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Geology of Dayton and Vicinity
Chapter Nine





   [Photo: View of the Great Mound southeast of Miamisburg, the tallest mound in the United States, serving both as a burial mound and as a signal mound. Photographed in 1888.]


65. The Existence of Man in Europe During the Glacial Period


   In Europe, the earlier fairly abundant evidences of the existence of man consist in the presence of rude chipped flint implements which occur in ancient river gravels. The implements consist chiefly of large, more or less flattened masses of flint, oval in outline, more or less pointed toward the top, and more or less angular along the sides. In length they frequently equalled 10 to 12 inches and show no evidence of ever having been attached to anything. They must have been wielded in the hand, and probably were used for every imaginable purpose for which a heavy cutting instrument might serve, from cutting down a tree, or digging in the groung, to killing an enemy. Other implements, such as scrapers, knife- [p. 135] flakes, or pointed instruments, were relatively rare. A moderately warm climate is suggested by the accompanying bones of two species of elephant, a rhinoceros, a cave-bear, a cave-hyena, and a hippopotamus. While none lf these animals now live in Europe, it is probable that the three species last named have left descendents in the form of the brown bear of Europe, and the hyena and hippopotamus of Africa. The species of elephant and rhinoceros have left no descendants among living animals, the existing species belonging to different lines of descent. The climate appears to have been comparatively mild and the time appears to have been that of the second interglacial period. Man apparently lived chiefly in the open, in river valleys. Only implements occur; no parts of skeletons of human beings have been found in these gravels so far, unless a lower jaw found in the ancient sands near Heidelberg, in Germany, and part of a skull and lower jaw found in the gravels at Piltdown in Sussex, in England, be of the same age.

   The lower jaw found near Heidelberg is remarkable for its massive appearance and the complete absence of a protruding chin; the teeth, however, are distinctly human and the canine teeth are no more prominent than the adjoining teeth. This jaw is sufficiently distinct from that of existing human beings to suggest its reference to a distinct species. The Heidelberg jaw was found associated with extinct species of elephant, rhinoceros, and cave-lion, and beneath beds containing blocks that had been transported by ice. Its age is regarded as somewhere in the earlier part of the Glacial period, suggesting that in Europe man may have made his appearance as early as the first interglacial period. In the Piltdown jaw, on the contrary, the canine teeth are much more prominent than in existing races of man, and the jaw presents other animalistic characteristics.

   During the third advance of the glacial ice sheet in Europe, the two southern species of elephant, the southern rhinoceros and the hippopotamus disappeared. A type of elephant called the hairy mammoth, on the contrary, became common, and the woolly rhinoceros and musk-ox, two cold-loving animals, were added to the list. The hairy mammoth and woolly rhinoceros possessed thick coats of hair, adapted to cold climates. The descendents of the men who made the implements found in the river [p. 136] gravels apparently were driven by increased cold and dampness to seek shelter under overhanging cliffs and within caves. Apparently the use of clothing, cooked food, and household management of a very primitive type began. The heavy, oval-shaped flint implements were displaced by large flakes with a sharper cutting edge. Flint scrapers, and lance points occur. The long bones of the horse, bison, and deer were used for implements.

   More interesting, however, than the implements made by man, during this period of increasing cold, are the more or less well preserved skeletons, indicating his actual structure and size. So many of these skeletons have been found in the rock shelters and caves that man of this age may be said to be well known. The forehead was low and retreating. The eyebrow ridges were very prominent. The chin was undeveloped, sloping backward. Possibly this cave-inhabiting type of man was a descendent of the type found in the gravel southeast of Heidelberg, but he certainly was very distinct from the types of men now living. In fact, there is no reason for believing that living European races are descendents of these ancient cave dwellers. The origin of the living races is still a mystery, and may well have been some Asiatic source.

