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Descent of Man [ 1871]

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« Reply #195 on: February 10, 2009, 01:26:19 pm »

* Since this chapter was printed, I have seen a valuable article
by Mr. Chauncey Wright (North American Review, Oct., 1870, page
293), who, in discussing the above subject, remarks, "There are many
consequences of the ultimate laws or uniformities of nature, through
which the acquisition of one useful power will bring with it many
resulting advantages as well as limiting disadvantages, actual or
possible, which the principle of utility may not have comprehended
in its action." As I have attempted to shew in an early chapter of
this work, this principle has an important bearing on the
acquisition by man of some of his mental characteristics.

  Music arouses in us various emotions, but not the more terrible ones
of horror, fear, rage, &c. It awakens the gentler feelings of
tenderness and love, which readily pass into devotion. In the
Chinese annals it is said, "Music hath the power of making heaven
descend upon earth." It likewise stirs up in us the sense of triumph
and the glorious ardour for war. These powerful and mingled feelings
may well give rise to the sense of sublimity. We can concentrate, as
Dr. Seemann observes, greater intensity of feeling in a single musical
note than in pages of writing. It is probable that nearly the same
emotions, but much weaker and far less complex, are felt by birds when
the male pours forth his full volume of song, in rivalry with other
males, to captivate the female. Love is still the commonest theme of
our songs. As Herbert Spencer remarks, "music arouses dormant
sentiments of which we had not conceived the possibility, and do not
know the meaning; or, as Richter says, tells us of things we have
not seen and shall not see." Conversely, when vivid emotions are
felt and expressed by the orator, or even in common speech, musical
cadences and rhythm are instinctively used. The negro in Africa when
excited often bursts forth in song; "another will reply in song,
whilst the company, as if touched by a musical wave, murmur a chorus
in perfect unison."* Even monkeys express strong feelings in different
tones- anger and impatience by low,- fear and pain by high
notes.*(2) The sensations and ideas thus excited in us by music, or
expressed by the cadences of oratory, appear from their vagueness, yet
depth, like mental reversions to the emotions and thoughts of a
long-past age.

  * Winwood Reade, The Martyrdom of Man, 1872, p. 441, and African
Sketch Book, 1873, vol. ii., p. 313.
  *(2) Rengger, Saugethiere von Paraguay, s. 49.

  All these facts with respect to music and impassioned speech
become intelligible to a certain extent, if we may assume that musical
tones and rhythm were used by our half-human ancestors, during the
season of courtship, when animals of all kinds are excited not only by
love, but by the strong passions of jealousy, rivalry, and triumph.
From the deeply-laid principle of inherited associations, musical
tones in this case would be likely to call up vaguely and indefinitely
the strong emotions of a long-past age. As we have every reason to
suppose that articulate speech is one of the latest, as it certainly
is the highest, of the arts acquired by man, and as the instinctive
power of producing musical notes and rhythms is developed low down
in the animal series, it would be altogether opposed to the
principle of evolution, if we were to admit that man's musical
capacity has been developed from the tones used in impassioned speech.
We must suppose that the rhythms and cadences of oratory are derived
from previously developed musical powers.* We can thus understand
how it is that music, dancing, song, and poetry are such very
ancient arts. We may go even further than this, and, as remarked in
a former chapter, believe that musical sounds afforded one of the
bases for the development of language.*(2)

  * See the very interesting discussion on the "Origin and Function of
Music," by Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his collected Essays, 1858, p. 359.
Mr. Spencer comes to an exactly opposite conclusion to that at which I
have arrived. He concludes, as did Diderot formerly, that the cadences
used in emotional speech afford the foundation from which music has
been developed; whilst I conclude that musical notes and rhythm were
first acquired by the male or female progenitors of mankind for the
sake of charming the opposite sex. Thus musical tones became firmly
associated with some of the strongest passions an animal is capable of
feeling, and are consequently used instinctively, or through
association when strong emotions are expressed in speech. Mr.
Spencer does not offer any satisfactory explanation, nor can I, why
high or deep notes should be expressive, both with man and the lower
animals, of certain emotions. Mr. Spencer gives also an interesting
discussion on the relations between poetry, recitative and song.
  *(2) I find in Lord Monboddo's Origin of Language, vol. i., 1774, p.
469, that Dr. Blacklock likewise thought "that the first language
among men was music, and that before our ideas were expressed by
articulate sounds, they were communicated by tones varied according to
different degrees of gravity and acuteness."

  As the males of several quadrumanous animals have their vocal organs
much more developed than in the females, and as a gibbon, one of the
anthropomorphous apes, pours forth a whole octave of musical notes and
may be said to sing, it appears probable that the progenitors of
man, either the males or females or both sexes, before acquiring the
power of expressing their mutual love in articulate language,
endeavoured to charm each other with musical notes and rhythm. So
little is known about the use of the voice by the Quadrumana during
the season of love, that we have no means of judging whether the habit
of singing was first acquired by our male or female ancestors. Women
are generally thought to possess sweeter voices than men, and as far
as this serves as any guide, we may infer that they first acquired
musical powers in order to attract the other sex.* But if so, this
must have occurred long ago, before our ancestors had become
sufficiently human to treat and value their women merely as useful
slaves. The impassioned orator, bard, or musician, when with his
varied tones and cadences he excites the strongest emotions in his
hearers, little suspects that he uses the same means by which his
half-human ancestors long ago aroused each other's ardent passions,
during their courtship and rivalry.

  * See an interesting discussion on this subject by Haeckel,
Generelle Morphologie, B. ii., 1866, s. 246.

  The Influence of Beauty in determining the Marriages of Mankind.- In
civilised life man is largely, but by no means exclusively, influenced
in the choice of his wife by external appearance; but we are chiefly
concerned with primeval times, and our only means of forming a
judgment on this subject is to study the habits of existing
semi-civilised and savage nations. If it can be shewn that the men
of different races prefer women having various characteristics, or
conversely with the women, we have then to enquire whether such
choice, continued during many generations, would produce any
sensible effect on the race, either on one sex or both according to
the form of inheritance which has prevailed.
  It will be well first to shew in some detail that savages pay the
greatest attention to their personal appearance.* That they have a
passion for ornament is notorious; and an English philosopher goes
so far as to maintain that clothes were first made for ornament and
not for warmth. As Professor Waitz remarks, "however poor and
miserable man is, he finds a pleasure in adorning himself." The
extravagance of the naked Indians of South America in decorating
themselves is shewn "by a man of large stature gaining with difficulty
enough by the labour of a fortnight to procure in exchange the chica
necessary to paint himself red."*(2) The ancient barbarians of
Europe during the Reindeer period brought to their caves any brilliant
or singular objects which they happened to find. Savages at the
present day everywhere deck themselves with plumes, necklaces,
armlets, ear-rings, &c. They paint themselves in the most
diversified manner. "If painted nations," as Humboldt observes, "had
been examined with the same attention as clothed nations, it would
have been perceived that the most fertile imagination and the most
mutable caprice have created the fashions of painting, as well as
those of garments."

  * A full and excellent account of the manner in which savages in all
parts of the world ornament themselves, is given by the Italian
traveller, Professor Mantegazza, Rio de la Plata, Viaggi e Studi,
1867, pp. 525-545; all the following statements, when other references
are not given, are taken from this work. See, also, Waitz,
Introduction to Anthropology, Eng. translat., vol. i., 1863, p. 275,
et passim. Lawrence also gives very full details in his Lectures on
Physiology, 1822. Since this chapter was written Sir J. Lubbock has
published his Origin of Civilisation, 1870, in which there is an
interesting chapter on the present subject, and from which (pp. 42,
48) I have taken some facts about savages dyeing their teeth and hair,
and piercing their teeth.
  *(2) Humboldt, Personal Narrative, Eng. translat., vol. iv., p. 515;
on the imagination shewn in painting the body, p. 522; on modifying
the form of the calf of the leg, p. 466.
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« Reply #196 on: February 10, 2009, 01:26:34 pm »

In one part of Africa the eyelids are coloured black; in another the
nails are coloured yellow or purple. In many places the hair is dyed
of various tints. In different countries the teeth are stained
black, red, blue, &c., and in the Malay Archipelago it is thought
shameful to have white teeth "like those of a dog." Not one great
country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New
Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo
themselves. This practice was followed by the Jews of old, and by
the ancient Britons. In Africa some of the natives tattoo
themselves, but it is a much more common practice to raise
protuberances by rubbing salt into incisions made in various parts
of the body; and these are considered by the inhabitants of Kordofan
and Darfur "to be great personal attractions." In the Arab countries
no beauty can be perfect until the cheeks "or temples have been
gashed."* In South America, as Humboldt remarks, "a mother would be
accused of culpable indifference towards her children, if she did
not employ artificial means to shape the calf of the leg after the
fashion of the country." In the Old and New Worlds the shape of the
skull was formerly modified during infancy in the most extraordinary
manner, as is still the case in many places, and such deformities
are considered ornamental. For instance, the savages of Colombia*(2)
deem a much flattened head "an essential point of beauty."

  * The Nile Tributaries, 1867; The Albert N'yanza, 1866, vol. i.,
p. 218.
  *(2) Quoted by Prichard, Physical History of Mankind, 4th ed.,
vol. i., 1851, p. 321.

  The hair is treated with especial care in various countries; it is
allowed to grow to full length, so as to reach to the ground, or is
combed into "a compact frizzled mop, which is the Papuan's pride and
glory."* In northern Africa "a man requires a period of from eight
to ten years to perfect his coiffure." With other nations the head
is shaved, and in parts of South America and Africa even the
eyebrows and eyelashes are eradicated. The natives of the Upper Nile
knock out the four front teeth, saying that they do not wish to
resemble brutes. Further south, the Bakotas knock out only the two
upper incisors, which, as Livingstone*(2) remarks, gives the face a
hideous appearance, owing to the prominence of the lower jaw; but
these people think the presence of the incisors most unsightly, and on
beholding some Europeans, cried out, "Look at the great teeth!" The
chief Sebituani tried in vain to alter this fashion. In various
parts of Africa and in the Malay Archipelago the natives file the
incisors into points like those of a saw, or pierce them with holes,
into which they insert studs.

  * On the Papuans, Wallace, The Malay Archipelago, vol. ii., p.
445. On the coiffure of the Africans, Sir S. Baker, The Albert
N'yanza, vol. i., p. 210.
  *(2) Travels, p. 533.

  As the face with us is chiefly admired for its beauty, so with
savages it is the chief seat of mutilation. In all quarters of the
world the septum, and more rarely the wings of the nose are pierced;
rings, sticks, feathers, and other ornaments being inserted into the
boles. The ears are everywhere piereed and similarly ornamented, and
with the Botocudos and Lenguas of South America the hole is
gradually so much enlarged that the lower edge touches the shoulder.
In North and South America and in Africa either the upper or lower lip
is pierced; and with the Botocudos the hole in the lower lip is so
large that a disc of wood, four inches in diameter, is placed in it.
Mantegazza gives a curious account of the shame felt by a South
American native, and of the ridicule which he excited, when he sold
his tembeta,- the large coloured piece of wood which is passed through
the hole. In central Africa the women perforate the lower lip and wear
a crystal, which, from the movement of the tongue, has "a wriggling
motion, indescribably ludicrous during conversation." The wife of
the chief of Latooka told Sir S. Baker* that Lady Baker "would be much
improved if she would extract her four front teeth from the lower jaw,
and wear the long pointed polished crystal in her under lip."
Further south with the Makalolo, the upper lip is perforated, and a
large metal and bamboo ring, called a pelele, is worn in the hole.
"This caused the lip in one case to project two inches beyond the
tip of the nose; and when the lady smiled, the contraction of the
muscles elevated it over her eyes. 'Why do the women wear these
things?' the venerable chief, Chinsurdi, was asked. Evidently
surprised at such a stupid question, he replied, 'For beauty! They are
the only beautiful things women have; men have beards, women have
none. What kind of a person would she be without the pelele? She would
not be a woman at all with a mouth like a man, but no beard.'"*(2)

  * The Albert N'Yanza, 1866, vol. i., p. 217.
  *(2) Livingstone, British Association, 1860; report given in the
Athenaeum, July 7, 1860, p. 29.

