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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/518

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mammals, and why in man the same arrangement becomes detrimental. He dwells on the number of lives that are sacrificed every year by the absence of valves in the hæmorrhoidal veins. He also mentions other disadvantages in the upright attitude, as seen in the position of the femoral artery, even with man's ability to protect it. Its exposed condition is a dangerous element. Inguinal hernia of rare occurrence in mammals occurs very often in man, at least twenty per cent being affected. Strangulated hernia also causes many deaths. Prolapsus uteri and other troubles and diseases are referred to by Dr. Clevenger as due to the upright position. In other words, the penalties of original sin are in fact the penalities resulting from man's assumption of the erect posture.

In another paper by the same author,[1] on the "Origin and Descent of the Human Brain," he gives an interesting sketch of the phylogenesis of the spinal cord to its ultimate culmination in the development of the brain of man. He says that the most general interest centers in the large mass of cells and nerve-fibers called the cerebrum, "In the ornithorhynchus it is smooth and simple in form, but the beaver also has an unconvoluted brain, which shows at once the folly of attaching psychological importance to the number and intricacy of folds in animal brains. With phrenology, which finds bibativeness in the mastoid process of the temporal bone, and amativeness in the occipital ridge, the convolutional controversies must die out, as has the so-called science of palmistry, which reads one's fate and fortune in the skin-folds of the hand."

Professor Alexander Graham Bell[2] has presented a memoir to the National Academy on the "Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race," in which he shows by tables a series of generations of certain families in which the progenitors being deaf-mutes this peculiarity becomes perpetuated in many of the descendants. Recognizing fully the laws of heredity, natural selection, etc., he shows that the establishment of deaf-mute schools, in which a visual language is taught which the pupils alone understand, tends to bring them into close association with one another; and that naturally, with this seclusion, acquaintance ripens into friendship and love, and that statistics show that there is now in process of being built up a deaf variety of man.

Dr. W. K. Brooks,[3] animated by the cogency of Professor Bell's reasoning, is led to prepare an article entitled "Can Man be Modified by Selection?" In this paper he discusses the startling proposition of Professor Bell, and recognizes the convincing proof which he furnishes to show that the law of selection does place within our reach a powerful influence for the improvement of our race. The striking character of the tables of facts presented by Professor Bell, and the significant

  1. "American Naturalist," vol. xv, p. 518.
  2. "Memoirs of the National Academy of Science," vol. ii, fourth memoir.
  3. "Popular Science Monthly," vol. xxvii, p. 15.