This is not the longest chapter in this book, but to anyone who wishes to prove our theory "in a hurry" it may be commended, for it brings proof to bear so startling, so incontrovertible, that we wonder how these observations could have been made by the regular scientists and their significance been overlooked. But then the regular scientists had a theory of the earth's composition in their minds before they made these observations. And the theory being there first would not budge to make room for the truth.
These observations concern the presence in the polar regions of the mammoth. That scientists should find old tusks and remains of this animal is perhaps surprising, though it could be explained in some way or other; but they also find perfectly fresh bodies of these animals. They reason that these fresh bodies were preserved in that condition in the ice for hundreds, perhaps thousands of centuries, but we shall show that this is not the case. But let us marshal our evidence gradually.
The reader will remember that the mammoth and the mastodon are two elephant-like animals but
much larger than our elephant of the tropics. They were vegetarian animals and, like the elephant, inhabitants of a warm country. When their remains were first discovered in the polar regions, therefore, it was thought that at one time the polar regions had been very warm, with plenty of vegetation, and that owing to the gradual change of the earth's axis, the area which was once hot had gradually been brought into positions where it grew colder until at last the mammoth and mastodon were frozen out. Let us see whether this idea fits all the facts in the case. But first let us see what those facts are.
In J. W. Bud's "The World's Wonders" we read:
"The farther north we penetrate, in greater abundance are found vestiges of elephants, tortoises, crocodiles, and other beasts and reptiles of a tropical climate. These are found in greatest abundance along the banks of rivers flowing from the north, seeming to prove that there is, somewhere beyond the frozen belt not yet penetrated by man, a warm country, with climate and productions similar to those of the tropics. Along the borders of Siberia, the remains of tropical animals are so commonly found as to constitute a considerable source of commerce. In Asiatic Russia there is not a single stream or river on the banks or in the bed of which are not found bones of elephants, or other animals equally strange to that climate. In 1799, a fisherman of Ton-goose, named Schumachoff, discovered a tremendous
elephant--perfect as when thousands of years before, death had arrested its breath--encased in a huge block of ice, clear as crystal. This man, like his neighbors, was accustomed, at the end of the fishing season, to employ his time in hunting for elephant tusks along the banks of the Lena River, for the sake of the bounty offered by the government; and while so employed, in the ardor of his pursuit, he passed several miles beyond his companions when suddenly there appeared before his wondering eyes the miraculous sight above alluded to. But this man was ignorant and superstitious, and instead of hastening to announce his wonderful discovery for the benefit of science, he stupidly gazed upon it in awe and wonder, not daring to approach it. For several successive seasons from the time when he first discovered it, did Schumachoff make stealthy journeys to his crystallized monster, never finding courage sufficient to approach it closely, but simply standing at a distance, once more to feast his eyes on the wonder, and to carry away in his thick head enough of terror to guarantee him a nightmare for a whole month of nights. At last he found the imprisoned carcass stranded on a convenient sand-bank, and boldly attacked it, broke the glittering casing, and roughly despoiling the great beast of its splendid tusks, hurried home and sold them for fifty roubles, leaving the well preserved bulk of elephant meat, thousands of years old, yet juicy and without
Click to enlarge
DISCOVERY OF THE MAMMOTH ENCASED IN ICE
taint, to be devoured by wolves and bears or hacked to bits by natives as food for their dogs."
We next turn to Dr. H. D. Northrop's "Earth, Sky, and Sea", where we find some later information about this same case. It seems that after the fisherman had left the mammoth carcass he told of its whereabouts and a party set out to examine it:
"For some time the flesh of this animal was cut off for dog-meat by people around, and bears, wolves, gluttons, and foxes, fed upon it till the skeleton was nearly cleared of its flesh. About three-fourths of the skin, which was of a reddish-gray color, and covered with reddish wool and black hairs about eight inches long, was saved, and such was its weight, that it required ten men to remove it; the bones of the head, with the tusks, weighed four hundred and sixteen pounds. The skeleton was taken to St. Petersburg, where it may still be seen in the Museum of Natural History. The animal must have been twice the ordinary size of the existing elephant, and it must have weighed at least twenty-thousand pounds."
