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Darwin and Modern Science by A.C. Seward

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exact since Darwin's time: the fossil lemurs have been especially worked
up by Cope, Forsyth Major, Ameghino, and others. Darwin knew very little
about fossil monkeys. He mentions two or three anthropoid apes as
occurring in the Miocene of Europe ("Descent of Man", page 240.), but only
names Dryopithecus, the largest form from the Miocene of France. It was
erroneously supposed that this form was related to Hylobates. We now know
not only a form that actually stands near to the gibbon (Pliopithecus), and
remains of other anthropoids (Pliohylobates and the fossil chimpanzee,
Palaeopithecus), but also several lower catarrhine monkeys, of which
Mesopithecus, a form nearly related to the modern Sacred Monkeys (a species
of Semnopithecus) and found in strata of the Miocene period in Greece, is
the most important. Quite recently, too, Ameghino's investigations have
made us acquainted with fossil monkeys from South America (Anthropops,
Homunculus), which, according to their discoverer, are to be regarded as in
the line of human descent.

What Darwin missed most of all--intermediate forms between apes and man--
has been recently furnished. (E. Dubois, as is well known, discovered in
1893, near Trinil in Java, in the alluvial deposits of the river Bengawan,
an important form represented by a skull-cap, some molars, and a femur.
His opinion--much disputed as it has been--that in this form, which he
named Pithecanthropus, he has found a long-desired transition-form is
shared by the present writer. And although the geological age of these
fossils, which, according to Dubois, belong to the uppermost Tertiary
series, the Pliocene, has recently been fixed at a later date (the older
Diluvium), the MORPHOLOGICAL VALUE of these interesting remains, that is,
the intermediate position of Pithecanthropus, still holds good. Volz says
with justice ("Das geologische Alter der Pithecanthropus-Schichten bei
Trinil, Ost-Java". "Neues Jahrb. f.Mineralogie". Festband, 1907.), that
even if Pithecanthropus is not THE missing link, it is undoubtedly _A_
missing link.

As on the one hand there has been found in Pithecanthropus a form which,
though intermediate between apes and man, is nevertheless more closely
allied to the apes, so on the other hand, much progress has been made since
Darwin's day in the discovery and description of the older human remains.
Since the famous roof of a skull and the bones of the extremities belonging
to it were found in 1856 in the Neandertal near Dusseldorf, the most varied
judgments have been expressed in regard to the significance of the remains
and of the skull in particular. In Darwin's "Descent of Man" there is only
a passing allusion to them ("Descent of Man", page 82.) in connection with
the discussion of the skull-capacity, although the investigations of
Schaaffhausen, King, and Huxley were then known. I believe I have shown,
in a series of papers, that the skull in question belongs to a form
different from any of the races of man now living, and, with King and Cope,
I regard it as at least a different species from living man, and have
therefore designated it Homo primigenius. The form unquestionably belongs
to the older Diluvium, and in the later Diluvium human forms already
appear, which agree in all essential points with existing human races.

As far back as 1886 the value of the Neandertal skull was greatly enhanced
by Fraipont's discovery of two skulls and skeletons from Spy in Belgium.
These are excellently described by their discoverer ("La race humaine de
Neanderthal ou de Canstatt en Belgique". "Arch. de Biologie", VII. 1887.),
and are regarded as belonging to the same group of forms as the Neandertal
remains. In 1899 and the following years came the discovery by Gorjanovic-
Kramberger of different skeletal parts of at least ten individuals in a
cave near Krapina in Croatia. (Gorjanovic-Kramberger "Der diluviale Mensch
von Krapina in Kroatien", 1906.) It is in particular the form of the lower
jaw which is different from that of all recent races of man, and which
clearly indicates the lowly position of Homo primigenius, while, on the
other hand, the long-known skull from Gibraltar, which I ("Studien zur
Vorgeschichte des Menschen", 1906, pages 154 ff.) have referred to Homo
primigenius, and which has lately been examined in detail by Sollas ("On
the cranial and facial characters of the Neandertal Race". "Trans. R.
Soc." London, vol. 199, 1908, page 281.), has made us acquainted with the
surprising shape of the eye-orbit, of the nose, and of the whole upper part
of the face. Isolated lower jaws found at La Naulette in Belgium, and at
Malarnaud in France, increase our material which is now as abundant as
could be desired. The most recent discovery of all is that of a skull dug
up in August of this year (1908) by Klaatsch and Hauser in the lower grotto
of the Le Moustier in Southern France, but this skull has not yet been
fully described. Thus Homo primigenius must also be regarded as occupying
a position in the gap existing between the highest apes and the lowest
human races, Pithecanthropus, standing in the lower part of it, and Homo
primigenius in the higher, near man. In order to prevent misunderstanding,
I should like here to emphasise that in arranging this structural series--
anthropoid apes, Pithecanthropus, Homo primigenius, Homo sapiens--I have no
intention of establishing it as a direct genealogical series. I shall have
something to say in regard to the genetic relations of these forms, one to
another, when discussing the different theories of descent current at the
present day. ((Since this essay was written Schoetensack has discovered
near Heidelberg and briefly described an exceedingly interesting lower jaw
from rocks between the Pliocene and Diluvial beds. This exhibits
interesting differences from the forms of lower jaw of Homo primigenius.
(Schoetensack "Der Unterkiefer des Homo heidelbergensis". Leipzig, 1908.)

