Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/309

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PSM V72 D309 Carapace of a japanese crab.pngFig. 1. Carapace of a Japanese Crab. Dorippe picturing in relief an oriental face. In point of fact, if we sift out the cases in which mimicry and protective coloration have been demonstrated beyond question, we find that their number is by no means as large as we at first assume. And of the remaining cases, probable, or imperfectly proven, we should, in fairness, leave open the possibility that what seems protectively colored or mimetic resemblance might in the end turn out to be accidental and meaningless. And in the present notice PSM V72 D309 Whale ear bone.pngFig. 2. Whale's "Ear-bone" which in profile suggests the face of a Scandinavian fisherman. it may be interesting to refer to these meaningless resemblances in order to show both that they are abundant, and that they are excessively complicated—in certain cases, even more complicated than those which are commonly regarded as typical, if not brilliant instances of protective or mimetic adaptation.

As an example of a meaningless resemblance let us first refer to the Taira-crab, a Dorippe, Fig. 1, on whose back a human face appears strikingly portrayed. This crab occurs rather abundantly in a region of the Japanese coast where many centuries ago a great naval battle took place: and it was only PSM V72 D309 Occiput of goat skull.pngFig. 3. Occiput of goat's skull, showing face of Hanuman monkey. after this time, local Buddhistic tradition states, that a face of a Taira warrior appeared on each carapace, as tangible evidence that the souls of the dead migrated into the bodies of these lower animals![1] Now, the resemblance in this case is developed to an almost uncanny degree; the face, first of all, is clearly oriental—even more Chinese or Corean in type than modern Japanese, but from this very fact the more singular, since at that time but few

  1. A.D. 1184, at Dan-no-ura, the Taira clan was exterminated by the rival Minamoto headed by Prince Yoshitsuné.