island respectively.

Among the fossil species, one or two appear to be entirely extinct,
and a larger number have disappeared from the fauna of the Madeiran
Archipelago, though still extant in Africa and Europe. Many which
were amongst the most common in the Pliocene period, have now
become the scarcest, and others formerly scarce, are now most
numerously represented. The variety-making force has been at work
with such energy--perhaps we ought to say, has had so much time for
its development--that almost every isolated rock within gun-shot of
the shores has its peculiar living forms, or those very marked
races to which Mr. Lowe, in his excellent description of the fauna,
has given the name of "sub-species."

Since the fossil shells were embedded in sand near the coast, these
volcanic islands have undergone considerable alterations in size
and shape by the wasting action of the waves of the Atlantic
beating incessantly against the cliffs, so that the evidence of a
vast lapse of time is derivable from inorganic as well as from
organic phenomena.

During this period no mammalia, not even of small species,
excepting bats, have made their appearance, whether in Madeira and
Porto-Santo or in the larger and more numerous islands of the
Canarian group. It might have been expected, from some expressions
met with here and there in the "Origin of Species," though not
perhaps from a fair interpretation of the whole tenor of the
author's reasoning, that this dearth of the highest class of
vertebrata is inconsistent with the powers of mammalia to
accommodate their habits and structures to new conditions. Why did
not some of the bats, for example, after they had greatly
multiplied, and were hard pressed by a scarcity of insects on the
wing, betake themselves to the ground in search of prey, and,
gradually losing their wings, become transformed into non-volant
Insectivora? Mr. Darwin tells me that he has learnt that there is a
bat in India which has been known occasionally to devour frogs. One
might also be tempted to ask, how it has happened that the seals
which swarmed on the shores of Madeira and the Canaries, before the
European colonists arrived there, were never induced, when food was
scarce in the sea, to venture inland from the shores, and begin in
Teneriffe, and the Grand Canary especially, and other large
islands, to acquire terrestrial habits, venturing first a few yards
inland, and then farther and farther until they began to occupy
some of the "places left vacant in the economy of nature." During
these excursions, we might suppose some varieties, which had the
skin of the webbed intervals of their toes less developed, to
succeed best in walking on the land, and in the course of several
generations they might exchange their present gait or manner of
shuffling along and jumping by aid of the tail and their fin-like
extremities, for feet better adapted for running.

It is said that one of the bats in the island of Palma (one of the
Canaries) is of a peculiar species, and that some of the
Cheiroptera of the Pacific islands are even of peculiar genera. If
so, we seem, on organic as well as on geological grounds, to be
precluded from arguing that there has not been time for great
divergence of character. We seem also entitled to ask why the bats
and rodents of Australia, which are spread so widely among the
marsupials over that continent, have never, under the influence of
the principle of progression, been developed into higher placental
types, since we have now ascertained that that continent was by no
means unfitted to sustain such mammalia, for these when once
introduced by Man have run wild and become naturalised in many
parts. The following answers may perhaps be offered to the above
criticisms of some of Mr. Darwin's theoretical views.

First, as to the bats and seals: they are what zoologists call
aberrant and highly specialised types, and therefore precisely
those which might be expected to display a fixity and want of
pliancy in their organisation, or the smallest possible aptitude
for deviating in new directions towards new structures, and the
acquisition of such altered habits as a change from aquatic to
terrestrial or from Volant to non-volant modes of living would

Secondly, the same powers of flight which enabled the first bats to
reach Madeira or the Canaries, would bring others from time to time
from the African continent, which, mixing with the first emigrants
and crossing with them, would check the formation of new races, or
keep them true to the old types, as is found to be actually the
case with the birds of Madeira and the Bermudas.

This would happen the more surely, if, as Mr. Darwin has
endeavoured to prove, the offspring of races slightly varying are
usually more vigorous than the progeny of parents of the same race,
and would be more prolific, therefore, than the insular stock which
had been for a long time breeding in and in.

The same cause would tend in a still more decided manner to prevent
the seals from diverging into new races or "incipient species,"
because they range freely over the wide ocean, and, may therefore
have continual intercourse with all other individuals of their

Thirdly, as to peculiar species, and even genera of bats in
islands, we are perhaps too little acquainted at present with all
the species and genera of the neighbouring continents to be able to
affirm, with any degree of confidence, that the forms supposed to
be peculiar do not exist elsewhere: those of the Canaries in
Africa, for example. But what is still more important, we must bear
in mind how many species and genera of Pleistocene mammalia have
everywhere become extinct by causes independent of Man. It is
always possible, therefore, that some types of Cheiroptera,
originally derived from the main land, have survived in islands,
although they have gradually died out on the continents from whence
they came; so that it would be rash to infer that there has been
time for the creation, whether by variation or other agency, of new
species or genera in the islands in question.

As to the Rodents and Cheiroptera of Australia, we are as yet too
ignorant of the Pleistocene and Pliocene fauna of that part of the
world, to be able to decide whether the introduction of such forms
dates from a remote geological time. We know, however, that, before
the Recent period, that continent was peopled with large kangaroos,
and other herbivorous and carnivorous marsupials, of species long
since extinct, their remains having been discovered in ossiferous
caverns. The preoccupancy of the country by such indigenous tribes
may have checked the development of the placental Rodents and
Cheiroptera, even were we to concede the possibility of such forms
being convertible by variation and progressive development into
higher grades of mammalia.


When treating in the eighth chapter of the dearth of human bones in
alluvium containing flint implements in abundance, I pointed out
that it is not part of the plan of Nature to write everywhere, and
at all times, her autobiographical memoirs. On the contrary, her
annals are local and exceptional from the first, and portions of
them are afterwards ground into mud, sand, and pebbles, to furnish
materials for new strata. Even of those ancient monuments now
forming the crust of the earth, which have not been destroyed by
rivers and the waves of the sea, or which have escaped being melted
by volcanic heat, three-fourths lie submerged beneath the ocean,
and are inaccessible to Man; while of those which form the dry
land, a great part are hidden for ever from our observation by
mountain masses, thousands of feet thick, piled over them.

Mr. Darwin has truly said that the fossiliferous rocks known to
geologists consist, for the most part, of such as were formed when
the bottom of the sea was subsiding. This downward movement
protects the new deposits from denudation, and allows them to
accumulate to a great thickness; whereas sedimentary matter, thrown
down where the sea-bottom is rising, must almost invariably be
swept away by the waves as fast as the land emerges.

When we reflect, therefore, on the fractional state of the annals
which are handed down to us, and how little even these have as yet
been studied, we may wonder that so many geologists should
attribute every break in the series of strata and every gap in the
past history of the organic world to catastrophes and convulsions
of the earth's crust or to leaps made by the creational force from
species to species, or from class to class. For it is clear that,
even had the series of monuments been perfect and continuous at
first (an hypothesis quite opposed to the analogy of the working of
causes now in action), it could not fail to present itself to our
eyes in a broken and disconnected state.

Those geologists who have watched the progress of discovery during
the last half century can best appreciate the extent to which we
may still hope by future exertion to fill up some of the wider
chasms which now interrupt the regular sequence of fossiliferous
rocks. The determination, for example, of late years of the true
place of the Hallstadt and St. Cassian beds on the north and south
flanks of the Austrian Alps, has revealed to us, for the first
time, the marine fauna of a period (that of the Upper Trias) of
which, until lately, but little was known. In this case, the
palaeontologist is called upon suddenly to intercalate about 800
species of Mollusca and Radiata, between the fauna of the Lower
Lias and that of the Middle Trias. The period in question was
previously believed, even by many a philosophical geologist, to
have been comparatively barren of organic types. In England,
France, and northern Germany, the only known strata of Upper
Triassic date had consisted almost entirely of fresh or
brackish-water beds, in which the bones of terrestrial and
amphibious reptiles were the most characteristic fossils. The new
fauna was, as might have been expected, in part peculiar, not a few
of the species of Mollusca being referable to new genera; while
some species were common to the older, and some to the newer rocks.
On the whole, the new forms have helped greatly to lessen the
discordance, not only between the Lias and Trias, but also
generally between Palaeozoic and Mesozoic formations. Thus the
genus Orthoceras has been for the first time recognised in a
Mesozoic deposit, and with it we find associated, for the first
time, large Ammonites with foliated lobes, a form never seen before
below the Lias; also the Ceratites, a family of Cephalopods never
before met with in the Upper Trias, and never before in the same
stratum with such lobed Ammonites.

We can now no longer doubt that should we hereafter have an
opportunity of studying an equally rich marine fauna of the age of
the Lower Trias (or Bunter Sandstein), the marked hiatus which
still separates the Triassic and Permian eras would almost

Archaeopteryx macrurus, Owen.

I could readily add a copious list of minor deposits, belonging to
the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary series, which we have been
called upon in like manner to intercalate in the course of the last
quarter of a century into the chronological series previously
known; but it would lead me into too long a digression. I shall
therefore content myself with pointing out that it is not simply
new formations which are brought to light from year to year,
reminding us of the elementary state of our knowledge of
palaeontology, but new types also of structure are discovered in
rocks whose fossil contents were supposed to be peculiarly well

The last and most striking of these novelties is "the feathered
fossil" from the lithographic stone of Solenhofen.

Until the year 1858, no well-determined skeleton of a bird had been
detected in any rocks older than the Tertiary. In that year, Mr.
Lucas Barrett found in the Cambridge Greensand of the Cretaceous
series, the femur, tibia, and some other bones of a swimming bird,
supposed by him to be of the gull tribe. His opinion as to the
ornithic character of the remains was afterwards confirmed by
Professor Owen.

The Archaeopteryx macrurus, Owen, recently acquired by the British
Museum, affords a second example of the discovery of the osseous
remains of a bird in strata older than the Eocene. It was found in
the great quarries of lithographic limestone at Solenhofen in
Bavaria, the rock being a member of the Upper Oolite.

It was at first conjectured in Germany, before any experienced
osteologist had had an opportunity of inspecting the original
specimen, that this fossil might be a feathered Pterodactyl (flying
reptiles having been often met with in the same stratum), or that
it might at least supply some connecting links between a reptile
and a bird. But Professor Owen, in a memoir lately read to the
Royal Society (November 20, 1862), has shown that it is
unequivocally a bird, and that such of its characters as are
abnormal are by no means strikingly reptilian. The skeleton was
lying on its back when embedded in calcareous sediment, so that the
ventral part is exposed to view. It is about 1 foot 8 inches long,
and 1 foot across, from the apex of the right to that of the left
wing. The furculum, or merry-thought, which is entire, marks the
fore part of the trunk; the ischium, scapula, and most of the wing
and leg bones are preserved, and there are impressions of the quill
feathers and of down on the body. The vanes and shafts of the
feathers can be seen by the naked eye. Fourteen long quill feathers
diverge on each side of the metacarpal and phalangial bones, and
decrease in length from 6 inches to 1 inch. The wings have a
general resemblance to those of gallinaceous birds. The
tarso-metatarsal, or drumstick, exhibits at its distal end a trifid
articular surface supporting three toes, as in birds. The furculum,
pelvis, and bones of the tail are in their natural position. The
tail consists of twenty vertebrae, each of which supports a pair of
plumes. The length of the tail with its feathers is 11 1/2 inches,
and its breadth 3 1/2. It is obtusely truncated at the end. In all
living birds the tail-feathers are arranged in fan-shaped order and
attached to a coccygean bone, consisting of several vertebrae
united together, whereas in the embryo state these same vertebrae
are distinct. The greatest number is seen in the ostrich, which has
eighteen caudal vertebrae in the foetal state, which are reduced to
nine in the adult bird, many of them having been anchylosed
together. Professor Owen therefore considers the tail of the
Archaeopteryx as exemplifying the persistency of what is now an
embryonic character. The tail, he remarks, is essentially a
variable organ; there are long-tailed bats and short-tailed bats,
long-tailed rodents and short-tailed rodents, long-tailed
pterodactyls and short-tailed pterodactyls.

The Archaeopteryx differs from all known birds, not only in the
structure of its tail, but in having two, if not three, digits in
the hand; but there is no trace of the fifth digit of the winged

The conditions under which the skeleton occurs are such, says
Professor Owen, as to remind us of the carcass of a gull which has
been a prey to some Carnivore, which had removed all the soft
parts, and perhaps the head, nothing being left but the bony legs
and the indigestible quill-feathers. But since Professor Owen's
paper was read, Mr. John Evans, whom I have often had occasion to
mention in the earlier chapters of this work, seems to have found
what may indicate a part of the missing cranium. He has called our
attention to a smooth protuberance on the otherwise even surface of
the slab of limestone which seems to be the cast of the brain or
interior of the skull. Some part even of the cranial bone itself
appears to be still buried in the matrix. Mr. Evans has pointed out
the resemblance of this cast to one taken by himself from the
cranium of a crow, and still more to that of a jay, observing that
in the fossil the median line which separates the two hemispheres
of the brain is visible.

To conclude, we may learn from this valuable relic how rashly the
existence of Birds at the epoch of the Secondary rocks has been
questioned, simply on negative evidence, and secondly, how many new
forms may be expected to be brought to light in strata with which
we are already best acquainted, to say nothing of the new
formations which geologists are continually discovering.



Aryan Hypothesis and Controversy.
The Races of Mankind change more slowly than their Languages.
Theory of the gradual Origin of Languages.
Difficulty of defining what is meant by a Language as distinct from a Dialect.
Great Number of extinct and living Tongues.
No European Language a Thousand Years old.
Gaps between Languages, how caused.
Imperfection of the Record.
Changes always in Progress.
Struggle for Existence between rival Terms and Dialects.
Causes of Selection.
Each Language formed slowly in a single Geographical Area.
May die out gradually or suddenly.
Once lost can never be revived.
Mode of Origin of Languages and Species a Mystery.
Speculations as to the Number of original Languages or Species unprofitable.

