Atlantis Online
March 21, 2023, 07:41:10 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Did Humans Colonize the World by Boat?
Research suggests our ancestors traveled the oceans 70,000 years ago
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Descent of Man [ 1871]

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 15   Go Down
Author Topic: Descent of Man [ 1871]  (Read 2888 times)
Hero Member
Posts: 230

« on: February 09, 2009, 01:08:37 pm »

The famous old anatomist, Wolff,* insists that the internal
viscera are more variable than the external parts: Nulla particula est
quae non aliter et aliter in aliis se habeat hominibus. He has even
written a treatise on the choice of typical examples of the viscera
for representation. A discussion on the beau-ideal of the liver,
lungs, kidneys, &c., as of the human face divine, sounds strange in
our ears.

  * Act. Acad. St. Petersburg, 1778, part ii., p. 217.

  The variability or diversity of the mental faculties in men of the
same race, not to mention the greater differences between the men of
distinct races, is so notorious that not a word need here be said.
So it is with the lower animals. All who have had charge of menageries
admit this fact, and we see it plainly in our dogs and other
domestic animals. Brehm especially insists that each individual monkey
of those which he kept tame in Africa had its own peculiar disposition
and temper: he mentions one baboon remarkable for its high
intelligence; and the keepers in the Zoological Gardens pointed out to
me a monkey, belonging to the New World division, equally remarkable
for intelligence. Rengger, also, insists on the diversity in the
various mental characters of the monkeys of the same species which
he kept in Paraguay; and this diversity, as he adds, is partly innate,
and partly the result of the manner in which they have been treated or

  * Brehm, Illustriertes Thierleben, B. i., ss. 58, 87. Rengger,
Saugethiere von Paraguay, s. 57.

  I have elsewhere* so fully discussed the subject of Inheritance,
that I need here add hardly anything. A greater number of facts have
been collected with respect to the transmission of the most
trifling, as well as of the most important characters in man, than
in any of the lower animals; though the facts are copious enough
with respect to the latter. So in regard to mental qualities, their
transmission is manifest in our dogs, horses, and other domestic
animals. Besides special tastes and habits, general intelligence,
courage, bad and good temper, &c., are certainly transmitted. With man
we see similar facts in almost every family; and we now know,
through the admirable labours of Mr. Galton,*(2) that genius which
implies a wonderfully complex combination of high faculties, tends
to be inherited; and, on the other hand, it is too certain that
insanity and deteriorated mental powers likewise run in families.

  * Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol. ii.,
chap. xii.
  *(2) Hereditary Genius: an Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences,

  With respect to the causes of variability, we are in all cases
very ignorant; but we can see that in man as in the lower animals,
they stand in some relation to the conditions to which each species
has been exposed, during several generations. Domesticated animals
vary more than those in a state of nature; and this is apparently
due to the diversified and changing nature of the conditions to
which they have been subjected. In this respect the different races of
man resemble domesticated animals, and so do the individuals of the
same race, when inhabiting. a very wide area, like that of America. We
see the influence of diversified conditions in the more civilised
nations; for the members belonging to different grades of rank, and
following different occupations, present a greater range of
character than do the members of barbarous nations. But the uniformity
of savages has often been exaggerated, and in some cases can hardly be
said to exist.* It is, nevertheless, an error to speak of man, even if
we look only to the conditions to which he has been exposed, as "far
more domesticated"*(2) than any other animal. Some savage races,
such as the Australians, are not exposed to more diversified
conditions than are many species which have a wide range. In another
and much more important respect, man differs widely from any
strictly domesticated animal; for his breeding has never long been
controlled, either by methodical or unconscious selection. No race
or body of men has been so completely subjugated by other men, as that
certain individuals should be preserved, and thus unconsciously
selected, from somehow excelling in utility to their masters. Nor have
certain male and female individuals been intentionally picked out
and matched, except in the well-known case of the Prussian grenadiers;
and in this case man obeyed, as might have been expected, the law of
methodical selection; for it is asserted that many tall men were
reared in the villages inhabited by the grenadiers and their tall
wives. In Sparta, also, a form of selection was followed, for it was
enacted that all children should be examined shortly after birth;
the well-formed and vigorous being preserved, the others left to
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 15   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy