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It is a fact, that as yet no human bones have been
discovered amongst fossil remains; it is an additional
proof that the fossil races were not varieties of the
species, since they could not have been subjected to
human influence.
I beg to be clearly understood, when I say that
human bones have never been found amongst fossils, to
mean fossils properly so called, or in other words, in
the regular layers of the surface of the earth; for in
turf bogs, in alluvial deposites, as well as in burial
grounds, we can as easily disinter human bones, as
bones of horses or other common animals; they may
also be found in the clefts of rocks, in grottos, where
the stalactites would have congealed over them; but in
the beds which contain the ancient races, amongst the
palæotheria, and even amongst elephants and
rhinoceroses, not a particle of human bone has ever
been discovered.. Many of the workmen in the gypsum
quarries, near Paris, think that the bones with which
they abound are human; but as I have seen many
thousands of these bones, I may be allowed to assert
that they have never produced a single bone that ever
formed a part of the human frame. I have examined at
Pavia the piles of bones collected from the isle of
Cerigo, by Spallanzani, and in defiance of the
assertion of this celebrated observer, I affirm, in like
manner, that there is not one which can be proved to
be human. Scheuchzer's homo diluvii testishas been
placed since my first edition with its real genus, that
of the salamanders; and in an examination which I
have been since enabled to make at Haarlem, through
the kindness



of M. Van Marum, who allowed me to uncover the
parts concealed in the stone, I have substantiated
satisfactorily what I before asserted. We see amongst
the bones found at Cronstadt, the fragment of a jaw,
and some articles of human manufacture; but we know
that the ground was dug up without care, and that no
observation was made of the various depths at which
each relic was discovered. Besides, in every instance,
the fragments said to be human have been found on
examination to be those of some animal, whether they
have been examined themselves, or by figures of them.
Very lately a pretended discovery was made at
Marseilles, in a quarry, for a long time neglected;(1)
but they only proved to be marine productions (tuyaux
(2) The real human bones were carcases fallen
into clefts of the rock, or left in ancient galleries of
mines, or become encrusted; and I extend this assertion
even to the human skeletons discovered at
Guadaloupe,(3) in a rock formed of a collection of
madrepores cast up by the sea, and united by water
strongly imbued with a calcareous matter. (4) The
human bones found near Koestritz,

(1) See le Journal de Marseilles et des Bouches Du Rhone, des 27 Sep.
25 Oct. and ler Nov. 1820.
(2) I am convinced of this by the drawings sent by M. Cottard,
Professor at the College of Marseilles.
(3) Vide Plate.
(4) These skeletons, more or less mutilated, are found near Pont du
Moule, at the north-east coast of the high land of Guadaloupe, in a kind of
slope resting on the steep bank of the island, which the water in great
measure covers at high tide, and which is only a tufa formed and daily
increased by the very small particles of shells and corals which the sea wears
away from the rocks, the whole mass of which coheres very firmly in those
parts which are most frequently left dry. We find, with the aid of a
magnifying glass, that many of these fragments have the same red tint as a
portion of the corals contained in the reefs of the island. These sorts of
formation are common in all the Archipelago of



and pointed out by M. de Schlotheim, were said to
have been extracted from very ancient beds; but this
respectable naturalist is desirous of making known

the Antilles, and are called by the negroes maçonne-bon-
dieu.Their accumulation is the more rapid in proportion as the
sea. is more violent. They have extended the plain of the Cayes
to San Domingo, whose situation is somewhat similar to that of
the Plage da Moule, and sometimes fragments of vessels of
human workmanship are found at a depth of twenty feet from
the surface. A thousand conjectures have been made, and events
have even been imagined to account for these skeletons of
Guadaloupe; but, after all these circumstances, M. Moreau de
Jonnés, corresponding member of the Academy of Science, who
has visited the place, and to whom I am indebted for all this
detail, is of opinion that they are only the carcases of persons
who have been shipwrecked. They were discovered in 1805, by
Manuel Cortes y Campomanes, at that time a staff officer in
the service of that colony. General Ernouf, the governor, had
one extracted with much care. It even had the head and nearly
all the upper extremities. It was left at Guadaloupe, with hopes
of getting one more complete, and then to send the two to
Paris; but when the island was taken by the English, admiral
Cochrane, having found this skeleton at head quarters, sent it
to the English Admiralty, who presented it to the British
Museum. It is now in that collection, and M. Kœnig, keeper of
the mineralogical department, described it in the Philosophical
Transactions of 1814, and I saw it there in 1818. M. Komig'
remarks, that the stone in which it is embedded has not been
cut, but seems to have been simply inserted as a distinct kernel
in the surrounding mass. The skeleton is so superficial, that its
presence must have been visible from the projection of some of
the bones. They still contain some of the animal matter, and
the whole of their phosphate of lime
. The rock, entirely
composed of parcels of coral and compact lime-stone, is easily
dissolved in nitric acid. M. Kœnig has detected fragments of
the millepora miniacea of some madrepores and shells, which
he compares to the helix acuta and turbopica. More recent ly,
general Donzelot has extracted another of these skeletons, now
in the cabinet of the king, of which we give an engraving. It is a
body with bent knees. A portion of the upper jaw is still left,
the left half of the lower, nearly all one side of the trunk and
pelvis, and a great part of the upper extremity, and the lower
left extremities. The rock in which it is embedded is certainly