The supposed existence, at a remote and unknown period, of a
language conventionally called the Aryan, has of late years been a
favourite subject of speculation among German philologists, and
Professor Max Muller has given us lately the most improved version
of this theory, and has set forth the various facts and arguments
by which it may be defended, with his usual perspicuity and
eloquence. He observes that if we know nothing of the existence of
Latin--if all historical documents previous to the fifteenth
century had been lost--if tradition even was silent as to the
former existence of a Roman empire, a mere comparison of the
Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Wallachian, and Rhaetian
dialects would enable us to say that at some time there must have
been a language from which these six modern dialects derive their
origin in common. Without this supposition it would be impossible
to account for their structure and composition, as, for example,
for the forms of the auxiliary verb "to be," all evidently
varieties of one common type, while it is equally clear that no one
of the six affords the original form from which the others could
have been borrowed. So also in none of the six languages do we find
the elements of which these verbal and other forms could have been
composed; they must have been handed down as relics from a former
period, they must have existed in some antecedent language, which
we know to have been the Latin.

But, in like manner, he goes on to show, that Latin itself, as well
as Greek, Sanscrit, Zend (or Bactrian), Lithuanian, old Sclavonic,
Gothic, and Armenian are also eight varieties of one common and
more ancient type, and no one of them could have been the original
from which the others were borrowed. They have all such an amount
of mutual resemblance as to point to a more ancient language, the
Aryan, which was to them what Latin was to the six Romance
languages. The people who spoke this unknown parent speech, of
which so many other ancient tongues were off-shoots, must have
migrated at a remote era to widely separated regions of the old
world, such as Northern Asia, Europe, and India south of the
Himalaya.* (* Max Muller, "Comparative Mythology" Oxford Essays

The soundness of some parts of this Aryan hypothesis has lately
been called in question by Mr. Crawfurd, on the ground that the
Hindoos, Persians, Turks, Scandinavians, and other people referred
to as having derived not only words but grammatical forms from an
Aryan source, belong each of them to a distinct race, and all these
races have, it is said, preserved their peculiar characters
unaltered from the earliest dawn of history and tradition. If,
therefore, no appreciable change has occurred in three or four
thousand years, we should be obliged to assume a far more remote
date for the first branching off of such races from a common stock
than the supposed period of the Aryan migrations, and the
dispersion of that language over many and distant countries.

But Mr. Crawfurd has, I think, himself helped us to remove this
stumbling-block, by admitting that a nation speaking a language
allied to the Sanscrit (the oldest of the eight tongues alluded
to), once probably inhabited that region situated to the north-west
of India, which within the period of authentic history has poured
out its conquering hordes over a great extent of Western Asia and
Eastern Europe. The same people, he says, may have acted the same
part in the long, dark night which preceded the dawn of tradition.*
(* Crawfurd, "Transactions of the Ethnological Society" volume 1
1861.) These conquerors may have been few in number when compared
to the populations which they subdued. In such cases the new
settlers, although reckoned by tens of thousands, might merge in a
few centuries into the millions of subjects which they ruled. It is
an acknowledged fact that the colour and features of the Negro or
European are entirely lost in the fourth generation, provided that
no fresh infusion of one or other of the two races takes place. The
distinctive physical features, therefore, of the Aryan conquerors
might soon wear out and be lost in those of the nations they
overran; yet many of the words, and, what is more in point, some of
the grammatical forms of their language, might be retained by the
masses which they had governed for centuries, these masses
continuing to preserve the same features of race which had
distinguished them long before the Aryan invasions.

There can be no question that if we could trace back any set of
cognate languages now existing to some common point of departure,
they would converge and meet sooner in some era of the past than
would the existing races of mankind; in other words, races change
much more slowly than languages. But, according to the doctrine of
transmutation, to form a new species would take an incomparably
longer period than to form a new race. No language seems ever to
last for a thousand years, whereas many a species seems to have
endured for hundreds of thousands. A philologist, therefore, who is
contending that all living languages are derivative and not
primordial, has a great advantage over a naturalist who is
endeavouring to inculcate a similar theory in regard to species.

It may not be uninstructive, in order fairly to appreciate the vast
difficulty of the task of those who advocate transmutation in
natural history, to consider how hard it would be even for a
philologist to succeed, if he should try to convince an assemblage
of intelligent but illiterate persons that the language spoken by
them, and all those talked by contemporary nations, were modern
inventions, moreover that these same forms of speech were still
constantly undergoing change, and none of them destined to last for

We will suppose him to begin by stating his conviction, that the
living languages have been gradually derived from others now
extinct, and spoken by nations which had immediately preceded them
in the order of time, and that those again had used forms of speech
derived from still older ones. They might naturally exclaim, "How
strange it is that you should find records of a multitude of dead
languages, that a part of the human economy which in our own time
is so remarkable for its stability, should have been so inconstant
in bygone ages! We all speak as our parents and grandparents spoke
before us, and so, we are told, do the Germans and French. What
evidence is there of such incessant variation in remoter times?
and, if it be true, why not imagine that when one form of speech
was lost, another was suddenly and supernaturally created by a gift
of tongues or confusion of languages, as at the building of the
Tower of Babel? Where are the memorials of all the intermediate
dialects, which must have existed, if this doctrine of perpetual
fluctuation be true? And how comes it that the tongues now spoken
do not pass by insensible gradations the one into the other, and
into the dead languages of dates immediately antecedent?

"Lastly, if this theory of indefinite modifiability be sound, what
meaning can be attached to the term language, and what definition
can be given of it so as to distinguish a language from a dialect?"

In reply to this last question, the philologist might confess that
the learned are not agreed as to what constitutes a language as
distinct from a dialect. Some believe that there are 4000 living
languages, others that there are 6000, so that the mode of defining
them is clearly a mere matter of opinion. Some contend, for
example, that the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish form one
Scandinavian tongue, others that they constitute three different
languages, others that the Danish and Norwegian are one--mere
dialects of the same language, but that Swedish is distinct.

The philologist, however, might fairly argue that this very
ambiguity was greatly in favour of his doctrine, since if languages
had all been constantly undergoing transmutation, there ought often
to be a want of real lines of demarcation between them. He might,
however, propose that he and his pupils should come to an
understanding that two languages should be regarded as distinct
whenever the speakers of them are unable to converse together, or
freely to exchange ideas, whether by word or writing.
Scientifically speaking, such a test might be vague and
unsatisfactory, like the test of species by their capability of
producing fertile hybrids; but if the pupil is persuaded that there
are such things in nature as distinct languages, whatever may have
been their origin, the definition above suggested might be of
practical use, and enable the teacher to proceed with his argument.

He might begin by undertaking to prove that none of the languages
of modern Europe were a thousand years old. No English scholar, he
might say, who has not specially given himself up to the study of
Anglo-Saxon, can interpret the documents in which the chronicles
and laws of England were written in the days of King Alfred, so
that we may be sure that none of the English of the nineteenth
century could converse with the subjects of that monarch if these
last could now be restored to life. The difficulties encountered
would not arise merely from the intrusion of French terms, in
consequence of the Norman conquest, because that large portion of
our language (including the articles, pronouns, etc.), which is
Saxon has also undergone great transformations by abbreviation, new
modes of pronunciation, spelling, and various corruptions, so as to
be unlike both ancient and modern German. They who now speak
German, if brought into contact with their Teutonic ancestors of
the ninth century, would be quite unable to converse with them,
and, in like manner, the subjects of Charlemagne could not have
exchanged ideas with the Goths of Alaric's army, or with the
soldiers of Arminius in the days of Augustus Caesar. So rapid
indeed has been the change in Germany, that the epic poem called
the Nibelungen Lied, once so popular, and only seven centuries old,
cannot now be enjoyed, except by the erudite.

If we then turn to France, we meet again with similar evidence of
ceaseless change. There is a treaty of peace still extant a
thousand years old, between Charles the Bald and King Louis of
Germany (dated A.D. 841), in which the German king takes an oath in
what was the French tongue of that day, while the French king
swears in the German of the same era, and neither of these oaths
would now convey a distinct meaning to any but the learned in these
two countries. So also in Italy, the modern Italian cannot be
traced back much beyond the time of Dante, or some six centuries
before our time. Even in Rome, where there had been no permanent
intrusion of foreigners, such as the Lombard settlers of German
origin in the plains of the Po, the common people of the year 1000
spoke quite a distinct language from that of their Roman ancestors
or their Italian descendants, as is shown by the celebrated
chronicle of the monk Benedict, of the convent of St. Andrea on
Mount Soracte, written in such barbarous Latin, and with such
strange grammatical forms, that it requires a profoundly skilled
linguist to decipher it.* (* See G. Pertz, "Monumenta Germanica"
volume 3.)

Having thus established the preliminary fact, that none of the
tongues now spoken were in existence ten centuries ago, and that
the ancient languages have passed through many a transitional
dialect before they settled into the forms now in use, the
philologist might bring forward proofs of the great numbers both of
lost and living forms of speech.

Strabo tells us that in his time, in the Caucasus alone (a chain of
mountains not longer than the Alps, and much narrower), there were
spoken at least seventy languages. At the present period the
number, it is said, would be still greater if all the distinct
dialects of those mountains were reckoned. Several of these
Caucasian tongues admit of no comparison with any known living or
lost Asiatic or European language. Others which are not peculiar
are obsolete forms of known languages, such as the Georgian,
Mongolian, Persian, Arabic, and Tartarian. It seems that as often
as conquering hordes swept over that part of Asia, always coming
from the north and east, they drove before them the inhabitants of
the plains, who took refuge in some of the retired valleys and high
mountain fastnesses, where they maintained their independence, as
do the Circassians in our time in spite of the power of Russia.

In the Himalayan Mountains, from Assam to its extreme north-western
limit, and generally in the more hilly parts of British India, the
diversity of languages is surprisingly great, impeding the advance
of civilisation and the labours of the missionary. In South America
and Mexico, Alexander Humboldt reckoned the distinct tongues by
hundreds, and those of Africa are said to be equally numerous. Even
in China, some eighteen provincial dialects prevail, almost all
deviating so much from others that the speakers are not mutually
intelligible, and besides these there are other distinct forms of
speech in the mountains of the same empire.

The philologist might next proceed to point out that the
geographical relations of living and dead languages favour the
hypothesis of the living ones having been derived from the extinct,
in spite of our inability, in most instances, to adduce documentary
evidence of the fact or to discover monuments of all the
intermediate and transitional dialects which must have existed.
Thus he would observe that the modern Romance languages are spoken
exactly where the ancient Romans once lived or ruled, and the Greek
of our days where the older classical Greek was formerly spoken.
Exceptions to this rule might be detected, but they would be
explicable by reference to colonisation and conquest.

As to the many and wide gaps sometimes encountered between the dead
and living languages, we must remember that it is not part of the
plan of any people to preserve memorials of their forms of speech
expressly for the edification of posterity. Their manuscripts and
inscriptions serve some present purpose, are occasional and
imperfect from the first, and are rendered more fragmentary in the
course of time, some being intentionally destroyed, others lost by
the decay of the perishable materials on which they are written; so
that to question the theory of all known languages being derivative
on the ground that we can rarely trace a passage from the ancient
to the modern through all the dialects which must have flourished
one after the other in the intermediate ages, implies a want of
reflection on the laws which govern the recording as well as the
obliterating processes.

But another important question still remains to be considered,
namely, whether the trifling changes which can alone be witnessed
by a single generation, can possibly represent the working of that
machinery which, in the course of many centuries, has given rise to
such mighty revolutions in the forms of speech throughout the
world. Everyone may have noticed in his own lifetime the stealing
in of some slight alterations of accent, pronunciation or spelling,
or the introduction of some words borrowed from a foreign language
to express ideas of which no native term precisely conveyed the
import. He may also remember hearing for the first time some cant
terms or slang phrases, which have since forced their way into
common use, in spite of the efforts of the purist. But he may still
contend that "within the range of his experience," his language has
continued unchanged, and he may believe in its immutability in
spite of minor variations. The real question, however, at issue is,
whether there are any limits to this variability. He will find on
farther investigation, that new technical terms are coined almost
daily in various arts, sciences, professions, and trades, that new
names must be found for new inventions, that many of these acquire
a metaphorical sense, and then make their way into general
circulation, as "stereotyped," for instance, which would have been
as meaningless to the men of the seventeenth century as would the
new terms and images derived from steamboat and railway travelling
to the men of the eighteenth.

If the numerous words, idioms, and phrases, many of them of
ephemeral duration, which are thus invented by the young and old in
various classes of society, in the nursery, the school, the camp,
the fleet, the courts of law and the study of the man of science or
literature, could all be collected together and put on record,
their number in one or two centuries might compare with the entire
permanent vocabulary of the language. It becomes, therefore, a
curious subject of inquiry, what are the laws which govern not only
the invention, but also the "selection" of some of these words or
idioms, giving them currency in preference to others?--for as the
powers of the human memory are limited, a check must be found to
the endless increase and multiplication of terms, and old words
must be dropped nearly as fast as new ones are put into
circulation. Sometimes the new word or phrase, or a modification of
the old ones, will entirely supplant the more ancient expressions,
or, instead of the latter being discarded, both may flourish
together, the older one having a more restricted use.

Although the speakers may be unconscious that any great fluctuation
is going on in their language--although when we observe the manner
in which new words and phrases are thrown out, as if at random or
in sport, while others get into vogue, we may think the process of
change to be the result of mere chance--there are nevertheless
fixed laws in action, by which, in the general struggle for
existence, some terms and dialects gain the victory over others.
The slightest advantage attached to some new mode of pronouncing or
spelling, from considerations of brevity or euphony, may turn the
scale, or more powerful causes of selection may decide which of two
or more rivals shall triumph and which succumb. Among these are
fashion, or the influence of an aristocracy, whether of birth or
education, popular writers, orators, preachers--a centralised
government organising its schools expressly to promote uniformity
of diction, and to get the better of provincialisms and local
dialects. Between these dialects, which may be regarded as so many
"incipient languages," the competition is always keenest when they
are most nearly allied, and the extinction of any one of them
destroys some of the links by which a dominant tongue may have been
previously connected with some other widely distinct one. It is by
the perpetual loss of such intermediate forms of speech that the
great dissimilarity of the languages which survive is brought
about. Thus, if Dutch should become a dead language, English and
German would be separated by a wider gap.