  Hardly any part of the body, which can be unnaturally modified,
has escaped. The amount of suffering thus caused must have been
extreme, for many of the operations require several years for their
completion, so that the idea of their necessity must be imperative.
The motives are various; the men paint their bodies to make themselves
appear terrible in battle; certain mutilations are connected with
religious rites, or they mark the age of puberty, or the rank of the
man, or they serve to distinguish the tribes. Amongst savages the same
fashions prevail for long periods,* and thus mutilations, from
whatever cause first made, soon come to be valued as distinctive
marks. But self-adornment, vanity, and the admiration of others,
seem to be the commonest motives. In regard to tattooing, I was told
by the missionaries in New Zealand that when they tried to persuade
some girls to give up the practice, they answered, "We must just
have a few lines on our lips; else when we grow old we shall be so
very ugly." With the men of New Zealand, a most capable judge*(2)
says, "to have fine tattooed faces was the great ambition of the
young, both to render themselves attractive to the ladies, and
conspicuous in war." A star tattooed on the forehead and a spot on the
chin are thought by the women in one part of Africa to be irresistible
attractions.*(3) In most, but not all parts of the world, the men
are more ornamented than the women and often in a different manner;
sometimes, though rarely, the women are hardly at all ornamented. As
the women are made by savages to perform the greatest share of the
work, and as they are not allowed to eat the best kinds of food, so it
accords with the characteristic selfishness of man that they should
not be allowed to obtain, or use the finest ornaments. Lastly, it is a
remarkable fact, as proved by the foregoing quotations, that the
same fashions in modifying the shape of the head, in ornamenting the
hair, in painting, tattooing, in perforating the nose, lips, or
ears, in removing or filing the teeth, &c., now prevail, and have long
prevailed, in the most distant quarters of the world. It is
extremely improbable that these practices, followed by so many
distinct nations, should be due to tradition from any common source.
They indicate the close similarity of the mind of man, to whatever
race he may belong, just as do the almost universal habits of dancing,
masquerading, and making rude pictures.
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« Reply #197 on: February 10, 2009, 01:26:50 pm »

* Sir S. Baker (ibid., vol. i., p. 210) speaking of the natives of
central Africa says, "Every tribe has a distinct and unchanging
fashion for dressing the hair." See Agassiz (Journey in Brazil,
1868, p. 318) on invariability of the tattooing of Amazonian Indians.
  *(2) Rev. R. Taylor, New Zealand and its Inhabitants, 1855, p. 152.
  *(3) Mantegazza, Viaggi e Studi, p. 542.

  Having made these preliminary remarks on the admiration felt by
savages for various ornaments, and for deformities most unsightly in
our eyes, let us see how far the men are attracted by the appearance
of their women, and what are their ideas of beauty. I have heard it
maintained that savages are quite indifferent about the beauty of
their women, valuing them solely as slaves; it may therefore be well
to observe that this conclusion does not at all agree with the care
which the women take in ornamenting themselves, or with their
vanity. Burchell* gives an amusing account of a bush-woman who used as
much grease, red ochre, and shining powder "as would have ruined any
but a very rich husband." She displayed also "much vanity and too
evident a consciousness of her superiority." Mr. Winwood Reade informs
me that the negroes of the west coast often discuss the beauty of
their women. Some competent observers have attributed the fearfully
common practice of infanticide partly to the desire felt by the
women to retain their good looks.*(2) In several regions the women
wear charms and use love-philters to gain the affections of the men;
and Mr. Brown enumerates four plants used for this purpose by the
women of north-western America.*(3)

  * Travels in South Africa, 1824, vol. i.. p. 414.
  *(2) See, for references, Gerland, Uber das Aussterben der
Naturvolker, 1868, ss. 51, 53, 55; also Azara, Voyages, &c., tom. ii.,
p. 116.
  *(3) On the vegetable productions used by the north-western American
Indians, see Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. x.

  Hearne,* an excellent observer, who lived many years with the
American Indians, says, in speaking of the women, "Ask a northern
Indian what is beauty, and he will answer, a broad flat face, small
eyes, high cheek-bones, three or four broad black lines across each
cheek, a low forehead, a large broad chin, a clumsy hook nose, a tawny
hide, and breasts hanging down to the belt." Pallas, who visited the
northern parts of the Chinese empire, says, "those women are preferred
who have the Mandschu form; that is to say, a broad face, high
cheek-bones, very broad noses, and enormous ears";*(2) and Vogt
remarks that the obliquity of the eye, which is proper to the
Chinese and Japanese, is exaggerated in their pictures for the
purpose, as it "seems, of exhibiting its beauty, as contrasted with
the eye of the red-haired barbarians." It is well known, as Huc
repeatedly remarks, that the Chinese of the interior think Europeans
hideous, with their white skins and prominent noses. The nose is far
from being too prominent, according to our ideas, in the natives of
Ceylon; yet "the Chinese in the seventh century, accustomed to the
flat features of the Mongol races, were surprised at the prominent
noses of the Cingalese; and Thsang described them as having 'the
beak of a bird, with the body of a man.'"

  * A Journey from Prince of Wales Fort, 8vo. ed., 1796, p. 89.
  *(2) Quoted by Prichard, Physical History of Mankind, 3rd ed.,
vol. iv., 1844, p. 519; Vogt, Lectures on Man, Eng. translat., p. 129.
On the opinion of the Chinese on the Cingalese, E. Tennent, Ceylon,
1859, vol. ii., p. 107.

  Finlayson, after minutely describing the people of Cochin China,
says that their rounded heads and faces are their chief
characteristics; and, he adds, "the roundness of the whole countenance
is more striking in the women, who are reckoned beautiful in
proportion as they display this form of face." The Siamese have
small noses with divergent nostrils, a wide mouth, rather thick
lips, a remarkably large face, with very high and broad cheek-bones.
It is, therefore, not wonderful that "beauty, according to our notion,
is a stranger to them. Yet they consider their own females to be
much more beautiful than those of Europe."*

  * Prichard, as taken from Crawfurd and Finlayson, Phys. Hist. of
Mankind, vol. iv., pp. 534, 535.

  It is well known that with many Hottentot women the posterior part
of the body projects in a wonderful manner; they are steatopygous; and
Sir Andrew Smith is certain that this peculiarity is greatly admired
by the men.* He once saw a woman who was considered a beauty, and
she was so immensely developed behind, that when seated on level
ground she could not rise, and had to push herself along until she
came to a slope. Some of the women in various negro tribes have the
same peculiarity; and, according to Burton, the Somal men are said
to choose their wives by ranging them in a line, and by picking her
out who projects farthest a tergo. Nothing can be more hateful to a
negro than the opposite form."*(2)

  * Idem illustrissimus viator dixit mihi praecinctorium vel tabulam
foeminae, quod nobis teterrimum est, quondam permagno aestimari ab
hominibus in hac gente. Nunc res mutata est, et censent talem
conformationem minime optandam esse.
  *(2) The Anthropological Review, November, 1864, p. 237. For
additional references, see Waitz, Introduction to Anthropology, Eng.
translat., 1863, vol. i., p. 105.

  With respect to colour, the negroes rallied Mungo Park on the
whiteness of his skin and the prominence of his nose, both of which
they considered as "unsightly and unnatural conformations." He in
return praised the glossy jet of their skins and the lovely depression
of their noses; this they said was "honeymouth," nevertheless they
gave him food. The African Moors, also, "knitted their brows and
seemed to shudder" at the whiteness of his skin. On the eastern coast,
the negro boys when they saw Burton, cried out, "Look at the white
man; does he not look like a white ape?" On the western coast, as
Mr. Winwood Reade informs me, the negroes admire a very black skin
more than one of a lighter tint. But their horror of whiteness may
be attributed, according to this same traveller, partly to the
belief held by most negroes that demons and spirits are white, and
partly to their thinking it a sign of ill-health.
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« Reply #198 on: February 10, 2009, 01:27:05 pm »

The Banyai of the more southern part of the continent are negroes,
but "a great many of them are of a light coffee-and-milk colour,
and, indeed, this colour is considered handsome throughout the whole
country"; so that here we have a different standard of taste. With the
Kaffirs, who differ much from negroes, "the skin, except among the
tribes near Delagoa Bay, is not usually black, the prevailing colour
being a mixture of black and red, the most common shade being
chocolate. Dark complexions, as being most common, are naturally
held in the highest esteem. To be told that he is light-coloured, or
like a white man, would be deemed a very poor compliment by a
Kaffir. I have heard of one unfortunate man who was so very fair
that no girl would marry him." One of the titles of the Zulu king
is, "You who are black."* Mr. Galton, in speaking to me about the
natives of S. Africa, remarked that their ideas of beauty seem very
different from ours; for in one tribe two slim, slight, and pretty
girls were not admired by the natives.

  * Mungo Park's Travels in Africa 4to., 1816, pp. 53, 131. Burton's
statement is quoted by Schaaffhausen, Archiv. fur Anthropologie, 1866,
s. 163. On the Banyai, Livingstone, Travels, p. 64. On the Kaffirs,
the Rev. J. Shooter, The Kafirs of Natal and the Zulu Country, 1857,
p. 1.

  Turning to other quarters of the world; in Java, a yellow, not a
white girl, is considered, according to Madame Pfeiffer, a beauty. A
man of Cochin China "spoke with contempt of the wife of the English
Ambassador, that she had white teeth like a dog, and a rosy colour
like that of potato-flowers." We have seen that the Chinese dislike
our white skin, and that the N. Americans admire "a tawny hide." In S.
America, the Yuracaras, who inhabit the wooded, damp slopes of the
eastern Cordillera, are remarkably pale-coloured, as their name in
their own language expresses; nevertheless they consider European
women as very inferior to their own.*

  * For the Javans and Cochin-Chinese, see Waitz, Introduct. to
Anthropology, Eng. translat., vol. i., p. 305. On the Yuracaras, A.
d'Orbigny, as quoted in Prichard, Physical History of Mankind, vol.
v., 3rd ed., p. 476.

  In several of the tribes of North America the hair on the head grows
to a wonderful length; and Catlin gives a curious proof how much
this is esteemed, for the chief of the Crows was elected to this
office from having the longest hair of any man in the tribe, namely
ten feet and seven inches. The Aymaras and Quechuas of S. America,
likewise have very long hair; and this, as Mr. D. Forbes informs me,
is so much valued as a beauty, that cutting it off was the severest
punishment which he could inflict on them. In both the northern and
southern halves of the continent the natives sometimes increase the
apparent length of their hair by weaving into it fibrous substances.
Although the hair on the head is thus cherished, that on the face is
considered by the North American Indians "as very vulgar," and every
hair is carefully eradicated. This practice prevails throughout the
American continent from Vancouver's Island in the north to Tierra
del Fuego in the south. When York Minster, a Fuegian on board the
Beagle, was taken back to his country, the natives told him be ought
to pull out the few short hairs on his face. They also threatened a
young missionary, who was left for a time with them, to strip him
naked, and pluck the hair from his face and body, yet he was far
from being a hairy man. This fashion is carried so far that the
Indians of Paraguay eradicate their eyebrows and eyelashes, saying
that they do not wish to be like horses.*

  * North American Indians, by G. Catlin, 3rd ed., 1842, vol. i., p.
49; vol. ii, p. 227. On the natives of Vancouver's Island, see Sproat,
Scenes and Studies of Savage Life, 1868, p. 25. On the Indians of
Paraguay, Azara, Voyages, tom. ii., p. 105.

