Popular Science Monthly/Volume 34/December 1888/The Last Stages in the Genealogy of Man II
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.
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interior evolution. There is a gradation in the arboreal life of monkeys. The American monkeys and the semnopithecoids do not leave their trees ; the magots frequently come to the ground, and are only half tree-dwellers; while the macacus and cyno- cephalus are ground-dwellers. It is not allowable for us to be- lieve, in view of their perfect adaptation to life on trees, that the magots, and, with stronger reason, the macacuses and cynoceph- aluses, correspond to an effort in a new direction — a direction by continuing in which we could conceive that they might eventu- ally raise themselves again to an intermittent oblique attitude, and thus favor new adaptations.
Gratiolet, at a time when he could hardly dream of the doctrine of evolution, from which, moreover, his religious sentiments re- moved him, conceived the idea of parallel series among the monk- eys of our continent, leading, for example, from the semnopithe- cus, peculiar to Southern Asia and the neighboring islands, to the gibbon and the orang in the same region ; from the macacus and magot to the chimpanzee ; and from the cynocephalus to the gorilla. Without suspecting it, Gratiolet was preparing for the doctrine of the derivation of man from the monkey, and was as- sociating himself with the polygenist ideas then in favor in the anti-orthodox school.
This leads us to our last genealogical stage — the passage from the monkey to man. I begin by describing the principal opinions on the subject that have been in vogue or that may be sustained. In the theory of M. Haeckel, who is monogenist for man as he is monophyllitic for the other branches of his genealogical tree, the tailless monkeys of the Old Continent constitute the nine- teenth stage from the monera. They are divided into four branches, the fourth of which is that of the anthropoids; and this is separated into African and Asiatic branches, the latter of which is divided in turn into three ; the third of which gives the Pithecanthropus, or man-ape, which has already a vertical posi- tion, but is without speech. It is his twenty-first stage, the an- thropopithecus of M. de Mortillet, from which living man, the twenty-second and last stage of M. Haeckel, is derived by two branches — one for the woolly-haired negroes, and the other for the straight-haired races, of which the Australian was the proto- type. The place where man was thus originated by the acquisi- tion of articulate language is fixed on M. Haeckel's map to the southwest of India, where the hypothetical lemurian continent may have been. The spot is marked Paradise, and is the point of departure whence men have scattered in every direction — some west to Africa, others east to Australasia and Melanesia, others north to Europe and Asia, and thence by Bering Strait to America.
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Mr. Huxley does not express his opinion on the immediate descent of man in any of his writings that I have read. He leaves the reader to infer the consequences of the discussions into which he enters, and these lead to an origin at the expense of the an- thropoids.
Prof. Gaudry is also very reserved, but lets his opinion appear, while he does not give it distinct form. In his scheme the series rises, marsupials, ungulates, lemurs, and catarrhinians forming a single group; anthropoids; and man. The anthropoid desig- nated by him is the dryopithecus, of which he says : " The dryo- pithecus was a monkey of a very high character, and approached man in many particulars ; it was of nearly the same size ; in its dentition may be recognized characteristics of the teeth of the Australian" ("Fossiles primaires," p. 236), Further on he adds: " If, then, it should be shown that the flints of the Beauce chalk collected at Thenay by the Abb4 Bourgeois have been cut, the most natural suggestion to my mind would be that they were cut by the dryopithecus" (page 241); " unfortunately, we possess of this dryopithecus only a lower jaw and a humerus."
Prof. Cope has an opinion, peculiar to him, that man is not descended from the monkeys, anthropoid or other, but directly from the lemurs. His condylarthra, the stock of nearly all the mammalian orders, give rise especially to a branch which is divided into three, one being represented chiefly by the genus Anaptomorphus, and separating in turn into two branches, one of which engenders the monkeys and anthropoids, and the other leads directly to man. His principal reasons for this view, which follow, show on how little our genealogies sometimes rest. Man has, as a general rule, four tubercles or cuspids in his upper molars. The monkeys and anthropoids have usually five tuber- cles. The recent lemurs, the fossil Necrolemur, and the Anap- tomorphus, have generally three tubercles. Now we sometimes observe three tubercles in man. Prof. Cope has drawn up a long list of the degrees of frequency of this form among the races. The reversion is one that works toward the lemurs, and not toward the monkeys and anthropoids.
