Calabrian hounds and roasted ivory (or, swerving from anthropocentrism)

Authored by: Noah Heringman

Multispecies Archaeology

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138898981
eBook ISBN: 9781315707709
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315707709-2

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Abstract

In a review of The Epochs of Nature by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, the German naturalist and antiquary Johann Reinhold Forster took issue with Buffon’s radical notion that human beings were a late arrival on the scene of antiquity. More like a writer of romances than a naturalist, in Forster’s view, Buffon defines the limits of the primeval ocean, produces now-extinct megafauna, and then causes the continents to separate before allowing humans to exist. Forster comments disapprovingly: “At last human beings too become inhabitants of this earth” (Forster 1780: 148). Zealous to prove that human antiquity is the only antiquity accessible to science, Forster disregards the uncertainty concerning human origins that is built into Buffon’s account.

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