This same author goes on to say:
"Every year in the season of thawing (in Northern Asiatic Russia) the vast rivers, which descend to the Frozen Ocean in the north of Siberia, sweep down with their waters innumerable portions of the banks
and expose to view the bones buried in the soil and excavations left by the rushing waters. It is curious that the more we advance toward the north of Russia, the more numerous do the bone depositaries become. In spite of the undoubted testimony often repeated, of numerous travelers, we can scarcely credit the statements made respecting some of the islands of the glacial sea near the poles, situated opposite the mouths of the Lena and of the Indigirska.
"All the islands nearest to the mainland, which is about thirty-six leagues in length, except three or four small rocky mountains, are a mixture of sand and ice, so that when the thaw sets in and their banks begin to fall, many mammoth bones are found. All the isle is formed of the bones of this extraordinary animal, of the horns and skulls of buffaloes, or of an animal which resembles them, and of some rhinoceros horns.
"New Siberia and the Isle of Lachon are for the most part only a mass of sand, of ice, and of elephant's teeth. At every tempest the sea casts ashore new quantities of mammoth's tusks, and the inhabitants of Siberia carry on a profitable trade in this fossil ivory. Every year during the summer innumerable fishermen's barks direct their course towards this isle of bones, and during winter immense caravans take the same route, all the convoys drawn by
dogs, returning laden with the tusks of the mammoth, weighing each from 150 to 200 pounds. The isle of bones has served as a quarry of this valuable material for export to China for five hundred years, and it has been exported to Europe for upwards of a hundred. But the supply from these strange mines remains undiminished.”
All we have to say to those last statements is that the supply must be replenished right along or such a thing could not be so everlasting. And we think there can be no doubt that these supplies of remains have been and are being replenished right to the present moment.
In his book, "In the Lena Delta", George W. Melville, the United States naval officer and explorer, also tells of the immense tusks, in this case stained black by being buried in peat bogs, which he saw in that country. In some cases they measured nine feet along the curve, and were thirty inches in circumference at the end near the skull. He saw one train of thirty sleighs laden with the tusks on its way to China.
Our next witness is Nordenskiold who tells in his "Arctic Voyages" of the traffic in mammoth tusks along the river Yennssej to China and Russia. A little later he says:
"In the Siberian Polar Sea, the animal and vegetable types, so far as we can judge beforehand, exclusively consist of survivals from the Glacial period
which next preceded the present, which is not the case in the Polar Sea where the Gulf Stream distributes its waters and whither it thus carries types from more southerly regions."
It is evident that Nordenskiold has forgotten that the currents which he thinks carry southerly types to the polar sea, really come from the north, from the polar regions. And we shall show that these animals which are apparently survivals from the glacial period are really inhabitants of the interior of the earth which, owing to its climatic conditions, is now the home of animals and vegetable species which flourished on the outer surface of the earth in the carboniferous era of giant ferns, mammoths, and other species characteristic of that period of damp, steamy, warm climate.
But Nordenskiold admits that the finding of mammoth bones, etc., in the Siberian "tundras" or immense plains of sand drifts, is a puzzle to the orthodox geologist. For these drifts were formed quite recently, and yet they contain remains of animals which the orthodox scientist believes to be thousands of years old and no longer existing. He says:
"The tundra has been formed under climatical conditions very similar to the present, which is further confirmed by the geognostic formation of the strata. It has, therefore, long been difficult of explanation
for the geologist that just in those sandy strata is found a large number of remains of mammoths, rhinoceroses, etc., that is to say, of animal types which for the present live only in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Collections from these regions have a peculiar interest from the remarkable circumstance that in the frozen soil of the tundra are found, not only skeletons, but also flesh, hide, hair, and entrails of animal forms which died out many thousands of centuries ago. Among our collections may be mentioned, large pieces of mammoth hide found along with some fragments of bone where the Mesenkin falls into the Yenissej, the skull of a musk-ox, remarkable for its size, found with fragments of mammoth bones in another tundra valley south of Orlovskoj, a very rich collection of sub-fossil shells found principally between Orlovskoj and Gostinoi."
