Punch,  52 (1867), 148.

Palaeontological Pipes



Letter, Spoof


Geology, Time, Archaeology, Palaeontology, Human Development, Controversy

People mentioned:

T England

Publications cited:

Manchester Guardian

    Begins by explaining that geological studies have prompted him to challenge 'the popular belief' regarding the age of the earth—namely, the claim by geologists that the planet is much older than five thousand years and that the human species appeared on the planet long before then. Presents an extract from a newspaper describing the controversy between James Hall and Edward Maguire over the age of some bones exhumed in New York State: Hall argues that the bones were from a Mastodon 25,604 years old, whereas Maguire insists that the bones were from a 'menagerie elephant' that died forty years previously. This shatters the letter writer's faith in evidence for the 'high antiquity' of the earth and humans, and he proceeds to note reports of smoking-pipes found among the remains of 'extinct organisations'. Thinks that the 'Mastodon' bones and smoking pipes suggest that 'all manner of other pre-historic objects' might be found which are 'indistinguishable from contemporary' ones, and that ancient man had possessions more like our own.

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