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Thed emit man unha of deference I expected
The preceding abstract of the most striking cave evidence has led eminent geologists to conclude, apparently with much reason, that man was contemporary with the mammoth, the cave-bear, the hyæna of dens, and several other extinct mammalia. To avoid this inference upon geological grounds is certainly not easy, nor can we fairly expect stronger evidences than the above, for these are both individually satisfactory to competent geologists and also cumulative. Other geological conclusions are admitted as established upon similar evidence.
So much has been said and published upon the famous flint implements of Picardy that it is unnecessary here to repeat details of their position and characteristics. The most cautious readers must be prepared to admit that equally cautious observers have at least very fair grounds for believing these flint weapons to be genuine as to antiquity, and unquestionably indicative of human handiwork. We ourselves have examined many of them, at home and abroad, and it would be sheer obstinacy to deny that they have been shaped by men. There are several minute characteristics by which genuine antiques can be distinguished from modern impositions; and no wellversed examiner can entertain doubts of the human markings in at least some hundreds of chipped flints extracted from the fluviatile gravels near Amiens and Abbeville. Dr. Falconer has recently shown to the writer two of the finest and most unquestionably worked flints from near Abbeville, which would carry conviction to the mind of any unprejudiced observer.
That a human jaw has been lately found, in association with shaped flints, in the gravel-pits at Moulin-Quignon, near Abbeville, must be known to nearly all readers, as well as the fact that it has been the subject of much discussion and minute examination with respect to its genuineness and antiquity. A joint French and English commission of naturalists and geologists carefully and locally investigated the whole matter. Haches (or flint hatchets) were disengaged from the cliff of the gravel-pit at Moulin-Quignon in the sight of these gentlemen, and they were convinced of the actual occurrence of the jaw in the “ blackband;” but there was not the same unanimity about the age of the jaw itself. Dr. Falconer thought " the finding of the jaw authentic; but that the characters which it presents, taken in connection with the conditions under which it lay, are not consistent with the said jaw being of very great antiquity ;” and Mr. Busk adds that " there is no longer reason to doubt that the jaw was found in the situation and under the conditions reported by Mr. Boucher de Perthes; nevertheless it appears (to Mr. Busk) that the internal condition of the bone is wholly irreconcilable with an antiquity equal to that assigned to the deposits in which it was found.” Here, of course, Mr. Busk refers to the prevalent geological opinion that the gravels of MoulinQuignon belong to the “high level” gravels of Mr. Prestwich, which are regarded as the oldest beds on the banks of the river Somme.
In the above condensation we have referred almost exclusively to what are at present the presumed oldest remains of man and his handiwork. Our limits forbid the introduction, at least in this article, of explanations of less remote evidences of human antiquity; and if we have proved the greater, we have inclusively proved the less. To those who desire a definite computation of something approaching to the number of centuries to which the remains cited point, we can only say that no such definite computation can be made, and geologists seem averse to commit themselves to any conjecture of actual time on this point. When Sir Charles Lyell states that if the Natchez man's remains are genuinely antique, they indicate an antiquity of at least one hundred thousand years for the first population of the valley of the Mississippi, he leaves the range of estimate for other relics open to any latitude or longitude which other geologists may choose to calculate. Yet it is manifest that, if the opinions of those who demand for man the longest antiquity be well founded, more than one hundred, or perhaps two hundred thousand years will be requisite, according to the Lyellian method of estimating geological time.
The public at large, and especially certain classes of persons to whom geological science is new and strange, naturally shrink from such conclusions. The question, however, must inevitably be tried upon its own appropriate evidences, and if these are adequate to conviction then preconceived chronology must give way. On the one hand we may not regard the comparatively immense antiquity of man as absolutely demonstrated; but on the other hand we must not ridicule and cast aspersions upon the opinions of men of high geological eminence, whose interest in the matter is not personal but simply scientific, and who have for some years devoted their best powers to the elucidation of the topic. With these gentlemen we are disposed to think that time will add considerably to the evidences for human antiquity, and we should not be at all surprised if within a few years it becomes generally admitted as a geological canon.
At the same time there are geologists who are not yet prepared to side with the antique party. Pre-eminent amongst these is that very practical French geologist M. Elie de Beaumont, who during the discussion on the Abbeville jaw, delivered his opinion that the gravel deposit of Moulin-Quignon does
not belong to the Quaternary or Diluvian age at all, but to the terrains meubles of the actual or modern period, in which he would not be in the least surprised if human bones were found. For himself, however, he added that he did not believe in man's contemporaneity with the extinct elephants, rhinoceroses, and other mammalia of the Quaternary period. Neither also did Sir Charles Lyell at one time ; but he and others have gradually become advocates of great human antiquity.
On the whole, the difficulties of disbelief appear to us to be greater than those of belief; and even if the amount of antiquity be reduced, so that from one geological epoch we are compelled to retreat into another and less remote, nevertheless even with the strictest circumscription and the sternest concision, we can scarcely be brought back to a duration of man at all corresponding with the popular chronology. Suppose, for example, that the age of the Picardy gravels overlying the shaped flints should be subsequently estimated at far less than their now presumed age, even then twenty thousand years or more would be, as geologists reckon, but an inadequate period for the accumulation of from sixteen to twenty feet of material in the common course of geological deposition.