Now that is a very clear statement of the difficulty in which the orthodox scientist finds himself. Here is a new formation--the tundra--and in it he finds skins and bones and entrails of animals which are supposed to be some thousands of centuries old. It is obvious that they cannot be as old as that, or else they would not be there. And the fact that parts of hides and entrails are found--not fossilized but simply frozen--and that semi-fossilized shells are also found, shows that the shells are older than the hides and bones. For in thousands of centuries the hides and entrails would certainly have disintegrated and
left nothing but fossil imprints. A little later Nordenskiold says:
"Few scientific discoveries have so powerfully captivated the interest both of the learned and unlearned as that of the colossal remains of elephants, sometimes well preserved with hair and flesh in the frozen soil of Siberia. Such discoveries have more than once formed the object of scientific expeditions and careful researches by eminent men, but there is still much that is enigmatical with respect to a number of circumstances connected with the Mammoth period of Siberia, which perhaps was contemporaneous with our Glacial period. Specially is our knowledge of the animal and vegetable types, which lived at the same time as the mammoth, exceedingly incomplete, although we know that in the northernmost parts of Siberia, which are also most inaccessible from land, there are small hills covered with the bones of the mammoth and other contemporaneous animals. . . ."
A little later Nordenskiold sailed for the New Siberian Islands:
"These islands are very remarkable from a scientific point of view, being very rich in the remains of the mammoth and other animals of the same period, which are found in greater abundance among them than on the tundra of the mainland. Some of the sand-banks on their shores are so full of the bones
and tusks of the mammoth that the ivory collectors who for a series of years traveled every year from the mainland to the islands in dog-sledges, used to return in autumn when the sea was again covered with ice, with a rich harvest. According to Hedenstrom, the only educated person who has examined these islands in summer, there are besides in the interior hills which are covered with the remains of the mammoth, the rhinoceros, horse, aurochs, bison, sheep, etc."
Special collections were made by Nordenskiold of specimens that would aid him in determining what he admitted was a "difficult problem": how it was possible for the progenitors of the Indian elephant to live in the ice deserts of Siberia.
Yes the problem is difficult when you do not know all the facts, but when we know that the mammoth still lives in the interior, then we can easily understand the situation.
Perhaps the reader says, "But you have not actually proved that yet". But let the reader wait until all the evidence is in. We wish to put the matter beyond the shadow of a doubt, and so we call upon every witness who has seen these remains, but we shall leave the most remarkable case until the last.
In Edwin S. Grew's "The Romance of Modern Geology" we read of the finding of mammoth remains
in France including a tusk which is carved with a rough but clever picture of a mammoth. That proves that the animal still existed on the outer surface of the earth when mankind had come upon the scene. Mr. Grew also confirms the facts we have told above of the finding of the complete mammoth in the ice by the Russian fisherman in Siberia. He adds that Mr. Adams of the St. Petersburg Museum was sent by the Czar to examine the carcass and found it in a still fresh condition.
He tells us that:
"The Yakuts of the neighborhood had cut off the flesh, with which they had fed their dogs; wild beasts, such as white bears, wolves, wolverines, and foxes had also fed upon it, and traces of their foot-steps were seen around. The skeleton almost cleared of flesh, remained whole, with the exception of one foreleg. The spine of the back, one scapula, the pelvis, and other three limbs were still held together by the ligaments and by parts of the skin; the other scapula was found not far off. The head was covered with a dry skin; one of the ears was furnished with a tuft of hairs; the balls of the eyes were still distinguishable; the brain still occupied the cranium but seemed dried up; the point of the lower lip had been gnawed and the upper lip had been destroyed so as to expose the teeth; the neck was furnished with a long flowing mane; the skin, of a dark-grey
color, covered with black hairs and a reddish wool, was so heavy that ten persons found great difficulty in transporting it to shore.
"There was collected, according to Mr. Adams, more than thirty-six pounds weight of hair and wool which the white bears had trod into the ground while devouring the flesh. This mammoth was a male, so fat and well fed, according to the assertion of the Tungusian chief, that its belly hung down below the joints of its knees. Its tusks were nine feet, six inches in length, measured along the curve, and its head without the tusks weighed four hundred and fourteen pounds avoirdupois."