M. Vogt's present opinion is radically different ; but the learned professor at Geneva having at different times had nearly opposite opinions, and having played a considerable part in the question, we shall dwell longer with him. His first view was expressed in 1863-'64, before Darwin had formally applied to man his doctrine of derivation by selection, and before M. Haeckel had in 18G7-'68 for the first time fully explained his genealogical tree. His second opinion is known to me through his magnificent book on the mammalia, which appeared in France in 1883.
In his first view, the author having exhibited the resemblances
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between tlie antliropomorplious apes and man, and defined tlie point from which the descent probably began, adds that it does not result that this descent follows a single way. There are sec- ondary types among the human races, as there are among the monkeys. By prolonging the parallel series of Gratiolet we get the multiple stocks of man. " All the facts together, instead of indicating to us a common stock, a single intermediate form be- tween the monkey and man, point to numerous parallel series which, more or less circumscribed, must have developed them- selves from as many parallel series of apes" (p. 626).
The second opinion appears less clearly defined than the first. On the one side M. Vogt maintains his former ideas of polyge- nistic simian descent, and on the other he reverses them by for- mally denying that man is descended from the monkey. The monkeys, he assumes, have always, as they were in the Miocene and Pliocene ej)ochs, been cantoned in tropical climates. Essen- tially tree-dwellers, they leap from branch to branch, and are hardly ever displaced — not even those ground-living monkeys that climb among the rocks. The separation between the monk- eys of the Old and of the New Continents has always been com- plete, there having been no communication between the two hemi- spheres since the Eocene, or at least since the Miocene. Monkeys not going into cold countries, they were effectually jDrevented from approaching Bering Strait. They have, then, been but little modified, especially in the Old Continent, where they are more exclusively tree-dwelling. Higher types, like the laopithecus of America and the dryopithecus of Europe, are met among them after the Miocene, but they have undergone no further evolution since. The fact of M. Gaudry's mesopithecus is the only one that can be cited as in favor of any evolution.
But M. Vogt speaks here of a tendency toward a superior organization like that of man, of an approach by different ways, the gorilla resembling man more in its limbs, the orang in its brain, and the chimpanzee in its skull and teeth. " No fact," he says, " permits us to assume a single only line of evolution toward the human organization." Passing, then, more particularly to fos- sil species, M. Vogt insists upon his proposition that " there has been no evolution of the simian type through the geological ages," and that " we can not point to any advance of this type since the Upper Miocene."
I see nothing leading to this conclusion. As I have just shown, there are as many probabilities of an evolution among the apes as in any other zoological group. No series of species, it is true, leads positively from any ape to any man. But, in paleontology, what are exhibited to us as series of species are usually only series of characteristics. Comparative anthropology shows us a
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��great number of characteristics forming series, proceeding from the apes to man, and passing or not passing by the anthropoids. M. Vogt ends with an argument that has more weight : " The in- fantile ape is more like man than the adult ape, and their differ- ences, characterized by the evolution of the jaws, the cranial crests, etc., become pronounced only with age " ; and, finally, " the conclusion results from all these facts, that man can be placed in direct generic relation neither with recent apes nor with any of the known fossil apes, but that the two (man and the ape) have risen from a common stock, the characteristics of which are still visible in the age of youth, which is nearer to the stock than the adult being."
M. Vogt's last argument is a priori correct. Every one has remarked the contrast between the skulls of the young and the adult orang or gorilla. Its value rests on the admitted principle of the parallelism of ontogeny and phylogeny, which is expressed by saying that the forms of the young subject reproduce forms that have existed in ancestors, and thereby indicate their filiation. In other words, the new characteristic in progress, that which should connect a species with a succeeding species, exists in the adult in the highest degree, while the characteristic that belongs to the ancestors exists in the infant when it is wanting in the adult. As an example, we cite the pulmonary respiration of the adult salamander and the branchial respiration of the young sala- mander.
But it is necessary to distinguish wdiat is produced after birth and is a fact of the growth of the body, of physiological develop- ment by the progress of age in the individual life, from what is an ancestral resemblance dependent on the embryological and intra- uterine ontogeny. In the infant man, as in the young ape, the skull is rounded in every direction, uniform, and almost without asperities. The temporal crests and the sagittal crest, which is only the result of the elevation and lying back of the former on the median line, are developed on eitlier hand with age, especially in the male, and are in relation with the strength of the muscles that are inserted upon them. They become considerable in the apes, and form large temporal bones in the species that have a considerable masticatory apparatus.