  It is remarkable that throughout the world the races which are
almost completely destitute of a beard dislike hairs on the face and
body, and take pains to eradicate them. The Kalmucks are beardless,
and they are well known, like the Americans, to pluck out all
straggling hairs; and so it is with the Polynesians, some of the
Malays, and the Siamese. Mr. Veitch states that the Japanese ladies
"all objected to our whiskers, considering them very ugly, and told us
to cut them off, and be like Japanese men." The New Zealanders have
short, curled beards; yet they formerly plucked out the hairs on the
face. They had a saying that "there is no woman for a hairy man";
but it would appear that the fashion has changed in New Zealand,
perhaps owing to the presence of Europeans, and I am assured that
beards are now admired by the Maories.*

  * On the Siamese, Prichard, ibid., vol. iv., p. 533. On the
Japanese, Veitch in Gardeners' Chronicle, 1860, p. 1104. On the New
Zealanders, Mantegazza, Viaggi e Studi, 1867, p. 526. For the other
nations mentioned, see references in Lawrence, Lectures on Physiology,
&c., 1822, p. 272.

  On the other hand, bearded races admire and greatly value their
beards; among the Anglo-Saxons every part of the body had a recognised
value; "the loss of the beard being estimated at twenty shillings,
while the breaking of a thigh was fixed at only twelve."* In the
East men swear solemnly by their beards. We have seen that
Chinsurdi, the chief of the Makalolo in Africa, thought that beards
were a great ornament. In the Pacific the Fijian's beard is "profuse
and bushy, and is his greatest pride"; whilst the inhabitants of the
adjacent archipelagoes of Tonga and Samoa are "beardless, and abhor
a rough chin." In one island alone of the Ellice group "the men are
heavily bearded, and not a little proud thereof."*(2)

  * Lubbock, Origin of Civilisation, 1870, p. 321.
  *(2) Dr. Barnard Davis quotes Mr. Prichard and others for these
facts in regard to the Polynesians, in Anthropolog. Review, April,
1870, pp. 185, 191.

  We thus see how widely the different races of man differ in their
taste for the beautiful. In every nation sufficiently advanced to have
made effigies of their gods or of their deified rulers, the
sculptors no doubt have endeavoured to express their highest ideal
of beauty and grandeur.* Under this point of view it is well to
compare in our mind the Jupiter or Apollo of the Greeks with the
Egyptian or Assyrian statues; and these with the hideous bas-reliefs
on the ruined buildings of Central America.

  * Ch. Comte has remarks to this effect in his Traite de Legislation,
3rd ed., 1837, p. 136.

  I have met with very few statements opposed to this conclusion.
Mr. Winwood Reade, however, who has had ample opportunities for
observation, not only with the negroes of the west coast of Africa,
but with those of the interior who have never associated with
Europeans, is convinced that their ideas of beauty are on the whole
the same as ours; and Dr. Rohlfs writes to me to the same effect
with respect to Bornu and the countries inhabited by the Pullo tribes.
Mr. Reade found that he agreed with the negroes in their estimation of
the beauty of the native girls; and that their appreciation of the
beauty of European women corresponded with ours. They admire long
hair, and use artificial means to make it appear abundant; they admire
also a beard, though themselves very scantily provided. Mr. Reade
feels doubtful what kind of nose is most appreciated; a girl has
been heard to say, "I do not want to marry him, he has got no nose";
and this shows that a very flat nose is not admired. We should,
however, bear in mind that the depressed, broad noses and projecting
jaws of the negroes of the west coast are exceptional types with the
inhabitants of Africa. Notwithstanding the foregoing statements, Mr.
Reade admits that negroes "do not like the colour of our skin; they
look on blue eyes with aversion, and they think our noses too long and
our lips too thin." He does not think it probable that negroes would
ever prefer the most beautiful European woman, on the mere grounds
of physical admiration, to a good-looking negress.*

  * The African Sketch Book, vol. ii., 1873, pp. 253, 394, 521. The
Fuegians, as I have been informed by a missionary who long resided
with them, consider European women as extremely beautiful; but from
what we have seen of the judgment of the other aborigines of
America, I cannot but think that this must be a mistake, unless indeed
the statement refers to the few Fuegians who have lived for some
time with Europeans, and who must consider us as superior beings. I
should add that a most experienced observer, Capt. Burton, believes
that a woman whom we consider beautiful is admired throughout the
world. Anthropological Review, March, 1864, p. 245.

  The general truth of the principle, long ago insisted on by
Humboldt,* that man admires and often tries to exaggerate whatever
characters nature may have given him, is shown in many ways. The
practice of beardless races extirpating every trace of a beard, and
often all the hairs on the body affords one illustration. The skull
has been greatly modified during ancient and modern times by many
nations; and there can be little doubt that this has been practised,
especially in N. and S. America, in order to exaggerate some natural
and admired peculiarity. Many American Indians are known to admire a
head so extremely flattened as to appear to us idiotic. The natives on
the northwestern coast compress the head into a pointed cone; and it
is their constant practice to gather the hair into a knot on the top
of the head, for the sake, as Dr. Wilson remarks, "of increasing the
apparent elevation of the favourite conoid form." The inhabitants of
Arakhan admire a broad, smooth forehead, and in order to produce it,
they fasten a plate of lead on the heads of the new-born children.
On the other hand, "a broad, well-rounded occiput is considered a
great beauty" by the natives of the Fiji Islands.*(2)

  * Personal Narrative, Eng. translat., vol. iv., p. 518, and
elsewhere. Mantegazza, in his Viaggi e Studi, strongly insists on this
same principle.
  *(2) On the skulls of the American tribes, see Nott and Gliddon,
Types of Mankind, 1854, p. 440; Prichard, Physical History of Mankind,
vol. i., 3rd ed., p. 321; on the natives of Arakhan, ibid., vol.
iv., p. 537. Wilson, Physical Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution,
1863, p. 288; on the Fijians, p. 290. Sir J. Lubbock (Prehistoric
Times, 2nd ed., 1869, p. 506) gives an excellent resume on this
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« Reply #199 on: February 10, 2009, 01:27:24 pm »

As with the skull, so with the nose; the ancient Huns during the age
of Attila were accustomed to flatten the noses of their infants with
bandages, "for the sake of exaggerating a natural conformation."
With the Tahitians, to be called long-nose is considered as an insult,
and they compress the noses and foreheads of their children for the
sake of beauty. The same holds with the Malays of Sumatra, the
Hottentots, certain Negroes, and the natives of Brazil.* The Chinese
have by nature unusually small feet;*(2) and it is well known that the
women of the upper classes distort their feet to make them still
smaller. Lastly, Humboldt thinks that the American Indians prefer
colouring their bodies with red paint in order to exaggerate their
natural tint; and until recently European women added to their
naturally bright colours by rouge and white cosmetics; but it may be
doubted whether barbarous nations have generally had any such
intention in painting themselves.

  * On the Huns, Godron, De l'Espece, tom. ii., 1859, p. 300. On the
Tahitians, Waitz, Anthropology, Eng. translat., vol. i., p. 305.
Marsden, quoted by Prichard, Phys. Hist. of Mankind, 3rd edit., vol.
v., p. 67. Lawrence, Lectures on Physiology, p. 337.
  *(2) This fact was ascertained in the Reise der Novara: Anthropolog.
Theil., Dr. Weisbach, 1867, s. 265.

  In the fashions of our own dress we see exactly the same principle
and the same desire to carry every point to an extreme; we exhibit,
also, the same spirit of emulation. But the fashions of savages are
far more permanent than ours; and whenever their bodies are
artificially modified, this is necessarily the case. The Arab women of
the Upper Nile occupy about three days in dressing their hair; they
never imitate other tribes, "but simply vie with each other in the
superlativeness of their own style." Dr. Wilson, in speaking of the
compressed skulls of various American races, adds, "such usages are
among the least eradicable, and long survive the shock of
revolutions that change dynasties and efface more important national
peculiarities."* The same principle comes into play in the art of
breeding; and we can thus understand, as I have elsewhere
explained,*(2) the wonderful development of the many races of
animals and plants, which have been kept merely for ornament. Fanciers
always wish each character to be somewhat increased; they do not
admire a medium standard; they certainly do not desire any great and
abrupt change in the character of their breeds; they admire solely
what they are accustomed to, but they ardently desire to see each
characteristic feature a little more developed.

  * Smithsonian Institution, 1863, p. 289. On the fashions of Arab
women, Sir S. Baker, The Nile Tributaries, 1867, p. 121.
  *(2) The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol.
i., p. 214; vol. ii., p. 240.

  The senses of man and of the lower animals seem to be so constituted
that brilliant colours and certain forms, as well as harmonious and
rhythmical sounds, give pleasure and are called beautiful; but why
this should be so we know not. It is certainly not true that there
is in the mind of man any universal standard of beauty with respect to
the human body. It is, however, possible that certain tastes may in
the course of time become inherited, though there is no evidence in
favour of this belief: and if so, each race would possess its own
innate ideal standard of beauty. It has been argued* that ugliness
consists in an approach to the structure of the lower animals, and
no doubt this is partly true with the more civilised nations, in which
intellect is highly appreciated; but this explanation will hardly
apply to all forms of ugliness. The men of each race prefer what
they are accustomed to; they cannot endure any great change; but
they like variety, and admire each characteristic carried to a
moderate extreme.*(2) Men accustomed to a nearly oval face, to
straight and regular features, and to bright colours, admire, as we
Europeans know, these points when strongly developed. On the other
hand, men accustomed to a broad face, with high cheek-bones, a
depressed nose, and a black skin, admire these peculiarities when
strongly marked. No doubt characters of all kinds may be too much
developed for beauty. Hence a perfect beauty, which implies many
characters modified in a particular manner, will be in every race a
prodigy. As the great anatomist Bichat long ago said, if every one
were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty.
If all our women were to become as beautiful as the Venus de'
Medici, we should for a time be charmed; but we should soon wish for
variety; and as soon as we had obtained variety, we should wish to see
certain characters a little exaggerated beyond the then existing
common standard.

  * Schaaffhausen, Archiv. fur Anthropologie, 1866, s. 164.
  *(2) Mr. Bain has collected (Mental and Moral Science, 1868, pp.
304-314) about a dozen more or less different theories of the idea
of beauty; but none is quite the same as that here given.

