“SPEAK, O man, less recent! Fragmentary fossil!
Primal pioneer of pliocene formation,
Hid in lowest drifts below the earliest stratum
Of volcanic tufa!
“Older than the beasts, the oldest Palaeotherium;
“Eo—Mio—Plio—whatsoe’er the ‘cene’ was
“Or has the professor slightly antedated
“Wert thou true spectator of that mighty forest
“Tell us of that scene,—the dim and watery woodland,
“When beside thee walked the solemn Plesiosaurus,
“Tell us of thy food,—those half-marine refections,
“Speak, thou awful vestige of the earth’s creation,
Even as I gazed, a thrill of the maxilla,
And from that imperfect dental exhibition,
“Which my name is Bowers, and my crust was busted
|1. THE PLIOCENE SKULL. This extraordinary fossil is in the possession of Prof. Josiah D. Whitney, of the State Geological Survey of California. The poem was based on the following paragraph from the daily press of 1868: “A human skull has been found in California, in the pliocene formation. This skull is the remnant not only of the earliest pioneer of this State, but the oldest known human being. . . . The skull was found in a shaft 150 feet deep, two miles from Angels in Calaveras County, by a miner named James Watson, who gave it to Mr. Scribner, a merchant, who gave it to Dr. Jones, who sent it to the State Geological Survey. . . . The published volume of the State Survey of the Geology of California states that man existed here contemporaneously with the mastodon, but this fossil proves that he was here before the mastodon was known to exist.” [back]|