Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/270

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258
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

apparently a disadvantage to him, has probably been indirectly instrumental in helping him to attain his present exalted position in the organic scale. For if, as is here suggested, it originally arose from the reactions of the erect attitude, it must have been associated from the first with the most human-like among our ancestors. Again, if it was completed by sexual selection, it must also have been associated with the most aesthetic individuals among the evolving species. And if, as we have seen reason to believe, these two qualities would tend to accompany one another, then this slight relative disadvantage would be pretty constantly correlated with other and greater advantages, physical and intellectual, which enabled the young species to hold its own against other competing organisms. But, granting this, the disadvantage in question would naturally spur on the half-developed ancestors of man to seek such artificial aids in the way of clothing, shelter, and ornament, as would ultimately lead to many of our existing arts. We may class the hairlessness of man, therefore, with such other apparent disadvantages as the helpless infancy of his young, which, by necessitating greater care and affection, indirectly produces new faculties and stronger bonds of union, and ultimately brings about the existence of the family and the tribe or nation. And if we look back at the peculiarities which distinguish placental from implacental mammals, the mammalia generally from birds, and birds from reptiles, we shall see that in every case exactly similar apparent disadvantages have been mainly instrumental in producing the higher faculties of each successive vertebrate development. Hence it would seem that the hairless condition of man, instead of requiring for its explanation a special intervention of some supernatural agent, is strictly in accordance with a universal principle, which has brought about all the best and highest features of the most advanced animal types through the unaided agency of natural selection.—Fortnightly Review.

 
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SKETCH OF PROFESSOR CLIFFORD.

WILLIAM KINGDON CLIFFORD was born at Exeter, May 4, 1845, and at the time of his death, which occurred on the 3d of March, he had therefore not reached the age of thirty-four years. His father was a justice of the peace, and his mother, from whom he inherited a portion of his genius and his constitutional weakness, died early. He first attended the school of Mr. Templeton, of that city, and went to King's College, London, in 1860. In 1863 he entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, in which he secured a foundation scholarship and got the honor of second wrangler in the mathematical Tripos of 1867. Soon after taking his degree he was elected to a fellowship