Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/490

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472
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE ÆSTHETIC SENSE AND RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT IN ANIMALS.
By Prof. E. P. EVANS.

DR. WILKS reduces the chief difference between man and brute to the "smallness of knowledge of the fine arts possessed by the latter"; and a passing remark made by Prof. Huxley, in one of his essays, would seem to imply a disposition to draw the line of separation between animal and human intelligence at this point. Prantl regards the phrase "die Kunsttriebe der Thiere" as a metaphorical expression involving a confusion of terms, since animals, with all their apparent artistic ability and taste shown in constructing and decorating their habitations, do not seek to embody ideas in material forms—an assumption which begs the very question in dispute. Schiller, in his well-known poem, Die Künstler, makes man's pre-eminence consist solely in his artistic faculty:

"In Fleiss kann dich die Biene meistern,

 In der Geschicklichkeit ein Wurm dien Lehrer sein,
Dein Wissen theilest du mit vorgezogenen Geistern,
 Die Kunst, o Mensch, hast du allein."

In diligence the bee can master thee,
In skillfulness a worm thy teacher be,
Knowledge thou dost with higher spirits own,

But art, O man, thou dost possess alone.

Herbart, however, does not recognize this demarcation. "If one asks for a specific characteristic of mankind, which is not physical, but spiritual, original, and universal, and does not resolve itself into a more or less, I confess," he says, "that I do not know of any such distinction and do not think it exists." He then enumerates the advantages possessed by man—namely, hands, speech, and a long and helpless infancy, to the use and influence of which are due the extraordinary growth of the human brain in size and complexity and the corresponding development of intellectual power. In the acuteness of his senses and in many peculiarities of physical structure man is inferior to some of the lower animals. He has not, says Prof. Cope, kept pace with other mammals in the development of his teeth, which are "thoroughly primitive"; his nose is less serviceable than that of the dog; the eagle has a far better eye; the ankle joint of the sheep is, as a piece of mechanism, stronger and less liable to derangement than the corresponding joint in man; the horse's foot consists of a single compact elastic toe, on which the animal runs