But Mr. Grew has something even more remarkable than this corroborative testimony to tell us, and we shall quote other writers to confirm him. He goes on in this same book to tell of:
"A very curious example of the Siberian Mammoth was discovered only a few years ago by a Lamut of one of the Arctic Villages, and through the energy of Dr. Herz was eventually removed in pieces to St. Petersburg. . . . . It was sunk in frozen ground, and this cold storage treatment had preserved it in an extraordinary manner. If the Siberian natives who had discovered it partially buried in alluvial deposit had not uncovered it, so that the sun was able to play on the carcass and produce
decay, this wonderful primeval monster might almost have been got out whole. As it was, the frozen ground had so kept the remains that Dr. Herz had found well-preserved fragments of food between the teeth, and the remains of a hearty meal in the stomach. There is no doubt that the Mammoth fell into the crevice or pit and damaged himself so much in the fall that he could not crawl out. . . . . ."
The reader will notice that Mr. Grew refers to this mammoth as a "primeval" monster. And that is an example of the sort of thinking that has set all the scientists wrong on these questions regarding the polar regions. Instead of studying the actual facts as we have done in this book they come to the facts with certain fixed ideas in their heads, and they can only understand as many of the facts as fit into their ideas. Everything else they pass by as being of no importance. The reader will see that Mr. Grew has read in his previous studies that the mammoth was a primeval animal--which is true enough as far as it goes. It was a very early animal, and in all the outer world is now extinct. But when he hears of a perfectly fresh carcass being discovered, it never occurs to Mr. Grew nor to Dr. Herz nor to Nordenskiold nor to any other explorer, to think anything else than what he has always thought. They still think of the animal as extinct although its fresh carcass
is before them, and they try to explain the freshness of the carcass by saying that it was preserved by the ice.
But the mammoth and mastodon are inhabitants, as we have seen, of warm climates, and if the animal we have just read about fell into that crevice when he and his fellows still roamed on what must then have been the much warmer climate of Siberia than the present one, it follows that it was many years before the ice came and froze the animal in its grave.
We claim, it will be seen, that if these animals lived in a certain climate--whatever the climate of Siberia happened to be in the days when scientists claim that the mammoth lived--either one of two things must have happened. If the climate gradually grew colder they would be driven off by the inclemency of the change. If it did not change they would be living in Siberia still. But there are no mammoths in Siberia now. So they were driven somewhere by the growing cold. We claim that they took refuge in the interior of the earth--from whence, for all science can prove to the contrary, they may have come in the first place. We further claim that the fresh remains of their bodies which have been found in Siberia are those of mammoths which in their wanderings came a little further south than usual--for the climate around the polar openings would be quite warm enough for them, and
that these animals fell in to ice crevasses in places from which they were carried to the present situations by the movements of the ice--by those great glaciers which have from time to time been referred to in accounts of Greenland.
For consider the alternative supposition. Suppose the mammoth referred to above had really fallen into a pit or water hole a million or so years ago. Suppose that almost immediately afterwards the climate became so cold that the body was frozen in; and climate never does change so quickly. Even in that short interval the food in the stomach and between the teeth would have decomposed. Food begins to break up the minute it reaches the stomach and is acted on by the gastric juice. The heat and moisture of the mouth is such that all food not washed away from the teeth immediately after eating begins to decompose. It would not take a pretentiously educated scientist or veteran Arctic explorer, it would take no more scientifically equipped man than any dentist to tell that when a carcass is found frozen with fresh food between its teeth, that carcass was frozen either immediately after death or even frozen to death.
No, there is no getting away from the fact that the mammoth was alive after the ice was formed,
and in some manner fell into a crevasse and was frozen. And the only place the mammoth could come from to meet such a fate is the interior of the earth, because the interior of the earth and possibly all the land around the polar lips is the only climate in the north where he could survive. When the Siberian climate became cold the means of escape to the south was shut off. If it had not been, the mammoth might have migrated south and been alive in the warmer regions today. But we have seen that the ross-gull and other birds as well as the foxes and bears go north when the winter sets in, and the mammoth either came from the interior of the earth in the first place or else he sought it for a refuge when the Siberian wilds became too cold for him.