In quite a different domain from that of morphological relationship, namely
in the physiological study of the blood, results have recently been gained
which are of the highest importance to the doctrine of descent. Uhlenhuth,
Nuttall, and others have established the fact that the blood-serum of a
rabbit which has previously had human blood injected into it, forms a
precipitate with human blood. This biological reaction was tried with a
great variety of mammalian species, and it was found that those far removed
from man gave no precipitate under these conditions. But as in other cases
among mammals all nearly related forms yield an almost equally marked
precipitate, so the serum of a rabbit treated with human blood and then
added to the blood of an anthropoid ape gives ALMOST as marked a
precipitate as in human blood; the reaction to the blood of the lower
Eastern monkeys is weaker, that to the Western monkeys weaker still; indeed
in this last case there is only a slight clouding after a considerable time
and no actual precipitate. The blood of the Lemuridae (Nuttall) gives no
reaction or an extremely weak one, that of the other mammals none whatever.
We have in this not only a proof of the literal blood-relationship between
man and apes, but the degree of relationship with the different main groups
of apes can be determined beyond possibility of mistake.

Finally, it must be briefly mentioned that in regard to remains of human
handicraft also, the material at our disposal has greatly increased of late
years, that, as a result of this, the opinions of archaeologists have
undergone many changes, and that, in particular, their views in regard to
the age of the human race have been greatly influenced. There is a
tendency at the present time to refer the origin of man back to Tertiary
times. It is true that no remains of Tertiary man have been found, but
flints have been discovered which, according to the opinion of most
investigators, bear traces either of use, or of very primitive workmanship.
Since Rutot's time, following Mortillet's example, investigators have
called these "eoliths," and they have been traced back by Verworn to the
Miocene of the Auvergne, and by Rutot even to the upper Oligocene.
Although these eoliths are even nowadays the subject of many different
views, the preoccupation with them has kept the problem of the age of the
human race continually before us.

Geology, too, has made great progress since the days of Darwin and Lyell,
and has endeavoured with satisfactory results to arrange the human remains
of the Diluvial period in chronological order (Penck). I do not intend to
enter upon the question of the primitive home of the human race; since the
space at my disposal will not allow of my touching even very briefly upon
all the departments of science which are concerned in the problem of the
descent of man. How Darwin would have rejoiced over each of the
discoveries here briefly outlined! What use he would have made of the new
and precious material, which would have prevented the discouragement from
which he suffered when preparing the second edition of "The Descent of
Man"! But it was not granted to him to see this progress towards filling
up the gaps in his edifice of which he was so painfully conscious.

He did, however, have the satisfaction of seeing his ideas steadily gaining
ground, notwithstanding much hostility and deep-rooted prejudice. Even in
the years between the appearance of "The Origin of Species" and of the
first edition of the "Descent", the idea of a natural descent of man, which
was only briefly indicated in the work of 1859, had been eagerly welcomed
in some quarters. It has been already pointed out how brilliantly Huxley
contributed to the defence and diffusion of Darwin's doctrines, and how in
"Man's Place in Nature" he has given us a classic work as a foundation for
the doctrine of the descent of man. As Huxley was Darwin's champion in
England, so in Germany Carl Vogt, in particular, made himself master of the
Darwinian ideas. But above all it was Haeckel who, in energy, eagerness
for battle, and knowledge may be placed side by side with Huxley, who took
over the leadership in the controversy over the new conception of the
universe. As far back as 1866, in his "Generelle Morphologie", he had
inquired minutely into the question of the descent of man, and not content
with urging merely the general theory of descent from lower animal forms,
he drew up for the first time genealogical trees showing the close
relationships of the different animal groups; the last of these illustrated
the relationships of Mammals, and among them of all groups of the Primates,
including man. It was Haeckel's genealogical trees that formed the basis
of the special discussion of the relationships of man, in the sixth chapter
of Darwin's "Descent of Man".

