Chapter

The human species in geohistory (1830–37)

in Worlds Before Adam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226731285
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226731308 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.003.0029
The human species in geohistory (1830–37)

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This chapter describes the further accumulation of evidence that seemed to tie the human species, and indeed primates as a whole, back into geohistory. French naturalist Paul Tournal proposed that the human portion of geohistory—coming at the tail end of an inconceivably vast span of prehuman geohistory—needed to be redefined to include a lengthy “antehistoric period,” preceding the few millennia of recorded human history. This explicitly opened up a conceptual space for a preliterate history of the human species, or what would later be termed prehistory. However, there was continued resistance to the possibility that the history of the human species might have overlapped substantially with that of the “antediluvial” mammals; or, in other words, that human history might extend back into the part of geohistory represented by the Superficial (or “diluvial”) deposits. The case for the contemporaneity of the human species with the extinct mammals remained unresolved (and continued to be for another quarter-century).

Keywords: human species; primates; geohistory; prehistory

Chapter.  8307 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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