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« Reply #200 on: February 10, 2009, 01:27:58 pm »

Chapter XX - Secondary Sexual Characters of Man- Continued

  WE have seen in the last chapter that with all barbarous races
ornaments, dress, and external appearance are highly valued; and
that the men judge of the beauty of their women by widely different
standards. We must next inquire whether this preference and the
consequent selection during many generations of those women, which
appear to the men of each race the most attractive, has altered the
character either of the females alone, or of both sexes. With
mammals the general rule appears to be that characters of all kinds
are inherited equally by the males and females; we might therefore
expect that with mankind any characters gained by the females or by
the males through sexual selection would commonly be transferred to
the offspring of both sexes. If any change has thus been effected,
it is almost certain that the different races would be differently
modified, as each has its own standard of beauty.
  With mankind, especially with savages, many causes interfere with
the action of sexual selection as far as the bodily frame is
concerned. Civilised men are largely attracted by the mental charms of
women, by their wealth, and especially by their social position; for
men rarely marry into a much lower rank. The men who succeed in
obtaining the more beautiful women will not have a better chance of
leaving a long line of descendants than other men with plainer
wives, save the few who bequeath their fortunes according to
primogeniture. With respect to the opposite form of selection, namely,
of the more attractive men by the women, although in civilised nations
women have free or almost free choice, which is not the case with
barbarous races, yet their choice is largely influenced by the
social position and wealth of the men; and the success of the latter
in life depends much on their intellectual powers and energy, or on
the fruits of these same powers in their forefathers. No excuse is
needed for treating this subject in some detail; for, as the German
philosopher Schopenhauer remarks, "the final aim of all love
intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance
than all other ends in human life. What it all turns upon is nothing
less than the composition of the next generation.... It is not the
weal or woe of any one individual, but that of the human race to come,
which is here at stake."*

  * "Schopenhauer and Darwinism," in Journal of Anthropology, Jan.,
1871, p. 323.

  There is, however, reason to believe that in certain civilised and
semi-civilised nations sexual selection has effected something in
modifying the bodily frame of some of the members. Many persons are
convinced, as it appears to me with justice, that our aristocracy,
including under this term all wealthy families in which
primogeniture has long prevailed, from having chosen during many
generations from all classes the more beautiful women as their
wives, have become handsomer, according to the European standard, than
the middle classes; yet the middle classes are placed under equally
favourable conditions of life for the perfect development of the body.
Cook remarks that the superiority in personal appearance "which is
observable in the erees or nobles in all the other islands (of the
Pacific) is found in the Sandwich Islands"; but this may be chiefly
due to their better food and manner of life.
  The old traveller Chardin, in describing the Persians, says their
"blood is now highly refined by frequent intermixtures with the
Georgians and Circassians, two nations which surpass all the world
in personal beauty. There is hardly a man of rank in Persia who is not
born of a Georgian or Circassian mother." He adds that they inherit
their beauty, "not from their ancestors, for without the above
mixture, the men of rank in Persia, who are descendants of the
Tartars, would be extremely ugly."* Here is a more curious case; the
priestesses who attended the temple of Venus Erycina at San-Giuliano
in Sicily, were selected for their beauty out of the whole of
Greece; they were not vestal virgins, and Quatrefages,*(2) who
states the foregoing fact, says that the women of San-Giuliano are now
famous as the most beautiful in the island, and are sought by
artists as models. But it is obvious that the evidence in all the
above cases is doubtful.

  * These quotations are taken from Lawrence (Lectures on
Physiology, &c., 1822, p. 393), who attributes the beauty of the upper
classes in England to the men having long selected the more
beautiful women.
  *(2) "Anthropologie," Revue des Cours Scientifiques, Oct., 1868,
p. 721.

  The following case, though relating to savages, is well worth giving
for its curiosity. Mr. Winwood Reade informs me that the Jollofs, a
tribe of negroes on the west coast of Africa, "are remarkable for
their uniformly fine appearance." A friend of his asked one of these
men, "How is it that every one whom I meet is so fine looking, not
only your men but your women?" The Jollof answered, "It is very easily
explained: it has always been our custom to pick out our worst-looking
slaves and to sell them." It need hardly be added that with all
savages, female slaves serve as concubines. That this negro should
have attributed, whether rightly or wrongly, the fine appearance of
his tribe to the long-continued elimination of the ugly women is not
so surprising as it may at first appear; for I have elsewhere shewn*
that negroes fully appreciate the importance of selection in the
breeding of their domestic animals, and I could give from Mr. Reade
additional evidence on this head.

  * Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol. i., p.

  The Causes which prevent or check the Action of Sexual Selection
with Savages.- The chief causes are, first, so-called communal
marriages or promiscuous intercourse; secondly, the consequences of
female infanticide; thirdly, early betrothals; and lastly, the low
estimation in which women are held, as mere slaves. These four
points must be considered in some detail.
  It is obvious that as long as the pairing of man, or of any other
animal, is left to mere chance, with no choice exerted by either
sex, there can be no sexual selection; and no effect will be
produced on the offspring by certain individuals having had an
advantage over others in their courtship. Now it is asserted that
there exist at the present day tribes which practise what Sir J.
Lubbock by courtesy calls communal marriages; that is, all the men and
women in the tribe are husbands and wives to one another. The
licentiousness of many savages is no doubt astonishing, but it seems
to me that more evidence is requisite, before we fully admit that
their intercourse is in any case promiscuous. Nevertheless all those
who have most closely studied the subject,* and whose judgment is
worth much more than mine, believe that communal marriage (this
expression being variously guarded) was the original and universal
form throughout the world, including therein the intermarriage of
brothers and sisters. The late Sir A. Smith, who had travelled
widely in S. Africa, and knew much about the habits of savages there
and elsewhere, expressed to me the strongest opinion that no race
exists in which woman is considered as the property of the
community. I believe that his judgment was largely determined by
what is implied by the term marriage. Throughout the following
discussion I use the term in the same sense as when naturalists
speak of animals as monogamous, meaning thereby that the male is
accepted by or chooses a single female, and lives with her either
during the breeding-season or for the whole year, keeping possession
of her by the law of might; or, as when they speak of a polygamous
species, meaning that the male lives with several females. This kind
of marriage is all that concerns us here, as it suffices for the
work of sexual selection. But I know that some of the writers above
referred to imply by the term marriage a recognised right protected by
the tribe.

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« Reply #201 on: February 10, 2009, 01:28:10 pm »

 * Sir J. Lubbock, The Origin of Civilisation, 1870, chap. iii.,
especially pp. 60-67. Mr. M'Lennan, in his extremely valuable work
on Primitive Marriage, 1865, p. 163, speaks of the union of the
sexes "in the earliest times as loose, transitory, and in some
degree promiscuous." Mr. M'Lennan and Sir J. Lubbock have collected
much evidence on the extreme licentiousness of savages at the
present time. Mr. L. H. Morgan, in his interesting memoir of the
classificatory system of relationship. (Proceedings of the American
Academy of Sciences, vol. vii., Feb., 1868, p. 475), concludes that
polygamy and all forms of marriage during primeval times were
essentially unknown. It appears also, from Sir. J. Lubbock's work,
that Bachofen likewise believes that communal intercourse.
originally prevailed.

  The indirect evidence in favour of the belief of the former
prevalence of communal marriages is strong, and rests chiefly on the
terms of relationship which are employed between the members of the
same tribe, implying a connection with the tribe, and not with
either parent. But the subject is too large and complex for even an
abstract to be here given, and I will confine myself to a few remarks.
It is evident in the case of such marriages, or where the marriage tie
is very loose, that the relationship of the child to its father cannot
be known. But it seems almost incredible that the relationship of
the child to its mother should ever be completely ignored,
especially as the women in most savage tribes nurse their infants
for a long time. Accordingly, in many cases the lines of descent are
traced through the mother alone, to the exclusion of the father. But
in other cases the terms employed express a connection with the
tribe alone, to the exclusion even of the mother. It seems possible
that the connection between the related members of the same
barbarous tribe, exposed to all sorts of danger, might be so much more
important, owing to the need of mutual protection and aid, than that
between the mother and her child, as to lead to the sole use of
terms expressive of the former relationships; but Mr. Morgan is
convinced that this view is by no means sufficient.
  The terms of relationship used in different parts of the world may
be divided, according to the author just quoted, into two great
classes, the classificatory and descriptive, the latter being employed
by us. It is the classificatory system which so strongly leads to
the belief that communal and other extremely loose forms of marriage
were originally universal But as far as I can see, there is no
necessity on this ground for believing in absolutely promiscuous
intercourse; and I am glad to find that this is Sir J. Lubbock's view.
Men and women, like many of the lower animals, might formerly have
entered into strict though temporary unions for each birth, and in
this case nearly as much confusion would have arisen in the terms of
relationship as in the case of promiscuous intercourse. As far as
sexual selection is concerned, all that is required is that choice
should be exerted before the parents unite, and it signifies little
whether the unions last for life or only for a season.
  Besides the evidence derived from the terms of relationship, other
lines of reasoning indicate the former wide prevalence of communal
marriage. Sir J. Lubbock accounts for the strange and
widely-extended habit of exogamy- that is, the men of one tribe taking
wives from a distinct tribe,- by communism having been the original
form of intercourse; so that a man never obtained a wife for himself
unless he captured her from a neighbouring and hostile tribe, and then
she would naturally have become his sole and valuable property. Thus
the practice of capturing wives might have arisen; and from the honour
so gained it might ultimately have become the universal habit.
According to Sir J. Lubbock,* we can also thus understand "the
necessity of expiation for marriage as an infringement of tribal
rites, since according to old ideas, a man had no right to appropriate
to himself that which belonged to the whole tribe." Sir J. Lubbock
further gives a curious list of facts shewing that in old times high
honour was bestowed on women who were utterly licentious; and this, as
he explains, is intelligible, if we admit that promiscuous intercourse
was the aboriginal, and therefore long revered custom of the

  * Address to British Association On the Social and Religious
Condition of the Lower Races of Man, 1870, p. 20.
  *(2) Origin of Civilisation, 1870, p. 86. In the several works above
quoted, there will be found copious evidence on relationship through
the females alone, or with the tribe alone.

  Although the manner of development of the marriage tie is an obscure
subject, as we may infer from the divergent opinions on several points
between the three authors who have studied it most closely, namely,
Mr. Morgan, Mr. M'Lennan, and Sir J. Lubbock, yet from the foregoing
and several other lines of evidence it seems probable* that the
habit of marriage, in any strict sense of the word, has been gradually
developed; and that almost promiscuous or very loose intercourse was
once extremely common throughout the world. Nevertheless, from the
strength of the feeling of jealousy all through the animal kingdom, as
well as from the analogy of the lower animals, more particularly of
those which come nearest to man, I cannot believe that absolutely
promiscuous intercourse prevailed in times past, shortly before man
attained to his present rank in the zoological scale. Man, as I have
attempted to shew, is certainly descended from some ape-like creature.
With the existing Quadrumana, as far as their habits are known, the
males of some species are monogamous, but live during only a part of
the year with the females: of this the orang seems to afford an
instance. Several kinds, for example some of the Indian and American
monkeys, are strictly monogamous, and associate all the year round
with their wives. Others are polygamous, for example the gorilla and
several American species, and each family lives separate. Even when
this occurs, the families inhabiting the same district are probably
somewhat social; the chimpanzee, for instance, is occasionally met
with in large bands. Again, other species are polygamous, but
several males, each with his own females, live associated in a body,
as with several species of baboons.*(2) We may indeed conclude from
what we know of the jealousy of all male quadrupeds, armed, as many of
them are, with special weapons for battling with their rivals, that
promiscuous intercourse in a state of nature is extremely
improbable. The pairing may not last for life, but only for each
birth; yet if the males which are the strongest and best able to
defend or otherwise assist their females and young, were to select the
more attractive females, this would suffice for sexual selection.

  * Mr. C. Staniland Wake argues strongly (Anthropologia, March, 1874,
p. 197) against the views held by these three writers on the former
prevalence of almost promiscuous intercourse; and he thinks that the
classificatory system of relationship can be otherwise explained.
  *(2) Brehm (Illustriertes Thierleben, B. i., p. 77) says
Cynocephalus hamadryas lives in great troops containing twice as
many adult females as adult males. See Rengger on American
polygamous species, and Owen (Anatomy of Vertebrates, vol. iii., p.
746) on American monogamous species. Other references might be added.

