Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/543

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527
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION.

convenient expedient, resorted to by that large class of persons who have made no exhaustive examination of the subject; but, baseless as it is in fact, it has about it a certain degree of plausibility not common with its predecessors. Moreover, as it is probably the last objection possible in the premises, it is better to deal with it patiently and set it aside carefully and becomingly.

It is not quite true that the cranial capacity of these ancient and primitive men has been shown to be nearly equal to that of modern savages, but, not to split hairs, let it pass that it is so, for a comparison of the cranial capacity of the savage and civilized races now existing, and an explanation of their relations in this respect, can be more accurately made, and it may be assumed that no one will be found to deny that a great change of some sort has taken place which is synonymous with what is commonly called the rise from savage to civilized life, even though the cranial capacity of the two classes should be held to be nearly equal—which, however, is not, as a rule, the case; at any rate, the two questions thus presented are as exactly alike as are two equilateral triangles, and so the former is fully answered by making a satisfactory disposition of the latter.

If we first consider, then, the difference in cranial capacity between the lowest savages and the highest civilized men, we shall at least know that all other cases will fall within the limits of this comparison. For this purpose perhaps no better or more reliable information can be found than that furnished by the exhaustive and well-known investigation made by John R. Marshall, F. R. S., Surgeon to University College, London, and reported in the Transactions of the Royal Society as early as 1864, and thus before the question we are examining became important. The entire report is very lengthy, extending to the minutest details.

The subject was an average Bushwoman, selected and sent him on request from southern Africa. She was about fifty years of age and five feet in height. Her brain weighed thirty-one ounces, while that of an average European woman of the same age and height would weigh forty ounces. The ratio of the Bushwoman's brain weight to her entire weight was as one to forty-five, while that of an average European woman of the same age and height would be as one to thirty-seven. Let us now look at the extremes. The cranial capacity of the Bushwoman was sixty-one cubic inches, while the largest cranial capacity known in America is that reported by Morton, of Philadelphia, as being one hundred and fourteen cubic inches, and the largest in Europe is that reported by Wagner, of Germany, as one hundred and fifteen cubic inches. Still, this Bushwoman had a generous cranial capacity considering her race, for the average negro has but from sixty-one to sixty-nine cubic inches—the former being