49. Has man existed on the Earth only since the deluge period? Or did he appear before this epoch? This question is a disputed one now; but its solution, whatever it may be, is only of secondary importance, as it would change none of the established facts, neither it negate the appearance of the human species on Earth prior to the date assigned by the Biblical Genesis, by many thousands of years.
The reason why it has been thought that the advent of man was posterior to the deluge is, because no authentic traces of his appearance previous to this have been found. The bones discovered in diverse places, and which have been thought to belong to a supposed race of pre- diluvium giants, have been recognized as the bones of quadrupeds.
That which is beyond doubt is, that man did not exist either in the primary, transition, or secondary periods, not only because no traces of him are found, but because conditions were not prepared for his appearance. If he has appeared in the tertiary period, it must have been towards the end, and then men must have been very few in number.
Besides, the deluge period, having been short, has not produced notable changes in climacteric and atmospheric influences. Animals and vegetables were about the same before as after. It is then, not a material impossibility that the advent of man took place before this great inundation. The presence of the monkey at this period adds to the probability which recent discoveries appear to confirm. *
Whether or not man has appeared before the great universal deluge, it is certain that his career as a human being has never really commenced to outline itself until the post-deluge period, which is specially characterized by his presence.
* See : « l'Homme antédiluvien » and « Des outils de pierre, » by Boucher de Perthes ; « Discours sur les révolutions du globe, » by Georges Cuvier, with remarks from Dr. Hoefer.