Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Palæolithic Man of the River-Drift

Countless ages ago, there was a period of time to which geologists have given the name of the Pleistocene Age. The part of the earth's surface afterwards called Britain was then attached to the Continent, so that animals could pass over on dry land. The climate was much colder than it is now, and it is known from the bones which have been dug up that the country was inhabited by wolves, bears, mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and other creatures now extinct. No human remains have been found amongst these bones, but there is no doubt that men existed contemporaneously with their deposit, because, in the river drift, or gravel washed down by rivers, there have been discovered flints sharpened by chipping, which can only have been produced by the hand of man. The men who used them are known as Palæolithic, or the men of ancient stone, because these stone implements are rougher and therefore older than others which have been discovered. These Palæolithic men of the river drift were a race of stunted savages who did not cultivate the ground, but lived on the animals which they killed, and must have had great difficulty in procuring food, as they did not know how to make handles for their sharpened flints, and must therefore have had to hold them in their hands

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