« ÎnapoiContinuă »
is also customary among the Jivaros on the Napo. Even yet we have not exhausted the list of nations which adopt this custom,85 but we will merely add that in the beginning of the last century it was also met with by the missionary Zucchelli among the negroes of Cassango.86 Heedless travellers have not failed to revile or ridicule this practice as a senseless absurdity; profound judges on the other hand inform us that it is founded upon a misguided solicitude. Dobrizhoffer, who describes it among the Abipones, informs us that the fathers avoid draughts and fast strictly only because they consider that a material connection still exists between themselves and the new-born infant, so that their excesses or abstinence might affect the child. If the infant dies during the first few days, the women accuse the father of heartless frivolity. 87 In the Antilles, the father who is expecting offspring might not eat the flesh of the turtle or the manati, for in the first case deafness and deficiency of brain, in the second disfigurement by small round eyes, might be apprehended for the child. 88 Similarly, ainong the Indians of British Guayana, on the occasion of a bite of a serpent, the parents and brothers of the wounded person inflict fasts and privations upon themselves for several days.89 Thus the inhabitants of the four quarters of the world have hit on the same ideas and superstitions, a coincidence which can be explained only in two ways; either these errors originated when all the varieties of our race still dwelt together in one narrow home, or they have been independently developed after the dispersion over the entire globe. If the latter be probable, then the mental faculties of all families of mankind are alike, even in their strangest twists and aberrations.
$5 Since the above was printed (Ausland, 1867, p. 1108), Dr. Ploss has published a treatise on the paternal child-bed with a greater profusion of testimony, in the 10th Jahresbericht des Leipzigers Vereins für Erdkunde, pp. 33-48. Leipzig, 1871.
86 Antonio Zucchelli, Missione di Congo, vii. 15, p. 118: Venice, 1712. 87 Geschichte der Abiponer, vol. ii. p. 273.
88 E. B. Tylor, Early History of Mankind, p. 372.
89 C. F. Appun im Ausland, No. 31, p. 440.
III. THE FIRST HOME OF THE HUMAN RACE.
WITH few exceptions all oceanic islands, that is, such as lie at a considerable distance from the nearest continent, have been found uninhabited when first visited by European navigators. That Barent should have discovered no inhabitants on Bears' Island and Spitzbergen in 1596, does not surprise us when we remember their inhospitable position, but it is strange that the same should have been the case in Iceland, for the opposite coast of East Greenland is inhabited by Eskimo as far as 75° north latitude. The earliest colonists of Iceland seem to have been Celtic Christians in the year 795; for there are legends which say that when the Normans first set foot on the "Ice Land," they found croziers, bells, and Irish books on an islet on the south coast, still called Priest's Island. In the Atlantic Ocean the coral-built group of the Bermudas, the volcanic Azores, the volcanic group of Madeira, the volcanic group of the Cape Verd Islands, the volcanic islands in the Gulf of Guinea, the lonely volcanic islands of Fernando Noronha, Trinidad with the Martin Vaz-Klippen Islands, St. Helena, Ascension, Tristan d'Acunha, and even the numerous Falkland Islands, not to mention those in the Antarctic Ocean, were all uninhabited. The volcanic islands of the Marion, Croset, and Kerguelen groups, with those which lie southwards, and the two island volcanoes of St. Paul and Amsterdam, and even Mauritius and Bourbon, and the granitic island of Rodrigue, which is reckoned with them, were all void of human beings. Even New Zealand, extensive as it is, has been inhabited only in modern times, for according to the statements of the Maori, though these are unreliable, their forefathers landed on the northern island about 1400 A.D., while the volcanic group of the Chatham Islands, lying eastwards, was colonized by New Zealanders only during the last century, and the volcanic Auckland Islands to the south are still uncolonized.
In the whole ocean hitherto examined, the Canary Islands
1 They were discovered by the Portuguese, 1470-1486, and were untenanted. Ghillany Martin Behaim.
Continental Origin of Man.
alone were inhabited; here were found the Guanches, now extinct, who at the time of their discovery were no longer aware that a continent existed in their neighbourhood, for on being asked by the Spanish missionary how they had come to their archipelago, they gave the ingenuous answer, "God placed us on these islands, and then forsook and forgot us." Fragments of their language have, however, since indicated that they were scattered members of the Berber family. We know moreover that they were in the habit of making their dead into mummies, and also that they brought goats with them when they first settled in the islands.
Again, the islands in the Pacific Ocean to the west of South America were found uninhabited; among them Juan Fernandez, the scene of Alexander Selkirk's adventures, and Massafuera, S. Felix, and Ambrosia, likewise Sala y Gomez, the volcanic Galapagos Islands, chosen by the buccaneers for their hidingplaces, Cocos Island, and the Revillagigedo group. In some cases even islands which were extensive, and situated near the mainland, remained uninhabited, such as Behring's Island, notorious for the shipwreck of its discoverer, whose name it bears.
