The Man of Glacial Europe T HE man who can point to a line of distinguished ancestors from whom he is descended, usually sees in the fact an object of self-gratification. It would seem more logical if he took pride in showing that he has ascended from his progenitors, though perhaps he might hesitate to decorate the walls of his dwelling with the portraits of such rude forbears as are shown in our accompanying illustrations. Dr. Keith, writing for the Illustrated London News, presents as follows the most modern views with regard to the earliest traces discovered of man's habitation upon this earth: In recent years Our knowledge of the human inhabitants of Europe during the Glacial period has increased rapidly. It is over fifty years since the first trace of him was found at Neanderthal, in South Germany; before that, although it is only recently we have got to know the fact, he had heen found in Gibraltar: the skull then found, on the whole the most perfect yet discovered, is in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. In recent years three wonderfully instructive skeletons have been found in the southwest of France, in the valley of the Dordogne, and have attracted much attention. Remains of the Neanderthal man have also been found in Belgium-the famous skulls of Spy-and in the southeast of Europe-at Krapfna, in Croatia. And now, thanl,s to the researches of the Societe Jersiaise, remains of this race have been found in Jersey. In a cave in the cliffs of St. Brelade's Bay, on the south coast of the island, his hearths, his charact-ristic flin t implements, and his unmistakable teeth have been discovered. A recently rich man must find occasionally, when proper investigations are made, that his remote ancestors are infinitely older and more respectable than he had formerly reason to believe. It is becoming more and more apparent that this is the case as regards modern man. The discovery at Galley Hill showed that our modern type was in existence in England soon after the glacial period had vanished-a period of several hundred thousands of years. Glacial man is much older. His lower jaw, with a complete set of teeth, was found four years ago near Heidelberg in a stratum which lay eighty-seven feet from the surface, and was mixed with remains of extinct animals. The age of the Heidelb:rg individual has been assigned to one of the first temperate interludes which broke the prolonged period of intense cold in Europe. At so early a period—one which makes the age of the Galley Hill man a comparatively recent one -we expected, on the Darwinian theory, to find man in a transition stage, a man-ape or ape-man-a pithecanthropus. That conception has dominated the artist when he has sought to reproduce the form of the Glacial European-or, to use a more strict geological term, Pleistocene man. A little over two years ago, a graphic reconstruction of the man just then discovered at La Chapelle-aux-Saints appeared in these pages. The anthropologist and artist have pictured his mouth, his teeth, his nose-indeed, the whole of the lower part of his face-as very similar to the same parts in the gorilla. In representing his attitude, his posture, his feet, legs, arms, and skin, they have drawn largely on the same animal. When, however a careful study has been made of his skull, his teeth, and the bones of his body, it becomes very evident that there was very little more of the ape in the Neanderthal type of man than in his modern representative. He had eertainly, as may be seen from the drawing by Mr. Forestier, very striking peculiarities. His face was long, wide and heavy, with rather massive jaws, but his teeth, as regards their crowns, were no bigger or different in shape and size than we see now in many primitive native races. The eye-sockets were loose, and the eyes seemed deeply set owing to the great over-hanging beetling forehead, and the nose was wide, prominent, large, quite unlike the same organ in negroid races. His brain was not small; in most cases it appears to have been above the average of modern Europeans. Some of his worked flints show great dexterity. His arms and hands were muscular, roughly molded and strong, but used, if one may judge from their shape, much in the same way as we use ours. He stood a little over five feet in height. There are no features in the bones of the lower limbs to suggest a posture or a manner of walking materially different from those of modern man. His mouth and tongue were larger thrn ours, and t h e impressions on the lower jaw for the muscles concerned in speech differ so markedly from those seen on the mandibles of modern man that we must conclude that, if speech were present, then it must have been of a primitive nature and different from the vocal articulation of modern man. Most of the remains of the Neanderthal man, like "The man of from one to two hundred