In the last section of this essay I shall return to Haeckel's conception of
the special descent of man, the main features of which he still upholds,
and rightly so. Haeckel has contributed more than any one else to the
spread of the Darwinian doctrine.

I can only allow myself a few words as to the spread of the theory of the
natural descent of man in other countries. The Parisian anthropological
school, founded and guided by the genius of Broca, took up the idea of the
descent of man, and made many notable contributions to it (Broca,
Manouvrier, Mahoudeau, Deniker and others). In England itself Darwin's
work did not die. Huxley took care of that, for he, with his lofty and
unprejudiced mind, dominated and inspired English biology until his death
on June 29, 1895. He had the satisfaction shortly before his death of
learning of Dubois' discovery, which he illustrated by a humorous sketch.
("Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley", Vol. II. page 394.) But there
are still many followers in Darwin's footsteps in England. Keane has
worked at the special genealogical tree of the Primates; Keith has inquired
which of the anthropoid apes has the greatest number of characters in
common with man; Morris concerns himself with the evolution of man in
general, especially with his acquisition of the erect position. The recent
discoveries of Pithecanthropus and Homo primigenius are being vigorously
discussed; but the present writer is not in a position to form an opinion
of the extent to which the idea of descent has penetrated throughout
England generally.

In Italy independent work in the domain of the descent of man is being
produced, especially by Morselli; with him are associated, in the
investigation of related problems, Sergi and Giuffrida-Ruggeri. From the
ranks of American investigators we may single out in particular the eminent
geologist Cope, who championed with much decision the idea of the specific
difference of Homo neandertalensis (primigenius) and maintained a more
direct descent of man from the fossil Lemuridae. In South America too, in
Argentina, new life is stirring in this department of science. Ameghino in
Buenos Ayres has awakened the fossil primates of the Pampas formation to
new life; he even believes that in Tetraprothomo, represented by a femur,
he has discovered a direct ancestor of man. Lehmann-Nitsche is working at
the other side of the gulf between apes and men, and he describes a
remarkable first cervical vertebra (atlas) from Monte Hermoso as belonging
to a form which may bear the same relation to Homo sapiens in South America
as Homo primigenius does in the Old World. After a minute investigation he
establishes a human species Homo neogaeus, while Ameghino ascribes this
atlas vertebra to his Tetraprothomo.

Thus throughout the whole scientific world there is arising a new life, an
eager endeavour to get nearer to Huxley's problema maximum, to penetrate
more deeply into the origin of the human race. There are to-day very few
experts in anatomy and zoology who deny the animal descent of man in
general. Religious considerations, old prejudices, the reluctance to
accept man, who so far surpasses mentally all other creatures, as descended
from "soulless" animals, prevent a few investigators from giving full
adherence to the doctrine. But there are very few of these who still
postulate a special act of creation for man. Although the majority of
experts in anatomy and zoology accept unconditionally the descent of man
from lower forms, there is much diversity of opinion among them in regard
to the special line of descent.

In trying to establish any special hypothesis of descent, whether by the
graphic method of drawing up genealogical trees or otherwise, let us always
bear in mind Darwin's words ("Descent of Man", page 229.) and use them as a
critical guiding line: "As we have no record of the lines of descent, the
pedigree can be discovered only by observing the degrees of resemblance
between the beings which are to be classed." Darwin carries this further
by stating "that resemblances in several unimportant structures, in useless
and rudimentary organs, or not now functionally active, or in an
embryological condition, are by far the most serviceable for
classification." (Loc. cit.) It has also to be remembered that NUMEROUS
separate points of agreement are of much greater importance than the amount
of similarity or dissimilarity in a few points.

