Page images

human races on the other. Speaking of the unusually large cavity which separates the two layers of bone in the skull, just above the eyes, thus causing the outer layer to project enormously, Professor Rolleston, an able English anatomist, “assures us, that, if these frontal




FIG. 34. — Comparative Section of Three Skulls.

a. Front. b. Back.

sinuses had been found without the skull to which they are attached, he would have been a bold man indeed who would venture to pronounce them human.” 1

A mere comparison of the views in Fig. 33 with the skull in Fig. 35 will suffice to show the vast progress of the race from the former to the latter type.

1 Quoted by Allen, Popular Science Monthly, Nov., 1882.

The Carstadt man, with his animalistic, barrel-like chest, stout, misshapen limbs, with his startlingly flattened head, forehead jutting far out just above the eyes, and the eye-sockets bulging so widely at the side of the head as to be visible even from behind, and with gorillalike eye-teeth, must have presented an appearance in the highest degree hideous and ferocious. But, if this was the appearance of the Canstadt man, what must we imagine to have been the appearance of those earliest men, or man-like animals, the makers of flint implements of the mammalian age ?

Here facts are lacking, and all that can be said is conjectural. Yet a scientific conjecture is far better than no thought on a subject ; for, as Lord Bacon has well said, “truth emerges sooner from mistake than from confusion." Says Grant Allen in the article so frequently quoted,

“We may not unjustifiably picture him to ourselves as a tall and hairy creature, more or less erect, but with a slouching gait, black-faced and whiskered, with prominent prognathous (projecting] muzzle, and large, pointed canine teeth, those of each jaw fitting into an interspace in the opposite row. These teeth, as Mr. Darwin suggests, were used in the combats of the males. His forehead was no doubt low and retreating, with bony bosses [knobs] underlying the shaggy eyebrows, which gave

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

him a fierce expression, something like that of the gorilla. But already, in all likelihood, he had learned to walk habitually erect, and had begun to develop a human pelvis [hips), as well as to carry his head more straight upon his shoulders.”

Of the existence of ape-like, primitive men, many are no less certain than if their bones had been discovered ; for, as Sir John Lubbock has well said, the question is not whether these men had bones, but whether they actually existed ; and that they did exist is amply proved by the rude flakes of flint which they left, as well as by the bones of animals on which the impressions of those flint knives still remain. Yet there are chances that more light may sometime be thrown on this difficult subject; for, says Lyell, in closing his great work, “ The Antiquity of Man,"

“We have not yet searched those pages of the great book of Nature in which alone we have any right to expect to find records of the missing links alluded to: the countries of the anthropomorphous [man-like) apes are the tropical regions of Africa, and the Islands of Borneo and Sumatra, — lands which may be said to be quite unknown in reference to their pliocenel and postpliocene mammalia."

1 Belonging to the latter part of the tertiary age.




THE complete history of the growth of the

development theory would in itself afford a wonderful illustration of a process of evolution.

Whatever be one's knowledge of botany or zoology, whatever be one's bias regarding the application of the theory, one cannot fail to see that the thought of to-day is permeated by the one idea of growth, progress, evolution. That thought rules our pursuit of knowledge in all directions, physical, philosophical, ethical.

From the works of Aristotle down to those of the scientists and philosophers of to-day, we find here and there thoughts, suppositions, and conclusions tending towards such an explanation of the organic world as has only been formulated into a working hypothesis since the patient accumulation of facts bearing on the subject was begun by Mr. Darwin, almost half

« PreviousContinue »