English geologist Charles Lyell published in London The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man with Remarks on Theories of the Origin of Species by Variation. The publisher's advertisements inserted at the back of the first edition were dated January 1863.
Though he had been slow to accept evolutionary theory, and long remained skeptical about the question of human origins, Lyell became convinced in the late 1850s of the antiquity of man by the increasing number of discoveries of man-made flint tools found alongside the fossil remains of extinct animals. After collecting and analyzing the evidence for several years, Lyell made the case for human antiquity in his Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, a work in which he also announced his acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution as “the best explanation yet offered of the connection between man and those animals which have flourished successively on the earth.” Lyell’s decision to include in this work the argument for evolution by natural selection, as well as information concerning the relationship between man and the primates, raised the level of scientific controversy concerning the whole issue of human antiquity, which had previously been developing mainly on the basis of geological, paleontological, and archaeological evidence without direct reference to the larger issues of evolution. The book also took the topics out of the confines of scientific journals and brought them to a much larger audience through Lyell’s superb powers of exposition.
Through the many reviews of this book published in popular magazines and newspapers, the public was treated to even more information on the topic. It is probably because of the success of Lyell’s work, along with those of Huxley, John Lubbock, that Darwin chose to bypass the subject of human antiquity in the Descent of Man (1871), writing:
“The high antiquity of man has recently been demonstrated by the labours of a host of eminent men, beginning with M. Boucher de Perthes; and this is the indispensable basis for understanding his origin. I shall, therefore, take this conclusion for granted, and may refer my readers to the admirable treatises of Sir Charles Lyell, Sir John Lubbock, and others.”