  Therefore, looking far enough back in the stream of time, and
judging from the social habits of man as he now exists, the most
probable view is that he aboriginally lived in small communities, each
with a single wife, or if powerful with several, whom he jealously
guarded against all other men. Or he may not have been a social
animal, and yet have lived with several wives, like the gorilla; for
all the natives "agree that but one adult male is seen in a band; when
the young male grows up, a contest takes place for mastery, and the
strongest, by killing and driving out the others, establishes
himself as the head of the community."* The younger males, being
thus expelled and wandering about, would, when at last successful in
finding a partner, prevent too close interbreeding within the limits
of the same family.

  * Dr. Savage, in Boston Journal of Natural History, vol. v.,
1845-47, p. 423.
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« Reply #202 on: February 10, 2009, 01:28:27 pm »

Although savages are now extremely licentious, and although communal
marriages may formerly have largely prevailed, yet many tribes
practise some form of marriage, but of a far more lax nature than that
of civilised nations. Polygamy, as just stated, is almost
universally followed by the leading men in every tribe. Nevertheless
there are tribes, standing almost at the bottom of the scale, which
are strictly monogamous. This is the case with the Veddahs of
Ceylon: they have a saying, according to Sir J. Lubbock,* "that
death alone can separate husband and wife." An intelligent Kandyan
chief, of course a polygamist, "was perfectly scandalised at the utter
barbarism of living with only one wife, and never parting until
separated by death." It was, he said, "just like the Wanderoo monkey."
Whether savages who now enter into some form of marriage, either
polygamous or monogamous, have retained this habit from primeval
times, or whether they have returned to some form of marriage, after
passing through a stage of promiscuous intercourse, I will not pretend
to conjecture.

  * Prehistoric Times, 1869, p. 424.

  Infanticide.- This practice is now very common throughout the world,
and there is reason to believe that it prevailed much more extensively
during former times.* Barbarians find it difficult to support
themselves and their children, and it is a simple plan to kill their
infants. In South America some tribes, according to Azara, formerly
destroyed so many infants of both sexes that they were on the point of
extinction. In the Polynesian Islands women have been known to kill
from four or five, to even ten of their children; and Ellis could
not find a single woman who had not killed at least one. In a
village on the eastern frontier of India Colonel MacCulloch found
not a single female child. Wherever infanticide*(2) prevails the
struggle for existence will be in so far less severe, and all the
members of the tribe will have an almost equally good chance of
rearing their few surviving children. In most cases a larger number of
female than of male infants are destroyed, for it is obvious that
the latter are of more value to the tribe, as they will, when grown
up, aid in defending it, and can support themselves. But the trouble
experienced by the women in rearing children, their consequent loss of
beauty, the higher estimation set on them when few, and their
happier fate, are assigned by the women themselves, and by various
observers, as additional motives for infanticide.

  * Mr. M'Lennan, Primitive Marriage, 1865. See especially on
exogamy and infanticide, pp. 130, 138, 165.
  *(2) Dr. Gerland (Uber das Aussterben der Naturvolker, 1868) has
collected much information on infanticide, see especially ss. 27,
51, 54. Azara (Voyages, &c., tom. ii., pp. 94, 116) enters in detail
on the motives. See also M'Lennan (ibid. p. 139) for cases in India.
In the former reprints of the 2nd edition of this book an incorrect
quotation from Sir G. Grey was unfortunately given in the above
passage and has now been removed from the text.

  When, owing to female infanticide, the women of a tribe were few,
the habit of capturing wives from neighbouring tribes would
naturally arise. Sir J. Lubbock, however, as we have seen,
attributes the practice in chief part to the former existence of
communal marriage, and to the men having consequently captured women
from other tribes to hold as their sole property. Additional causes
might be assigned, such as the communities being very small, in
which case, marriageable women would often be deficient. That the
habit was most extensively practised during former times, even by
the ancestors of civilised nations, is clearly shewn by the
preservation of many curious customs and ceremonies, of which Mr.
M'Lennan has given an interesting account. In our own marriages the
"best man" seems originally to have been the chief abettor of the
bridegroom in the act of capture. Now as long as men habitually
procured their wives through violence and craft, they would have
been glad to seize on any woman, and would not have selected the
more attractive ones. But as soon as the practice of procuring wives
from a distinct tribe was effected through barter, as now occurs in
many places, the more attractive women would generally have been
purchased. The incessant crossing, however, between tribe and tribe,
which necessarily follows from any form of this habit, would tend to
keep all the people inhabiting the same country nearly uniform in
character; and this would interfere with the power of sexual selection
in differentiating the tribes.
  The scarcity of women, consequent on female infanticide, leads,
also, to another practice, that of polyandry, still common in
several parts of the world, and which formerly, as Mr. M'Lennan
believes, prevailed almost universally: but this latter conclusion
is doubted by Mr. Morgan and Sir J. Lubbock.* Whenever two or more men
are compelled to marry one woman, it is certain that all the women
of the tribe will get married, and there will be no selection by the
men of the more attractive women. But under these circumstances the
women no doubt will have the power of choice, and will prefer the more
attractive men. Azara, for instance, describes how carefully a Guana
woman bargains for all sorts of privileges, before accepting some
one or more husbands; and the men in consequence take unusual care
of their personal appearance. So amongst the Todas of India, who
practise polyandry, the girls can accept or refuse any man.*(2) A very
ugly man in these cases would perhaps altogether fail in getting a
wife, or get one later in life; but the handsomer men, although more
successful in obtaining wives, would not, as far as we can see,
leave more offspring to inherit their beauty than the less handsome
husbands of the same women.

  * Primitive Marriage, p. 208; Sir J. Lubbock, Origin of
Civilisation, p. 100. See also Mr. Morgan, loc. cit., on the former
prevalence of polyandry.
  *(2) Azara, Voyages, &c., tom. ii., pp. 92-95; Colonel Marshall,
Amongst the Todas, p. 212.
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« Reply #203 on: February 10, 2009, 01:28:42 pm »

Early Betrothals and Slavery of Women.- With many savages it is
the custom to betroth the females whilst mere infants; and this
would effectually prevent preference being exerted on either side
according to personal appearance. But it would not prevent the more
attractive women from being afterwards stolen or taken by force from
their husbands by the more powerful men; and this often happens in
Australia, America, and elsewhere. The same consequences with
reference to sexual selection would to a certain extent follow, when
women are valued almost solely as slaves or beasts of burden, as is
the case with many savages. The men, however, at all times would
prefer the handsomest slaves according to their standard of beauty.
  We thus see that several customs prevail with savages which must
greatly interfere with, or completely stop, the action of sexual
selection. On the other hand, the conditions of life to which
savages are exposed, and some of their habits, are favourable to
natural selection; and this comes into play at the same time with
sexual selection. Savages are known to suffer severely from
recurrent famines; they do not increase their food by artificial
means; they rarely refrain from marriage,* and generally marry
whilst young. Consequently they must be subjected to occasional hard
struggles for existence, and the favoured individuals will alone

  * Burchell says (Travels in S. Africa, vol. ii., 1824, p. 58),
that among the wild nations of southern Africa, neither men nor
women ever pass their lives in a state of celibacy. Azara (Voyages
dans l'Amerique Merid., tom. ii., 1809, p. 21) makes precisely the
same remark in regard to the wild Indians of South America.

  At a very early period, before man attained to his present rank in
the scale, many of his conditions would be different from what now
obtains amongst savages. Judging from the analogy of the lower
animals, he would then either live with a single female, or be a
polygamist. The most powerful and able males would succeed best in
obtaining attractive females. They would also succeed best in the
general struggle for life, and in defending their females, as well
as their offspring, from enemies of all kinds. At this early period
the ancestors of man would not be sufficiently advanced in intellect
to look forward to distant contingencies; they would not foresee
that the rearing of all their children, especially their female
children, would make the struggle for life severer for the tribe. They
would be governed more by their instincts and less by their reason
than are savages at the present day. They would not at that period
have partially lost one of the strongest of all instincts, common to
all the lower animals, namely the love of their young offspring; and
consequently they would not have practised female infanticide. Women
would not have been thus rendered scarce, and polyandry would not have
been practised; for hardly any other cause, except the scarcity of
women seems sufficient to break down the natural and widely
prevalent feeling of jealousy, and the desire of each male to
possess a female for himself. Polyandry would be a natural
stepping-stone to communal marriages or almost promiscuous
intercourse; though the best authorities believe that this latter
habit preceded polyandry. During primordial times there would be no
early betrothals, for this implies foresight. Nor would women be
valued merely as useful slaves or beasts of burden. Both sexes, if the
females as well as the males were permitted to exert any choice, would
choose their partners not for mental charms, or property, or social
position, but almost solely from external appearance. All the adults
would marry or pair, and all the offspring, as far as that was
possible, would be reared; so that the struggle for existence would be
periodically excessively severe. Thus during these times all the
conditions for sexual selection would have been more favourable than
at a later period, when man had advanced in his intellectual powers
but had retrograded in his instincts. Therefore, whatever influence
sexual selection may have had in producing the differences between the
races of man, and between man and the higher Quadrumana, this
influence would have been more powerful at a remote period than at the
present day, though probably not yet wholly lost.

  The Manner of Action of Sexual Selection with Mankind.- With
primeval man under the favourable conditions just stated, and with
those savages who at the present time enter into any marriage tie,
sexual selection has probably acted in the following manner, subject
to greater or less interference from female infanticide, early
betrothals, &c. The strongest and most vigorous men- those who could
best defend and hunt for their families, who were provided with the
best weapons and possessed the most property, such as a large number
of dogs or other animals,- would succeed in rearing a greater
average number of offspring than the weaker and poorer members of
the same tribes. There can, also, be no doubt that such men would
generally be able to select the more attractive women. At present
the chiefs of nearly every tribe throughout the world succeed in
obtaining more than one wife. I hear from Mr. Mantell that, until
recently, almost every girl in New Zealand who was pretty, or promised
to be pretty, was tapu to some chief. With the Kaffirs, as Mr. C.
Hamilton states,* "the chiefs generally have the pick of the women for
many miles round, and are most persevering in establishing or
confirming their privilege." We have seen that each race has its own
style of beauty, and we know that it is natural to man to admire
each characteristic point in his domestic animals, dress, ornaments,
and personal appearance, when carried a little beyond the average.
If then the several foregoing propositions be admitted, and I cannot
see that they are doubtful, it would be an inexplicable circumstance
if the selection of the more attractive women by the more powerful men
of each tribe, who would rear on an average a greater number of
children, did not after the lapse of many generations somewhat
modify the character of the tribe.

  * Anthropological Review, Jan., 1870, p. xvi.
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« Reply #204 on: February 10, 2009, 01:29:18 pm »

When a foreign breed of our domestic animals is introduced into a
new country, or when a native breed is long and carefully attended to,
either for use or ornament, it is found after several generations to
have undergone a greater or less amount of change whenever the means
of comparison exist. This follows from unconscious selection during
a long series of generations- that is, the preservation of the most
approved individuals- without any wish or expectation of such a result
on the part of the breeder. So again, if during many years two careful
breeders rear animals of the same family, and do not compare them
together or with a common standard, the animals are found to have
become, to the surprise of their owners, slightly different.* Each
breeder has impressed, as von Nathusius well expresses it, the
character of his own mind- his own taste and judgment- on his animals.
What reason, then, can be assigned why similar results should not
follow from the long-continued selection of the most admired women
by those men of each tribe who were able to rear the greatest number
of children? This would be unconscious selection, for an effect
would be produced, independently of any wish or expectation on the
part of the men who preferred certain women to others.

  * The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol. ii.,
pp. 210-217.

