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Worlds Before AdamThe Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform$
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Martin J. S. Rudwick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226731285

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.001.0001

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The human species in geohistory (1830–37)

The human species in geohistory (1830–37)

Chapter:
(p.407) Chapter 28 The human species in geohistory (1830–37)
Source:
Worlds Before Adam
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.003.0029

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

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