The superciliary arches grow in man and in the apes with age, and do not take so remarkable an aspect in the latter, in the an- thropoids, for example, only because they have more ample front- al sinuses, which is a secondary characteristic. The projection of the jaws, also, becomes marked in both only with age ; the hu- man infant has an orthognathous, minute face, hidden under a skull forming a great ball, as in the orang; this face grows, lengthens, and becomes prognathous, partly by simple augmenta-
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tion of volume while the skull becomes relatively diminished, partly because the molars of the second dentition need room and push the jaw forward.
I expect to describe hereafter how the relations between the base of the skull and the base of the face along the naso-basilar plane change, on either side, with the adult as compared with the infant, the angles which craniometry marks in that part. The facial an- gle, which I mention because it has a certain popularity, is larger in the young ape than in the infant man. The infantile forms of the young ape which M. Vogt speaks of are partly found in the adult woman. They also characterize the male sex of certain races, like the Andamans, which have for that reason been desig- nated as infantine.
There is one characteristic implied in Prof. Vogt's argument which seems to bear more favorably to his thesis. It is that the young ape, the orang or chimpanzee, for example, is more intelli- gent than the adult. This, we might say, is because it is descended from a more intelligent ancestor than recent apes. But greater intelligence is a rule with all young animals, as well, if we take the circumstances into account, as with man. The brain is at that period larger in proportion to the body ; it is in some sense virgin, more impressionable ; it grows excessively, and asks only to ab- sorb, to work, to turn the blood it receives to account. What is more marvelous than the way our children learn to talk, read, and write ? Would we adults be capable of the amount of rapid memorizing which the mass of words and ideas inculcated into them at that age exacts ? Young Australians are equal to Euro- peans in the schools, and retain languages with extraordinary facility ; but, as age comes on, their savage nature reappears, they take off their clothes, they join their like again, and they mani- fest no more intelligence than if they had never been among the whites. If at our age we appear so capacious, intellectually speak- ing, it is because we have been accumulating for many years, be- cause we reason in great part by habit, automatically ; because we are incessantly excited by the struggle for existence, by the society of our likes, and by the use of language, which apes do not possess. M. Vogt's last argument, that the young ape is more human than the adult ape, does not, therefore, convince me.
I have mentioned the different opinions in view, positive and negative, concerning the origin of man. Are there not other pos- sible ones ? Although I have made many objections to M. Vogt's theory, his uncertainty, so remarkable on the part of a man who is usually not afraid to speak out, has made me reflect. I have asked what could this stock be which he speaks of, common to the ape and to man, and which is not lemuroid ? While he leaves his readers still in suspense, it is easy to see his tendency. This
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stock started from some point in the ungulates. I liave manifested my repugnance to supposing such an origin, which appears mon- strous. But while this repugnance is legitimate when we have regard to recent species — the extremities evolved from the branch — it is less so when we go back to the trunk before the specializa- tion of the ungulates had become as pronounced as it is now. It must be said that nothing is impossible in nature ; that things the least probable when we look at the outcome are realized by the most unforeseen processes, the most tortuous roads. What selec- tion by the hand of man has done for pigeons is found done in nature by means the laws and mechanism of which are invisible to us, and which we can only denominate chance.
There is one objection to the descent of man from the ape which I have entertained, and which comes to the suyjport of M. Vogt's thesis. As I have previously said, the primordial type of the mammalia has four limbs, the destination of which is already written out as far back as we can go ; all four fitted to walking, but the fore-limbs adapted besides to serve as organs of prehension, while the hinder ones are essentially organs of sup- port and walking. This double specialization goes back to the reptiles, not to speak of the dinosaurians, with which it is very marked. Some amphibians present traces of it. With the most ancient mammalia which are known in all their parts, like the Phenacodus iDTimc2vus of the Lower Eocene of Wyoming Territory, the fore-limb is well characterized as an organ of prehension and the hinder one as for walking. The humerus is articulated with a narrow glenoid cavity at the upper outer angle of the omoplate, so as to permit the freest motions in different directions ; the radius is mobile on the cubitus, around which it performs the turning movement required by the function of the hand ; the five fingers are spread out, the thumb is turned more on its axis as if to permit opposition, and the hand continues in a straight line with the forearm. On the other hand, the femur is united, as with us, to a massive pelvis ; the articular surfaces of the knee, the knee-pan, and the two immovable bones of the leg, are just what the exclusive function of locomotion requires; the foot is plantigrade, with a prominent heel and close toes, and is articu- lated perpendicularly by its arch with the leg, as in man. With another contemporary animal of the same bed, the Corypliodon, of which I have only representations of the foot and hand, but those whole, to judge by, these two organs present more resem- blance, the foot being a little like a hand, but the differentiation is nevertheless made.
