Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/218

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202
Part I.
The Descent of Man.

differs less from the chimpanzee or the orang, than these do even from the monkeys, and that the difference between the brain of the chimpanzee and of man is almost insignificant when compared with that between the chimpanzee brain and that of a Lemur."

In the paper to which I have referred, Professor Bischoff does not deny the second part of this statement, but he first makes the irrelevant remark that it is not wonderful if the brains of an orang and a lemur are very different; and secondly, goes on to assert that, "If we successively compare the brain of a man with that of an orang; the brain of this with that of a chimpanzee; of this with that of a gorilla, and so on of a Hylobates, Semnopithecus, Cynocephalus, Cercopithecus, Macacus, Cebus, Callithrix, Lemur, Stenops, Hapale, we shall not meet with a greater, or even as great a break in the degree of development of the convolutions, as we find between the brain of a man and that of an orang or chimpanzee."

To which I reply, firstly, that whether this assertion be true or false, it has nothing whatever to do with the proposition enunciated in 'Man's Place in Nature,' which refers not to the development of the convolutions alone, but to the structure of the whole brain. If Professor Bischoff had taken the trouble to refer to p. 96 of the work he criticises, in fact, he would have found the following passage: "And it is a remarkable circumstance that though, so far as our present knowledge extends, there is one true structural break in the series of forms of simian brains, this hiatus does not lie between man and the manlike apes, but between the lower and the lowest simians, or in other words, between the Old and New World apes and monkeys and the lemurs. Every lemur which has yet been examined, in fact, has its cerebellum partially visible from above; and its posterior lobe, with the contained posterior cornu and hippocampus minor, more or less rudimentary. Every marmoset, American monkey, Old World monkey, baboon or manlike ape, on the contrary, has its cerebellum entirely hidden, posteriorly, by the cerebral lobes, and possesses a large posterior cornu with a well-developed hippocampus minor."

This statement was a strictly accurate account of what was known when it was made; and it does not appear to me to be more than apparently weakened by the subsequent discovery of the relatively small development of the posterior lobes in the siamang and in the howling monkey. Notwithstanding the exceptional brevity of the posterior lobes in these two species, no one will pretend that their brains, in the slightest degree, approach those of the lemurs. And if, instead of putting Hapale out of its natural place, as Professor Bischoff most unaccountably does, we write the series of animals he has chosen to mention as follows: Homo, Pithecus, Troglodytes, Hylobates, Semnopithecus, Cynocephalus, Cereopithecus, Macacus, Cebus, Callithrix, Hapale, Lemur, Stenops, I venture to reaffirm that the great break in this series lies between Hapale and Lemur, and that this break is considerably greater than that between any other two terms of that series. Professor Bischoff ignores the fact that long before he wrote, Gratiolet had suggested the separation of the lemurs from the other Primates on the very ground of the difference in their cerebral characters; and that Professor Flower had made the following observations in the course of his description of the brain of the Javan Loris.[1]

  1. 'Transactions of the Zoological Society,' vol. v., 1862.