Some languages which are spoken by millions, and spread over a wide
area, will endure much longer than others which have never had a
wide range, especially if the tendency to incessant change in one
of these dominant tongues is arrested for a time by a standard
literature. But even this source of stability is insecure, for
popular writers themselves are great innovators, sometimes coining
new words, and still oftener new expressions and idioms, to embody
their own original conceptions and sentiments, or some peculiar
modes of thought and feeling characteristic of their age. Even when
a language is regarded with superstitious veneration as the vehicle
of divine truths and religious precepts, and which has prevailed
for many generations, it will be incapable of permanently
maintaining its ground. Hebrew had ceased to be a living language
before the Christian era. Sanscrit, the sacred language of the
Hindoos, shared the same fate, in spite of the veneration in which
the Vedas are still held, and in spite of many a Sanscrit poem once
popular and national.

The Christians of Constantinople and the Morea still hear the New
Testament and their liturgy read in ancient Greek, while they speak
a dialect in which Paul might have preached in vain at Athens. So
in the Catholic Church, the Italians pray in one tongue and talk
another. Luther's translation of the Bible acted as a powerful
cause of "selection," giving at once to one of many competing
dialects (that of Saxony) a prominent and dominant position in
Germany; but the style of Luther has, like that of our English
Bible, already become somewhat antiquated.

If the doctrine of gradual transmutation be applicable to
languages, all those spoken in historical times must each of them
have had a closely allied prototype; and accordingly, whenever we
can thoroughly investigate their history, we find in them some
internal evidence of successive additions by the invention of new
words or the modification of old ones. Proofs also of borrowing are
discernible, letters being retained in the spelling of some words
which have no longer any meaning as they are now pronounced--no
connection with any corresponding sounds. Such redundant or silent
letters, once useful in the parent speech, have been aptly compared
by Mr. Darwin to rudimentary organs in living beings, which, as he
interprets them, have at some former period been more fully
developed, having had their proper functions to perform in the
organisation of a remote progenitor.

If all known languages are derivative and not primordial creations,
they must each of them have been slowly elaborated in a single
geographical area. No one of them can have had two birthplaces. If
one were carried by a colony to a distant region, it would
immediately begin to vary unless frequent intercourse was kept up
with the mother country. The descendants of the same stock, if
perfectly isolated, would in five or six centuries, perhaps sooner,
be quite unable to converse with those who remained at home, or
with those who may have migrated to some distant region, where they
were shut out from all communication with others speaking the same

A Norwegian colony which settled in Iceland in the ninth century,
maintained its independence for about 400 years, during which time
the old Gothic which they at first spoke became corrupted and
considerably modified. In the meantime the natives of Norway, who
had enjoyed much commercial intercourse with the rest of Europe,
acquired quite a new speech, and looked on the Icelandic as having
been stationary, and as representing the pure Gothic original of
which their own was an offshoot.

A German colony in Pennsylvania was cut off from frequent
communication with Europe for about a quarter of a century, during
the wars of the French Revolution between 1792 and 1815. So marked
had been the effect even of this brief and imperfect isolation,
that when Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar travelled among them a few
years after the peace, he found the peasants speaking as they had
done in Germany in the preceding century,* (* "Travels of Prince
Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, in North America, in 1825 and 1826", page
123.) and retaining a dialect which at home had already become

Even after the renewal of the German emigration from Europe, when I
travelled in 1841 among the same people in the retired valleys of
the Alleghenies, I found the newspapers full of terms half English
and half German, and many an Anglo-Saxon word, which had assumed a
Teutonic dress, as "fencen," to fence, instead of umzaunen, "flauer"
for flour, instead of mehl, and so on. What with the retention of
terms no longer in use in the mother country, and the borrowing of
new ones from neighbouring states, there might have arisen in
Pennsylvania in five or six generations, but for the influx of
newcomers from Germany, a mongrel speech equally unintelligible to
the Anglo-Saxon and to the inhabitants of the European fatherland.

If languages resemble species in having had each their "specific
centre" or single area of creation, in which they have been slowly
formed, so each of them is alike liable to slow or to sudden
extinction. They may die out very gradually in consequence of
transmutation, or abruptly by the extermination of the last
surviving representatives of the unaltered type. We know in what
century the last Dodo perished, and we know that in the seventeenth
century the language of the Red Indians of Massachusetts, into
which Father Eliot had translated the Bible, and in which
Christianity was preached for several generations, ceased to exist,
the last individuals by whom it was spoken having at that period
died without issue.* (* Lyell, "Travels in North America" volume 1
page 260 1845.) But if just before that event the white man had
retreated from the continent, or had been swept off by an epidemic,
those Indians might soon have repeopled the wilderness, and their
copious vocabulary and peculiar forms of expression might have
lasted without important modification to this day. The extinction,
however, of languages in general is not abrupt, any more than that
of species. It will also be evident from what has been said, that a
language which has once died out can never be revived, since the
same assemblage of conditions can never be restored even among the
descendants of the same stock, much less simultaneously among all
the rounding nations with whom they may be in contact.

We may compare the persistency of languages, or the tendency of
each generation to adopt without change the vocabulary of its
predecessor, to the force of inheritance in the organic world,
which causes the offspring to resemble its parents. The inventive
power which coins new words or modifies old ones, and adapts them
to new wants and conditions as often as these arise, answers to the
variety-making power in the animate creation.

Progressive improvement in language is a necessary consequence of
the progress of the human mind from one generation to another. As
civilisation advances, a greater number of terms are required to
express abstract ideas, and words previously used in a vague sense,
so long as the state of society was rude and barbarous, gradually
acquire more precise and definite meanings, in consequence of which
several terms must be employed to express ideas and things, which a
single word had before signified, though somewhat loosely and

The farther this subdivision of function is carried, the more
complete and perfect the language becomes, just as species of
higher grade have special organs, such as eyes, lungs, and stomach,
for seeing, breathing, and digesting, which in simple organisms are
all performed by one and the same part of the body.* (* See Herbert
Spencer's "Psychology" and "Scientific Essays.")

When we had satisfied ourselves that all the existing languages,
instead of being primordial creations, or the direct gifts of a
supernatural Power, have been slowly elaborated, partly by the
modification of pre-existing dialects, partly by borrowing terms at
successive periods from numerous foreign sources, and partly by new
inventions made some of them deliberately, and some casually and as
it were fortuitously--when we have discovered the principal causes
of selection, which have guided the adoption or rejection of rival
names for the same things and ideas, rival modes of pronouncing the
same words and provincial dialects competing one with another--we
are still very far from comprehending all the laws which have
governed the formation of each language.

It was a profound saying of William Humboldt, that "Man is Man only
by means of speech, but in order to invent speech he must be
already Man." Other animals may be able to utter sounds more
articulate and as varied as the click of the Bushman, but voice
alone can never enable brute intelligence to acquire language.

When we consider the complexity of every form of speech spoken by a
highly civilised nation, and discover that the grammatical rules
and the inflections which denote number, time, and equality are
usually the product of a rude state of society--that the savage and
the sage, the peasant and man of letters, the child and the
philosopher, have worked together, in the course of many
generations, to build up a fabric which has been truly described as
a wonderful instrument of thought, a machine, the several parts of
which are so well adjusted to each other as to resemble the product
of one period and of a single mind--we cannot but look upon the
result as a profound mystery, and one of which the separate
builders have been almost as unconscious as are the bees in a hive
of the architectural skill and mathematical knowledge which is
displayed in the construction of the honeycomb.

In our attempts to account for the origin of species, we find
ourselves still sooner brought face to face with the working of a
law of development of so high an order as to stand nearly in the
same relation as the Deity himself to man's finite understanding, a
law capable of adding new and powerful causes, such as the moral
and intellectual faculties of the human race, to a system of nature
which had gone on for millions of years without the intervention of
any analogous cause. If we confound "Variation" or "Natural
Selection" with such creational laws, we deify secondary causes or
immeasurably exaggerate their influence.

Yet we ought by no means to undervalue the importance of the step
which will have been made, should it hereafter become the generally
received opinion of men of science (as I fully expect it will),
that the past changes of the organic world have been brought about
by the subordinate agency of such causes as "Variation" and
"Natural Selection." All our advances in the knowledge of Nature
have consisted of such steps as these, and we must not be
discouraged because greater mysteries remain behind wholly
inscrutable to us.

If the philologist is asked whether in the beginning of things
there was one or five, or a greater number of languages, he may
answer that, before he can reply to such a question, it must be
decided whether the origin of Man was single, or whether there were
many primordial races. But he may also observe, that if mankind
began their career in a rude state of society, their whole
vocabulary would be limited to a few words, and that if they then
separated into several isolated communities, each of these would
soon acquire an entirely distinct language, some roots being lost
and others corrupted and transformed beyond the possibility of
subsequent identification, so that it might be hopeless to expect
to trace back the living and dead languages to one starting point,
even if that point were of much more modern date than we have now
good reason to suppose. In like manner it may be said of species,
that if those first formed were of very simple structure, and they
began to vary and to lose some organs by disuse and acquire new
ones by development, they might soon differ as much as so many
distinctly created primordial types. It would therefore be a waste
of time to speculate on the number of original monads or germs from
which all plants and animals were subsequently evolved, more
especially as the oldest fossiliferous strata known to us may be
the last of a long series of antecedent formations, which once
contained organic remains. It was not till geologists ceased to
discuss the condition of the original nucleus of the planet,
whether it was solid or fluid, and whether it owed its fluidity to
aqueous or igneous causes, that they began to achieve their great
triumphs; and the vast progress which has recently been made in
showing how the living species may be connected with the extinct by
a common bond of descent, has been due to a more careful study of
the actual state of the living world, and to those monuments of the
past in which the relics of the animate creation of former ages are
best preserved and least mutilated by the hand of time.



Whether Man can be regarded as an Exception to the Rule if the
   Doctrine of Transmutation be embraced for the rest of the Animal Kingdom.
Zoological Relations of Man to other Mammalia.
Systems of Classification.
Term Quadrumanous, why deceptive.
Whether the Structure of the Human Brain entitles Man to form a
   distinct Sub-class of the Mammalia.
Intelligence of the lower Animals compared to the Intellect and
   Reason of Man.
Grounds on which Man has been referred to a distinct Kingdom of
Immaterial Principle common to Man and Animals.
Non-discovery of intermediate Links among Fossil Anthropomorphous
Hallam on the compound Nature of Man, and his Place in the Creation.
Great Inequality of mental Endowment in different Human Races
   and Individuals developed by Variation and ordinary Generation.
How far a corresponding Divergence in physical Structure may result
   from the Working of the same Causes.
Concluding remarks.

Some of the opponents of transmutation, who are well versed in
Natural History, admit that though that doctrine is untenable, it
is not without its practical advantages as a "useful working
hypothesis," often suggesting good experiments and observations and
aiding us to retain in the memory a multitude of facts respecting
the geographical distribution of genera and species, both of
animals and plants, the succession in time of organic remains, and
many other phenomena which, but for such a theory, would be wholly
without a common bond of relationship.

It is in fact conceded by many eminent zoologists and botanists, as
before explained, that whatever may be the nature of the
species-making power or law, its effects are of such a character as
to imitate the results which variation, guided by natural
selection, would produce, if only we could assume with certainty
that there are no limits to the variability of species. But as the
anti-transmutationists are persuaded that such limits do exist,
they regard the hypothesis as simply a provisional one, and expect
that it will one day be superseded by another cognate theory, which
will not require us to assume the former continuousness of the
links which have connected the past and present states of the
organic world, or the outgoing with the incoming species.

In like manner, many of those who hesitate to give in their full
adhesion to the doctrine of progression, the other twin branch of
the development theory, and who even object to it, as frequently
tending to retard the reception of new facts supposed to militate
against opinions solely founded on negative evidence, are
nevertheless agreed that on the whole it is of great service in
guiding our speculations. Indeed it cannot be denied that a theory
which establishes a connection between the absence of all relics of
vertebrata in the oldest fossiliferous rocks, and the presence of
man's remains in the newest, which affords a more than plausible
explanation of the successive appearance in strata of intermediate
age of the fish, reptile, bird, and mammal, has no ordinary claims
to our favour as comprehending the largest number of positive and
negative facts gathered from all parts of the globe, and extending
over countless ages, that science has perhaps ever attempted to
embrace in one grand generalisation.

But will not transmutation, if adopted, require us to include the
human race in the same continuous series of developments, so that
we must hold that Man himself has been derived by an unbroken line
of descent from some one of the inferior animals? We certainly
cannot escape from such a conclusion without abandoning many of the
weightiest arguments which have been urged in support of variation
and natural selection considered as the subordinate causes by which
new types have been gradually introduced into the earth. Many of
the gaps which separate the most nearly allied genera and orders of
mammalia are, in a physical point of view, as wide as those which
divide Man from the mammalia most nearly akin to him, and the
extent of his isolation, whether we regard his whole nature or
simply his corporeal attributes, must be considered before we can
discuss the bearing of transmutation upon his origin and place in
the creation.


In order to qualify ourselves to judge of the degree of affinity in
physical organisation between Man and the lower animals, we cannot
do better than study those systems of classification which have
been proposed by the most eminent teachers of natural history. Of
these an elaborate and faithful summary has recently been drawn up
by the late Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire, which the reader will do
well to consult.* (* "Histoire Naturale Generale des Regnes
organiques" Paris volume 2 1856.)

