Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/194

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178
Part I.
The Descent of Man.

and still more on the surrounding organisms which compete with each, – and lastly, on inheritance (in itself a fluctuating element) from innumerable progenitors, all of which have had their forms determined through equally complex relations. It appears incredible that the modified descendants of two organisms, if these differed from each other in a marked manner, should ever afterwards converge so closely as to lead to a near approach to identity throughout their whole organisation. In the case of the convergent races of pigs above referred to, evidence of their descent from two primitive stock is, according to von Nathusius, still plainly retained, in certain bones of their skulls. If the races of man had descended, as is supposed by some naturalists, from two or more species, which differed from each other as much, or nearly as much, as does the orang from the gorilla, it can hardly be doubted that marked differences in the structure of certain bones would still be discoverable in man as he now exists.


Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour, hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, &c., yet if their whole structure be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these are of so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man. The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans are as different from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the "Beagle," with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.

He who will read Mr. Tylor's and Sir J. Lubbock's interesting works[1] can hardly fail to be deeply impressed with the close similarity between the men of all races in tastes, dispositions and habits. This is shown by the pleasure which they all take in dancing, rude music, acting, painting, tattooing, and otherwise decorating themselves; in their mutual comprehension of gesture-language, by the same expression in their features, and by the same inarticulate cries, when excited by the same emotions. This similarity, or rather identity, is striking, when contrasted

  1. Tylor's 'Early History of Mankind,' 1865: with respect to gesture-language, see p. 54. Lubbock's Prehistoric Times, 2nd ed., 1869.