The hypotheses as to descent current at the present day may be divided into
two main groups. The first group seeks for the roots of the human race not
among any of the families of the apes--the anatomically nearest forms--nor
among their very similar but less specialised ancestral forms, the fossil
representatives of which we can know only in part, but, setting the monkeys
on one side, it seeks for them lower down among the fossil Eocene Pseudo-
lemuridae or Lemuridae (Cope), or even among the primitive pentadactylous
Eocene forms, which may either have led directly to the evolution of man
(Adloff), or have given rise to an ancestral form common to apes and men
(Klaatsch (Klaatsch in his last publications speaks in the main only of an
ancestral form common to men and anthropoid apes.), Giuffrida-Ruggeri).
The common ancestral form, from which man and apes are thus supposed to
have arisen independently, may explain the numerous resemblances which
actually exist between them. That is to say, all the characters upon which
the great structural resemblance between apes and man depends must have
been present in their common ancestor. Let us take an example of such a
common character. The bony external ear-passage is in general as highly
developed in the lower Eastern monkeys and the anthropoid apes as in man.
This character must, therefore, have already been present in the common
primitive form. In that case it is not easy to understand why the Western
monkeys have not also inherited the character, instead of possessing only a
tympanic ring. But it becomes more intelligible if we assume that forms
with a primitive tympanic ring were the original type, and that from these
were evolved, on the one hand, the existing New World monkeys with
persistent tympanic ring, and on the other an ancestral form common to the
lower Old World monkeys, the anthropoid apes and man. For man shares with
these the character in question, and it is also one of the "unimportant"
characters required by Darwin. Thus we have two divergent lines arising
from the ancestral form, the Western monkeys (Platyrrhine) on the one hand,
and an ancestral form common to the lower Eastern monkeys, the anthropoid
apes, and man, on the other. But considerations similar to those which
showed it to be impossible that man should have developed from an ancestor
common to him and the monkeys, yet outside of and parallel with these, may
be urged also against the likelihood of a parallel evolution of the lower
Eastern monkeys, the anthropoid apes, and man. The anthropoid apes have in
common with man many characters which are not present in the lower Old
World monkeys. These characters must therefore have been present in the
ancestral form common to the three groups. But here, again, it is
difficult to understand why the lower Eastern monkeys should not also have
inherited these characters. As this is not the case, there remains no
alternative but to assume divergent evolution from an indifferent form.
The lower Eastern monkeys are carrying on the evolution in one direction--I
might almost say towards a blind alley--while anthropoids and men have
struck out a progressive path, at first in common, which explains the many
points of resemblance between them, without regarding man as derived
directly from the anthropoids. Their many striking points of agreement
indicate a common descent, and cannot be explained as phenomena of

I believe I have shown in the above sketch that a theory which derives man
directly from lower forms without regarding apes as transition-types leads
ad absurdum. The close structural relationship between man and monkeys can
only be understood if both are brought into the same line of evolution. To
trace man's line of descent directly back to the old Eocene mammals,
alongside of, but with no relation to these very similar forms, is to
abandon the method of exact comparison, which, as Darwin rightly
recognised, alone justifies us in drawing up genealogical trees on the
basis of resemblances and differences. The farther down we go the more
does the ground slip from beneath our feet. Even the Lemuridae show very
numerous divergent conditions, much more so the Eocene mammals (Creodonta,
Condylarthra), the chief resemblance of which to man consists in the
possession of pentadactylous hands and feet! Thus the farther course of
the line of descent disappears in the darkness of the ancestry of the
mammals. With just as much reason we might pass by the Vertebrates
altogether, and go back to the lower Invertebrates, but in that case it
would be much easier to say that man has arisen independently, and has
evolved, without relation to any animals, from the lowest primitive form to
his present isolated and dominant position. But this would be to deny all
value to classification, which must after all be the ultimate basis of a
genealogical tree. We can, as Darwin rightly observed, only infer the line
of descent from the degree of resemblance between single forms. If we
regard man as directly derived from primitive forms very far back, we have
no way of explaining the many points of agreement between him and the
monkeys in general, and the anthropoid apes in particular. These must
remain an inexplicable marvel.

I have thus, I trust, shown that the first class of special theories of
descent, which assumes that man has developed, parallel with the monkeys,
but without relation to them, from very low primitive forms cannot be
upheld, because it fails to take into account the close structural affinity
of man and monkeys. I cannot but regard this hypothesis as lamentably
retrograde, for it makes impossible any application of the facts that have
been discovered in the course of the anatomical and embryological study of
man and monkeys, and indeed prejudges investigations of that class as
pointless. The whole method is perverted; an unjustifiable theory of
descent is first formulated with the aid of the imagination, and then we
are asked to declare that all structural relations between man and monkeys,
and between the different groups of the latter, are valueless,--the fact
being that they are the only true basis on which a genealogical tree can be