He begins by passing in review numerous schemes of classification,
each of them having some merit, and most of them having been
invented with a view of assigning to Man a separate place in the
system of Nature, as, for example, by dividing animals into
rational and irrational, or the whole organic world into three
kingdoms, the human, the animal, and the vegetable--an arrangement
defended on the ground that Man is raised as much by his
intelligence above the animals as are these by their sensibility
above plants. Admitting that these schemes are not unphilosophical,
as duly recognising the double nature of Man (his moral and
intellectual, as well as his physical attributes), Isidore G. St.
Hilaire observes that little knowledge has been imparted by them.
We have gained, he says, much more from those masters of the
science who have not attempted any compromise between two distinct
orders of ideas, the physical and psychological, and who have
confined their attention strictly to Man's physical relation to the
lower animals.

Linnaeus led the way in this field of inquiry by comparing Man and
the apes, in the same manner as he compared these last with the
carnivores, ruminants, rodents, or any other division of
warm-blooded quadrupeds. After several modifications of his
original scheme, he ended by placing Man as one of the many genera
in his order Primates, which embraced not only the apes and lemurs,
but the bats also, as he found these last to be nearly allied to
some of the lowest forms of the monkeys. But all modern
naturalists, who retain the order Primates, agree to exclude from
it the bats or Cheiroptera; and most of them class Man as one of
several families of the order Primates. In this, as in most systems
of classification, the families of modern zoologists and botanists
correspond with the genera of Linnaeus.

Blumenbach, in 1779, proposed to deviate from this course, and to
separate Man from the apes as an order apart, under the name of
Bimana, or two-handed. In making this innovation he seems at first
to have felt that it could not be justified without calling in
psychological considerations to his aid, to strengthen those which
were purely anatomical; for, in the earliest edition of his "Manual
of Natural History," he defined Man to be "animal rationale,
loquens, erectum, bimanum," whereas in later editions he restricted
himself entirely to the two last characters, namely, the erect
position and the two hands, or "animal erectum, bimanum."

The terms "bimanous" and "quadrumanous" had been already employed
by Buffon in 1766, but not applied in a strict zoological
classification till so used by Blumenbach. Twelve years later,
Cuvier adopted the same order Bimana for the human family, while
the apes, monkeys, and lemurs constituted a separate order called

Respecting this last innovation, Isidore G. St. Hilaire asks, "How
could such a division stand, repudiated as it was by the
anthropologists in the name of the moral and intellectual supremacy
of Man; and by the zoologists, on the ground of its incompatibility
with natural affinities and with the true principles of
classification? Separated as a group of ordinal value, placed at
the same distance from the ape as the latter from the carnivore,
Man is at once too near and too distant from the higher
mammalia--too near if we take into account those elevated
faculties, which, raising Man above all other organised beings,
accord to him not only the first, but a separate place in the
creation--too far if we merely consider the organic affinities
which unite him with the quadrumana; with the apes especially,
which, in a purely physical point of view, approach Man more nearly
than they do the lemurs."

"What, then, is this order of Bimana of Blumenbach and Cuvier? An
impracticable compromise between two opposite and irreconcilable
systems--between two orders of ideas which are clearly expressed in
the language of natural history by these two words: the human
KINGDOM and the human FAMILY. It is one of those would-be via media
propositions which, once seen through, satisfy no one, precisely
because they are intended to please everybody; half-truths,
perhaps, but also half-falsehoods; for what, in science, is a
half-truth but an error?"

Isidore G. St. Hilaire then proceeds to show how, in spite of the
great authority of Blumenbach and Cuvier, a large proportion of
modern zoologists of note have rejected the order Bimana, and have
regarded Man simply as a family of one and the same order,


Even the term "Quadrumanous" has lately been shown by Professor
Huxley, in a lecture delivered by him in the spring of 1860-61,
which I had the good fortune to hear, to have proved a fertile
source of popular delusion, conveying ideas which the great
anatomists Blumenbach and Cuvier never entertained themselves,
namely, that in the so-called Quadrumana the extremities of the
hind-limbs bear a real resemblance to the human hands, instead of
corresponding anatomically with the human feet.

As this subject bears very directly on the question, how far Man is
entitled, in a purely zoological classification, to rank as an
order apart, I shall proceed to cite, in an abridged form, the
words of the lecturer above alluded to.* (* Professor Huxley's
third lecture "On the Motor Organs of Man compared with those of
other Animals," delivered in the Royal School of Mines, in Jermyn
Street (March 1861) has been embodied with the rest of the course
in his work entitled "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature.")

"To gain," he observes, "a precise conception of the resemblances
and differences of the hand and foot, and of the distinctive
characters of each, we must look below the skin, and compare the
bony framework and its motor apparatus in each.

"The foot of Man is distinguished from his hand by:--

"1. The arrangement of the tarsal bones.

"2. By having a short flexor and a short extensor muscle of the

"3. By possessing the muscle termed peronaeus longus.

"And if we desire to ascertain whether the terminal division of a
limb in other animals is to be called a foot or a hand, it is by
the presence or absence of these characters that we must be guided,
and not by the mere proportions, and greater or lesser mobility of
the great toe, which may vary indefinitely without any fundamental
alteration in the structure of the foot. Keeping these
considerations in mind, let us now turn to the limbs of the
Gorilla. The terminal division of the fore-limb presents no
difficulty--bone for bone, and muscle for muscle, are found to be
arranged precisely as in Man, or with such minute differences as
are found as varieties in Man. The Gorilla's hand is clumsier,
heavier, and has a thumb somewhat shorter in proportion than that
of Man; but no one has ever doubted its being a true hand.

"At first sight, the termination of the hind-limb of the Gorilla
looks very hand-like, and as it is still more so in the lower apes,
it is not wonderful that the appellation 'Quadrumana,' or
four-handed creatures, adopted from the older anatomists by
Blumenbach, and unfortunately rendered current by Cuvier, should
have gained such wide acceptance as a name for the ape order. But
the most cursory anatomical investigation at once proves that the
resemblance of the so-called 'hindhand' to a true hand is only skin
deep, and that, in all essential respects, the hind-limb of the
Gorilla is as truly terminated by a foot as that of Man. The tarsal
bones, in all important circumstances of number, disposition, and
form, resemble those of Man. The metatarsals and digits, on the
other hand, are proportionally longer and more slender, while the
great toe is not only proportionally shorter and weaker, but its
metatarsal bone is united by a far more movable joint with the
tarsus. At the same time, the foot is set more obliquely upon the
leg than in Man.

"As to the muscles, there is a short flexor, a short extensor, and
a peronaeus longus, while the tendons of the long flexors of the
great toe and of the other toes are united together and into an
accessory fleshy bundle.

"The hind-limb of the Gorilla, therefore, ends in a true foot with
a very movable great toe. It is a prehensile foot, if you will, but
is in no sense a hand: it is a foot which differs from that of Man
in no fundamental character, but in mere proportions--degree of
mobility--and secondary arrangement of its parts.

"It must not be supposed, however, that because I speak of these
differences as not fundamental, that I wish to underrate their
value. They are important enough in their way, the structure of the
foot being in strict correlation with that of the rest of the
organism; but after all, regarded anatomically, the resemblances
between the foot of Man and the foot of the Gorilla are far more
striking and important than the differences."* (* Professor Huxley,

After dwelling on some points of anatomical detail, highly
important, but for which I have not space here, the Professor
continues--"Throughout all these modifications, it must be
recollected that the foot loses no one of its essential characters.
Every monkey and lemur exhibits the characteristic arrangement of
tarsal bones, possesses a short flexor and short extensor muscle,
and a peronaeus longus. Varied as the proportions and appearance of
the organ may be, the terminal division of the hind-limb remains in
plan and principle of construction a foot, and never in the least
degree approaches a hand."* (* Ibid.) For these reasons, Professor
Huxley rejects the term "Quadrumana," as leading to serious
misconception, and regards Man as one of the families of the
Primates. This method of classification he shows to be equally
borne out by an appeal to another character on which so much
reliance has always been placed in classification, as affording in
the mammalia the most trustworthy indications of affinity, namely,
the dentition.

"The number of teeth in the Gorilla and all the Old World monkeys,
except the lemurs, is thirty-two, the same as in Man, and the
general pattern of their crowns the same. But besides other
distinctions, the canines in all but Man project in the upper or
lower jaws almost like tusks. But all the American apes have four
more teeth in their permanent set, or thirty-six in all, so that
they differ in this respect more from the Old World apes than do
these last from Man."

If therefore, by reference to this character, we place Man in a
separate order, we must make several orders for the apes, monkeys,
and lemurs, and so, in regard to the structure of the hands and
feet before alluded to, "the Gorilla differs far more from some of
the quadrumana than he differs from Man." Indeed, Professor Huxley
contends that there is more difference between the hand and foot of
the Gorilla and those of the Orang, one of the anthropomorphous
apes, than between those of the Gorilla and Man, for "the thumb of
the Orang differs by its shortness and by the absence of any
special long flexor muscle from that of the Gorilla more than it
differs from that of Man." The carpus also of the Orang, like that
of most lower apes, contains nine bones, while in the Gorilla, as
in Man and the Chimpanzee, there are only eight." Other characters
are also given to show that the Orang's foot separates it more
widely from the Gorilla than that of the Gorilla separates that ape
from Man. In some of the lower apes, the divergence from the human
type of hand and foot, as well as from those of the Gorilla, is
still greater, as, for example, in the spider-monkey and marmoset."*
(* Huxley, ibid. page 29.)

If the muscles, viscera, or any other part of the animal fabric,
including the brain, be compared, the results are declared to be


In consequence of these and many other zoological considerations,
the order Bimana had already been declared, in 1856, by Isidore G.
St. Hilaire in his history of the science above quoted "to have
become obsolete," even though sanctioned by the great names of
Blumenbach and Cuvier. But in opposition to the new views Professor
Owen announced, the year after the publication of G. St. Hilaire's
work, that he had been led by purely anatomical considerations to
separate Man from the other Primates and from the mammalia
generally as a distinct SUB-CLASS, thus departing farther from the
classification of Blumenbach and Cuvier than they had ventured to
do from that of Linnaeus.

The proposed innovation was based chiefly on three cerebral
characters belonging, it was alleged, exclusively to Man and thus
described in the following passages of a memoir communicated to the
Linnaean Society in 1857, in which all the mammalia were divided,
according to the structure of the brain, into four sub-classes,
represented by the kangaroo, the beaver, the ape, and Man

"In Man, the brain presents an ascensive step in development,
higher and more strongly marked than that by which the preceding
sub-class was distinguished from the one below it. Not only do the
cerebral hemispheres overlap the olfactory lobes and cerebellum,
but they extend in advance of the one and farther back than the
other. Their posterior development is so marked that anatomists
have assigned to that part the character of a third lobe; it is
peculiar to the genus Homo, and equally peculiar is the 'posterior
horn of the lateral ventricle' and the 'hippocampus minor' which
characterises the hind-lobe of each hemisphere. The superficial
grey matter of the cerebrum, through the number and depth of its
convolutions, attains its maximum of extent in Man.

"Peculiar mental powers are associated with this highest form of
brain, and their consequences wonderfully illustrate the value of
the cerebral character; according to my estimate of which I am led
to regard the genus Homo as not merely a representative of a
distinct order, but of a distinct sub-class of the mammalia, for
which I propose the name of 'Archencephala.'"* (* Owen,
"Proceedings of the Linnaean Society" London volume 8 page 20.)

The above definition is accompanied in the same memoir by the
following note:--"Not being able to appreciate, or conceive, of the
distinction between the psychical phenomena of a chimpanzee and of
a Boschisman, or of an Aztec with arrested brain-growth, as being
of a nature so essential as to preclude a comparison between them,
or as being other than a difference of degree, I cannot shut my
eyes to the significance of that all-pervading similitude of
structure--every tooth, every bone, strictly homologous--which
makes the determination of the difference between Homo and Pithecus
the anatomist's difficulty; and therefore, with every respect for
the author of the Records of Creation,* (* The late Archbishop of
Canterbury, Dr. Sumner.) I follow Linnaeus and Cuvier in regarding
mankind as a legitimate subject of zoological comparison and

  Scale half the diameter of the natural size.

   A. Left cerebral hemisphere.
   B. Right cerebral hemisphere.
   C. Cerebellum displaced.)

  Scale half the diameter of the natural size.

   e. The extension of the displaced cerebellum beyond the
      cerebrum at d.)

   Scale half the diameter of the natural size.

   d. Backward extension of the cerebrum, beyond the cerebellum at e.
   f. Fissure of Sylvius.)

     in which the cerebrum covers and conceals the cerebellum.
     Scale half the diameter of the natural size.)

     Scale half the diameter of the natural size.

  A. Left cerebral hemisphere.
  C. Cerebellum.
  ff. Fissure of Sylvius.)

To illustrate the difference between the human and Simian brain,
Professor Owen gave figures of the negro's brain as represented by
Tiedemann, an original one of a South American monkey, Midas
rufimanus, and one of the chimpanzee (Figure 54), from a memoir
published in 1849 by MM. Schroeder van der Kolk and M. Vrolik.* (*
"Comptes rendus de l'Academie Royale des Sciences" Amsterdam volume

The selection of Figure 54 was most unfortunate, for three years
before, M. Gratiolet, the highest authority in cerebral anatomy of
our age, had, in his splendid work on "The Convolutions of the
Brain in Man and the Primates" (Paris, 1854), pointed out that,
though this engraving faithfully expressed the cerebral foldings as
seen on the surface, it gave a very false idea of the relative
position of the several parts of the brain, which, as very commonly
happens in such preparations, had shrunk and greatly sunk down by
their own weight.* (* Gratiolet's words are: "Les plis cerebraux du
chimpanze y sont fort bien etudies, malheureusement le cerveau qui
leur a servi de modele etait profondement affaisse, aussi la forme
generale du cerveau est-elle rendue, dans leurs planches, d'une
maniere tout-a-fait fausse." Ibid. page 18.)

