Primitive Man by Louis Figuier has become one of the most widely read and influential books ever written.
Published in numerous editions and translated into virtually every modern language, Figuier’s Primitive Man has not been out of print since 1871.
It presents the evidence of actual relics of prehistoric life, with special attention to those found in France.
Paleoanthropology, the study of the evolution of humanity, arose in the nineteenth century.
Excavations in Europe uncovered a series of archaeological discoveries that provided proof that the antiquity of human life on Earth was far longer than the biblical six thousand years, and by the 1880s scientists had constructed a basic paradigm of what ‘primitive’ human life was like.
At first, Man could only dwell in caves and hollows of the earth, and his clothing was made from the skins of beasts.
The few simple tools or weapons he contrived showed one chief material, except wood for handles, and that was stone.
Horn and bone came into use for some minor implements, but stone was the material mainly employed for tools and weapons.
If fire was known, this added to the comfort of primitive man; and shells perforated and strung made jewelry.
If there was any money it was shell money.
Burial customs arose, and funeral feasts.
The history of primitive mankind is divided into two great ages: The Stone Age, and The Age of Metals.
Figuier’s writing is lucid, involving and evocative, and sheds light on the issue of what is basic to all human nature, and what is culturally influenced.
Further, it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.
LOUIS FIGUIER (1819–1894) was a noted French author and scientist. He was the author of numerous successful works: Les Grandes inventions anciennes et modernes (1861), Le Savant du foyer (1862), La Terre avant le déluge (1863), La Terre et les mers (1864), and Primitive Man (1871).