him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was

Doubt and Doubtinternet2023-12-07 11:32:42 93 6

A lemuroid form of mammal, believed to be of the type from which man has descended, has also been found in these beds. It is thought that the descendants of this creature, and of the other "Old-World" forms above referred to, found their way to Asia, probably, as suggested by Professor Marsh, across a bridge at Bering Strait, to continue their evolution on the other hemisphere, becoming extinct in the land of their nativity. The ape-man fossil found in the tertiary strata of the island of Java in 1891 by the Dutch surgeon Dr. Eugene Dubois, and named Pithecanthropus erectus, may have been a direct descendant of the American tribe of primitive lemurs, though this is only a conjecture.

him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was

Not all the strange beasts which have left their remains in our "bad lands" are represented by living descendants. The titanotheres, or brontotheridae, for example, a gigantic tribe, offshoots of the same stock which produced the horse and rhinoceros, represented the culmination of a line of descent. They developed rapidly in a geological sense, and flourished about the middle of the tertiary period; then, to use Agassiz's phrase," time fought against them." The story of their evolution has been worked out by Professors Leidy, Marsh, Cope, and H. F. Osborne.

him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was

A recent bit of paleontological evidence bearing on the question of the introduction of species is that presented by Dr. J. L. Wortman in connection with the fossil lineage of the edentates. It was suggested by Marsh, in 1877, that these creatures, whose modern representatives are all South American, originated in North America long before the two continents had any land connection. The stages of degeneration by which these animals gradually lost the enamel from their teeth, coming finally to the unique condition of their modern descendants of the sloth tribe, are illustrated by strikingly graded specimens now preserved in the American Museum of Natural History, as shown by Dr. Wortman.

him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was

All these and a multitude of other recent observations that cannot be even outlined here tell the same story. With one accord paleontologists of our time regard the question of the introduction of new species as solved. As Professor Marsh has said, "to doubt evolution today is to doubt science; and science is only another name for truth."

Thus the third great battle over the meaning of the fossil records has come to a conclusion. Again there is a truce to controversy, and it may seem to the casual observer that the present stand of the science of fossils is final and impregnable. But does this really mean that a full synopsis of the story of paleontology has been told? Or do we only await the coming of the twentieth-century Lamarck or Darwin, who shall attack the fortified knowledge of to-day with the batteries of a new generalization?


One might naturally suppose that the science of the earth which lies at man's feet would at least have kept pace with the science of the distant stars. But perhaps the very obviousness of the phenomena delayed the study of the crust of the earth. It is the unattainable that allures and mystifies and enchants the developing mind. The proverbial child spurns its toys and cries for the moon.

So in those closing days of the eighteenth century, when astronomers had gone so far towards explaining the mysteries of the distant portions of the universe, we find a chaos of opinion regarding the structure and formation of the earth. Guesses were not wanting to explain the formation of the world, it is true, but, with one or two exceptions, these are bizarre indeed. One theory supposed the earth to have been at first a solid mass of ice, which became animated only after a comet had dashed against it. Other theories conceived the original globe as a mass of water, over which floated vapors containing the solid elements, which in due time were precipitated as a crust upon the waters. In a word, the various schemes supposed the original mass to have been ice, or water, or a conglomerate of water and solids, according to the random fancies of the theorists; and the final separation into land and water was conceived to have taken place in all the ways which fancy, quite unchecked by any tenable data, could invent.



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