Anticipating the serious mistakes which would arise from this
inaccurate representation of the brain of the ape, published under
the auspices of men so deserving of trust as the two above-named
Dutch anatomists, M. Gratiolet thought it expedient, by way of
warning to his readers, to repeat their incorrect figures (Figures
54 and 55), and to place by the side of them two correct views
(Figures 56 and 57) of the brain of the same ape. By reference to
these illustrations, as well as to Figure 58, the reader will see
not only the contrast of the relative position of the cerebrum and
cerebellum, as delineated in the natural as well as in the
distorted state, but also the remarkable general correspondence
between the chimpanzee brain and that of the human subject in
everything save in size. The human brain (Figure 58) here given, by
Gratiolet, is that of an African bushwoman, called the Hottentot
Venus, who was exhibited formerly in London, and who died in Paris.

Respecting this striking analogy of cerebral structure in Man and
the apes, Gratiolet says, in the work above cited: "The convoluted
brain of Man and the smooth brain of the marmoset resemble each
other by the quadruple character of a rudimentary olfactory lobe, a
posterior lobe COMPLETELY COVERING THE CEREBELLUM, a well-defined
fissure of Sylvius (ff, Figure 56), and lastly a posterior horn in
the lateral ventricle. These characters are not met with together
except in Man and the apes."* (* Gratiolet, ibid. Avant-propos page
2 1854.)

In reference to the other figure of a monkey given by Professor
Owen, namely, that of the Midas, one of the marmosets, he states,
in 1857 as he had done in 1837, that the posterior part of the
cerebral hemispheres "extends, as in most of the quadrumana, over
the greater part of the cerebellum."* (* "Proceedings of the
Linnaean Society" 1857 page 18 note, and "Philosophical
Transactions" 1837 page 93.) In 1859, in his Rede Lecture,
delivered to the University of Cambridge, the same illustrations of
the ape's brain were given, namely, that of the Midas and the
distorted one of the Dutch anatomists already cited (Figure 54).*
(* See Appendix M.)

Two years later, Professor Huxley, in a memoir "On the Zoological
Relations of Man with the Lower Animals," took occasion to refer to
Gratiolet's warning, and to cite his criticism on the Dutch plates;
* (* Huxley, "Natural History Review" January 7, 1861 page 76.) but
this reminder appears to have been overlooked by Professor Owen,
who six months later came out with a new paper on "The Cerebral
Character of Man and the Ape," in which he repeated the incorrect
representation of Schroeder van der Kolk and Vrolik, associating it
with Tiedemann's figure of a negro's brain, expressly to show the
relative and different extent to which the cerebellum is overlapped
by the cerebrum in the two cases respectively.* (* "Annals and
Magazine of Natural History" volume 7 1861 page 456 and Plate 20.)
In the ape's brain as thus depicted, the portion of the cerebellum
left uncovered is greater than in the lemurs, the lowest type of
Primates, and almost as large as in the rodentia, or some of the
lowest grades of the mammalia.

When the Dutch naturalists above mentioned found their figures so
often appealed to as authority, by one the weight of whose opinion
on such matters they well knew how to appreciate, they resolved to
do their best towards preventing the public from being misled.
Accordingly, they addressed to the Royal Academy of Amsterdam a
memoir "On the brain of an Orang-outang" which had just died in the
Zoological Gardens of that city.* (* This paper is reprinted in the
original French in the "Natural History Review" volume 2 1862 page
111.) The dissection of this ape, in 1861, fully bore out the
general conclusions at which they had previously arrived in 1849,
as to the existence both in the human and the simian brain of the
three characters, which Professor Owen had represented as
exclusively appertaining to Man, namely, the occipital or posterior
lobe, the hippocampus minor, and the posterior cornu. These last
two features consist of certain cavities and furrows in the
posterior lobes, which are caused by the foldings of the brain, and
are only visible when it is dissected. MM. Schroeder van der Kolk
and Vrolik took this opportunity of candidly confessing that M.
Gratiolet's comments on the defects of their two figures (Figures
54 and 55) were perfectly just, and they expressed regret that
Professor Owen should have overstated the differences existing
between the brain of Man and the Quadrumana, "led astray, as they
supposed, by his zeal to combat the Darwinian theory respecting the
transformation of species," a doctrine against which they
themselves protested strongly, saying that it belongs to a class of
speculations which are sure to be revived from time to time, and
are always "peculiarly seductive to young and sanguine minds."* (*
Ibid. page 114.)

As the two memoirs before alluded to by us, the one by Mr. Darwin
on "Natural Selection," and the other by Mr. Wallace "On the
Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the original
Type," did not appear till 1858, a year after Professor Owen's
classification of the mammalia, and as Darwin's "Origin of Species"
was not published till another year had elapsed, we cannot accept
the explanation above offered to us of the causes which led the
founder of the sub-class Archencephala to seek for new points of
distinction between the human and simian brains; but the Dutch
anatomists may have fallen into this anachronism by having just
read, in the paper by Professor Owen in the "Annals," some
prefatory allusions to "the Vestiges of Creation," "Natural
Selection, and the question whether man be or be not a descendant
of the ape."

The number of original and important memoirs to which this
discussion on the cerebral relations of Man to the Primates has
already given rise in less than five years, must render the
controversy for ever memorable in the history of Comparative
Anatomy.* (* Rolleston, "Natural History Review" April 1861.
Huxley, on "Brain of Ateles" "Proceedings of the Zoological
Society" 1861. Flower, "Posterior Lobe in Quadrumana" etc.,
"Philosophical Transactions" 1862. Id. "Javan Loris" "Proceedings
of the Zoological Society" 1862. Id. on "Anatomy of Pithecia" ibid.

In England alone, no less than fifteen genera of the Primates (the
subjects having been almost all furnished by that admirable
institution the Zoological Gardens of London) have been
anatomically examined, and they include nearly all the leading
types of structure of the Old and New World apes and monkeys, from
the most anthropoid form to that farthest removed from Man; in
other words, from the Chimpanzee to the Lemur. These are:--

Troglodytes (Chimpanzee).
Pithecus (Orang).
Hylobates (Gibbon).

Cynocephalus (Baboon).
Ateles (Spider Monkey).

Cebus (Capuchin Monkey).
Pithecia (Saki).
Nyctipithecus (Douricouli).

Hapale (Marmoset).


In July 1861 Mr. Marshall, in a paper on the brain of a young
Chimpanzee, which he had dissected immediately after its death,
gave a series of photographic drawings, showing that when the parts
are all in a fresh state, the posterior lobe of the cerebrum,
instead of simply covering the cerebellum, is prolonged backwards
beyond it even to a greater extent than in Gratiolet's figure, 56,
and, what is more in point, in a greater degree relatively speaking
(at least in the young state of the animal) than in Man. In fact,
"the projection is to the extent of about one-ninth of the total
length of the cerebrum, whereas the average excess of overlapping
is only one-eleventh in the human brain."* (* Marshall, "Natural
History Review" July 1861. See also on this subject Professor
Rolleston on the slight degree of backward extension of the
cerebrum in some races of Man. "Medical Times" October 1862, page

The same author gives an instructive account of the manner in which
displacement and distortion take place when such brains are
preserved in spirits as in the ordinary preparations of the

Mr. Flower, in a recent paper on the posterior lobe of the cerebrum
in the Quadrumana,* (* "Philosophical Transactions" 1862 page 185.)
remarks, that although Tiedemann had declared himself unable in
1821 to detect the hippocampus minor or the posterior cornu of the
lateral ventricle in the brain of a Macacus dissected by him,
Cuvier, nevertheless, mentions the latter as characteristic of Man
and the apes, and M. Serres in his well-known work on the brain in
1826, has shown in at least four species of apes the presence of
both the hippocampus minor and the posterior cornu.

Tiedemann had expressly stated that "the third or hinder lobe in
the ape covered the cerebellum as in Man,"* (* Tiedemann, "Icones
cerebri Simiarum" etc. page 48.) and as to his negative evidence in
respect to the internal structure of that lobe, it can have no
weight whatever against the positive proofs obtained to the
contrary by a host of able observers. Even before Tiedemann's work
was published, Kuhl had dissected, in 1820, the brain of the
spider-monkey (Ateles beelzebuth), and had given a figure of a long
posterior cornu to the lateral ventricle, which he had described as
such.* (* "Beitrage zur Zoologie" etc. Frankfurt am Main 1820.)

The general results arrived at by the English anatomists already
cited, and by Professor Rolleston in various papers on the same
subject, have thus been briefly stated by Professor Huxley:--

"Every lemur which has yet been examined has its cerebellum
partially visible from above, and its posterior lobe, with the
contained posterior cornu and hippocampus minor, more or less
rudimentary. Every marmoset, American monkey, Old World monkey,
baboon, or man-like ape, on the contrary, has its cerebellum
entirely hidden, and possesses a large posterior cornu, with a
well-developed hippocampus minor.

"In many of these creatures, such as the Saimiri (Chrysothrix), the
cerebral lobes overlap and extend much farther behind the
cerebellum in proportion than they do in Man."* (* Huxley,
"Evidence as to Man's place in Nature" page 97.)

It is by no means pretended that these conclusions of British
observers as to the affinity in cerebral structure of Man and the
Primates are new, but on the contrary that they confirm the
inductions previously made by the principal continental teachers of
the last and present generations, such as Tiedemann, Cuvier,
Serres, Leuret, Wagner, Schroeder van der Kolk, Vrolik, Gratiolet,
and others.

At a late meeting of the British Association (1862), Professor Owen
read a paper "On the brain and limb characters of the Gorilla as
contrasted with those of Man "* (* Medical Times and Gazette"
October 1862 page 373.) in which, he observes, that in the gorilla
the cerebrum "extends over the cerebellum, not beyond it." This
statement, although slightly at variance with one published the
year before (1861) by Professor Huxley, who maintains that it does
project beyond, is interesting as correcting the description of the
same brain given by Professor Owen in that year, in a lecture to
the Royal Institution, in which a considerable part of the
cerebellum of the gorilla was represented as uncovered.* (*
"Athenaeum" Report of Royal Institution Lecture, March 23, 1861,
and reference to it by Professor Owen as to Gorilla, ibid. March 30
page 434.) In the same memoir, it is remarked that in the Maimon
Baboon the cerebrum not only covers but "extends backwards even
beyond the cerebellum."* (* For Report of Professor Owen's
Cambridge British Association paper see "Medical Times" October 11,
1862 page 373.) This baboon, therefore, possesses a posterior lobe,
according to every description yet given of such a lobe, including
a new definition of the same lately proposed by Professor Owen. For
the posterior lobe was formerly considered to be that part of the
cerebrum which covers the cerebellum, whereas Professor Owen
defines it as that part which covers the posterior third of the
cerebellum, and extends beyond it.

We may, therefore, consider the attempt to distinguish the brain of
Man from that of the ape on the ground of newly-discovered cerebral
characters, presenting differences in kind, as virtually abandoned
by its originator, and if the sub-class Archencephala is to be
retained, it must depend on differences in degree, as, for example,
the vast increase of the brain in Man, as compared with that of the
highest ape, "in absolute size, and the still greater superiority
in relative size to the bulk and weight of the body."* (* Owen,
ibid. page 373.)

If we ask why this character, though well known to Cuvier and other
great anatomists before our time, was not considered by them to
entitle Man, physically considered, to claim a more distinct place
in the group called Primates than that of a separate order, or,
according to others, a separate genus or family only, we shall find
the answer thus concisely stated by Professor Huxley in his new
work, before cited:--

"So far as I am aware, no human cranium belonging to an adult man
has yet been observed with a less cubical capacity than 62 cubic
inches, the smallest cranium observed in any race of men, by
Morton, measuring 63 cubic inches; while on the other hand, the
most capacious gorilla skull yet measured has a content of not more
than 34 1/2 cubic inches. Let us assume for simplicity's sake, that
the lowest man's skull has twice the capacity of the highest
gorilla's. No doubt this is a very striking difference, but it
loses much of its apparent systematic value, when viewed by the
light of certain other equally indubitable facts respecting cranial

"The first of these is, that the difference in the volume of the
cranial cavity of different races of mankind is far greater,
absolutely, than that between the lowest man and the highest ape,
while, relatively, it is about the same; for the largest human
skull measured by Morton contained 114 cubic inches, that is to
say, had very nearly double the capacity of the smallest, while its
absolute preponderance of over 50 cubic inches is far greater than
that by which the lowest adult male human cranium surpasses the
largest of the gorillas (62 minus 34 1/2 = 27 1/2). Secondly, the
adult crania of gorillas which have as yet been measured, differ
among themselves by nearly one-third, the maximum capacity being
34.5 cubic inches, the minimum 24 cubic inches; and, thirdly, after
making all due allowance for difference of size, the cranial
capacities of some of the lower apes fall nearly as much relatively
below those of the higher apes, as the latter fall below Man."* (*
Huxley, "Evidence as to Man's place in Nature" London 1863 page 78.

Are we then to conclude that differences in mental power have no
intimate connection with the comparative volume of the brain? We
cannot draw such an inference, because the highest and most
civilised races of Man exceed in the average of their cranial
capacity the lowest races, the European brain, for example, being
larger than that of the negro, and somewhat more convoluted and
less symmetrical, and those apes, on the other hand, which approach
nearest to Man in the form and volume of their brain being more
intelligent than the Lemurs, or still lower divisions of the
mammalia, such as the Rodents and Marsupials, which have smaller
brains. But the extraordinary intelligence of the elephant and dog,
so far exceeding that of the larger part of the Quadrumana,
although their brains are of a type much more remote from the
human, may serve to convince us how far we are as yet from
understanding the real nature of the dependence of intellectual
superiority on cerebral structure.

Professor Rolleston, in reference to this subject, remarks, that
"even if it were to be proved that the differences between Man's
brain and that of the ape are differences entirely of quantity,
there is no reason, in the nature of things, why so many and such
weighty differences in degree should not amount to a difference in

"Differences of degree and differences of kind are, it is true,
mutually exclusive terms in the language of the schools; but
whether they are so also in the laboratory of Nature, we may very
well doubt."* (* Report of a Lecture delivered at the Royal
Institution by Professor George Rolleston "On the Brain of Man and
Animals" "Medical Gazette" March 15, 1862 page 262.)

