Pagina:Scientia - Vol. IX.djvu/132

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124 scientia

The magnitude and visible complexity of the brain are possibly two of the factors which contribute towards the manifestation of intellect; but they cannot be the only ones: there must be others of equal or even greater importance, such as the ultimate structure of the grey matter, and the degree of perfection in the adjustment of parts. It is possible that the character of the circulation and the nature of the blood-supply may not be without influence, so that the intellect may actually be an affair not only of the head but the heart. There may be yet other factors of a more recondite character.

However this may be, the important fact remains that the Mousterian men, so far as we have any knowledge of them, seem to have been endowed with better brain than is common among existing races, whether savant or civilized. On the other hand, they were obviously more brutal than existing men in all the other ascertainable characters by which they differ from them; the great frontal torus, and the occipital torus as well, the retreating forehead, and the massive chinless lower jaw are some of the more striking of the numerous simian characters which they display.

Thus, as we proceed backwards in time Man departs farther from the ape in the size of his brain, but approaches nearer to the ape in the characters of his bodily framework. This must be regarded as a highly significant fact.

The Mousterian skeletons are not perhaps quite the earliest remains of Palaeolithic Man; indeed the lower jaw discovered last year at Mauer, not far from Heidelberg, is unquestionably older. This presents many simian characters, but that it belonged to a man is shown by its completely human dentition.

Below the Pleistocene human remains are unknown. Fragments of flint with chipped edges, supposed by some to be human artefacts, are not uncommon, and are found as far back as the Oligocene. If a tool-making animal were already in existence at this early date, our attempts to frame a consistent hypothesis of the course of human evolution would be greatly simplified, but for the existence of such a being far more cogent evidence is required than any winch has so far been forthcoming.