and Negroes—the Mestizos, from Europeans and American indigenes—the Zambos, from these American indigenes and Negroes, &c., are permanently fertile. They practically constitute sub-races, with a general blending of the characters of the two parents, and only differing from fully-established races in more or less tendency to revert to one or other of the original types. It has been argued, on the other hand, that not all such mixed breeds are permanent, and especially that the cross between Europeans and Australian indigenes is almost sterile; but this assertion, when examined with the care demanded by its bearing on the general question of hybridity, has distinctly broken down. On the whole, the general evidence favours the opinion that any two races may combine to produce a new sub-race, which again may combine with any other variety. Thus, if the existence of a small number of distinct races of mankind be taken as a starting-point, it is obvious that their crossing would produce an indefinite number of secondary varieties, such as the population of the world actually presents. The working out in detail of the problem, how far the differences among complex nations, such as those of Europe, may have been brought about by hybridity, is still, however, a task of almost hopeless intricacy. Among the boldest attempts to account for distinctly-marked populations as resulting from the intermixture of two races, are Huxley’s view that the Hottentots are hybrid between the Bushmen and the Negroes, and his more important suggestion, that the Melanochroic peoples of southern Europe are of mixed Xanthochroic and Australioid stock.
The problem of ascertaining how the small number of races, distinct enough to be called primary, can have assumed their different types, has been for years the most disputed field of anthropology, the battle-ground of the rival schools of monogenists and polygenists. The one has claimed all mankind to be descended from one original stock, and generally from a single pair; the other has contended for the several primary races being separate species of independent origin. The great problem of the monogenist theory is to explain by what course of variation the so different races of man have arisen from a single stock. In ancient times little difficulty was felt in this, authorities such as Aristotle and Vitruvius seeing in climate and circumstance the natural cause of racial differences, the Ethiopian having been blackened by the tropical sun, &c. Later and closer observations, however, have shown such influences to be, at any rate, far slighter in amount and slower in operation than was once supposed. A. de Quatrefages brings forward (Unité de l’espèce humaine) his strongest arguments for the variability of races under change of climate, &c. (action du milieu), instancing the asserted alteration in complexion, constitution and character of Negroes in America, and Englishmen in America and Australia. But although the reality of some such modification is not disputed, especially as to stature and constitution, its amount is not enough to upset the counter-proposition of the remarkable permanence of type displayed by races, ages after they have been transported to climates extremely different from that of their former home. Moreover, physically different peoples, such as the Bushmen and Negroes in Africa, show no signs of approximation under the influence of the same climate; while, on the other hand, the coast tribes of Tierra del Fuego and forest tribes of tropical Brazil continue to resemble one another, in spite of extreme differences of climate and food. Darwin is moderate in his estimation of the changes produced on races of man by climate and mode of life within the range of history (Descent of Man, part i. ch. 4 and 7). The slightness and slowness of variation in human races having become known, a great difficulty of the monogenist theory was seen to lie in the apparent shortness of the Biblical chronology. Inasmuch as several well-marked races of mankind, such as the Egyptian, Phoenician, Ethiopian, &c., were much the same three or four thousand years ago as now, their variation from a single stock in the course of any like period could hardly be accounted for without a miracle. This difficulty the polygenist theory escaped, and in consequence it gained ground. Modern views have however tended to restore, though under a new aspect, the doctrine of a single human stock. The fact that man has existed during a vast period of time makes it more easy to assume the continuance of very slow natural variation as having differentiated even the white man and the Negro among the descendants of a common progenitor. On the other hand it does not follow necessarily from a theory of evolution of species that mankind must have descended from a single stock, for the hypothesis of development admits of the argument, that several simian species may have culminated in several races of man. The general tendency of the development theory, however, is against constituting separate species where the differences are moderate enough to be accounted for as due to variation from a single type. Darwin’s summing-up of the evidence as to unity of type throughout the races of mankind is as distinctly a monogenist argument as those of Blumenbach, Prichard or Quatrefages—
- “Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour, hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, &c., yet, if their whole organization be taken into consideration, they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these points are of so unimportant, or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man.... Now, when naturalists observe a close agreement in numerous small details of habits, tastes and dispositions between two or more domestic races, or between nearly allied natural forms, they use this fact as an argument that all are descended from a common progenitor who was thus endowed; and, consequently, that all should be classed under the same species. The same argument may be applied with much force to the races of man.”—(Darwin, Descent of Man, part i. ch. 7.)
The main difficulty of the monogenist school has ever been to explain how races which have remained comparatively fixed in type during the long period of history, such as the white man and the Negro, should, in even a far longer period, have passed by variation from a common original. To meet this A. R. Wallace suggests that the remotely ancient representatives of the human species, being as yet animals too low in mind to have developed those arts of maintenance and social ordinances by which man holds his own against influences from climate and circumstance, were in their then wild state much more plastic than now to external nature; so that “natural selection” and other causes met with but feeble resistance in forming the permanent varieties or races of man, whose complexion and structure still remained fixed in their descendants (see Wallace, Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, p. 319). On the whole, it may be asserted that the doctrine of the unity of mankind stands on a firmer basis than in previous ages. It would be premature to judge how far the problem of the origin of races may be capable of exact solution; but the experience gained since 1871 countenances Darwin’s prophecy that before long the dispute between the monogenists and the polygenists would die a silent and unobserved death.
IV. Antiquity of Man.—Until the 19th century man’s first appearance on earth was treated on a historical basis as matter of record. It is true that the schemes drawn up by chronologists differed widely, as was natural, considering the variety and inconsistency of their documentary data. On the whole, the scheme of Archbishop Usher, who computed that the earth and man were created in 4004 B.C., was the most popular (see Chronology). It is no longer necessary, however, to discuss these chronologies. Geology has made it manifest that our earth must have been the seat of vegetable and animal life for an immense period of time; while the first appearance of man, though comparatively recent, is positively so remote, that an estimate between twenty and a hundred thousand years may fairly be taken as a minimum. This geological claim for a vast antiquity of the human race is supported by the similar claims of prehistoric archaeology and the science of culture, the evidence of all three departments of inquiry being intimately connected, and in perfect harmony.
Human bones and objects of human manufacture have been found in such geological relation to the remains of fossil species of elephant, rhinoceros, hyena, bear, &c., as to lead to the distinct inference that man already existed at a remote period in localities