   With the advent of the fourth advance of the glacial ice sheet, the reindeer, horse, cave-lion, and Irish elk make their appearance. The hairy mammoth, woolly rhinocerus, and cave-bear still flourished. Judging from his associates, the cave-lion must have been adapted to cold climates. The chief interest in this period of glacial advance, however, consists in the presence of skeletal remains of man evidently belonging to modern types. All of these possess a distinct chin. The most prevalent type, with narrow but high skulls, might have belonged to a modern European, but skeletons of the Eskimo type and those of negroid character also occur. These human remains occur chiefly in deposits representing the closing stages of the glacial ice age. During the retreat of the ice sheet, the climate became less cold and wet. The woolly rhinoceros disappeared. Reindeer and horses became common and were used for food. The more modern animals, still living, became numerous. Flints were retained chiefly for knives, spear heads and slingstones. Bones were used for chisels, awls, pins, and spear tips. Later, bone needles came into use. Implements occasionally were [p. 137] carved or engraved, and sufficient of these remain to indicate the prevalence of considerable artistic instinct, of a primitive type. Later, drawings in black, red, and brown, with charcoal, red-ochre, and the oxide of manganese, made their appearance.

   There is no evidence that man learned the use of the bow and arrow until after the close of the glacial epoch. In the course of time the Arctic animals disappeared from central Europe. Under the ameliorating conditions of climate man made enormous advances in civilization. The use of clay in the making of pottery was learned. Agriculture made it appearance. Modern man is the final result.


66. The Existence of Man in America During Glacial Times


   Since the North American continent was connected with Asia by way of Alaska during the glacial ice age, the advent of man in America during this time was possible. As a matter of fact, however, no remains have been discovered in till or under undisturbed till deposits, unequivocally determining the existence of man in America during the ice age, nor have the remains of man been found associated with the bones of extinct animals, as in Europe. Hence it is probable that mad made his appearance in America not earlier than the closing stages of the Ice age. In Ohio, Doctor Metz found a chipped pebble of some black rock of Canadian origin under 8 feet of loess, at Madisonville, 8 miles northeast of the center of Cincinnati, and a second chipped implement, 30 feet below the surface, on the western side of the Miami river, at Loveland, 10 miles northeast of Madisonville. To Frank Leverett, and experienced student of glacial phenomena, the evidence did not appear conclusive in either case, and the same may be said with reference to other supposed evidences of the existence of man on the American continent during the Ice age. This, however, does not prevent the possibility of such evidence appearing at any time with reference to other discoveries of prehistoric implements in America. It is desired here merely to bring out the fact that certain students of glacial phenomena are still skeptics regarding the value of the evidence presented so far. [p. 138]


66A. Climate During Glacial and Interglacial Times


   It has been estimated that a lowering of the average annual temperature less than ten degrees would be sufficient to account for the former widespread glacial conditions. This brings up the question of climate.

   This question has been attacked recently by Sinnott and Bailey from a peculiar angle, quoted with some modifications in the following lines.

   It is well known that the percentage of woody plants in Europe, north of the Alps, is considerably less than in the corresponding parts of North America. In North America the vegetation could migrate easily southward at the advance of the ice and return northward at its retreat. In northern Europe, on the other hand, the southward escape of the vegetation was blocked, and it was crowded against the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Mediterranean, thus suffering heavily by extinction. The extermination must have been more pronounced among woody plants than among herbs, since the latter are more able to withstand cold and otherwise adverse conditions owing to the presence of underground rootstocks and the abundant production of seed. The vegetation of northern Europe to-day seems, therefore, to be descended directly from that remnant which was able to survive in those parts of France, Germany, and England which the glaciers never reached. If the flora of northern Europe is indeed typically representative of that which flourished near the ice front during glacial times, the proportion of woody forms within it affords a valuable index as to climatic conditions during the height of the ice age. The facts seem to indicate that when the ice sheet had reached its greatest extent the country in its immediate front was neither a barren arctic tundra, as has sometimes been supposed, nor covered with a luxuriant temperate vegetation; but that the climate in general resembled that of the lower portion of the Alps or the Rockies to-day, being cold enough in winter to kill off all but the hardiest trees and shrubs, but not sufficiently cold to reduce the whole vegetation to the few perennial herbs and stunted shrubs which are characteristic of arctic regions to-day.

   Of course, during the interglacial periods the climate presumably was warmer. Our knowledge of life of the glaciated areas during the ice age is very largely confined to such life as existed during interglacial [p. 139] epochs, and here the existence of large animals, such as the elephant, mastodon, megalonyx, and various types of deer suggest considerable vegetation, and no extremes of cold even in winter. In fact, it is probable that during interglacial times the climate in areas as far south as Dayton may have been fully as warm as at present. [p. 140]

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