thousand years ago." According to Mr. H. S. Lnl1; nn ingenious scieniific reconsfl'uctiou. those recently found in Jersey, have been unearthed from the floors of caves, so that we have no means of judging what period of time may have elapsed since the remains were deposited there. In the case of the Heidelberg man, however, we have some grounds, and from the deuth and nature there of the strata some Declared to be a misconception. A reconstruction (of two years ago) of the man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints OUR RUDE FORBEARS Photographs by courtesy of the lllustnLted Lonlon NewK. estimate can be formed of the extreme antiquity of the Neanderthal race. Layer on layer has been laid down by the action of running fresh water, until the deposit in which the Heidelberg man was embedded lay eighty-seven feet below the surface. The rate of deposit we have as yet no accurate means of estimating, but few geologists would assign a period uf less than 500,000 years; and most would give a larger fgure. It is becoming thus apparent that not only is modern man of great antiquity, but the earlier stages in the evolution of man have been passed through at a much earlier period of the earth's history than we had formerly any conception of. It must be remembered, too, that the Glacial period- extended through hundreds of thousands of years; so far as we know, the Neanderthal type persisted throughout the whole of that time in Europe. We must expect, however, to find much individual variation in so vast a .period of time; race must have succeeded race, as has ever been the case among living things. Presently we shall be able to recognize the older and more primitive from the later and more evolved races of Neanderthal Man. Poisoning by Illuminating Gas T hE French journal L'Electricien has been gathering some interesting statistics in regard to cases of poisoning by illuminating gas. It appears that fer several years past the number of such cases has been rapidly increasing. In New York alone there were nearly two thousand cases in one year, many of theR fatal. The reason for this increase is traced to the change in the composition of the gas used for illumination, especially with respect to the amount of carbon-monoxide present. Different kinds of gas contain different amounts of this gas, as shown by the following table: Percentage of CO. Coal gas ...................... 6.6 Oil gas ........................ 10.0 Water gas ..................... 40.0 From these figures it is seen that coal gas is the least harmful kind, and that water gas-made by passing steam through red-hot coke-is the most dangerous. For the purpose of saving the cost-or of increasing the profits-manufacturers have from time to time mixed varying proportions of water gas with coal or petroleum gas. As the water gas is odorless its presence is not readily detected; and when it is mixed with coal or oil gas a large quantity of the mixture may escape into the air without being noticed. In many communities and states the use of water gas is prohibited for this reason. Frost Cartridges In the Monthly Weather Review, April, 1911, Professor a. G. McAdie describes a new device for protecting fruit trees from frost; viz., the “frost eartridge.” Just as orchard heaters marked a distinct advance over the old-style open fires, which warmed up all out of doors, so it is believed that these cartridges, which can be used in close proximity to the fruit to be protected, will prove to be more effective and economical than heaters placed on the ground. The cartridge consists of a cylindrical tube of heavy cardboard or other suitable slow-burning material, which is filled with a mixture of crude oil, gravel and sawdust. Two stoppers are provided to close the ends of the tube. When filled, the cartridge j; suspended by a wire about three feet below the fruit. When used, the stoppers are removed and a torch is applied to small amounts ?f cotton waste, which have been soaked in kerosene and placed at the ends of the cartridge. a cartridge case two feet long and one and a half inches in diameter will burn about two hours. If the combustion is good there will be nothing left but the gravel and a small residue of charred cardboard. The tubes may be filled during the afternoon hours, although it is found that they will hold the oil without le akage and without softening for several days. . There are two objections to the use of thIS dev'ce in its present stage of developme nt: (1) the danger of fire from the burning ends, and (2) the large amount of soot given off, a portion of which is deposited upon th e fruit. Experiments are in progress looking to the atomization of thp Cl'lIfk 011 so that com bustion will be improved.
This article was originally published with the title "Abstracts from Current Periodicals" in Scientific American 105, 9, 188 (August 1911)