  Let us suppose the members of a tribe, practising some form of
marriage, to spread over an unoccupied continent, they would soon
split up into distinct hordes, separated from each other by various
barriers, and still more effectually by the incessant wars between all
barbarous nations. The hordes would thus be exposed to slightly
different conditions and habits of life, and would sooner or later
come to differ in some small degree. As soon as this occurred, each
isolated tribe would form for itself a slightly different standard
of beauty;* and then unconscious selection would come into action
through the more powerful and leading men preferring certain women
to others. Thus the differences between the tribes, at first very
slight, would gradually and inevitably be more or less increased.

  * An ingenious writer argues, from a comparison of the pictures of
Raphael, Rubens, and modern French artists, that the idea of beauty is
not absolutely the same even throughout Europe: see the Lives of Haydn
and Mozart, by Bombet (otherwise M. Beyle), English translation, p.

  With animals in a state of nature, many characters proper to the
males, such as size, strength, special weapons, courage and pugnacity,
have been acquired through the law of battle. The semi-human
progenitors of man, like their allies the Quadrumana, will almost
certainly have been thus modified; and, as savages still fight for the
possession of their women, a similar process of selection has probably
gone on in a greater or less degree to the present day. Other
characters proper to the males of the lower animals, such as bright
colours and various ornaments, have been acquired by the more
attractive males having been preferred by the females. There are,
however, exceptional cases in which the males are the selectors,
instead of having been the selected. We recognise such cases by the
females being more highly ornamented than the males,- their ornamental
characters having been transmitted exclusively or chiefly to their
female offspring. One such case has been described in the order to
which man belongs, that of the Rhesus monkey.
  Man is more powerful in body and mind than woman, and in the
savage state he keeps her in a far more abject state of bondage than
does the male of any other animal; therefore it is not surprising that
he should have gained the power of selection. Women are everywhere
conscious of the value of their own beauty; and when they have the
means, they take more delight in decorating themselves with all
sorts of ornaments than do men. They borrow the plumes of male
birds, with which nature has decked this sex, in order to charm the
females. As women have long been selected for beauty, it is not
surprising that some of their successive variations should have been
transmitted exclusively to the same sex; consequently that they should
have transmitted beauty in a somewhat higher degree to their female
than to their male offspring, and thus have become more beautiful,
according to general opinion, than men. Women, however, certainly
transmit most of their characters, including some beauty, to their
offspring of both sexes; so that the continued preference by the men
of each race for the more attractive women, according to their
standard of taste, will have tended to modify in the same manner all
the individuals of both sexes belonging to the race.
  With respect to the other form of sexual selection (which with the
lower animals is much the more common), namely, when the females are
the selectors, and accept only those males which excite or charm
them most, we have reason to believe that it formerly acted on our
progenitors. Man in all probability owes his beard, and perhaps some
other characters, to inheritance from an ancient progenitor who thus
gained his ornaments. But this form of selection may have occasionally
acted during later times; for in utterly barbarous tribes the women
have more power in choosing, rejecting, and tempting their lovers,
or of afterwards changing their husbands, than might have been
expected. As this is a point of some importance, I will give in detail
such evidence as I have been able to collect.
  Hearne describes how a woman in one of the tribes of Arctic
America repeatedly ran away from her husband and joined her lover; and
with the Charruas of S. America, according to Azara, divorce is
quite optional. Amongst the Abipones, a man on choosing a wife
bargains with the parents about the price. But "it frequently
happens that the girl rescinds what has been agreed upon between the
parents and the bridegroom, obstinately rejecting the very mention
of marriage." She often runs away, hides herself, and thus eludes
the bridegroom. Captain Musters who lived with the Patagonians, says
that their marriages are always settled by inclination; "if the
parents make a match contrary to the daughter's will, she refuses
and is never compelled to comply." In Tierra del Fuego a young man
first obtains the consent of the parents by doing them some service,
and then he attempts to carry off the girl; "but if she is
unwilling, she hides herself in the woods until her admirer is
heartily tired of looking for her, and gives up the pursuit; but
this seldom happens." In the Fiji Islands the man seizes on the
woman whom he wishes for his wife by actual or pretended force; but
"on reaching the home of her abductor, should she not approve of the
match, she runs to some one who can protect her; if, however, she is
satisfied, the matter is settled forthwith." With the Kalmucks there
is a regular race between the bride and bridegroom, the former
having a fair start; and Clarke "was assured that no instance occurs
of a girl being caught, unless she has a partiality to the pursuer."
Amongst the wild tribes of the Malay Archipelago there is also a
racing match; and it appears from M. Bourien's account, as Sir J.
Lubbock remarks, that "the race, 'is not to the swift, nor the
battle to the strong,' but to the young man who has the good fortune
to please his intended bride." A similar custom, with the same result,
prevails with the Koraks of north-eastern Asia.
  Turning to Africa: the Kaffirs buy their wives, and girls are
severely beaten by their fathers if they will not accept a chosen
husband; but it is manifest from many facts given by the Rev. Mr.
Shooter, that they have considerable power of choice. Thus very
ugly, though rich men, have been known to fail in getting wives. The
girls, before consenting to be betrothed, compel the men to shew
themselves off first in front and then behind, and exhibit their
paces." They have been known to propose to a man, and they not
rarely run away with a favoured lover. So again, Mr. Leslie, who was
intimately acquainted with the Kaffirs, says, "it is a mistake to
imagine that a girl is sold by her father in the same manner, and with
the same authority, with which he would dispose of a cow." Amongst the
degraded bushmen of S. Africa, "when a girl has grown up to
womanhood without having been betrothed, which, however, does not
often happen, her lover must gain her approbation, as well as that
of the parents."* Mr. Winwood Reade made inquiries for me with respect
to the negroes of western Africa, and he informs me that "the women,
at least among the more intelligent pagan tribes, have no difficulty
in getting the husbands whom they may desire, although it is
considered unwomanly to ask a man to marry them. They are quite
capable of falling in love, and of forming tender, passionate, and
faithful attachments." Additional cases could be given.

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« Reply #205 on: February 10, 2009, 01:29:28 pm »

 * Azara, Voyages, &c., tom. ii., p. 23. Dobrizhoffer, An Account
of the Abipones, vol. ii., 1822, p. 207. Capt. Musters, in Proc. R.
Geograph. Soc., vol. xv., p. 47. Williams on the Fiji Islanders, as
quoted by Lubbock, Origin of Civilisation, 1870, p. 79. On the
Fuegians, King and Fitzroy, Voyages of the "Adventure" and "Beagle,"
vol. ii., 1839, p. 182. On the Kalmucks, quoted by M'Lennan, Primitive
Marriage, 1865, p. 32 On the Malays, Lubbock, ibid., p. 76. The Rev.
J. Shooter, On the Kafirs of Natal, 1857, pp. 52-60. Mr. D. Leslie,
Kafir Character and Customs, 1871, p. 4. On the bushmen, Burchell,
Travels in S. Africa, ii., 1824, p. 59. On the Koraks by McKennan,
as quoted by Mr. Wake, in Anthropologia, Oct., 1873, p. 75.

  We thus see that with savages the women are not in quite so abject a
state in relation to marriage as has often been supposed. They can
tempt the men whom they prefer, and can sometimes reject those whom
they dislike, either before or after marriage. Preference on the
part of the women, steadily acting in any one direction, would
ultimately affect the character of the tribe; for the women would
generally choose not merely the handsomest men, according to their
standard of taste, but those who were at the same time best able to
defend and support them. Such well-endowed pairs would commonly rear a
larger number of offspring than the less favoured. The same result
would obviously follow in a still more marked manner if there was
selection on both sides; that is, if the more attractive, and at the
same time more powerful men were to prefer, and were preferred by, the
more attractive women. And this double form of selection seems
actually to have occurred, especially during the earlier periods of
our long history.
  We will now examine a little more closely some of the characters
which distinguished the several races of man from one another and from
the lower animals, namely, the greater or less deficiency of hair on
the body, and the colour of the skin. We need say nothing about the
great diversity in the shape of the features and of the skull
between the different races, as we have seen in the last chapter how
different is the standard of beauty in these respects. These
characters will therefore probably have been acted on through sexual
selection; but we have no means of judging whether they have been
acted on chiefly from the male or female side. The musical faculties
of man have likewise been already discussed.

  Absence of Hair on the Body, and its Development on the Face and
Head.- From the presence of the woolly hair or lanugo on the human
foetus, and of rudimentary hairs scattered over the body during
maturity, we may infer that man is descended from some animal which
was born hairy and remained so during life. The loss of hair is an
inconvenience and probably an injury to man, even in a hot climate,
for he is thus exposed to the scorching of the sun, and to sudden
chills, especially during wet weather. As Mr. Wallace remarks, the
natives in all countries are glad to protect their naked backs and
shoulders with some slight covering. No one supposes that the
nakedness of the skin is any direct advantage to man; his body
therefore cannot have been divested of hair through natural
selection.* Nor, as shewn in a former chapter, have we any evidence
that this can be due to the direct action of climate, or that it is
the result of correlated development.

  * Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, 1870, p. 346.
Mr. Wallace believes (p. 350) "that some intelligent power has
guided or determined the development of man"; and he considers the
hairless condition of the skin as coming under this head. The Rev.
T. R. Stebbing, in commenting on this view (Transactions of Devonshire
Association for Science, 1870) remarks, that had Mr. Wallace "employed
his usual ingenuity on the question of man's hairless skin, he might
have seen the possibility of its selection through its superior beauty
or the health attaching to superior cleanliness."

  The absence of hair on the body is to a certain extent a secondary
sexual character; for in all parts of the world women are less hairy
than men. Therefore we may reasonably suspect that this character
has been gained through sexual selection. We know that the faces of
several species of monkeys, and large surfaces at the posterior end of
the body of other species, have been denuded of hair; and this we
may safely attribute to sexual selection, for these surfaces are not
only vividly coloured, but sometimes, as with the male mandrill and
female rhesus, much more vividly in the one sex than in the other,
especially during the breeding-season. I am informed by Mr. Bartlett
that, as these animals gradually reach maturity, the naked surfaces
grow larger compared with the size of their bodies. The hair, however,
appears to have been removed, not for the sake of nudity, but that the
colour of the skin may be more fully displayed. So again with many
birds, it appears as if the head and neck had been divested of
feathers through sexual selection, to exhibit the brightly-coloured
  As the body in woman is less hairy than in man, and as this
character is common to all races, we may conclude that it was our
female semi-human ancestors who were first divested of hair, and
that this occurred at an extremely remote period before the several
races had diverged from a common stock. Whilst our female ancestors
were gradually acquiring this new character of nudity, they must
have transmitted it almost equally to their offspring of both sexes
whilst young; so that its transmission, as with the ornaments of
many mammals and birds, has not been limited either by sex or age.
There is nothing surprising in a partial loss of hair having been
esteemed as an ornament by our ape-like progenitors, for we have
seen that innumerable strange characters have been thus esteemed by
animals of all kinds, and have consequently been gained through sexual
selection. Nor is it surprising that a slightly injurious character
should have been thus acquired; for we know that this is the case with
the plumes of certain birds, and with the horns of certain stags.
  The females of some of the anthropoid apes, as stated in a former
chapter, are somewhat less hairy on the under surface than the
males; and here we have what might have afforded a commencement for
the process of denudation. With respect to the completion of the

process through sexual selection, it is well to bear in mind the New
Zealand proverb, "There is no woman for a hairy man." All who have
seen photographs of the Siamese hairy family will admit how
ludicrously hideous is the opposite extreme of excessive hairiness.
And the king of Siam had to bribe a man to marry the first hairy woman
in the family; and she transmitted this character to her young
offspring of both sexes.*

  * The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol. ii.,
1868, p. 237.