Apart from that there is no explanation of these remains at all. R. Lyddeker, a British biologist, writing in Knowledge for 1892 says:
"Along the borders of the Arctic Ocean for hundreds of miles mammoth remains are met with in incredible quantities; and it is still one of the puzzles of geology to account adequately and satisfactorily for the manner in which these creatures perished, and how their bodies were buried beneath the frozen soil before decomposition had begun its work, for it is hardly possible to believe that they
lived in a climate so rigorous that their bodies would have been frozen on the ground immediately after death."
The same writer in Knowledge for 1892, tells of the many discoveries of mammoth flesh in fresh condition and mentions that the natives of Siberia as well as their dogs have eaten of the flesh another striking proof of its freshness. But perhaps the most remarkable testimony of this sort is the fact that an actual banquet has been served from the flesh of this supposedly extinct animal. Readers may remember the newspaper reports of that banquet, several years ago, in Petrograd, at which the flesh of the mammoth, wheat from Egyptian tombs, and other preserved products from the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum were among the items served, the idea being to serve only those things which were thousands of years old. Unfortunately, the scientists had not gone into the history of the mammoth as profoundly as they might, or they would have seen the inconsistencies in their theories which we have pointed out above. And then they would have had to omit the mammoth steak, or at least admit that it was not as old as the other viands they served at this scientific banquet.
But perhaps the reader is not willing to see a whole argument based on what he may consider the one isolated example of a mammoth found with fresh
food between its teeth. He may say one witness is not enough in an important case like this. Very well; let us cite another witness. In June, 1894, Dr. Stephen Bower, one of the foremost American geologists, contributed a long article on extinct animals to the Scientific American Supplement. Of course, like other scientists, he thought that the mammoth was extinct, but he knew that its flesh had been eaten by man--in fact his reference to that fact may be caused by his knowledge of the banquet at Petrograd to which we have referred above. In any case he begins his remarks about the mammoth as follows:
"While the monsters we have described perished many ages before man appeared on the earth, and have never been seen by him alive, the monster of which we are now about to write has been seen by man and its flesh eaten by him. That, however, was after it had been entombed for untold ages in the ice of Arctic regions. The remains of the mammoth are widely diffused over the earth. They have been found in great abundance not only in North America, but also in the frozen regions of Siberia, and indeed all over Asiatic Russia. . . . As far back as the tenth century an active trade has been carried on in fossil ivory. It is estimated that during the past two centuries more than two hundred pairs of fossil tusks have come into the market annually, and the localities where found are far from being exhausted. After
more than forty thousand pairs have been obtained from northern regions the traveler finds them increasing as he approaches toward the north pole. It is said that the soil of Bear Island and Liachoff Island, New Siberia, consists of sand and ice with such quantities of Mammoth remains that they appear as if they were made up of bones and tusks."
Let us break off just a moment to remind the reader how the above corroborates what we have said as to the greater frequency of life and the remains of life as we approach the north polar regions--even the mammoth bones tell the same tale as the gulls and foxes and bears.
Dr. Bowers then proceeds to verify once again the facts we have already heard of:
"But not only have the fossil remains of the Mammoth been found all over the arctic lands as far as man has penetrated, but their bodies, as we have intimated, have been found intact, frozen and preserved in the ice. In the year 1800, the entire body of a mammoth was discovered in a vast stratum of ice on the banks of the river Lena. Afterwards it became disengaged from its icy matrix and white bears, wolves, foxes and dogs fed off its flesh. It was a male and had a long mane on its neck."