This specialization or differentiation has reached its maximum in man, no other animal showing it in equal degree. In the bird the upper limb has become a wing, that is, a function of locomo-
TOL. XXXIV. — 12
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tion. With man alone the upper limb is exclusively a hand. The hinder limb condenses in itself all the locomotive function which it has till now shared within certain limits with the fore-limb, but which has nevertheless remained directly its essential attribute. Man thus seems to be the direct continuation of the first Eocene mammalia ; if not of the marsupials that preceded them, the con- firmation of a type that had been begun ; and it does not appear very logical that his transformation should have been elffected at the expense of a branch which appears collateral. The monkeys have been produced by an adaptation of the hinder limb to an arboreal life, the fore-limb remaining what it was ; this is a devia- tion in some way from the axis of evolution, a deviation from the primitive type. From this primitive type have been detached on one side the ungulates through a metamorphosis of a fore-limb adapted to prehension into a limb adapted to running, and through a harmonic perfecting of the four limbs for the same purpose ; on another side, the carnivores, whose four limbs have been set, to- gether with the teeth, the jaw, and all the skull, into harmony with the necessities to which they were subjected and the mode of life and regimen they had adopted ; and, on the third side, the monkeys, which, seeing the earth taken possession of by swift- footed herbivores and bloodthirsty carnivores, have taken refuge in the trees, or at least have flourished and maintained themselves there, and have consequently fitted their extremities to that special kind of life.
For men to be derived from monkeys through the disappear- ance of the accidental adaptation of the hind-limb to a function normally devolving on the fore-limb — that is, by returning toward their primitive arch-ancestral type — seems strange. But it is pos- sible, for nature does not take the shortest roads. From the car- nivores, terrestrial animals, have descended the pinnipeds, which by a reversionary adaptation have had their limbs atrophied, brought near the body in the shape of paddles, and made to per- form the part of fins. But the most probable is generally the most simple. The hook which such an evolution of man or of one of his precursors would have made is useless. It seems more rational to conceive the perfect bipedal and two-handed type as descending from a type which we have already seen marked out in Eocene times, and constituting the fundamental original of the mammalia. We should then have to consider the simian branch as a collateral branch in which the evolution has not gone beyond what is exhibited in the recent and fossil anthropoids.
This hypothesis would solve some difficulties in anthropology that seem insurmountable. The lowest human races known to us are so near to the higher races in proportion to the distance that separates them from the monkeys, that we can consider the
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different men as forming a relative liomogen — a species, as M. de Quatrefages contends. The most ancient human race, that of Neanderthal, is in the same category. Its cranial capacity — that is, that which really characterizes man — is still considerable and higher than in the lowest existing hnman races. Between the low- est mean of the capacity of the skull of human races, which I put in round numbers at eleven hundred cubic centimetres, and the mean of the highest anthropoid species, which I estimate at five hundred and thirty cubic centimetres, the distance is jDrodigious when we compare it with such slight mean differences — taking account of the relation of brain-volume to that of the body — as have been determined between the succeeding species, genera, families, and orders of animals. The working of such a cerebral transformation as this calls for would require a length of time defying all our conceptions.
Pliocene man has probably been found in America. Miocene man is indisputable, although we have not yet been able to dem- onstrate the fact. Now, it is in the Miocene that the monkeys appear with their existing characteristics. Has man, then, been constituted since they appeared ? Did the evolution choose an ani- mal whose hind-limb was organized for a life in trees, was at once hand and foot, when there were beside it and already previously existing animals whose organization presented a part of the de- sired characteristics ? There is little probability of it ; and con- sidering, I repeat, the number of species which would have been needed to reach the actual constitution of our brain, it seems probable that the preparatory steps are rather taken in the Eocene epoch at the expense of one of those condylarthra which had already the principal morphological characteristics of man except those relating to the brain, and which Mr. Cope has shown to be intermediate between the marsupials and most of the recent mam- mals. From this point could be made the differentiation corre- sponding with different modes of life, which has given on one side the ungulate and carnivorous branches and many others that dis- appeared without forming a stock, and on the other side the quadrumanous and human branches.
