Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/466

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simply a grasping apparatus related to tree life. With him its operations are associated with those of touch, sight, and the muscular sense, and it becomes the faithful executant of the orders of the brain. Is there anything more wonderful than the movement imperceptibly and gradually impressed by the fingers on the screw of the microscope in micrometrical operations? The hand, therefore, relates the anthropoid to man, but more in appearance than in reality, for in the anthropoid it still remains the brutal grasping apparatus of the monkeys.

The last characteristic is that of attitude. It is complex in the monkeys, similar in some respects to that of quadrupeds generally, but really special. Signs of the erection of the trunk are already manifested in some monkeys—as, for instance, the cynocephalus. This erection is emphasized in the anthropoids, but without reaching the upright position, and really permitting standing on the feet. With them the characteristics leading to that attitude bear on little else than the viscera and the vertebral column. They are inappreciable in the head, and are hardly more marked in the lower limbs, where the calves, thighs, and buttocks, characteristic of the effort necessary for keeping the upright position, are wanting.

Contrary to what has been said, the anthropoids are less qualified to hold themselves erect than the other monkeys. These can walk on the ground with extended sole; the anthropoids are less able to do so. The monkeys had in the lower as well as in the upper limbs a hand competent to act as a foot. This hand is improved in the anthropoids in the direction of its function of grasping, but to the detriment of its accessory function as a foot; in the lower limbs it is turned in in such a way that the palm can grasp a tree by the side, but can only painfully set itself on the ground upon its outer edge, and very likely, too, upon the backs of the toes. The hinder hand, therefore, hollows out a gulf between the anthropoids and the monkey; but the gulf between man and the anthropoids is wider.

Cuvier's reasoning was correct. The monkeys, and still more the anthropoids, deserve the name of quadrumana on condition that we do not understand the word hand in the rigorous sense that is given it in the case of man, but in the sense of an instrument that adapts itself to some kind of prehension. To us man alone has two real hands, as he alone among the Primates has two feet capable of supporting the entire weight of the body standing. When we suppose that the anthropoid is in a stage of advance toward a vertical position, we confound in him characteristics relative to the adaptation of the arm and forearm to the prehensile function and characteristics relative to the vertical attitude. If we suppress the former and whatever bears upon the