Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/448

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wood Reade, a most reliable traveler, doubts if an adult has ever jet been seen alive in its native haunts by a white man. The specimens sent alive to Europe, and which have been claimed to be gorillas, have almost always turned out to be chimpanzees in various stages of growth. But the skulls and skins sent by Dr. Savage have been followed up by complete skeletons and preparations sent by other travelers, and naturalists have been able thus to study the appearance and structure of the most formidable of the man-apes, which is credibly stated to inhabit Central Africa from Sierra Leone in the north to Loango in the south. Living in the dense forests of that region and avoiding the presence of, it is only with difficulty they are to be met with, and, from the inefficiency of negro courage and weapons they are rarely killed. We have thus no authentic portrait of the live adult gorilla, but we give here (Fig. 1) a picture of the head of a young male gorilla preserved in spirits in the collection of the Society of Natural Sciences of Hamburg.

PSM V13 D448 Male and female gorilla skulls and a skeleton.jpg
Fig. 2.—Skeleton of Gorilla, and Male (a) and Female (b) Skulls.

In comparing the skeleton of the adult gorilla with that of man, we find that the vertebral column offers slight and unimportant differences. The number of ribs is thirteen; while in man it is usually twelve, but occasionally also thirteen are found. The curve of the back is slightly different because the erect position is not always maintained, and to this circumstance I would also attribute the difference in the shape of the pelvis. In man the viscera have to be supported during his usually erect position, and the bones of the pelvic girdle are larger, giving space for the attachment of the larger muscles of the spine and thighs, which render the attitude possible without inconvenient fatigue. But it is a fact that in a child, before it learns to walk, the pelvis is as contracted as in the apes. In its efforts to walk the girdle is opened out, the sutures being flexible during childhood. When we come to the skull of the gorilla, we find a great difference in the relative proportion of the different parts. The bones of the face are large and the jaws project. There is a variation in the different races of man in this respect, as an examination of the skulls of different races shows. The relative large size of the jaws and lower parts of the face we see in the negro races especially, as compared with our own, and to this type we give the name prognathic.

The man-apes show an excessive development of this type. At first sight this large development of the lower face and jaws might distinguish the apes from man with great clearness, but its importance