The human type — that is, the type that was destined to result in the astonishing brain-development that we know, and to which all the rest is only accessory — had then a stem of its own — a stem which was the most central continuation of the general primitive trunk of the mammalia. In the present order of science, the mammalian class, as a whole, is compared to a brandling tree, having numerous principal limbs, each terminating in efflores- cences higher in growth. These are our most specialized groups, the EquidcB and the ruminants among the ungulates, the lion and the dog among the carnivores, etc. In this new system the com-
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parison to an upward-growing tree, tlie central axis of which, put out lateral branches, would be more just, the central stalk of it continuing to rise like the Lombardy poplar, and giving at its apex man.
Gentlemen, we have reached the end of our year's task. I have explained at length the genealogy taught by M. Haeckel, and have examined step by step the systems that have been proposed to take its place. We have inquired whether the point of depart- ure of the vertebrates has been from a soft-bodied worm, or from a crustacean possessing an exterior skeleton. We have concluded that our genealogy has passed by the ganoid fishes, to land in what paleontologists call the labyrinthodonts, and what I have sometimes designated as medium vertebrates. Thence the current has carried us, not in the direction of the mammals, which, how- ever, had already appeared in the Triassic age, but into the full dominion of the reptiles, where we speculated concerning the dinosauric origin of the monotremata or of some similar group. There we met the aplacental marsupials, which we designated as confirmed pro-mammals, and showed that, with some reserves — of the cetaceans, for example — all the recent placental mammals, and consequently ourselves, have issued from them. Here the problem became complicated. To this point, except for the origin itself of the mammals, our origin appeared clear. The lemurs were already a cause of embarrassment. The uncertainties in- crease respecting the immediate descent of man, although we have at last freed ourselves from prejudices respecting it, and can dis- cuss it coolly. Several opinions, each advanced by illustrious authorities, confront us; I have expounded them impartially, occasionally myself raising objections, as well as favorable argu- ments. I have not done, and now you may say that I have some secret preference — that you are convinced of it.
There are for me only two doctrines to be considered — one which derives man from the primary stock of the mammals in a direct line and without the intervention of orders, not from a mathematical point, but from that confused mass succeeding the marsupials, in which the differentiations are indecisive and tend toward the ungulates or toward man ; and the other one, which accepts the branch or the order of the primates with all its consequences — the lemurs or prosimians at the base, then the monkeys or simians, and man all alone at the sum- mit.
Does one of these ennoble us more than the other ? Certainly. The one that regards us as the dominant and central branch of the mammalian tree, the continuation of the prototype in the direct line, and which posits us as the crown of an evolution, the point of departure of which is at the monera, is well calculated to
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flatter our pride. But is it true, and would not our choice of it be a subjective one ?
All that I have told you this year and last shows that I incline toward the other solution, and the conclusion that we are de- scended from the monkey. One consideration to me takes the lead of all the others. The type of the cerebral convolutions in all the primates where it is well characterized in its ascendant evolution is that of man ; it varies from the cebian to the pithe- coid, from that to the anthropoid, and from the last to man only in degree.* The develojDment to the extreme of the simian type of the circumvolutions, and the abrupt increase in the volume of the brain in passing from the anthropoid to man, on which I have insisted, are, apart from the histological examination, the two fundamental anatomical characteristics of man.f
That the foot of the monkey has a more or less opposable thumb; that it is more or less adapted to their arboreal life; that it should appear strange to us that the human line, after hav- ing experienced a partial transformation of its foot, should have resumed the original foot of its ancestors — these are details. The cranial and facial characteristics, which are the result in man of the considerable volume of his brain, the atrophy of the nasal fosses, and of their numerous posterior cavities, which has brought about the disappearance of the muzzle, the compensatory perfec- tion of the touch and the vision, which, with the modifications necessitated by the equilibrium of the skull, have contributed to a bipedal attitude and an entire new series of differential charac- teristics — are details also. That which dominates all is the cere- bral type, already human, but in a rudimentary condition, in the apes, as it is the same type amplified and perfected in man.