And Dr. Bowers gives once more the details which we already know. He goes on, however, to tell of
another instance which other writers have also mentioned:
"A young Russian engineer, named Benkendorf, in the employ of his government, ascended the Indigirka in a steamer in 1846. The season was unusually warm for Siberia, and the country was flooded with water. The stream, which was greatly swollen, cut new channels in many places, melting the ice and frozen soil. In one of these newly cut channels he discovered a mammoth in an upright position, where it had been overwhelmed, probably thousands of years before. As its head and trunk rose and fell with the surging waters he discovered that it was still fastened in the ice and frozen soil by its hind feet. The monster was secured by throwing ropes and chains over its tusks and head, and after its hind feet were released it was safely landed by the aid of more than fifty men and horses. It proved to be of gigantic size, and the whole body was in a fine state of preservation. In its stomach was found the food that had formed its last repast, which consisted of young shoots of the fir and pine, also young fir cones. On the shoulders and along the back grew stiff hairs about a foot long. The hair was dark brown and coarsely rooted. Under the outer hairs there appeared everywhere a soft, warm and thick wool of a fallow brown color."
Dr. Bowers can only account for this surprising freshness by supposing that the freezing of the animal
was instantaneous, and his own theory is that there was a sudden change in the climate which he puts at about the lateness of what he calls the "Noachian deluge". But that is very unscientific, as we know now that changes in climate are gradual, and in serious scientific discussions it is not usual to bring in Noah and the biblical account of the deluge. But in spite of the difficulties, Dr. Bowers makes the most generous acknowledgement of the absolute freshness of this and other specimens found. He even says:
"Many of the animals, as the mammoth, rhinoceros, etc., remain undecayed. Even the capillary blood vessels still retain their contents, showing that there was not the slightest decomposition or breaking down of the tissues, but the catastrophe which overwhelmed them was sudden."
Of the mammoth, therefore, we have the mass of evidence cited to show that the interior of the earth is its habitat. The scientists who have not had this theory to work with have confessed that they cannot explain the phenomenon. But once supply the link which our theory gives and the whole sequence is complete. The mammoth is wandering today in the interior of the earth. When he ventures too near the polar orifice--it must be remembered that the mammoth and mastodon and elephant are all characterized by a tendency to wander widely--he becomes stranded on a breaking ice floe and carried over from the interior regions, to the outer regions or perhaps
falls in a crevasse in ice which afterwards begins to move in some great glacial movement. In these ways the bodies are carried over to Siberia and left where we have seen them discovered. That such a process has been going on for thousands of years is seen from the abundance of remains. Evidently the migratory instinct, which does not change for thousands of years even when the conditions which started it do change, is still working in these animals. And so we have from time to time their silent testimony to the existence and mild climate and vegetation of that interior land which supports them, and which has been giving this and other testimony for so many years without any of our learned scientists as much as once correlating and putting together the evidence--evidence which they alone among us have had the opportunity of collecting but which they collected piece meal, unaware if its importance, puzzled by it, occassionally admitting that they were puzzled, but which they never faced squarely with minds free from preconception. But at last all this evidence has been gathered together. More of it will undoubtedly be forthcoming. And, not for the first time in the history of thought, the orthodox scientists will have to admit that they were wrong in their interpretation of the facts of polar research, and that there is really something new to be found out.
We have referred to the eating of mammoth flesh by scientists and their guests at a banquet, and this evidence of the freshness of the meat of the animal is so remarkable that our readers may well wish to know all the details. As a matter of fact the eating of mammoth flesh by human beings has occurred more than once according to recent reports in newspapers, and, of course, there may be hundreds of cases among the Eskimos or inhabitants of Siberia where some of the carcasses have been found in a fresh condition.
The most talked about mammoth banquet was that given by Professor Herz, of the Imperial Academy of Science of St. Petersburg--as it was then--who had been leader of the expedition into Siberia which unearthed and transported the mammoth in question to the Imperial Museum. Only the bones and the skin were needed for mounting in the museum, and as the professor had kept the whole carcass in cold storage it suddenly occurred to him that it would be quite possible to eat the flesh. Of course he was under the impression that this flesh was over 20,000 years old, an idea which we have already shown to be quite wrong, and he asked scientists in other parts of the world to contribute other ancient foods--such as corn dug up from the ruins of Egyptian cities. As the mammoth flesh was not old at all we need not speak of the other and older items
of this feast. What does concern us is what the guests thought of the meat. But the account of the banquet says that the banquet was a triumph: "particularly the course of mammoth steak, which all the learned guests declared was agreeable to the taste, and not much tougher than some of the sirloin furnished by butchers of today."