The same physiologist suggests, that as there is considerable
plasticity in the human frame, not only in youth and during growth,
but even in the adult, we ought not always to take for granted, as
some advocates of the development theory seem to do, that each
advance in psychical power depends on an improvement in bodily
structure, for why may not the soul, or the higher intellectual and
moral faculties, play the first instead of the second part in a
progressive scheme?


Ever since the days of Leibnitz, metaphysicians who have attempted
to draw a line of demarcation between the intelligence of the lower
animals and that of Man, or between instinct and reason, have
experienced difficulties analogous to those which the modern
anatomist encounters when he tries to distinguish the brain of an
ape from that of Man by some characters more marked than those of
mere size and weight, which vary so much in individuals of the same
species, whether simian or human.

Professor Agassiz, after declaring that as yet we scarcely possess
the most elementary information requisite for a scientific
comparison of the instincts and faculties of animals with those of
Man, confesses that he cannot say in what the mental faculties of a
child differ from those of a young chimpanzee. He also observes,
that "the range of the passions of animals is as extensive as that
of the human mind, and I am at a loss to perceive a difference of
kind between them, however much they may differ in degree and in
the manner in which they are expressed. The gradations of the moral
faculties among the higher animals and Man are, moreover, so
imperceptible, that to deny to the first a certain sense of
responsibility and consciousness would certainly be an exaggeration
of the difference between animals and Man. There exists, besides,
as much individuality within their respective capabilities among
animals as among Man, as every sportsman, or every keeper of
menageries, or every farmer and shepherd can testify, who has had a
large experience with wild, or tamed, or domesticated animals. This
argues strongly in favour of the existence in every animal of an
immaterial principle, similar to that which, by its excellence and
superior endowments, places Man so much above animals. Yet the
principle exists unquestionably, and whether it be called soul,
reason, or instinct, it presents, in the whole range of organised
beings, a series of phenomena closely linked together, and upon it
are based not only the higher manifestations of the mind, but the
very permanence of the specific differences which characterise
every organ. Most of the arguments of philosophy in favour of the
immortality of Man apply equally to the permanency of this
principle in other living beings."* (* Contributions to the
"Natural History of the United States of North America" volume 1
part 1 pages 60 and 64.)

Professor Huxley, when commenting on a passage in Professor Owen's
memoir, above cited, argues that there is a unity in psychical as
in physical plan among animated beings, and adds, that although he
cannot go so far as to say that "the determination of the
difference between Homo and Pithecus is the anatomist's
difficulty," yet no impartial judge can doubt that the roots, as it
were, of those great faculties which confer on Man his immeasurable
superiority above all other animate things are traceable far down
into the animate world. The dog, the cat, and the parrot, return
love for our love and hatred for our hatred. They are capable of
shame and of sorrow, and though they may have no logic nor
conscious ratiocination, no one who has watched their ways can
doubt that they possess that power of rational cerebration which
evolves reasonable acts from the premises furnished by the
senses--a process which takes fully as large a share as conscious
reason in human activity.* (* "Natural History Review" Number 1
January 1861 page 68.)


Few if any of the authors above cited, while they admit so fully
the analogy which exists between the faculties of Man and the
inferior animals, are disposed to underrate the enormous gap which
separates Man from the brutes, and if they scarcely allow him to be
referable to a distinct order, and much less to a separate
sub-class, on purely physical grounds, it does not follow that they
would object to the reasoning of M. Quatrefages, who says, in his
work on the "Unity of the Human Species," that Man must form a
kingdom by himself if once we permit his moral and intellectual
endowments to have their due weight in classification.

As to his organisation, he observes, "We find in the mammalia
nearly absolute identity of anatomical structure, bone for bone,
muscle for muscle, nerve for nerve--similar organs performing like
functions. It is not by a vertical position on his feet, the os
sublime of Ovid, which he shares with the penguin, nor by his
mental faculties, which, though more developed, are fundamentally
the same as those of animals, nor by his powers of perception,
will, memory, and a certain amount of reason, nor by articulate
speech, which he shares with birds and some mammalia, and by which
they express ideas comprehended not only by individuals of their
own species but often by Man, nor is it by the faculties of the
heart, such as love and hatred, which are also shared by quadrupeds
and birds, but it is by something completely foreign to the mere
animal, and belonging exclusively to Man, that we must establish a
separate kingdom for him (page 21). These distinguishing
characters," he goes on to say, "are the abstract notion of good
and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, or the moral faculty,
and a belief in a world beyond ours, and in certain mysterious
beings, or a Being of a higher nature than ours, whom we ought to
fear or revere; in other words, the religious faculty."--page 23.

By these two attributes the moral and the religious, not common to
man and the brutes, M. Quatrefages proposes to distinguish the
human from the animal kingdom.

But he omits to notice one essential character, which Dr. Sumner,
the late Archbishop of Canterbury, brought out in strong relief
fifty years ago in his "Records of Creation." "There are writers,"
he observes, "who have taken an extraordinary pleasure in levelling
the broad distinction which separates Man from the Brute Creation.
Misled to a false conclusion by the infinite variety of Nature's
productions, they have described a chain of existence connecting
the vegetable with the animal world, and the different orders of
animals one with another, so as to rise by an almost imperceptible
gradation from the tribe of Simiae to the lowest of the human race,
and from these upwards to the most refined. But if a comparison
were to be drawn, it should be taken, not from the upright form,
which is by no means confined to mankind, nor even from the vague
term reason, which cannot always be accurately separated from
instinct, but from that power of progressive and improvable reason,
which is Man's peculiar and exclusive endowment."

"It has been sometimes alleged, and may be founded on fact, that
there is less difference between the highest brute animal and the
lowest savage than between the savage and the most improved Man.
But, in order to warrant the pretended analogy, it ought to be also
true that this lowest savage is no more capable of improvement than
the Chimpanzee or Orang-outang."

"Animals," he adds, "are born what they are intended to remain.
Nature has bestowed upon them a certain rank, and limited the
extent of their capacity by an impassable decree. Man she has
empowered and obliged to become the artificer of his own rank in
the scale of beings by the peculiar gift of improvable reason."* (*
"Records of Creation" volume 2 chapter 2 2nd edition 1816.)

We have seen that Professor Agassiz, in his "Essay on
Classification," above cited, speaks of the existence in every
animal of "an immaterial principle similar to that which, by its
excellence and superior endowments, places man so much above
animals;" and he remarks, "that most of the arguments of philosophy
in favour of the immortality of Man, apply equally to the
permanency of this principle in other living beings."

Although the author has no intention by this remark to impugn the
truth of the great doctrine alluded to, it may be well to observe,
that if some of the arguments in favour of a future state are
applicable in common to Man and the lower animals, they are by no
means those which are the weightiest and most relied on. It is no
doubt true that, in both, the identity of the individual outlasts
many changes of form and structure which take place during the
passage from the infant to the adult state, and from that to old
age, and the loss again and again of every particle of matter which
had entered previously into the composition of the body during its
growth, and the substitution of new elements in their place, while
the individual remains always the same, carries the analogy a step
farther. But beyond this we cannot push the comparison. We cannot
imagine this world to be a place of trial and moral discipline for
any of the inferior animals, nor can any of them derive comfort and
happiness from faith in a hereafter. To Man alone is given this
belief, so consonant to his reason, and so congenial to the
religious sentiments implanted by nature in his soul, a doctrine
which tends to raise him morally and intellectually in the scale of
being, and the fruits of which are, therefore, most opposite in
character to those which grow out of error and delusion.

The opponents of the theory of transmutation sometimes argue that,
if there had been a passage by variation from the lower Primates to
Man, the geologist ought ere this to have detected some fossil
remains of the intermediate links of the chain. But what we have
said respecting the absence of gradational forms between the Recent
and Pliocene mammalia may serve to show the weakness in the present
state of science of any argument based on such negative evidence,
especially in the case of Man, since we have not yet reached those
pages of the great book of nature, in which alone we have any right
to expect to find records of the missing links alluded to. The
countries of the anthropomorphous apes are the tropical regions of
Africa, and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, lands which may be
said to be quite unknown in reference to their Pliocene and
Pleistocene mammalia. Man is an old-world type, and it is not in
Brazil, the only equatorial region where ossiferous caverns have
yet been explored, that the discovery, in a fossil state, of
extinct forms allied to the human, could be looked for. Lund, a
Danish naturalist, found in Brazil, not only extinct sloths and
armadilloes, but extinct genera of fossil monkeys, but all of the
American type, and, therefore, widely departing in their dentition
and some other characters from the Primates of the old world.

At some future day, when many hundred species of extinct quadrumana
may have been brought to light, the naturalist may speculate with
advantage on this subject; at present we must be content to wait
patiently, and not to allow our judgment respecting transmutation
to be influenced by the want of evidence, which it would be
contrary to analogy to look for in Pleistocene deposits in any
districts, which as yet we have carefully examined. For, as we meet
with extinct kangaroos and wombats in Australia, extinct llamas and
sloths in South America, so in equatorial Africa, and in certain
islands of the East Indian Archipelago, may we hope to meet
hereafter with lost types of the anthropoid Primates, allied to the
gorilla, chimpanzee, and orang-outang. [Note 44.]

Europe, during the Pliocene period, seems not to have enjoyed a
climate fitting it to be the habitation of the quadrumanous
mammalia; but we no sooner carry back our researches into Miocene
times, where plants and insects, like those of Oeningen, and
shells, like those of the Faluns of the Loire, would imply a warmer
temperature both of sea and land, than we begin to discover fossil
apes and monkeys north of the Alps and Pyrenees. Among the few
species already detected, two at least belong to the
anthropomorphous class. One of these, the Dryopithecus of Lartet, a
gibbon or long-armed ape, about equal to man in stature, was
obtained in the year 1856 in the Upper Miocene strata at Sansan,
near the foot of the Pyrenees in the South of France, and one bone
of the same ape is reported to have been since procured from a
deposit of corresponding age at Eppelsheim, near Darmstadt, in a
latitude answering to that of the southern counties of England.* (*
Owen, "Geologist" November 1862.) But according to the doctrine of
progression it is not in these Miocene strata, but in those of
Pliocene and Pleistocene date, in more equatorial regions, that
there will be the greatest chance of discovering hereafter some
species more highly organised than the gorilla and chimpanzee.

The only reputed fossil monkey of Eocene date, namely, that found
in 1840 at Kyson, in Suffolk, and so determined by Professor Owen,
has recently been pronounced by the same anatomist, after
re-examination, and when he had ampler materials at his command, to
be a pachyderm.

M. Rutimeyer,* (* Rutimeyer, "Eocene Saugethiere" Zurich 1862.)
however, an able osteologist, referred to in the earlier chapters
of this work, has just announced the discovery in Eocene strata, in
the Swiss Jura, of a monkey allied to the lemurs, but as he has
only obtained as yet a small fragment of a jaw with three molar
teeth, we must wait for fuller information before we confidently
rely on the claims of his Coenopithecus lemuroides to take rank as
one of the Primates.


Hallam, in his "Literature of Europe," after indulging in some
profound reflections on "the thoughts of Pascal," and the
theological dogmas of his school respecting the fallen nature of
Man, thus speaks of Man's place in the creation--"It might be
wandering from the proper subject of these volumes if we were to
pause, even shortly, to inquire whether, while the creation of a
world so full of evil must ever remain the most inscrutable of
mysteries, we might not be led some way in tracing the connection
of moral and physical evil in mankind, with his place in that
creation, and especially, whether the law of continuity, which it
has not pleased his Maker to break with respect to his bodily
structure, and which binds that, in the unity of one great type, to
the lower forms of animal life by the common conditions of
nourishment, reproduction, and self-defence, has not rendered
necessary both the physical appetites and the propensities which
terminate in self; whether again the superior endowments of his
intellectual nature, his susceptibility of moral emotion, and of
those disinterested affections which, if not exclusively, he far
more intensely possesses than an inferior being--above all, the
gifts of conscience and a capacity to know God, might not be
expected, even beforehand, by their conflict with the animal
passions, to produce some partial inconsistencies, some anomalies
at least, which he could not himself explain in so compound a
being. Every link in the long chain of creation does not pass by
easy transition into the next. There are necessary chasms, and, as
it were, leaps from one creature to another, which, though no
exceptions to the law of continuity, are accommodations of it to a
new series of being. If Man was made in the image of God, he was
also made in the image of an ape. The framework of the body of him
who has weighed the stars and made the lightning his slave,
approaches to that of a speechless brute, who wanders in the
forests of Sumatra. Thus standing on the frontier land between
animal and angelic natures, what wonder that he should partake of
both!"* (* Hallam, "Introduction to the Literature of Europe" etc.
volume 4 page 162.)

The law of continuity here spoken of, as not being violated by
occasional exceptions, or by leaps from one creature to another, is
not the law of variation and natural selection above explained
(Chapter 21), but that unity of plan supposed to exist in the
Divine Mind, whether realised or not materially and in the visible
creation, of which the "links do not pass by an easy transition"
the one into the other, at least as beheld by us.

Dr. Asa Gray, an eminent American botanist, to whom we are indebted
for a philosophical essay of great merit on the "Origin of Species
by Variation and Natural Selection," has well observed, when
speaking of the axiom of Leibnitz, "Natura non agit saltatim," that
nature secures her ends and makes her distinctions, on the whole,
manifest and real, but without any important breaks or long leaps.
"We need not wonder that gradations between species and varieties
should occur, or that genera and other groups should not be
absolutely limited, though they are represented to be so in our
systems. The classifications of the naturalist define abruptly
where nature more or less blends. Our systems are nothing if not

The same writer reminds us that "plants and animals are so
different, that the difficulty of the ordinary observer would be to
find points of comparison, whereas, with the naturalist, it is all
the other way. All the broad differences vanish one by one as we
approach the lower confines of the animal and vegetable kingdoms,
and no absolute distinction whatever is now known between them."*
(* Gray, "Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology"
Trubner & Co. London 1861 page 55.)