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« Reply #206 on: February 10, 2009, 01:30:15 pm »

 Some races are much more hairy than others, especially the males;
but it must not be assumed that the more hairy races, such as the
European, have retained their primordial condition more completely
than the naked races, such as the Kalmucks or Americans. It is more
probable that the hairiness of the former is due to partial reversion;
for characters which have been at some former period long inherited
are always apt to return. We have seen that idiots are often very
hairy, and they are apt to revert in other characters to a lower
animal type. It does not appear that a cold climate has been
influential in leading to this kind of reversion; excepting perhaps
with the negroes, who have been reared during several generations in
the United States,* and possibly with the Ainos, who inhabit the
northern islands of the Japan archipelago. But the laws of inheritance
are so complex that we can seldom understand their action. If the
greater hairiness of certain races be the result of reversion,
unchecked by any form of selection, its extreme variability, even
within the limits of the same race, ceases to be remarkable.*(2)

  * Investigations into Military and Anthropological Statistics of
American Soldiers, by B. A. Gould, 1869, p. 568:- Observations were
carefully made on the hairiness of 2,129 black and coloured
soldiers, whilst they were bathing; and by looking to the published
table, "it is manifest at a glance that there is but little, if any,
difference between the white and the black races in this respect."
It is, however, certain that negroes in their native and much hotter
land of Africa, have remarkably smooth bodies. It should be
particularly observed, that both pure blacks and mulattoes were
included in the above enumeration; and this is an unfortunate
circumstance, as in accordance with a principle, the truth of which
I have elsewhere proved, crossed races of man would be eminently
liable to revert to the primordial hairy character of their early
ape-like progenitors.
  *(2) Hardly any view advanced in this work has met with so much
disfavour (see for instance, Spengel, Die Fortschritte des
Darwinismus, 1874, p. 80) as the above explanation of the loss of hair
in mankind through sexual selection; but none of the opposed arguments
seem to me of much weight, in comparison with the facts shewing that
the nudity of the skin is to a certain extent a secondary sexual
character in man and in some of the Quadrumana.

  With respect to the beard in man, if we turn to our best guide,
the Quadrumana, we find beards equally developed in both sexes of many
species, but in some, either confined to the males, or more
developed in them than in the females. From this fact and from the
curious arrangement, as well as the bright colours of the hair about
the heads of many monkeys, it is highly probable, as before explained,
that the males first acquired their beards through sexual selection as
an ornament, transmitting them in most cases, equally or nearly so, to
their offspring of both sexes. We know from Eschricht* that with
mankind the female as well as the male foetus is furnished with much
hair on the face, especially round the mouth; and this indicates
that we are descended from progenitors of whom both sexes were
bearded. It appears therefore at first sight probable that man has
retained his beard from a very early period, whilst woman lost her
beard at the same time that her body became almost completely divested
of hair. Even the colour of our beards seems to have been inherited
from an ape-like progenitor; for when there is any difference in
tint between the hair of the head and the beard, the latter is lighter
coloured in all monkeys and in man. In those Quadrumana in which the
male has a larger beard than that of the female, it is fully developed
only at maturity, just as with mankind; and it is possible that only
the later stages of development have been retained by man. In
opposition to this view of the retention of the beard from an early
period is the fact of its great variability in different races, and
even within the same race; for this indicates reversion,- long lost
characters being very apt to vary on re-appearance.

  * "Uber die Richtung der Haare am Menschlichen Korper," in
Muller's Archiv. fur Anat. und Phys., 1837, s. 40.

  Nor must we overlook the part which sexual selection may have played
in later times; for we know that with savages the men of the beardless
races take infinite pains in eradicating every hair from their faces
as something odious, whilst the men of the bearded races feel the
greatest pride in their beards. The women, no doubt, participate in
these feelings, and if so sexual selection can hardly have failed to
have effected something in the course of later times. It is also
possible that the long-continued habit of eradicating the hair may
have produced an inherited effect. Dr. Brown-Sequard has shewn that if
certain animals are operated on in a particular manner, their
offspring are affected. Further evidence could be given of the
inheritance of the effects of mutilations; but a fact lately
ascertained by Mr. Salvin* has a more direct bearing on the present
question; for he has shewn that the motmots, which are known
habitually to bite off the barbs of the two central tail-feathers,
have the barbs of these feathers naturally somewhat reduced.*(2)
Nevertheless, with mankind the habit of eradicating the beard and
the hairs on the body would probably not have arisen until these had
already become by some means reduced.

  * On the tail-feathers of Motmots, Proceedings of the Zoological
Society, 1873, p. 429.
  *(2) Mr. Sproat has suggested (Scenes and Studies of Savage Life,
1868, p. 25) this same view. Some distinguished ethnologists,
amongst others M. Gosse of Geneva, believe that artificial
modifications of the skull tend to be inherited.

  It is difficult to form any judgment as to how the hair on the
head became developed to its present great length in many races.
Eschricht* states that in the human foetus the hair on the face during
the fifth month is longer than that on the head; and this indicates
that our semi-human progenitors were not furnished with long
tresses, which must therefore have been a late acquisition. This is
likewise indicated by the extraordinary difference in the length of
the hair in the different races; in the negro the hair forms a mere
curly mat; with us it is of great length, and with the American
natives it not rarely reaches to the ground. Some species of
Semnopithecus have their heads covered with moderately long hair,
and this probably serves as an ornament and was acquired through
sexual selection. The same view may perhaps be extended to mankind,
for we know that long tresses are now and were formerly much
admired, as may be observed in the works of almost every poet; St.
Paul says, "if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her"; and we
have seen that in North America a chief was elected solely from the
length of his hair.

  * Uber die Richtung, &c., s. 40.

  Colour of the Skin.- The best kind of evidence that in man the
colour of the skin has been modified through sexual selection is
scanty; for in most races the sexes do not differ in this respect, and
only slightly, as we have seen, in others. We know, however, from
the many facts already given that the colour of the skin is regarded
by the men of all races as a highly important element in their beauty;
so that it is a character which would be likely to have been
modified through selection, as has occurred in innumerable instances
with the lower animals. It seems at first sight a monstrous
supposition that the jet-blackness of the negro should have been
gained through sexual selection; but this view is supported by various
analogies, and we know that negroes admire their own colour. With
mammals, when the sexes differ in colour, the male is often black or
much darker than the female; and it depends merely on the form of
inheritance whether this or any other tint is transmitted to both
sexes or to one alone. The resemblance to a negro in miniature of
Pithecia satanas with his jet black skin, white rolling eyeballs,
and hair parted on the top of the head, is almost ludicrous.
  The colour of the face differs much more widely in the various kinds
of monkeys than it does in the races of man; and we have some reason
to believe that the red, blue, orange, almost white and black tints of
their skin, even when common to both sexes, as well as the bright
colours of their fur, and the ornamental tufts about the head, have
all been acquired through sexual selection. As the order of
development during growth, generally indicates the order in which
the characters of a species have been developed and modified during
previous generations; and as the newly-born infants of the various
races of man do not differ nearly as much in colour as do the
adults, although their bodies are as completely destitute of hair,
we have some slight evidence that the tints of the different races
were acquired at a period subsequent to the removal of the hair, which
must have occurred at a very early period in the history of man.

  Summary.- We may conclude that the greater size, strength,
courage, pugnacity, and energy of man, in comparison with woman,
were acquired during primeval times, and have subsequently been
augmented, chiefly through the contests of rival males for the
possession of the females. The greater intellectual vigour and power
of invention in man is probably due to natural selection, combined
with the inherited effects of habit, for the most able men will have
succeeded best in defending and providing for themselves and for their
wives and offspring. As far as the extreme intricacy of the subject
permits us to judge, it appears that our male ape-like progenitors
acquired their beards as an ornament to charm or excite the opposite
sex, and transmitted them only to their male offspring. The females
apparently first had their bodies denuded of hair, also as a sexual
ornament; but they transmitted this character almost equally to both
sexes. It is not improbable that the females were modified in other
respects for the same purpose and by the same means; so that women
have acquired sweeter voices and become more beautiful than men.
  It deserves attention that with mankind the conditions were in
many respects much more favourable for sexual selection during a
very early period, when man had only just attained to the rank of
manhood, than during later times. For he would then, as we may
safely conclude, have been guided more by his instinctive passions,
and less by foresight or reason. He would have jealously guarded his
wife or wives. He would not have practised infanticide; nor valued his
wives merely as useful slaves; nor have been betrothed to them
during infancy, Hence we may infer that the races of men were
differentiated, as far as sexual selection is concerned, in chief part
at a very remote epoch; and this conclusion throws light on the
remarkable fact that at the most ancient period, of which we have
not as yet any record, the races of man had already come to differ
nearly or quite as much as they do at the present day.
  The views here advanced, on the part which sexual selection has
played in the history of man, want scientific precision. He who does
not admit this agency in the case of the lower animals, will disregard
all that I have written in the later chapters on man. We cannot
positively say that this character, but not that, has been thus
modified; it has however, been shewn that the races of man differ from
each other and from their nearest allies, in certain characters
which are of no service to them in their daily habits of life, and
which it is extremely probable would have been modified through sexual
selection. We have seen that with the lowest savages the people of
each tribe admire their own characteristic qualities,- the shape of
the head and face, the squareness of the cheek-bones, the prominence
or depression of the nose, the colour of the skin, the length of the
hair on the head, the absence of hair on the face and body, or the
presence of a great beard, and so forth. Hence these and other such
points could hardly fail to be slowly and gradually exaggerated,
from the more powerful and able men in each tribe, who would succeed
in rearing the largest number of offspring, having selected during
many generations for their wives the most strongly characterised and
therefore most attractive women. For my own part I conclude that of
all the causes which have led to the differences in external
appearance between the races of man, and to a certain extent between
man and the lower animals, sexual selection has been the most

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« Reply #207 on: February 10, 2009, 03:07:00 pm »