Another mammoth meal was eaten by an American traveler and author, Mr. James Oliver Curwood, who was exploring in the far north when his Eskimo fellow travelers found the body of a mammoth exposed by the falling of a cliff-side. Before quoting Mr. Curwood we should like to point out how little the scientists really know about such matters by contrasting what he gives as the animal's age with what Professor Herz gave. Herz put it at 20,000 years; Curwood, quoted in The Chicago Tribune for July 7th, 1912, puts it at 50,000 to 100,000 years. As we have already shown, Herz is nearer the truth than Curwood. But at that he is about 20,000 years wrong. However, here is what Mr. Curwood has to say:
"The flesh was of a deep red or mahogany color, and I dined on a steak an inch and a half thick. . . . The flavor of the meat was old not unpleasant but simply old and dry. That it had lost none of its life-sustaining elements was shown by the fact that the dogs throve upon it."
What Mr. Curwood calls an old flavor--really there could be no such thing any more than there could be a yellow or a blue flavor--is simply the strong flavor due to the character of the animal. Anyone who has eaten bear steak or even venison and contrasted the flavor with beef or mutton will know just what Mr. Curwood is really trying to say.
But there is on record of at least one more mammoth banquet, this time given by Gabrielle D’Annunzio from the flesh of another mammoth, the bones of which repose in a Paris Museum. Here is part of the story as cabled to the Chicago Examiner some years ago:
"Paris, Jan. 31--Meat between forty and fifty thousand years old was the star dish at a banquet given by Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Italian dramatist and poet, at the Hotel Carlton last evening.
"D’Annunzio obtained the flesh from Russia where it was cut from the carcass of a mammoth which was dug out of the ice around the Liakoff Islands, north of Siberia, by Count Stembock Fermer. The count has presented the pachyderm to the Paris Museum of Natural History, where it is about to be exhibited.
"The body embedded in the eternal ice was in perfect condition, at the time of its discovery, a large quantity of the flesh was kept in cold storage and shipped to St. Petersburg.
"This fifty thousand year old frozen meat is being
treasured in Russia, but after repeated efforts, D’Annunzio, through influential friends, succeeded in obtaining several pounds of this rare food-stuff.
"Yesterday's sensational dinner was preliminary to the competition for the Fontenoy Cup, awarded by the French Greyhound Club, of which the poet is one of the most enthusiastic members. His guests were five fellow members of the club and covers were also laid for the favorite hounds of the guests. Describing the banquet afterward to the Examiner correspondent, D’Annunzio said:
"'It was the most successful dinner I ever gave. The elephant meat exceeded my highest expectations. In flavor it was like tortoise flesh, but it was, well--a little tough. . . . . . I had it broiled and served with six different kinds of sauce.'"
Of course the reader will notice that D’Annunzio like everyone else thinks the mammoth flesh was much older than it is in this case forty thousand years is mentioned as a possible age as well as fifty thousand. Now what do the scientists mean by saying a thing is forty thousand years old, then fifty thousand, and then a hundred thousand years? Does not that mean that the whole thing is a guess? Otherwise, the man who said it was forty thousand years old would have some reason for that estimate and that reason ought to convince the man who says it is
fifty thousand years and him who says 100,000 years. Or else the 100,000 year old theory ought to convince the other fellows. Some of them, at least, ought to have some actual evidence on which to base their figures. But as there is no evidence at all, we find guesses all the way from 20,000 to 100,000 years for the age of the mammoth and we find nothing except these guesses, not a single cogent argument. That being the case, it ought to be obvious that a theory such as ours, which explains the actual facts of the case, must supplant these wild guesses. The reason the scientists who say 20,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 years cannot agree is that none of them is right. If any one of them were right he would be able to convince the others by some actual proof or argument. But as all are wrong--almost equally wrong, one might say, although their errors differ by a few thousand years no one man can convince the other. Our own pointing out of the actual facts in the case at once clears away the fog and explains everything in a clear and satisfactory manner.