The author of an elaborate review of Darwin's "Origin of Species,"
himself an accomplished geologist, declares that if we embrace the
doctrine of the continuous variation of all organic forms from the
lowest to the highest, including Man as the last link in the chain
of being, there must have been a transition from the instinct of
the brute to the noble mind of Man; and in that case, "where," he
asks, "are the missing links, and at what point of his progressive
improvement did Man acquire the spiritual part of his being, and
become endowed with the awful attribute of immortality?"* (*
Physical Theories of the Phenomena of Life "Fraser's Magazine" July
1860 page 88.)

Before we raise objections of this kind to a scientific hypothesis,
it would be well to pause and inquire whether there are no
analogous enigmas in the constitution of the world around us, some
of which present even greater difficulties than that here stated.
When we contemplate, for example, the many hundred millions of
human beings who now people the earth, we behold thousands who are
doomed to helpless imbecility, and we may trace an insensible
gradation between them and the half-witted, and from these again to
individuals of perfect understanding, so that tens of thousands
must have existed in the course of ages, who in their moral and
intellectual condition, have exhibited a passage from the
irrational to the rational, or from the irresponsible to the
responsible. Moreover we may infer from the returns of the
Registrar General of births and deaths in Great Britain, and from
Quetelet's statistics of Belgium, that one-fourth of the human race
die in early infancy, nearly one-tenth before they are a month old;
so that we may safely affirm that millions perish on the earth in
every century, in the first few hours of their existence. To assign
to such individuals their appropriate psychological place in the
creation is one of the unprofitable themes on which theologians and
metaphysicians have expended much ingenious speculation.

The philosopher, without ignoring these difficulties, does not
allow them to disturb his conviction that "whatever is, is right,"
nor do they check his hopes and aspirations in regard to the high
destiny of his species; but he also feels that it is not for one
who is so often confounded by the painful realities of the present,
to test the probability of theories respecting the past, by their
agreement or want of agreement with some ideal of a perfect
universe which those who are opposed to opinions may have pictured
to themselves.

We may also demur to the assumption that the hypothesis of
variation and natural selection obliges us to assume that there was
an absolutely insensible passage from the highest intelligence of
the inferior animals to the improvable reason of Man. The birth of
an individual of transcendent genius, of parents who have never
displayed any intellectual capacity above the average standard of
their age or race, is a phenomenon not to be lost sight of, when we
are conjecturing whether the successive steps in advance by which a
progressive scheme has been developed may not admit of occasional
strides, constituting breaks in an otherwise continuous series of
psychical changes.

The inventors of useful arts, the poets and prophets of the early
stages of a nation's growth, the promulgators of new systems of
religion, ethics, and philosophy, or of new codes of laws, have
often been looked upon as messengers from Heaven, and after their
death have had divine honours paid to them, while fabulous tales
have been told of the prodigies which accompanied their birth. Nor
can we wonder that such notions have prevailed when we consider
what important revolutions in the moral and intellectual world such
leading spirits have brought about; and when we reflect that mental
as well as physical attributes are transmissible by inheritance, so
that we may possibly discern in such leaps the origin of the
superiority of certain races of mankind. In our own time the
occasional appearance of such extraordinary mental powers may be
attributed to atavism; but there must have been a beginning to the
series of such rare and anomalous events. If, in conformity with
the theory of progression, we believe mankind to have risen slowly
from a rude and humble starting point, such leaps may have
successively introduced not only higher and higher forms and grades
of intellect, but at a much remoter period may have cleared at one
bound the space which separated the highest stage of the
unprogressive intelligence of the inferior animals from the first
and lowest form of improvable reason manifested by Man.

To say that such leaps constitute no interruption to the ordinary
course of nature is more than we are warranted in affirming. In the
case of the occasional birth of an individual of superior genius
there is certainly no break in the regular genealogical succession;
and when all the mists of mythological fiction are dispelled by
historical criticism, when it is acknowledged that the earth did
not tremble at the nativity of the gifted infant and that the face
of heaven was not full of fiery shapes, still a mighty mystery
remains unexplained, and it is the ORDER of the phenomena, and not
their CAUSE, which we are able to refer to the usual course of

Dr. Asa Gray, in the excellent essay already cited, has pointed out
that there is no tendency in the doctrine of Variation and Natural
Selection to weaken the foundations of Natural Theology, for,
consistently with the derivative hypothesis of species, we may hold
any of the popular views respecting the manner in which the changes
of the natural world are brought about. We may imagine "that events
and operations in general go on in virtue simply of forces
communicated at the first, and without any subsequent interference,
or we may hold that now and then, and only now and then, there is a
direct interposition of the Deity; or, lastly, we may suppose that
all the changes are carried on by the immediate orderly and
constant, however infinitely diversified, action of the
intelligent, efficient Cause." They who maintain that the origin of
an individual, as well as the origin of a species or a genus, can
be explained only by the direct action of the creative cause, may
retain their favourite theory compatibly with the doctrine of

Professor Agassiz, having observed that, "while human thought is
consecutive, divine thought is simultaneous," Dr. Asa Gray has
replied that, "if divine thought is simultaneous, we have no right
to affirm the same of divine action."

The whole course of nature may be the material embodiment of a
preconcerted arrangement; and if the succession of events be
explained by transmutation, the perpetual adaptation of the organic
world to new conditions leaves the argument in favour of design,
and therefore of a designer, as valid as ever; "for to do any work
by an instrument must require, and therefore presuppose, the
exertion rather of more than of less power, than to do it
directly."* (* Asa Gray, "Natural Selection not inconsistent with
Natural Theology" Trubner & Co. London 1861 page 55.)

As to the charge of materialism brought against all forms of the
development theory, Dr. Gray has done well to remind us that "of
the two great minds of the seventeenth century, Newton and
Leibnitz, both profoundly religious as well as philosophical, one
produced the theory of gravitation, the other objected to that
theory, that it was subversive of natural religion."* (* Ibid. page

It may be said that, so far from having a materialistic tendency,
the supposed introduction into the earth at successive geological
periods of life--sensation--instinct--the intelligence of the
higher mammalia bordering on reason--and lastly the improvable
reason of Man himself, presents us with a picture of the
ever-increasing dominion of mind over matter.



The classification of the strata above the Chalk, as at present
employed by the majority of British geologists, is merely a slight
modification of that proposed by Lyell in 1833. The subdivisions
generally recognised are as follows (Lake and Rastall, "Textbook of
Geology," London, 1910, page 438):--



This differs chiefly from Lyell's classification in the
introduction of the term Oligocene for the upper part of the
original Eocene, which was somewhat unwieldy. In the earlier
editions of the "Antiquity of Man" and of the "Principles of
Geology," the strata here classed as Pleistocene were designated as
Post-pliocene. The term "diluvium," now obsolete in Britain but
still lingering on the Continent, is equivalent to Pleistocene.
This subdivision is still sometimes separated from the Tertiary, as
the Quaternary epoch. This, however, is unnecessary and indeed
objectionable, as attributing too great importance to relatively
insignificant deposits. There is no definite break, either
stratigraphical or palaeontological, at the top of the Pliocene,
and it is most natural to regard the Tertiary epoch as still in
progress. Equally unnecessary is the separation of the post-glacial
deposits as "Recent," a distinction which still prevails in many
quarters, apparently with the sole object of adding another name to
an already over-burdened list.


The table of strata here printed is not that given by Lyell in the
later editions of the "Antiquity of Man." This would have required
so much explanation in the light of modern work that it was thought
better to abolish it altogether and to substitute an entirely new
table, which is to some extent a compromise between the numerous
classifications now in vogue. In this form it is only strictly
applicable to the British Isles, though the divisions adopted in
other countries are generally similar, and in many cases identical.


A similar succession of forest-beds, five in number, has been
observed in the peat of the Fenland, near Ely. Each bed consists
for the most part of a single species of tree, and a definite
succession of oak, yew, Scotch fir, alder, and willow has been made
out. The forest beds are supposed to indicate temporarily drier
conditions, due either to changes of climate or to slight uplift of
the land, the growth of peat being renewed during periods of damp
climate or of depression of the land. (See Clement Reid, "Submerged
Forests," Cambridge, 1913.)


Since the "Stone Age," in the sense in which the term is here
employed, obviously occupied an enormous lapse of time and embraced
very different stages of culture, it has been found convenient to
subdivide it into two primary subdivisions. For these Lord Avebury
proposed in 1865 the terms Palaeolithic and Neolithic. ("
Prehistoric Times," London, 1865, page 60.) The first comprises the
ages during which man fabricated flint implements solely by
chipping, whereas the implements of Neolithic Age are polished by
rubbing. But there is another and more fundamental distinction.
Palaeolithic man was exclusively a hunter, and consequently nomadic
in his habits; Neolithic man possessed domesticated animals and
cultivated crops. A pastoral and agricultural life implies a
settled abode, and these are found, for example, in the
lake-villages of Switzerland. The "kitchen-middens" of Denmark also
indicate long continuance in one place, in this instance the


The famous case of the so-called Temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli, has
given rise to a considerable literature. The subject is discussed
by Suess at length ("Des Antlitz der Erde," Vienna, 1888, volume 2
page 463, or English translation, "The Face of the Earth," Oxford,
1904). This author shows that the whole region is highly volcanic,
and consequently very liable to disturbance, much relative movement
of land and sea having occurred within historic times. Hence the
facts here observed cannot be taken as evidence for any general
upward or downward movement of wide-spread or universal extent.


Darwin, "Voyage of the Beagle," chapter 14, and a much fuller
account in the same author's "Geological Observations on the
Volcanic Islands and Parts of South America Visited during the
Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle," chapter 9.


For a full discussion of the evidence for and against continental
elevation and subsidence in general, and as affecting the British
Isles and Scandinavia in particular, see Sir A. Geikie's
Presidential Address to the Geological Society for 1904 ("
Proceedings of the Geological Society"' volume 60, 1904, pages 80
to 104.). Here it is shown that the oldest raised beaches of
Scotland are pre-glacial, and the same also holds for the south of


The argument here employed is fallacious, since the mere existence
of a distinct beach implies a pause in the movement and a long
continuance at one level. It is impossible to form any estimate of
the lapse of time necessary for the building up of a beach-terrace.
We can only, in some cases, obtain a measure of the time that
elapsed between the formation of two successive beaches, as in this


The "strand lines," or raised beaches of Norway, have given rise to
much discussion, of which a summary will be found in the address
cited in Note 7.

NOTE 10.

A considerable number of skulls and skeletons of the Neanderthal
type have now been found in different parts of Southern Europe,
extending from Belgium to Gibraltar and Croatia, and it is now
known that this type of skull is associated with flint implements
of Mousterian Age. (See Note 12.)

NOTE 11.

The most important discovery of recent years in this connection is
that made in Sussex by Mr. C. Dawson and Dr. A. Smith Woodward;
this find is described in great detail in the "Quarterly Journal of
the Geological Society," volume 69, 1913, pages 117 to 151. At a
height of about 80 feet above the present level of the River Ouse,
at Piltdown, near Uckfield, is a gravel, containing many brown
flints of peculiar character, some of which are implements of
Chellean or earlier type, associated with some remains of
Pleistocene animals and a few of older date, derived from Pliocene
deposits. Embedded in this gravel were found fragments of a human
skull and lower jaw of very remarkable type, showing in some
respects distinctly simian characters, while in other respects it
is less ape-like than the Mousterian skulls of Neanderthal and
other localities. For this form the name of Eoanthropus has been
proposed, thus constituting a new genus of the Hominidae.

NOTE 12.

It will be well at this point to give a brief summary of the modern
classification of the Palaeolithic implement-bearing deposits of
Europe. From the labours of many geologists and prehistoric
archaeologists, especially in France, a definite succession of
types of implement has been established, and in some cases it has
been found possible to correlate these with actual human remains
and with certain well-marked events in the physical history of
Pleistocene times, especially with the advance and retreat of
ice-sheets. The present state of our knowledge is admirably
summarised by Professor Sollas ("Ancient Hunters," London, 1911),
and from that work the following note is condensed.

The stages of Palaeolithic culture now recognised are as follows:--


Below the Mesvinian comes the nebulous region of "eoliths," which
are not yet definitely proved to be of human workmanship. The
Neanderthal skull belongs to the Mousterian stage, but the oldest
known definitely human remain, the jaw from the Mauer sands near
Heidelberg, may be older than any of these, indeed by some it is
assigned to the first interglacial period of Penck and Bruckner
(see Note 32). For figures of the types of implement characterising
each period, see "Guide to the Antiquities of the Stone Age in the
Department of British and Medieval Antiquities," British Museum,
2nd edition, London, 1911, pages 1 to 74. This publication gives an
admirable summary of recent knowledge on this subject. For an
excellent and critical summary of the latest researches on
Palaeolithic man up till the end of the Aurignacian period, see
Duckworth, "Prehistoric Man," Cambridge, 1912. See also note 44.

NOTE 13.

Sir John Evans, K.C.B. (1823-1908), was one of the foremost
authorities on prehistoric archaeology and a prolific writer on the
subject. His best known work is "The Ancient Stone Implements,
Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain," 2nd edition, 1897.

NOTE 14.

By the expression "Celtic weapons of the stone period" is
presumably meant Neolithic implements, with polished surfaces.

NOTE 15.

It has recently been shown that the growth of peat is a very slow
process, and at the present time it is in many places either at a
standstill or even in a state of retrogression. In the peat-mosses
of Scotland, Lewis has traced nine successive layers, marked by
different floras. The lowest of these and another at a higher level
are distinctly of an arctic character, the intermediate forest
beds, on the other hand, indicate periods of milder climate, when
the limit of the growth of trees was at a higher level in Scotland
than is now the case. From these facts it is certain that the
peat-mosses of Scotland and northern England date back at least as
far as the later stages of the glacial period, and indicate at
least one mild interglacial episode, when the climate was somewhat
warmer than it now is. (See Lewis, "Science Progress," volume 2,
1907, page 307.) Hence the statements of the French workmen, here
quoted, do not possess much significance.

