to him but a mocking simulance. To pronounce any absolute decision on these conflicting doctrines is foreign to our present purpose, which is to show that all of them count among their adherents men of high rank in science.
II. Origin of Man.—Opinion as to the genesis of man is divided between the theories of creation and evolution. In both schools, the ancient doctrine of the contemporaneous appearance on earth of all species of animals having been abandoned under the positive evidence of geology, it is admitted that the animal kingdom, past and present, includes a vast series of successive forms, whose appearances and disappearances have taken place at intervals during an immense lapse of ages. The line of inquiry has thus been directed to ascertaining what formative relation subsists among these species and genera, the last link of the argument reaching to the relation between man and the lower creatures preceding him in time. On both the theories here concerned it would be admitted, in the words of Agassiz (Principles of Zoology, pp. 205-206), that “there is a manifest progress in the succession of beings on the surface of the earth. This progress consists in an increasing similarity of the living fauna, and, among the vertebrates especially, in their increasing resemblance to man.” Agassiz continues, however, in terms characteristic of the creationist school: “But this connexion is not the consequence of a direct lineage between the faunas of different ages. There is nothing like parental descent connecting them. The fishes of the Palaeozoic age are in no respect the ancestors of the reptiles of the Secondary age, nor does man descend from the mammals which preceded him in the Tertiary age. The link by which they are connected is of a higher and immaterial nature; and their connexion is to be sought in the view of the Creator himself, whose aim in forming the earth, in allowing it to undergo the successive changes which geology has pointed out, and in creating successively all the different types of animals which have passed away, was to introduce man upon the surface of our globe. Man is the end towards which all the animal creation has tended from the first appearance of the first Palaeozoic fishes.” The evolutionist, on the contrary (see Evolution), maintains that different successive species of animals are in fact connected by parental descent, having become modified in the course of successive generations. The result of Charles Darwin’s application of this theory to man may be given in his own words (Descent of Man, part i. ch. 6):—
- “The Catarhine and Platyrhine monkeys agree in a multitude of characters, as is shown by their unquestionably belonging to one and the same order. The many characters which they possess in common can hardly have been independently acquired by so many distinct species; so that these characters must have been inherited. But an ancient form which possessed many characters common to the Catarhine and Platyrhine monkeys, and others in an intermediate condition, and some few perhaps distinct from those now present in either group, would undoubtedly have been ranked, if seen by a naturalist, as an ape or a monkey. And as man under a genealogical point of view belongs to the Catarhine or Old World stock, we must conclude, however much the conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have been properly thus designated. But we must not fall into the error of supposing that the early progenitor of the whole Simian stock, including man, was identical with, or even closely resembled, any existing ape or monkey.”
The problem of the origin of man cannot be properly discussed apart from the full problem of the origin of species. The homologies between man and other animals which both schools try to account for; the explanation of the intervals, with apparent want of intermediate forms, which seem to the creationists so absolute a separation between species; the evidence of useless “rudimentary organs,” such as in man the external shell of the ear, and the muscle which enables some individuals to twitch their ears, which rudimentary parts the evolutionists claim to be only explicable as relics of an earlier specific condition,—these, which are the main points of the argument on the origin of man, belong to general biology. The philosophical principles which underlie the two theories stand for the most part in strong contrast, the theory of evolution tending toward the supposition of ordinary causes, such as “natural selection,” producing modifications in species, whether by gradual accumulation or more sudden leaps, while the theory of creation has recourse to acts of supernatural intervention (see the duke of Argyll, Reign of Law, ch. v.). St George Mivart (Genesis of Species) propounded a theory of a natural evolution of man as to his body, combined with a supernatural creation as to his soul; but this attempt to meet the difficulties on both sides seems to have satisfied neither.
The wide acceptance of the Darwinian theory, as applied to the descent of man, has naturally roused anticipation that geological research, which provides evidence of the animal life of incalculably greater antiquity, would furnish fossil remains of some comparatively recent being intermediate between the anthropomorphic and the anthropic types. This expectation has hardly been fulfilled, but of late years the notion of a variety of the human race, geologically ancient, differing from any known in historic times, and with characters approaching the simian, has been supported by further discoveries. To bring this to the reader’s notice, top and side views of three skulls, as placed together in the human development series in the Oxford University Museum, are represented in the plate, for the purpose of showing the great size of the orbital ridges, which the reader may contrast with his own by a touch with his fingers on his forehead. The first (fig. 3) is the famous Neanderthal skull from near Düsseldorf, described by Schaafhausen in Müller’s Archiv, 1858; Huxley in Lyell, Antiquity of Man, p. 86, and in Man’s Place in Nature. The second (fig. 4) is the skull from the cavern of Spy in Belgium (de Puydt and Lohest, Compte rendu du Congrès de Namur, 1886). The foreheads of these two skulls have an ape-like form, obvious on comparison with the simian skulls of the gorilla and other apes, and visible even in the small-scale figures in the Plate, fig. 2. Among modern tribes of mankind the forehead of the Australian aborigines makes the nearest approach to this type, as was pointed out by Huxley. This brief description will serve to show the importance of a later discovery. At Trinil, in Java, in an equatorial region where, if anywhere, a being intermediate between the higher apes and man would seem likely to be found, Dr Eugene Dubois in 1891-1892 excavated from a bed, considered by him to be of Sivalik formation (Pliocene), a thighbone which competent anatomists decide to be human, and a remarkably depressed calvaria or skull-cap (fig. 5), bearing a certain resemblance in its proportions to the corresponding part of the simian skull. These remains were referred by their discoverer to an animal intermediate between man and ape, to which he gave the name of Pithecanthropus erectus (q.v.), but the interesting discussions on the subject have shown divergence of opinion among anatomists. At any rate, classing the Trinil skull as human, it may be described as tending towards the simian type more than any other known.
III. Races of Mankind.—The classification of mankind into a number of permanent varieties or races, rests on grounds which are within limits not only obvious but definite. Whether from a popular or a scientific point of view, it would be admitted that a Negro, a Chinese, and an Australian belong to three such permanent varieties of men, all plainly distinguishable from one another and from any European. Moreover, such a division takes for granted the idea which is involved in the word race, that each of these varieties is due to special ancestry, each race thus representing an ancient breed or stock, however these breeds or stocks may have had their origin. The anthropological classification of mankind is thus zoological in its nature, like that of the varieties or species of any other animal group, and the characters on which it is based are in great measure physical, though intellectual and traditional peculiarities, such as moral habit and language, furnish important aid. Among the best-marked race-characters are the colour of the skin, eyes and hair; and the structure and arrangement of the latter. Stature is by no means a general criterion of race, and it would not, for instance, be difficult to choose groups of Englishmen, Kaffirs, and North American Indians, whose mean height should hardly differ. Yet in many cases it is a valuable means of distinction, as between the tall Patagonians and the stunted Fuegians, and even as a help in minuter problems, such as separating the