If, however, we once transcend so greatly the popular chronology as to attribute to man an antiquity of even twenty or thirty thousand years, the Rubicon is passed, and may we not as well march boldly on from the other side, without remembering what the passage of the river cost us, or how long we hesitated upon its bank before we ventured to bathe our feet in the chilling waters ?
NOTE.—At a meeting of the Geological Society on June 3rd, an interesting and animated discussion followed the reading of a paper drawn up by Mr. Prestwich on the Gravels of the Somme, in Picardy. Dr. Falconer explained the difficulty he had felt respecting the alleged human jaw from MoulinQuignon, and rather recanted his published assent to the "authenticity of its finding." He was succeeded by Mr. Evans, who detailed the suspicious circumstances of the flint implements said to be found near it, and confirmed the doubts of Dr. Falconer both as to the flints and the jaw. Mr. Busk spoke respecting the jaw, and his minute examination of it. On the whole, there appeared much reason to conclude that the jaw was far more modern than the gravel, and that it may have been the jaw of a man of the historic period, perhaps of the Romano-Gallic times. The almost inevitable inference from the evidence stated by the above-named three gentlemen was, that the jaw was not a remnant of a primeval man, but of a man who lived in historic times.
ON THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE IONIAN
BY PROFESSOR D. T. ANSTED, M.A., F.R.S.
THE group of islands adjacent and nearly parallel to the
I shores of Albania and Greece that are known as the Ionian islands, may be regarded as the summits of a nearly submerged mountain chain, parallel to the Pindus, and having a similar geological axis. The islands may well be regarded as a group, for they all exhibit nearly the same class of phenomena, and nearly in the same way. The principal rock is everywhere a peculiar limestone, very easily acted on by the weather. This limestone is seen partly in its normal state as a rock in situ, but more frequently broken into innumerable fragments. It is also presented as a conglomerate, or recomposed rock, made up of fragments, either angular or rolled by water, cemented by carbonate of lime, and mixed with many flints. With the limestones are marls locally abundant, and some marly sands, while gypsum occasionally takes the place of carbonate of lime. The islands afford a great variety of scenery, and are a perfect study to the artist, the geologist, and the physical geographer of all that is most interesting in lime rock. There are caverns in abundance, rocky cliffs, peculiar kettle-shaped valleys, mountain chains, ridges, plateaux, and rocky ravines. The alternations of softer rock and marl, though few and local, are not without importance as contrasting with the limestone.
Geologically, the axis consists of the Scaglia, or Apennine limestone, often loaded with flints, and nearly of the age of our chalk. It is sometimes made up of those peculiar fossils the Rudistæ, of which the Hippurite is a familiar genus. This is flanked by a great thickness of tertiary limestone, partly of the olden period, and containing fishes like those of Monte Bolca ; partly more modern, and in many places consisting of a very modern conglomerate formed under water, but now lifted at a steep angle, parts of it being more than two thousand feet above the level of the Mediterranean. There is, besides this, a much newer sub-aerial conglomerate now forming, but already of great thickness in certain localities.
Although the islands are very similar in the details of their physical geography, it will not be possible to make the matter intelligible without referring to each separately. I will, how. ever, avoid repetition as much as possible, and point out the most essential peculiarities in the island in which each seemed to me most striking. Thus, the peculiar kettle-shaped valleys are highly characteristic of Corfu, although in Santa Maura there are some of great interest. So the ridge-like character of the Scaglia is best seen in Cephalonia, where also exists the loftiest mountain-chain, and where the weathering struck me most forcibly. Santa Maura exhibits the phenomena of the conglomerate. Zante, the valleys, and some of the mineral contents of the rocks, especially the mineral pitch. Ithaca, the island of greatest classical interest, and one that is highly picturesque, is but one continuous ridge, secondary to Cephalonia. Cerigo is the island of caverns. Paxo and the smaller islands I shall hardly have space to allude to in this brief sketch.
Corfu is politically the most important of the islands, though not the largest or most peopled, Cephalonia exceeding it in both these respects. This political importance is derived partly from its position at the mouth of the Adriatic, partly from its harbour, and the sheltered channel between it and Albania, but chiefly from the fact that the town and harbour are defensible, a matter that can hardly be said of any other island in the group. Corfu is also the island first reached from the north.
Corfu is a long strip of land with a transverse mountain. chain. It is shaped like the capital letter T. The outline of the island is formed by high land along the western side, and also across the northern end, forming the top of the T. The eastern side is divided into two principal tracts of low ground by a picturesque chain that crosses it a few miles south of the town, and culminates in the mountain called Santi Deca, or the Ten Saints. The west coast of Corfu is fine, bold, and highly picturesque. Within the line of the hills and cliffs is the cultivable land, broken and very beautiful, and covered almost entirely with olive-trees, only varied occasionally by the tall black cypress which is very abundant in certain localities. The olive in Corfu and most of the islands being allowed to pursue its natural growth after a very early grafting, is a wonderfully more picturesque, though perhaps not so profitable a tree as when cultivated and kept down in Italy and Provence.
The mountain system of Corfu in the north stretches quite across the island, and rises into two principal peaks, the higher of which, San Salvador, is about 3,500 feet above the sea. Between these two is a tract of broken, but elevated table,