Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/679

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The third age of the Mexicans, that of air, in which the Mayas conquered the giants of the former age, lasted 4,010 years, and ended in a hurricane by which all men except one pair were turned into apes. In the four ages of the Mexicans, which were called the ages of earth, fire, air, and water, we have to deal with a backward development, from giants to men, then to apes. This shows a curious agreement with the story of the Talmud, already referred to, that a part of the race at the confusion of tongues were turned into apes. It also curiously corresponds with the ancient Indian myth that made the ape a child of the wind and the air.

While the folk-lore on one side degrades the ape to a degenerate species of man, it on another side in compensation, as in Indian and among many negro tribes, derives the pedigree of distinguished families from apes, and consigns the souls of the honorable and pious to their bodily integuments. According to Brehm, the hair-tuft of the baboon serves the negroes of West Africa as the model for their coiffures. That lowly race also tries to exalt its similarity with the ape which the satirists of every zone make striking enough, and a humorous writer was not so far wrong when he described an ugly man as "a baboon, with hairs projecting from around his eyes." Not only bodily deformities and imperfections have been ascribed to apes, but moral transgressions also have been regarded and spoken of in the same view.

That the faculty of articulate speech is dependent on an upright position is suggested in the Hebrew book "Sohar Chadash," which says: "The animals can not look straight up to heaven, and therefore can not speak; and we learn of King Nebuchadnezzar that, when he was reduced to the condition of an animal, he could not help himself until he was able to rise and look up. Therefore he said to Daniel (Daniel iv, 34), 'I raised my eyes to heaven, and then my understanding returned to me.' If the animals, walking erect, could look up to the sky, they would be able to speak."


THE cases of contamination of the air by means of insalubrious industrial operations may be divided into two groups: 1. Emanations (dusts or vapors) that act as poisons, and which, carried by the blood to all parts of the body, produce general and various disorders. 2. Dusts, of a simply irritating character, which act locally on the lungs, and produce in them disorders the intensity of which generally depends on the hardness of the particles.