Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/455

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MAN AND HIS STRUCTURAL AFFINITIES.

cies readily assumes the erect position when not executing its incomparable gymnastic feats, swinging with its arms and leaping from one rope to another in the rooms fitted up for its dwelling in confinement. It walks with the knees bent and the long arms stretched out with the hands hanging down, reminding one of the position of a rope-walker. The gibbon is extremely neat and cleanly with its person, and is not distinguished by any peculiar odor, as are some of the other species of

PSM V13 D455 Head of gibbon.jpg
Fig. 6.—Head of Gibbon.

apes. As a prisoner the gibbon eats bread, milk, and fruit. Before drinking, it has been remarked that it tastes the fluid doubtfully with the tip of the tongue, which in the apes, as in man, is the most sensitive portion of that organ. Dr. Hermes says that the gibbon is an aristocrat among the man-apes and always on the best behavior.

I conclude this outline description of the man-apes with the statement that the duration of life among them is not accurately known, and probably varies with the different species. The gorilla and chimpanzee probably attain the average age of man.

The position of science with regard to man and the anthropoid apes is, that in no case can these latter be considered our progenitors or descendants. The physical and mental characteristics are too diverse to admit of such conclusions. The apes have evidently come down another line of descent, although the time when both the apes and man may have emerged from a common branch of the tree of animal life may not be so very long past. But, whenever the line of man and that of the anthropoid apes coincided, it is clear that now the tendency must be to diverge more and more. The resemblances between the apes and man,