Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/698

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

witnessed the growth of a ginko similar to the one in the north of China. It had sequoias and a bald cypress corresponding with the trees of those names that are now growing in California and Louisiana. The beech seems to have been growing in the Arctic circumpolar zone before it was introduced and extended throughout the northern hemisphere. The same is doubtless the case with the hemlock, of which distinguishable traces have been found in Grinnell-land, above the eighty-second degree of latitude, of a date much earlier than that of its introduction into Europe. The well-established presence in both continents of many animals peculiar to the northern hemisphere must be attributed to emigrations, if not from the pole, at least from countries contiguous to the polar circle. This is obvious in the case of the reindeer, bison, and stag; but it ought to be equally true in respect to animals of more ancient times, and, although we have no other direct proofs of it than the abundance of the remains of mammoths in upper Siberia, the same law doubtless includes the elephants and mastodons. We mean here the species of these two genera which were propagated from the north to the south, and were, in America and Europe, the companions of primitive man. The connection of the continental masses with their belt of hardly discontinuous lands around the polar circle gives the key to all these phenomena. The cause on which they depend would be constantly producing radiations and consequently disjunctions of species and races, whatever kingdom we may consider.

Before leaving the questions that touch on the presumed origin of man, we can not refrain from speaking of the relations which it has been sought to establish between him and the pithecan apes. Primitive man, according to some authors of the transformist school, was an anthropomorphic ape, perfected physically as to his walk and erect attitude, intellectually by the development of his cranial capacity, till the moment when reasoning, or the faculty of abstraction and the power of using articulate language, took in him the place of instinct. Numerous and undeniable anatomical or physiological analogies of the human body and those of the more highly organized monkeys, which have no tails nor callosities on their paws, and whose faces and ways have something singularly human, favor this system, at least in appearance. The pithecans have, however, other contiguities than purely human ones. Their ways are rather analogous than directly assimilable to those of man; with other adaptations, they seem to have followed a wholly different course of evolution. They are essentially climbers, while man is exclusively a walker, and has always been predisposed to the erect position. The highest monkeys, the anthropomorphous apes, walk badly and with difficulty. When they leave the trees in which they live, their position is a stooping one, and they bend down their toes so as not to touch the ground with the soles of their feet. We have, then, reason not to admit the simian origin of man