Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/600

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582
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the mouth of the Ganges, bearing upon their surfaces erect, living-trees. And the Amazon, Orinoco, and in fact most large rivers, present at times similar spectacles. Here, then, is most ample opportunity for carrying all small arboreal animals out to sea, and, although they are liable to perish, unusual tidal currents may bear them great distances safely from their native country.

 

THE EARLY MAN OF NORTH AMERICA.[1]
By A. R. GROTE,

DIRECTOR OF THE BUFFALO SOCIETY OF NATURAL SCIENCES.

A CHILD is not fully formed in body or developed in mind when it is born. It behaves at first without experience. That is the reason we do not always understand baby when it "acts so." Our own behavior is the result of our experience. Baby moves its hands and twists its legs without knowing why. But it gradually selects from among these movements those which are found to satisfy its wants, and in the future performs such actions only. It uses its voice in the same way, as shown by Taine and other writers, gradually picking up such words as it finds are answered. Again it acquires, always by experience, the idea of distance. The moon seems so near that the child wants it taken down to play with; while the position of objects close at hand is equally misjudged. And so with the senses of hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling.

It does not know at first where the pin is that pricks it; and, even if we slap it on the very part recommended by Dr. John Brown for the purpose, baby will not be able to locate the injuries, though it may have a general sense of discomfort, and resent the injustice in its feeble little way. Just as it passes through a process of self-education by experience, its mind receives constant correction as to the nature of surrounding objects. Baby's principal opinion at one time is, that inanimate things possess like feelings and properties with itself. This idea of baby's we sympathize with when we pick up a chair over which it has stumbled in its efforts to walk, and pretend to whip "that naughty chair," until baby stops its crying and is propitiated by the supposititious sufferings of the chair. This personification of objects is less and less obtruded as the baby grows and becomes better acquainted with the nature of its surroundings. But it is hardly ever entirely dropped, even in after-life, when it becomes in us transferred to matters beyond the reach of our knowledge. These observations on our children become important when we study the actions of races of men less cultured than our own. We find such

  1. A lecture delivered under the auspices of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.