how much the assertion is still a matter of doubt. (1) It
is the same with articles of human manufacture. Thee
fragments of iron found at Montmartre, are points of
the tools which the workmen employ in blasting, and
which sometimes break in the stone.(2)
Yet human bones preserve equally well with those
of animals under similar circumstances. There is no
difference between the human mummies found in
Egypt, and those of quadrupeds. I collected, in the
excavations made some years since in the old church of
St. Genevieve, some human bones interred beneath the
first race, which may have belonged to some prince of
the family of Clovis, which have still preserved their
forms very accurately. (3) We do not find in ancient
fields of battle that the skeletons of men are more
altered than those of horses, if we allow for the
difference of size; and we find among the fossils,
animals as small as rats still very perfectly preserved.
All these tend to confirm the assertion, that the
human race did not exist in the countries where

travertin, in which are embedded shells of the neighbouring
sea, and land shells still to be found alive in the island, and
which are known as the bulimus Guadaloupensisof Ferrusac.
(1) See Le Traité des Petrifactions of M. de Schlotheim.
Gotha, 1820, page 27; and his letter in the Isis, of 1820; 8th
No. Suppl. No. 6.
(2) It is perhaps necessary to make some mention of the
fragments of sand-stone, of which some talk was made last year
(1824,) in which a man and horse were said to have been found
petrified. The very fact of its being a man and horse, with the
flesh and skin, which must have been visible, was sufficient to
inform the whole world that it was a lusus naturæ, and not a
real petrifaction.
(3) Fourcroy has given an analysis. Ann. du Museum, tome
1. p. 1



fossil bones are found, at the epoch of the
revolutions which buried these bones; for there cannot
be assigned any reason why mankind should have
escaped such overwhelming catastrophes, nor why
human remains should not now be discovered as well
as those of other animals; but I do not wish to
conclude that man did not exist previously to this
epoch. He might have inhabited some confined tract of
country, whence he repeopled the world after these
terrible events; perhaps the places in which he dwelt
have been entirely swallowed up, and his bones buried
at the bottom of the present seas, with the exception of
the small number of individuals who have propagated
the species.
However it may be, the establishment of man in the
country where we have said that the fossil remains of
land animals are found, that is, in the greatest part of
Europe, Asia, and America, is necessarily posterior,
not only to the revolutions which have covered these
bones, but even to those which have laid open the
strata which envelope them, and which are the last
which the globe has been subjected to; whence it is
clear that we can neither draw from the bones
themselves, nor from the more or less considerable
masses of rock or earth which cover them, any
argument in favour of the antiquity of the human
species in these different countries.




On the contrary, in closely examining what has
taken place on the surface of the globe since it was left
dry for the last time, and the continents have hence
assumed their present form; at least in the highest
parts, we clearly see that the last revolution, and
consequently the establishment of present society,
cannot be very ancient. It is one of the results, at the
same time the most clearly proved, and the least
regarded in sound geology; a result the more valuable
as it unites, in an unbroken chain, natural and civil
In measuring the effects produced in a certain time,
by causes still at work, and in comparing them with
those which they have produced since the
commencement of their operations, we can determine
nearly the very moment whence their action may be
dated, which is of nccessity the same as that when our
continents received their present form, or that of the
last retreat of the waters.
It is in fact, from this retreat that we must begin to
calculate the wearing away of our steep eminences, and
the formation of banks of debris at their bases; that
our present rivers began to flow and to deposite their
alluvial spoils; that our present vegetation began to
extend itself and to produce mould; that our present
cliffs have begun to be worn away by the sea; that our
present downs have begun to be accumulated by the
wind; as also from this epoch must we calculate that
colonies of the human race commenced or
recommenced to spread themselves abroad, and to form



establishments in places which nature has assigned to
them. I do not speak of volcanoes, not only because of
their irregular irruptions,hut because nothing proves
that they could have existed beneath the sea, and
therefore they are no service in proving what lapse of
time has occurred since the last retreat of the sea.


