Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/183

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171
THE LAST STAGES IN THE GENEALOGY OF MAN.

is represented by an opposite trait in the skink. What appeared to be evidence of more sluggish wits than the lizard possesses, is the fact that it did not learn to associate my presence with a supply of food, as was true of the others, but the truth is it was its greater fear of man that held it back, and not really a want of cunning.

In many respects the skink recalls the snakes, and its manner of crawling, often without making any use of the posterior limbs, and generally keeping the body greatly bent, adds to the resemblance; and so, despite its shyness and courage when captured, evidences of intellectual strength, the skink seems lower in the scale of intelligence than the pine-tree lizard, but they are probably their superiors; and both are telling examples of the law of evolution.


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THE LAST STAGES IN THE GENEALOGY OF MAN.

By M. PAUL TOPINARD.

II. — Concluded.

WE have still another question to examine before taking up the relation between the Old World monkeys and man. We have determined an intrinsic ascending series in the American monkeys. Can we find a like one in the monkeys of the Eastern Continent?

Two stages of evolution are first determined — one which concerns the tailed or ordinary monkeys, and the other comprising the four tailless catarrhinian or anthropoid apes, among which also two degrees are recognized — one for the gorilla, chimpanzee, and orang, and the other for the gibbon, which is the manifest transition between these and the tailed apes, more particularly the semnopithecoids. To these four must be added two fossil anthropoids — the Pliopithecus antiquus, observed in 1837 by E. Lartet in the Miocene of Sansan, an animal probably allied to the gibbon, and the Dryopithecus Fontani, which was found by Fontan in the Miocene of Saint-Gaudens, and which is incontestably an anthropoid, but something other than existing anthropoids.

We may also present as proof of evolution in the group of monkeys the Mesopithecus pentelici, of which M. Gaudry has collected in the Miocene of Pikermi, in Greece, specimens belonging to twenty-five individuals. It does not fit into any of the existing genera, but is allied by its skull to the semnopithecus, and by its limbs to the macacus. We can then suppose that it is the ancestor of these two by a kind of doubling of the type, such as seems to have taken place in a considerable number of marsupial types.

M. Vogt involuntarily furnishes an argument in favor of this