Arguing from these historical facts, we may venture to state that the first human beings were inhabitants of a continent. The diffusion of the Malay tribes to which, besides the actual Malays of Sumatra and Malacca and the Javans, belong also the brown tribes with straight hair which, under the name of Polynesians, are distributed over all the tropical or subtropical islands of the South Sea, might be quoted as a single but only apparent exception. Since Wilhelm von Humboldt's researches on the Kawi language, we know that the dominant race in Madagascar also belongs to the Malay family, a fact which was previously disputed. This race of mankind has spread from the Comoro Islands, where the language is Malayan, to Easter Island, from 43° 30′′ east long. to 109° 17′′ west long., that is to say, over five-ninths of the circumference of the world. Nevertheless, it is not primâ facie very credible that the original stock of the Malay family should have arisen on islands. The resemblance of their languages proves that before their dispersion the widely remote members of this family must have inhabited a common home. But this home must be sought only where the Malay nations are still most densely populous. The point from
which these hordes spread, lay therefore somewhere between Sumatra, Java, and the peninsula of Malacca. We may even go somewhat further and look for it on the South Asiatic continent, for in their physical characters the Malays are allied to the great Mongolian race. The extension of the Malay family more than half-way round the world, suffices as an example of how far the migratory instinct may scatter a human family which has once procured means for crossing the sea. But on continents also, the migrations of the earliest human families extended to the remotest districts. A single great language with various shades of dialect fills the whole of South Africa as far as the equator, so that Suaheli of the east coast is not entirely unintelligible even to the Africans on the Gaboon in equatorial West Africa. In language, we ourselves belong to the great circle of Aryan nations, which includes the Celts of Gaul and Britain, all Germans, the Italians, Greeks, and Albanians, all the Sclavonians, the Armenians, the Ossets of the Caucasus, the Kurds, the people of ancient Persia, and the Brahminical Hindoos.
In America, though the case is not quite the same, a similar fact is observable. Setting aside the Eskimo and certain tribes of what was once Russian America, all the inhabitants of the New World, according to the unanimous testimony of all anthropologists, belong to a single stock, so that we might believe them to have sprung from a single parental pair. Although a confusion, such as exists in the districts of the Caucasus, prevails in the vocabulary of their languages, yet the construction of the sentences, or rather the formation of the words, is so peculiar and homogeneous that Spanish missionaries in South America have preferred to preach the Gospel sometimes in the Peruvian Quichua language, sometimes in the Brazilian Tupi or Guarani languages, because the Indians of those parts easily enter into the spirit of those languages, while Spanish and Portuguese are unintelligible to them.
It is true that a family likeness in language, or even a close analogy, is no infallible proof of a common bodily pedigree, for otherwise the nations to the east of the Elbe which formerly spoke Sclavonian and now speak German, must always have been Germans; the English-speaking negroes of the United States must have been Anglo-Saxons, and the Spanish-speaking Indians of Central
Not in Australia.
or South America, blood relations of Calderon. Yet identity or family likeness in language unquestionably proves that all nations included in it must once have been united by a social tie. We may, therefore, conclude that before the separation of their language the whole of the Australians, the South Africans, the Aryan nations, and the Americans possessed a common home, from whence they spread by migration. But if the New World could. be gradually peopled from any one starting-point, we can easily imagine that time alone was required for all continents to become peopled from a single point.
We have as yet merely shown that our race, starting from a common habitat, may gradually have ranged over all continents and peopled them. But what is possible may not be probable, and still less inevitable. Fortunately, geology and our knowledge of the distribution of animals enable us to set narrow limits to the district within which we may expect to find the original home of the human race. Geology teaches us that the layers of the earth's crust are ranged in chronological sequence, so that where abnormal disturbances have not occurred, the most recent lies at the top, the most ancient at the bottom. If we now descend from the highest layer, the forms of creation change; with imperceptible transitions they become more and more to those of the
present time. That which is modern we find above, that which is primitive below, for the history of creations resembles the history of fashions. For we at once observe that, as a rule, the more highly integrated creatures are the newer, the less perfectly integrated, the older. But the zoological forms have not changed everywhere with equal celerity. They have been transformed most rapidly in the Old World, less quickly in North America; they have remained somewhat behindhand in South America, and are most primitive in Australia. Small and remote localities laid aside their organic forms more slowly, or in some cases preserved them altogether.
The fauna of Australia preserves the characters of the age in which forms such as the kangaroo were still usual, while at home we now find marsupials only as fossils of the tertiary period; with the exception of some few smaller species, they have entirely vanished from the face of the earth in the New World. Australia is destitute of all kinds of monkeys, beasts of prey, ungulates and