Chapter XXI - General Summary and Conclusion

  A BRIEF summary will be sufficient to recall to the reader's mind
the more salient points in this work. Many of the views which have
been advanced are highly speculative, and some no doubt will prove
erroneous; but I have in every case given the reasons which have led
me to one view rather than to another. It seemed worth while to try
how far the principle of evolution would throw light on some of the
more complex problems in the natural history of man. False facts are
highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure
long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little
harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their
falseness: and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and
the road to truth is often at the same time opened.
  The main conclusion here arrived at, and now held by many
naturalists who are well competent to form a sound judgment is that
man is descended from some less highly organised form. The grounds
upon which this conclusion rests will never be shaken, for the close
similarity between man and the lower animals in embryonic development,
as well as in innumerable points of structure and constitution, both
of high and of the most trifling importance,- the rudiments which he
retains, and the abnormal reversions to which he is occasionally
liable,- are facts which cannot be disputed. They have long been
known, but until recently they told us nothing with respect to the
origin of man. Now when viewed by the light of our knowledge of the
whole organic world, their meaning is unmistakable. The great
principle of evolution stands up clear and firm, when these groups
or facts are considered in connection with others, such as the
mutual affinities of the members of the same group, their geographical
distribution in past and present times, and their geological
succession. It is incredible that all these facts should speak
falsely. He who is not content to look, like a savage, at the
phenomena of nature as disconnected, cannot any longer believe that
man is the work of a separate act of creation. He will be forced to
admit that the close resemblance of the embryo of man to that, for
instance, of a dog- the construction of his skull, limbs and whole
frame on the same plan with that of other mammals, independently of
the uses to which the parts may be put- the occasional re-appearance
of various structures, for instance of several muscles, which man does
not normally possess, but which are common to the Quadrumana- and a
crowd of analogous facts- all point in the plainest manner to the
conclusion that man is the co-descendant with other mammals of a
common progenitor.
  We have seen that man incessantly presents individual differences in
all parts of his body and in his mental faculties. These differences
or variations seem to be induced by the same general causes, and to
obey the same laws as with the lower animals. In both cases similar
laws of inheritance prevail. Man tends to increase at a greater rate
than his means of subsistence; consequently he is occasionally
subjected to a severe struggle for existence, and natural selection
will have effected whatever lies within its scope. A succession of
strongly-marked variations of a similar nature is by no means
requisite; slight fluctuating differences in the individual suffice
for the work of natural selection; not that we have any reason to
suppose that in the same species, all parts of the organisation tend
to vary to the same degree. We may feel assured that the inherited
effects of the long-continued use or disuse of parts will have done
much in the same direction with natural selection. Modifications
formerly of importance, though no longer of any special use, are
long-inherited. When one part is modified, other parts change
through the principle of correlation, of which we have instances in
many curious cases of correlated monstrosities. Something may be
attributed to the direct and definite action of the surrounding
conditions of life, such as abundant food, heat or moisture; and
lastly, many characters of slight physiological importance, some
indeed of considerable importance, have been gained through sexual
  No doubt man, as well as every other animal, presents structures,
which seem to our limited knowledge, not to be now of any service to
him, nor to have been so formerly, either for the general conditions
of life, or in the relations of one sex to the other. Such
structures cannot be accounted for by any form of selection, or by the
inherited effects of the use and disuse of parts. We know, however,
that many strange and strongly-marked peculiarities of structure
occasionally appear in our domesticated productions, and if their
unknown causes were to act more uniformly, they would probably
become common to all the individuals of the species. We may hope
hereafter to understand something about the causes of such
occasional modifications, especially through the study of
monstrosities: hence the labours of experimentalists such as those
of M. Camille Dareste, are full of promise for the future. In
general we can only say that the cause of each slight variation and of
each monstrosity lies much more in the constitution of the organism,
than in the nature of the surrounding conditions; though new and
changed conditions certainly play an important part in exciting
organic changes of many kinds.
  Through the means just specified, aided perhaps by others as yet
undiscovered, man has been raised to his present state. But since he
attained to the rank of manhood, he has diverged into distinct
races, or as they may be more fitly called, sub-species. Some of
these, such as the Negro and European, are so distinct that, if
specimens had been brought to a naturalist without any further
information, they would undoubtedly have been considered by him as
good and true species. Nevertheless all the races agree in so many
unimportant details of structure and in so many mental peculiarities
that these can be accounted for only by inheritance from a common
progenitor; and a progenitor thus characterised would probably deserve
to rank as man.

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« Reply #208 on: February 10, 2009, 03:07:16 pm »

It must not be supposed that the divergence of each race from the
other races, and of all from a common stock, can be traced back to any
one pair of progenitors. On the contrary, at every stage in the
process of modification, all the individuals which were in any way
better fitted for their conditions of life, though in different
degrees, would have survived in greater numbers than the less
well-fitted. The process would have been like that followed by man,
when he does not intentionally select particular individuals, but
breeds from all the superior individuals, and neglects the inferior.
He thus slowly but surely modifies his stock, and unconsciously
forms a new strain. So with respect to modifications acquired
independently of selection, and due to variations arising from the
nature of the organism and the action of the surrounding conditions,
or from changed habits of life, no single pair will have been modified
much more than the other pairs inhabiting the same country, for all
will have been continually blended through free intercrossing.
  By considering the embryological structure of man,- the homologies
which he presents with the lower animals,- the rudiments which he
retains,- and the reversions to which he is liable, we can partly
recall in imagination the former condition of our early progenitors;
and can approximately place them in their proper place in the
zoological series. We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy,
tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant
of the Old World. This creature, if its whole structure had been
examined by a naturalist, would have been classed amongst the
Quadrumana, as surely as the still more ancient progenitor of the
Old and New World monkeys. The Quadrumana and all the higher mammals
are probably derived from an ancient marsupial animal, and this
through a long series of diversified forms, from some amphibian-like
creature, and this again from some fish-like animal. In the dim
obscurity of the past we can see that the early progenitor of all
the Vertebrata must have been an aquatic animal provided with
branchiae, with the two sexes united in the same individual, and
with the most important organs of the body (such as the brain and
heart) imperfectly or not at all developed. This animal seems to
have been more like the larvae of the existing marine ascidians than
any other known form.

  The high standard of our intellectual powers and moral disposition
is the greatest difficulty which presents itself, after we have been
driven to this conclusion on the origin of man. But every one who
admits the principle of evolution, must see that the mental powers
of the higher animals, which are the same in kind with those of man,
though so different in degree, are capable of advancement. Thus the
interval between the mental powers of one of the higher apes and of
a fish, or between those of an ant and scale-insect, is immense; yet
their development does not offer any special difficulty; for with
our domesticated animals, the mental faculties are certainly variable,
and the variations are inherited. No one doubts that they are of the
utmost importance to animals in a state of nature. Therefore the
conditions are favourable for their development through natural
selection. The same conclusion may be extended to man; the intellect
must have been all-important to him, even at a very remote period,
as enabling him to invent and use language, to make weapons, tools,
traps, &c., whereby with the aid of his social habits, he long ago
became the most dominant of all living creatures.
  A great stride in the development of the intellect will have
followed, as soon as the half-art and half-instinct of language came
into use; for the continued use of language will have reacted on the
brain and produced an inherited effect; and this again will have
reacted on the improvement of language. As Mr. Chauncey Wright* has
well remarked, the largeness of the brain in man relatively to his
body, compared with the lower animals, may be attributed in chief part
to the early use of some simple form of language,- that wonderful
engine which affixes signs to all sorts of objects and qualities,
and excites trains of thought which would never arise from the mere
impression of the senses, or if they did arise could not be followed
out. The higher intellectual powers of man, such as those of
ratiocination, abstraction, self-consciousness, &c., probably follow
from the continued improvement and exercise of the other mental

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« Reply #209 on: February 10, 2009, 03:07:53 pm »

* "On the Limits of Natural Selection," in the North American
Review, Oct., 1870, p. 295.

  The development of the moral qualities is a more interesting
problem. The foundation lies in the social instincts, including
under this term the family ties. These instincts are highly complex,
and in the case of the lower animals give special tendencies towards
certain definite actions; but the more important elements are love,
and the distinct emotion of sympathy. Animals endowed with the
social instincts take pleasure in one another's company, warn one
another of danger, defend and aid one another in many ways. These
instincts do not extend to all the individuals of the species, but
only to those of the same community. As they are highly beneficial
to the species, they have in all probability been acquired through
natural selection.
  A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past
actions and their motives- of approving of some and disapproving of
others; and the fact that man is the one being who certainly
deserves this designation, is the greatest of all distinctions between
him and the lower animals. But in the fourth chapter I have
endeavoured to shew that the moral sense follows, firstly, from the
enduring and ever-present nature of the social instincts; secondly,
from man's appreciation of the approbation and disapprobation of his
fellows; and thirdly, from the high activity of his mental
faculties, with past impressions extremely vivid; and in these
latter respects he differs from the lower animals. Owing to this
condition of mind, man cannot avoid looking both backwards and
forwards, and comparing past impressions. Hence after some temporary
desire or passion has mastered his social instincts, he reflects and
compares the now weakened impression of such past impulses with the
ever-present social instincts; and he then feels that sense of
dissatisfaction which all unsatisfied instincts leave behind them,
he therefore resolves to act differently for the future,- and this
is conscience. Any instinct, permanently stronger or more enduring
than another, gives rise to a feeling which we express by saying
that it ought to be obeyed. A pointer dog, if able to reflect on his
past conduct, would say to himself, I ought (as indeed we say of
him) to have pointed at that hare and not have yielded to the
passing temptation of hunting it.
  Social animals are impelled partly by a wish to aid the members of
their community in a general manner, but more commonly to perform
certain definite actions. Man is impelled by the same general wish
to aid his fellows; but has few or no special instincts. He differs
also from the lower animals in the power of expressing his desires
by words, which thus become a guide to the aid required and
bestowed. The motive to give aid is likewise much modified in man:
it no longer consists solely of a blind instinctive impulse, but is
much influenced by the praise or blame of his fellows. The
appreciation and the bestowal of praise and blame both rest on
sympathy; and this emotion, as we have seen, is one of the most
important elements of the social instincts. Sympathy, though gained as
an instinct, is also much strengthened by exercise or habit. As all
men desire their own happiness, praise or blame is bestowed on actions
and motives, according as they lead to this end; and as happiness is
an essential part of the general good, the greatest-happinesss
principle indirectly serves as a nearly safe standard of right and
wrong. As the reasoning powers advance and experience is gained, the
remoter effects of certain lines of conduct on the character of the
individual, and on the general good, are perceived; and then the
self-regarding virtues come within the scope of public opinion, and
receive praise, and their opposites blame. But with the less civilised
nations reason often errs, and many bad customs and base superstitions
come within the same scope, and are then esteemed as high virtues, and
their breach as heavy crimes.
  The moral faculties are generally and justly esteemed as of higher
value than the intellectual powers. But we should bear in mind that
the activity of the mind in vividly recalling past impressions is
one of the fundamental though secondary bases of conscience. This
affords the strongest argument for educating and stimulating in all
possible ways the intellectual faculties of every human being. No
doubt a man with a torpid mind, if his social affections and
sympathies are well developed, will be led to good actions, and may
have a fairly sensitive conscience. But whatever renders the
imagination more vivid and strengthens the habit of recalling and
comparing past impressions, will make the conscience more sensitive,
and may even somewhat compensate for weak social affections and
  The moral nature of man has reached its present standard, partly
through the advancement of his reasoning powers and consequently of
a just public opinion, but especially from his sympathies having
been rendered more tender and widely diffused through the effects of
habit, example, instruction, and reflection. It is not improbable that
after long practice virtuous tendencies may be inherited. With the
more civilised races, the conviction of the existence of an all-seeing
Deity has had a potent influence on the advance of morality.
Ultimately man does not accept the praise or blame of his fellows as
his sole guide, though few escape this influence, but his habitual
convictions, controlled by reason, afford him the safest rule. His
conscience then becomes the supreme judge and monitor. Nevertheless
the first foundation or origin of the moral sense lies in the social
instincts, including sympathy; and these instincts no doubt were
primarily gained, as in the case of the lower animals, through natural

  The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the
greatest, but the most complete of all the distinctions between man
and the lower animals. It is however impossible, as we have seen, to
maintain that this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the
other hand a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be
universal; and apparently follows from a considerable advance in man's
reason, and from a still greater advance in his faculties of
imagination, curiosity and wonder. I am aware that the assumed
instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument
for His existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be
compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant
spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in
them is far more general than in a beneficent Deity. The idea of a
universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of
man, until he has been elevated by long-continued culture.
  He who believes in the advancement of man from some low organised
form, will naturally ask how does this bear on the belief in the
immortality of the soul. The barbarous races of man, as Sir J. Lubbock
has shewn, possess no clear belief of this kind; but arguments derived
from the primeval beliefs of savages are, as we have just seen, of
little or no avail. Few persons feel any anxiety from the
impossibility of determining at what precise period in the development
of the individual, from the first trace of a minute germinal
vesicle, man becomes an immortal being; and there is no greater
cause for anxiety because the period cannot possibly be determined
in the gradually ascending organic scale.*
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