NOTE 16.

Cyrena fluminalis is very abundant in the gravels of an old terrace
of the River Cam, at Barnwell, in the suburbs of Cambridge, and
also in glacial gravels at Kelsey Hill in Holderness. It is a very
remarkable fact that this shell, now an inhabitant of warm regions,
should be so abundant in these Pleistocene deposits, in close
association with glacial accumulations.

NOTE 17.

The implement-bearing deposits of Hoxne, in Suffolk, were
investigated with great care by a committee of the British
Association, and the results were published in a special and
detailed report ("The Relation of Palaeolithic Man to the Glacial
Epoch," "Report of the British Association," Liverpool, 1896, pages
400 to 415). The deposit consists of a series of lacustrine or
fluviatile strata with plant remains, some being arctic in
character, resting on Chalky Boulder Clay, and this again on sand.
The Palaeolithic deposits are all clearly later than the latest
boulder-clay of East Anglia, and between their formation and that
of the glacial deposits at least two important climatic changes
took place, indicating a very considerable lapse of time.

Mention may conveniently be made here of the supposed discovery of
the remains of pre-glacial man at Ipswich, which appears to be
founded on errors of observation. The boulder-clay above the
interment is, according to the best authorities, merely a landslip
or flow.

NOTE 18.

It has been suggested with a considerable degree of probability,
that in Auvergne volcanic eruptions persisted even into historic
times. The subject is obscure, depending on the interpretation of
difficult passages in two Latin chronicles of the fifth century.
The most obvious meaning of both passages would certainly appear to
be the occurrence of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, but
attempts have been made to explain them as referring to some
artificial conflagration, possibly the burning of a town by an
invader. (See Bonney, "Volcanoes," 3rd edition, London, 1913, page

NOTE 19.

In the early days of glacial geology in Britain, it was commonly
accepted that the phenomena could be most satisfactorily explained
on the hypothesis of a general submergence of the northern parts of
the country to a depth of many hundreds of feet, and this in spite
of the original comparison by Agassiz of the glacial deposits of
Britain to those of the Alps. In later times, however, a school of
geologists arose who attributed the glaciation of Britain to
land-ice of the Continental or Greenland type. Of late years this
school has been dominant in British geology, with a few notable
exceptions, of whom the most important is Professor Bonney. The
difficulties presented by both theories are almost equally great,
and at the present time, in spite of the vehemence of the
supporters of the land-ice theory, it is impossible to hold any
dogmatic views on the subject. Against the doctrine of submergence
is the absence of glacial deposits in places where they would
naturally be expected to occur if the whole of the British Isles
north of the Thames and Bristol Channel had been covered by the
sea, together with the very general absence of sea-shells in the
deposits. The objections to the land-ice hypothesis are largely of
a mechanical nature. If we take into account the lateral extent and
the thickness that can be assigned to the ice-sheet, we are at once
confronted by very considerable difficulties as to the sufficiency
of the driving-power behind the ice. Another great difficulty is
the shallowness of the North Sea, in which a comparatively thin
mass of ice would run aground at almost any point. It has been
calculated that the maximum slope of the surface of the ice from
Norway to the English coast could not exceed half a degree, and it
is therefore difficult to see what force could compel it to move
forward at all, much less to climb steep slopes in the way
postulated by the extremists of this school.

NOTE 20.

The most complete account of the geology of the Norfolk coast is
contained in "The Geology of Cromer," by Clement Reid ("Memoir of
the Geological Survey"). (See also Harmer, "The Pleistocene Period
in the Eastern Counties of England," "Geology in the Field, the
Jubilee Volume of the Geologists Association," 1909, chapter 4.).
Above the Norwich Crag several more subdivisions are now
recognised, and the complete succession of the Pliocene and
Pleistocene strata of East Anglia may be summarised as follows:--

Peat and Alluvium
Gravel Terraces of the present river systems
Gravels of the old river-systems
Plateau gravels
Chalky boulder-clay
Interglacial sands and gravels and Contorted Drift
Cromer Till
Arctic Plant Bed.

Cromer Forest Series
Weybourn Crag
Chillesford Crag
Norwich Crag
Red Crag
Coralline Crag.

NOTE 21.

It is now generally agreed that the tree-stumps in the Cromer
Forest bed are not in the position of growth. Many of them are
upside down or lying on their sides, and they were probably floated
into their present position by the waters of a river flowing to the
north. This river was a tributary of the Rhine which then flowed
for several hundred miles over a plain now forming the bed of the
North Sea, collecting all the drainage of eastern England, and
debouching into the North Atlantic somewhere to the south of the
Faroe Isles. (See Harmer, "The Pleistocene Period in the Eastern
Counties of England," "Geological Association Jubilee Volume,"
London, 1909, pages 103 to 123.)

NOTE 22.

Of late years an enormous number of characteristic rocks from
Norway and Sweden have been recognised in the drifts of Eastern
England, as far south as Essex and Middlesex. One of the most
easily identifiable types is the well-known Rhombporphyry of the
Christiania Fjord, a rock which occurs nowhere else in the world,
and is quite unmistakable in appearance. Along with it are many of
the distinctive soda-syenites found in the same district, the
granites of southern Sweden, and many others. The literature of the
subject is very large, but many details may be found in the annual
reports of the British Association for the last twenty years.

From a study of these erratics it has been found possible to draw
important conclusions as to the direction and sequence of the ice
streams which flowed over these regions during the different stages
of the glacial period.

NOTE 23.

During his first crossing of Greenland from east to west, Nansen
attained a height of 9000 feet on a vast expanse of frozen snow,
and it is believed that towards the north the surface of this great
snow-plateau rises to even greater elevations. The surface of the
snow is perfectly clean and free from moraine-material. No rock in
situ has been seen in the interior of Greenland at a distance
greater than 75 miles from the coast.

A great amount of valuable information concerning the glacial
conditions of Greenland is to be found in the "Meddelelser om
Gronland," a Danish publication, but containing many summaries in
French or English. For a good account of the phenomena seen in the
coastal region of the west coast, see Drygalski,
"Gronland-Expedition," a large monograph published by the
Gesellschaft fur physischen Erdkunde, Berlin, 1897.

NOTE 24.

The argument is here considerably understated. The southern point
of Greenland, Cape Farewell, is in the same latitude as the
Shetland Islands and Christiania, and only one degree north of
Stockholm; Disko is in about the same latitude as the North Cape.
Hence the inhabited portion of Greenland is in the same latitude as
Norway and Sweden, both fertile and well-populated countries. Even
in Central Norway, in the Gudbrandsdal and Romsdal, thick forests
grow up to a height of at least 3000 feet above sea-level, a much
greater elevation than trees now attain in the British Isles. This
latter fact is probably to be attributed to the protective effect
of thick snow lying throughout the winter.

NOTE 25.

For a summary of the most recent views as to the classification and
succession of the glacial deposits of the British Isles, see Lake
an Rastall, "Textbook of Geology," London, 1910, pages 466 to 473.
Reference may also be made to Jukes-Browne, "The Building of the
British Isles," London, 1912, pages 430 to 440.

NOTE 26.

Glacier-lakes are fairly common among the fjords of the west coast
of Greenland, and illustrate very well what must have been the
state of affairs in Glen Roy at the time of formation of the
Parallel Roads.

NOTE 27.

The high-level shell-bearing deposits of Moel Tryfan, Gloppa, near
Oswestry, and Macclesfield, have given rise to much controversy
between the supporters of submergence and of land-ice. At Moel
Tryfan certain sands and gravels, with erratics, at a height of
about 1350 feet, contain abundant marine shells, generally much
broken. The northern or seaward face of the hill is much plastered
with drift, but none is to be found on the landward side, and it is
suggested that the shell-bearing material is the ground-moraine of
a great ice-sheet that came in from the Irish Sea, and was forced
up on to the Welsh coast, just reaching the watershed, but failing
to overtop it. With regard to the explanation by submergence, the
great objection is the absence of marine drift on the landward
side, which is very difficult to explain if the whole had been
submerged sufficiently to allow of normal marine deposits at such a
great height. The shell beds of Macclesfield and Gloppa are at a
less elevation but of essentially similar character.

The shell-bearing deposits of Moel Tryfan were examined by a
committee of the British Association. (See "Report of the British
Association" Dover, 1899, pages 414 to 423.) At the end of this
report is an extensive bibliography.

NOTE 28.

During the last forty years the deep-sea dredging expeditions of H.
M.S. Challenger and others have shown the abundance and variety of
animal life at great depths, especially in the Arctic and Antarctic
seas. For a recent summary, see Murray and Hjort, "The Depths of
the Ocean," London, 1912.

NOTE 29.

It is now generally admitted that these shell-beds in Wexford are
of Pliocene age, and they therefore have no bearing on the subject
under discussion.

NOTE 30.

The boulder deposit at Selsey has been described by Mr. Clement
Reid ("Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society," volume 48,
1892, page 355). Immediately above the Tertiary beds is a hard
greenish clay, full of derived Tertiary fossils and Pleistocene
shells with large flints and erratic blocks, some of the latter
weighing several tons. They include granite, greenstone, schist,
slate, quartzite, and sandstone, and most of them must have been
transported for a long distance. Above them are black muds with
marine shells, then a shingle beach, and above all the Coombe Rock.
(See next note.)

NOTE 31.

The Brighton elephant-bed and its equivalent, the Coombe Rock, are
fully described by Clement Reid ("On the Origin of Dry Chalk
Valleys and the Coombe Rock," "Quarterly Journal of the Geological
Society," volume 43, 1887, page 364). The Coombe Rock is a mass of
unstratified flints and Chalk debris filling the lower parts of the
dry valleys (Coombes) of the South Downs and gradually passing into
the brick-earth (loam) of the coastal plain. It is clearly a
torrential accumulation, and is supposed to have been formed while
the Chalk was frozen, thus preventing percolation of water and
causing the surface water to run off as strong streams. This must
have occurred during some part of the glacial period, which would
naturally be a period of heavy precipitation. Of very similar
origin is the "Head" of Cornwall, a surface deposit often rich in
tinstone and other minerals of economic value. The Coombe Rock has
recently been correlated with deposits of Mousterian Age.

NOTE 32.

The former extension of the Alpine glaciers and the deposits formed
by them have been exhaustively investigated by Penck and Bruckner
("Die Alpen im Eiszeitalter," 3 volumes, Leipzig, 1901 to 1909). In
this monumental work the authors claim to have established the
occurrence of four periods of advance of the ice, to which they
give the names of Gunz, Mindel, Riss, and Wurm glaciations, with
corresponding interglacial genial episodes, when the climate was
possibly even somewhat warmer than now. Their conclusions and the
data on which they are established are summarised by Sollas ("
Ancient Hunters," London, 1911, especially pages 18 to 28). For a
general account of the glaciers of the Alps and their accompanying
phenomena, see Bonney, "The Building of the Alps," London, 1912,
pages 103 to 151.

NOTE 33.

At the time of the maximum advance of the ice, during the Riss
period of Penck and Bruckner, the terminal moraine of the great
glacier of the Rhone extended as far as the city of Lyon, and
towards the north-east it became continuous with the similar
moraine of the Rhine glacier.

NOTE 34.

For the successive phases of advance and retreat of the Alpine
glaciers, see the works quoted in Note 32.

NOTE 35.

The Loess of Central Europe includes deposits of two different
ages. According to Penck the "Older Loess" was formed in the period
of warm and dry climate that intervened between the third and
fourth glacial episodes, while the "Younger Loess" is post-glacial.
Both divisions are for the most part aeolian deposits, formed by
the redistribution of fine glacial mud originally laid down in
water and carried by the wind often to considerable heights. A
part, however, of the so-called Loess of northern France, e.g. in
the valley of the Somme, is rain-wash, similar in character to the
brick-earth of parts of south-eastern England. The Older Loess
contains Acheulean implements, while the Younger Loess is of
Aurignacian Age.

The greatest development of the Loess is in Central Asia and in
China. (See Richthofen, "China," Berlin, 1877.) In China the Loess
reaches a thickness of several thousand feet, and whole
mountain-ranges are sometimes almost completely buried in it. In
the deserts of Central Asia the formation of the Loess is still in
progress. A very similar deposit, called adobe, is also found in
certain parts of the Mississippi valley.

The Loess is a fine calcareous silt or clay of a yellowish colour,
quite soft and crumbling between the fingers. However, it resists
denudation in a remarkable manner, and in China it often stands up
in vertical walls hundreds of feet in height. This property is
probably assisted by the presence of numerous fine tubes arranged
vertically and lined with calcium carbonate; these are supposed to
have been formed in the first place by fibrous rootlets.

NOTE 36.

Although highly probable, it cannot yet be regarded as conclusively
demonstrated that the Pleistocene glaciations of Europe and of
North America were exactly contemporaneous. The ice--sheets in each
case radiated from independent centres which were not in the
extreme north of either continent, and were not in any way
connected with a general polar ice-cap. The European centre was
over the Baltic region or the south of Scandinavia, and the
American centre in the neighbourhood of Hudson's Bay. The southern
margin of the American ice-sheet extended about as far south as
latitude 38 degrees north in the area lying south of the Great
Lakes, whereas the North European ice barely passed the limit of 50
degrees north in Central Europe. This greater southward extension
in America was doubtless correlated with the same causes as now
produce the low winter temperatures of the eastern states,
especially the cold Newfoundland current. The literature of North
American glacial geology has now attained colossal dimensions, and
it is impossible to give here even a short abstract of the main
conclusions. For a general summary reference may be made to
Chamberlin and Salisbury, "Geology," volume 3; "Earth History,"
London and New York, 1905; or the same authors' "Geology, Shorter
Course," London and New York, 1909.

NOTE 37.

During the last fifty years scarcely any geological subject has
given rise to a greater amount of speculation than the cause of the
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

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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