Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/216

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Part I.
The Descent of Man.

differences between apes and men in this respect, I am glad to make a citation from him.

"That the apes, and especially the orang, chimpanzee and gorilla, come very close to man in their organisation, much nearer than to any other animal, is a well known fact, disputed by nobody. Looking at the matter from the point of view of organisation alone, no one probably would ever have disputed the view of Linnaeus, that man should be placed, merely as a peculiar species, at the head of the mammalia and of those apes. Both shew, in all their organs, so close an affinity, that the most exact anatomical investigation is needed in order to demonstrate those differences which really exist. So it is with the brains. The brains of man, the orang, the chimpanzee, the gorilla, in spite of all the important differences which they present, come very close to one another" (loc. cit., p. 101).

There remains, then, no dispute as to the resemblance in fundamental characters, between the ape's brain and man's: nor any as to the wonderfully close similarity between the chimpanzee, orang and man, in even the details of the arrangement of the gyri and sulci of the cerebral hemispheres. Nor, turning to the differences between the brains of the highest apes and that of man, is there any serious question as to the nature and extent of these differences. It is admitted that the man's cerebral hemispheres are absolutely and relatively larger than those of the orang and chimpanzee; that his frontal lobes are less excavated by the upward protrusion of the roof of the orbits; that his gyri and sulci are, as a rule, less symmetrically disposed, and present a greater number of secondary plications. And it is admitted that, as a rule, in man, the temporo-occipital or "external perpendicular" fissure, which is usually so strongly marked a feature of the ape's brain is but faintly marked. But it is also clear, that none of these differences constitutes a sharp demarcation between the man's and the ape's brain. In respect to the external perpendicular fissure of Gratiolet, in the human brain for instance, Professor Turner remarks:[1]

"In some brains it appears simply as an indentation of the margin of the hemisphere, but, in others, it tends for some distance more or less transversely outwards. I saw it in the right hemisphere of a female brain pass more than two inches outwards; and on another specimen, also the right hemisphere, it proceeded for four-tenths of an inch outwards, and then extended downwards, as far as the lower margin of the outer surface of the hemisphere. The imperfect definition of this fissure in the majority of human brains, as compared with its remarkable distinctness in the brain of most Quadrumana, is owing to the presence, in the former, of certain superficial, well marked, secondary convolutions which bridge it over and connect the parietal with the occipital lobe. The closer the first of these bridging gyri lies to the longitudinal fissure, the shorter is the external parieto-occipital fissure" (l. c. p. 12).

The obliteration of the external perpendicular fissure of Gratiolet, therefore, is not a constant character of the human brain. On the other hand, its full development is not a constant character of the higher ape's brain. For, in the chimpanzee, the more or less extensive obliteration of the external perpendicular sulcus by "bridging convolutions," on one side or the other, has been noted over and over again by Prof.

  1. 'Convolutions of the Human Cerebrum Topographically Considered,' 1866, p. 12.