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IN the earliest attempt to classify animated nature Linnæus excited no indignation, though he united Man and Apes in one order of the class of Mammalia, which he designated the Primates. In our days, however, a scientific dispute has arisen whether the human race is to be separated from the apes by the rank of an order or a sub-order, but as this is a question of the value to be attributed to the idea of orders and sub-orders in a systematic edifice, Ethnology is not called upon to join in the discussion. Richard Owen thought that he had ascertained that in man alone the cerebellum is completely eclipsed by the cerebrum, and that a decidedly superior rank was thus secured to us. But even naturalists who, with Gratiolet, oppose the doctrine of historically successive transmutations of species, have acknowledged that this assertion was founded only on erroneous observations.
The distinction between man and apes, as bimanous and quadrumanous, has also been set aside by recent investigations. The tarsal bones of the gorilla resemble those of man in all important respects—in number, arrangement, and shape; only the metatarsal bones and phalanges of this animal are relatively longer and slimmer, while the hallux is not merely comparatively shorter and weaker, but, in conjunction with its metatarsal bone, is attached
to the tarsus by a more flexible joint." But though the attachment of the flexors of the toes may be somewhat different in man, the prehensile foot of the ape possesses three muscles (M. peroneus longus, flexor brevis, extensor brevis) which are wanting in the hand.2 Although the hinder limbs of the gorilla must therefore be recognized as genuine feet, their arrangement differs from that of our foot, and by this alone the morphological rank of man is raised far above that of the highest apes; for we reckon as higher the bodily construction which restricts special functions to special organs. Conversely, we regard as lower, those creatures which accomplish a variety of actions with the same members, as for instance, birds which are obliged to use their mandibles (which serve us only for the mastication of food) for prehension, and occasionally for climbing; in other words, for locomotion. The fore and the hind limbs of apes perform the same service, i.e., they grasp and climb, from which it may be conjectured that the locomotion of these creatures is mainly conducted by means of climbing. The anthropomorphous apes, it is true, endeavour to walk erect, but they accomplish only short distances, and this not without effort. In the Malay Archipelago the Hylobates, which otherwise stand far nearer to man than the other three highest apes, always walk erect, although with bent knees, but, to keep their balance, they touch the earth alternately to the right and left with the tips of their long fingers which reach down to the ground. On the other hand it must be admitted that in some races of mankind the foot is used for grasping, especially in the case of certain Nubian tribes 4 who hold fast to the ship's tackle with the hallux, and the natives of the Philippines, who pick up small coins from the ground with their toes; even in the midst of European civilization, caligraphers and painters have, in consequence of bodily defects, guided pen and pencil with their toes.5 Still these slight approximations scarcely narrow the wide
i Huxley, Man's Place in Nature, p. 23.
3 Dr. Mohnike, Die Affen der indischen Welt. Ausland, vol. xlv. 1872. No. 3, § 714.
* G. Pouchet, Plurality of the Human Race, p. 39. London, 1864. 5 Mohnike, No. 36, p. 847. Waitz, Anthropologie, i. 117.
Men and Apes compared.
chasm between us and the apes, which is mainly founded on the division of labour between the fore and hinder limbs. As soon as the child ceases to use its hands for locomotion, it has acquired a high rank in creation. If the foot of the gorilla only preserves the distinction that the hallux can be opposed to the other toes, it becomes by this an organ of prehension and unfit for walking. Apes always tread either on the outer edges of their soles or, like the orang or chimpanzee, on the backs of their bent finger-joints. Man in contrast with the ape, stands, walks, runs, jumps, dances, climbs, swims, rides, sits, and can remain for a long time in a recumbent position. The erect gait has caused the shortening of the anterior limbs, and has also, as Carl Vogt observes, given rise to the dish-like form of the pelvis as a support to the intestines.7 Our comparatively spacious skull is poised on the support afforded by the vertebral column, and if the jaws greatly protrude, as in the negroes, the balance is restored by the elongation of the occiput. The anterior limbs, released from their functions of locomotion, now serve for prehension only, and as yet they have always been found adapted to carry out every purpose of the human mind.8
Naturalists such as Pruner Bey have given currency to the assertion that the vocal organs of the apes are not adapted to the ejaculation of articulate sounds, but this statement has been refuted by Darwin, who cited as an example a monkey of Paraguay, 9 which, when excited, emits six distinct sounds which excite similar emotions in its comrades. And although the dentition of man and apes in the Old World is alike, the permanent canine tooth is developed in us before the last molar teeth, and of the molar teeth, the front before the back; in the
5 Darwin, Descent of Man, vol. i. p. 139.
8 Steinthal (Psychologie und Sprachwissenschaft, vol. i. p. 342, $ 453. Berlin, 1871) maintains that our eye is assisted by the arms in the recognition of the relations of space, and that hence the knowledge of space is more developed in man than in animals. But the same service is rendered to the apes by their arms, and to the elephant by its trunk, and the antenna of the insects perform perhaps better services.
• Cebus Azarae. Darwin, Descent of Man, vol. i. p. 53,
apes, on the contrary, the development of the canine teeth forms the conclusion of dentition, and the second back molar tooth appears before the front ones. Finally, the early disappearance of the intermaxillary bone in the human infant may be cited as a distinction from the apes.
These last facts oblige us to glance at the evolutionary history of man, which has gained great importance since Johann Friedrich Meckel, of Halle, asserted in 1812, that every animal in its immature condition (and this lasts from the fecundation of the egg to the first sexual functions) passes through all the forms which occur during the entire life of the animals of every grade beneath it. At the time of birth the gap between the child and the young of the ape is as yet very narrow. Novices might be puzzled to distinguish between the skulls of children and young chimpanzees. The brains of children and young apes approach very closely in size, but of all parts of the body, the brain of the ape grows the least. Thus, although the brain of the anthropomorphous ape contains all the main parts of the human skull, its development nevertheless assumes quite another direction. In the course of growth, the young of the orang' or chimpanzee, which closely resemble our children in their ways, gradually lose their resemblance to the human structure. Before the change of teeth has begun, the brain of the ape has usually attained its completion, whereas in the child its proper development is just then actively beginning. In the apes, on the contrary, the facial bones grow in an animal direction, so that finally the largest ape has the brain of a child and the jaws of an ox.
Thence it follows, that a man would never originate from the progressive evolution of the apes, for their development is directed to different ends, and the longer they advance towards these ends, the greater are the contrasts. It is in quite the lowest species of apes, the Uistiti of Eastern Brazil, which are, as it were, behindhand in their evolution, that the bony portion of the head presents a greater resemblance to that of man than in the anthropomorphous species. 10 It is only a popular misapprehension that, by the theory of the transmutation of species, man is supposed to be descended from one of the four highest
10 Virchow, Menschen und Affenschädel, pp. 25, 26. Berlin, 1870.