All the organs — foot, hand, teeth, thorax, pelvis, and digest- ive tube — have been evolved in the mammals, have been trans- formed capriciously, have taken different courses, and have been specialized in different directions, sometimes to the same result. One only has remained stationary, or has varied but little — the brain — except in man. With him, or one of his ancestors among the primates, it took a start, it grew, developed, making every- thing bend to its needs, subordinating everything to its own life
- See P. Broca, " Anatomic comparec des circonvolutions cerebralcs," " Revue d'An-
thi-opologie," 187S, p. 385.
f According to M. Chudzinski, a competent authority on the subject, not only the type of the circumvolutions, but the muscular and visceral anomalies found in man, plead in an equal degree in favoi* of a simian descent. Some of the muscular anomalies even indicate reversion toward climbing or tree-living dispositions. See the memoirs of this anatomist in the " Revue d' Anthropologic," on "Muscular and Visceral Variations in Races," and in the bulletins of the Societe iV AntJiropoJogie on "An Anomaly observed in the Orang." See also his great work on the " Comparative Anatomy of the Circumvolutions," which was published in ISTS, and reviewed in the "Revue d'Anthropologie," 1879, p. 707.
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— the skull, tlie face, tlie whole body — and leaving its mark every- where. Fishes swim, ruminants browse, carnivorous animals hunt their prey, the monkey lives in trees, man thinks. All in him gravitates around this characteristic. The philosopher has rightly said, " Man is an intelligence served by organs."
We are, then, descended from monkeys, or at least everything looks as if we were descended from them. But from what monkey, known or unknown ? I do not know ; assuredly none of the re- cent anthropoids has been our ancestor. From many monkeys or only one ? I am ignorant of that also, and do not know whether I am a monogenist or a polygenist. In the study of the human races, I perceive arguments for and against both systems. I hope to reach their examination in a future course. Till then I ask for a reservation of opinion.
The subject we have been discussing is not done with ; in fact, what I have said of my own opinion is premature. My earlier lectures next winter will bear on the comparative morphology of the skull, from the fish to man, especially among the mammals. Now that our descent from monkeys is contested by persons who are themselves partisans of our natural descent from the animals, it is of importance that we do not concentrate our exclusive atten- tion on the primates. We shall see what arguments comparative craniology brings in favor of this or that genealogy or against it. We shall thus come upon atavistic traits which we shall then be in a situation to comprehend, upon rudimentary organs, upon analogies, and finally upon characteristics of the evolutionary order, or zoological ones, which I have divided in my programme into two categories — the retrogressive and the progressive charac- teristics. We shall thus complete the study of the cranial charac- teristics dependent on the brain, with which I began, and shall be able to pass to the characteristics derived from the skeleton, among which we shall again find the application of all the pre- ceding evolutionary data. Then only shall we be permitted to conclude upon the place which anthropology makes for man in nature. Whatever may be the result we reach, this place, you may believe, will be as enviable as you could desire it to be.
I have said, in anticipation, that man is descended from the monkey ; yes, but by a multitude of intermediaries more or less anthropopithecoid, of which paleontology possesses no remains as yet, but which the mind foresees, the first one having a brain like that of Vogt's microcephalus, its followers larger brains, with more circumvolutions, larger frontal lobes, down to the existing type. Originally, at about the beginning of the Miocene, perhaps, man and monkey made but one. A separation was produced, the gap enlarged, became a crevasse, then a gulf with steeper and steeper walls like the Colorado canons — a gulf which our friend
�� � Abel Hovelacque is not in favor of, but which MM. Vogt and Huxley, who are little suspected of orthodoxy, admit — a gulf which, is growing wider every day under our very eyes; in which we are still permitted to perceive those lost paths, going from one side to the other, of which Mr. Huxley speaks in the preface to the French translation of his "Man's Place in Nature"; but which will soon become insuperable by the disappearance, on the one side, of the last existing anthropoids, and, on the other side, of the last inferior human races; when man will be left isolated and majestic, proudly proclaiming himself the king of creation.
We need not blush, then, for our ancestors: we were monkeys, as before them we were reptiles, fishes, yes, even worms or crustaceans. But that was a long time ago, and we have grown up. Evolution, let us say it, has lavished its favors upon us, and has given us all the advantages in the struggle for existence. Our rivals of yesterday are at our mercy; we leave those which displease us to perish, we create new species when we want them. On our planet we reign, fashioning things at our will, piercing isthmuses, going down into seas, ransacking the air, suppressing distances, and snatching from the earth its secrets of ages. Our aspirations, our thought, our action, have no bounds. Everything pivots around us. What more can we desire? To be god? That may come. Evolution has not had its last word. The anthropopithecus has been; the anthropotheomorphus may be. M. Hovelacque has tried to reconstitute the one; why may we not some day try to constitute the other, the man of the future?