MM. Deluc and Dolomieu have most attentively
examined the progress of the lands formed by the
deposites of the rivers; and although at issue on a great
number of the points of their theory of the earth, they
agree in this: these alluvial accumulations increase
very rapidly, and must have augmented much more
quickly at first, when the mountains afforded more
material for the streams, and yet their extent is but
very limited.
The memoir of Dolomieu on Egypt,(l) tends to
prove that, in the time of Homer, the tongue of land
on which Alexander built his city was not then in
existence; and that they were able to navigate from the
island of Pharos, into the gulf, and since called, lake
Mareotis; and that this gulf was then from fifteen to
twenty leagues long, as stated by Menelaus. The nine
centuries then between Homer and Strabo were
suflicient to bring matters to the state described by the
latter, and to reduce this gulf to the form of a lake six
leagues long. It is still even true, that since that period
things have

(1) Journal de Physique, tome xlii. p. 40, &C.



undergone a still greater change. The sands thrown up
by the sea and the wind have formed between the isle
of Pharos and the ancient city, a tongue of land, of
two hundred fathoms in breadth, on which the modern
city has been built. It has blocked up the nearest mouth
of the Nile, and diminished the lake Mareotis to nearly
nothing. During this period the alluvial deposites of
the Nile have been left on the banks, and very much
increased their extent.
The ancients were acquainted with these alterations.
Herodotus says, that the priests of Egypt looked on
their country as the gift of the river Nile. It is only a
short time, he says, that in a manner the Delta has
appeared.(1) Aristotle observes, that Homer speaks of
Thebes, as if it were the only city of Egypt, and makes
no mention of Memphis. (2) The Canopian and
Pelusian mouths of the Nile were formerly the
principal ones; and the coast extended in a direct line
from one to the other; it appears so in the charts of
Ptolemy: since his time, however, the water has been
cast into the Bolbitian and Phatnitic mouths; and at
these entrances the most extensive formations of
accumulated alluvial deposites have been made, which
have given a semicircular contour to the coast. The
cities of Rosetta and Damietta, built on the sea shores
at these mouths, less than a thousand years since, are
now two leagues distant from it. According to
Demaillet, it would only have required twenty-six
years to form a cape half a league in length in front of
Rosetta. (3)

(1) Herod. Euterpe, v. and xv.
(2) Arist. Méteor. lib. i. cap. xiv.
(3) Demaillet Descr. de de l'Egypte, p. 102 and 103.



The height of the soil of Egypt is produced at the
same time as the extension of its surface; and the
bottom of the bed of the river is elevated in proportion
to the adjacent plains, whence the inundation of every
succeeding century much exceeds the height of the
marks it left of its preceding ones. According to
Herodotus, a lapse of nine hundred years was enough
to establish a difference in the level of seven or eight
cubits (ten or twelve feet;) (1) at Elephantia, the
inundation now reaches seven feet higher than during
the reign of Septimus Severus, at the beginning of the
third century. At Cairo, before it is deemed sufficient
for the purpose of irrigating the lands, it must attain a
height of three feet and a half more than was requisite
in the ninth century. The ancient monuments of this
country are all more or less enveloped in the soil. The
mud left by the river even covers the small artificial
hills on which the ancient cities were founded, to a
depth of several feet. (2)
The Delta of the Rhone is no less remarkable for its
accumulations. Astruc details them in his history of
Languedoc; and by a careful comparison of the
descriptions of Mela, Strabo and Pliny, with the state
of the places as they were at the commencement of the
eighteenth century, he proves, by the aid of many
writers of the middle ages, that the arms of the Rhone
have extended themselves

(1) Herod. Euterpe, xiii.
(2) See the Observations on the valley of Egypt, and on the
regular increase of the soil which covers it, by M. Girard, in
the great work on Egypt, and Mod. Mem. v. 2, p. 363. On
which we may remark that Dolomieu, Shaw, and other good
authors, estimate these accumulations much higher than M.
Girard. It is to be regretted, that the thickness of these layers
have been no where examined, either on the primitive soil or
the natural rock.



three leagues during eighteen centuries; that the
alluvial accumulations of a similar kind have been
formed to the west of the Rhone, and that many places
situated six or eight centuries since on the bank of the
sea shore, or large pools, are now many miles inland.
Any person may observe in Holland and Italy, how
rapidly the Rhine, the Po, and the Arno, now that they
are confined within dykes, raise their bed; how their
mouths approach the sea by forming long promontories
at their sides, and can judge by these facts how few
centuries these waves have employed in depositing the
flat plains which they at present traverse.
Many cities which at well known periods of history
were flourishing sea ports, are now several leagues
inland; many have even been ruined in consequence of
this change of situation. Venice can scarcely preserve
the lagoonswhich separate her from the continent; and
in spite of every exertion she will one day become
united to the main land. (1)

We learn from Strabo, that in the time of Augustus,
Ravenna was amongst lagoons, as Venice now is; and
now Ravenna is a league from the shore. Spina was
founded by the Greeks on the sea shore; yet in Strabo's
time it was ninety stadia from it, and it is now
destroyed. Adria in Lombardy, which conferred its
title on the sea, and of which it formed upwards of
twenty centuries and more the principal port, is now
six leagues distant from it. Fortis, has even reckoned it
probable that

(1) See the Memoir of M. Forfait on the lagoons of Venice,
with Mem. de la Classe Phys. de l'Inst. vol. v. p. 213.

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