So much for this most modern method of classification, which has probably
found adherents because it would deliver us from the relationship to apes
which many people so much dislike. In contrast to it we have the second
class of special hypotheses of descent, which keeps strictly to the nearest
structural relationships. This is the only basis that justifies the
drawing up of a special hypothesis of descent. If this fundamental
proposition be recognised, it will be admitted that the doctrine of special
descent upheld by Haeckel, and set forth in Darwin's "Descent of Man", is
still valid to-day. In the genealogical tree, man's place is quite close
to the anthropoid apes; these again have as their nearest relatives the
lower Old World monkeys, and their progenitors must be sought among the
less differentiated Platyrrhine monkeys, whose most important characters
have been handed on to the present day New World monkeys. How the
different genera are to be arranged within the general scheme indicated
depends in the main on the classificatory value attributed to individual
characters. This is particularly true in regard to Pithecanthropus, which
I consider as the root of a branch which has sprung from the anthropoid ape
root and has led up to man; the latter I have designated the family of the

For the rest, there are, as we have said, various possible ways of
constructing the narrower genealogy within the limits of this branch
including men and apes, and these methods will probably continue to change
with the accumulation of new facts. Haeckel himself has modified his
genealogical tree of the Primates in certain details since the publication
of his "Generelle Morphologie" in 1866, but its general basis remains the
same. (Haeckel's latest genealogical tree is to be found in his most
recent work, "Unsere Ahnenreihe". Jena, 1908.) All the special
genealogical trees drawn up on the lines laid down by Haeckel and Darwin--
and that of Dubois may be specially mentioned--are based, in general, on
the close relationship of monkeys and men, although they may vary in
detail. Various hypotheses have been formulated on these lines, with
special reference to the evolution of man. "Pithecanthropus" is regarded
by some authorities as the direct ancestor of man, by others as a side-
track failure in the attempt at the evolution of man. The problem of the
monophyletic or polyphyletic origin of the human race has also been much
discussed. Sergi (Sergi G. "Europa", 1908.) inclines towards the
assumption of a polyphyletic origin of the three main races of man, the
African primitive form of which has given rise also to the gorilla and
chimpanzee, the Asiatic to the Orang, the Gibbon, and Pithecanthropus.
Kollmann regards existing human races as derived from small primitive races
(pigmies), and considers that Homo primigenius must have arisen in a
secondary and degenerative manner.

But this is not the place, nor have I the space to criticise the various
special theories of descent. One, however, must receive particular notice.
According to Ameghino, the South American monkeys (Pitheculites) from the
oldest Tertiary of the Pampas are the forms from which have arisen the
existing American monkeys on the one hand, and on the other, the extinct
South American Homunculidae, which are also small forms. From these last,
anthropoid apes and man have, he believes, been evolved. Among the
progenitors of man, Ameghino reckons the form discovered by him
(Tetraprothomo), from which a South American primitive man, Homo pampaeus,
might be directly evolved, while on the other hand all the lower Old World
monkeys may have arisen from older fossil South American forms
(Clenialitidae), the distribution of which may be explained by the bridge
formerly existing between South America and Africa, as may be the
derivation of all existing human races from Homo pampaeus. (See Ameghino's
latest paper, "Notas preliminares sobre el Tetraprothomo argentinus", etc.
"Anales del Museo nacional de Buenos Aires", XVI. pages 107-242, 1907.)
The fossil forms discovered by Ameghino deserve the most minute
investigation, as does also the fossil man from South America of which
Lehmann-Nitsche ("Nouvelles recherches sur la formation pampeenne et
l'homme fossile de la Republique Argentine". "Rivista del Museo de la
Plata", T. XIV. pages 193-488.) has made a thorough study.

It is obvious that, notwithstanding the necessity for fitting man's line of
descent into the genealogical tree of the Primates, especially the apes,
opinions in regard to it differ greatly in detail. This could not be
otherwise, since the different Primate forms, especially the fossil forms,
are still far from being exhaustively known. But one thing remains
certain,--the idea of the close relationship between man and monkeys set
forth in Darwin's "Descent of Man". Only those who deny the many points of
agreement, the sole basis of classification, and thus of a natural
genealogical tree, can look upon the position of Darwin and Haeckel as
antiquated, or as standing on an insufficient foundation. For such a
genealogical tree is nothing more than a summarised representation of what
is known in regard to the degree of resemblance between the different

Darwin's work in regard to the descent of man has not been surpassed; the
more we immerse ourselves in the study of the structural relationships
between apes and man, the more is our path illumined by the clear light
radiating from him, and through his calm and deliberate investigation,
based on a mass of material in the accumulation of which he has never had
an equal. Darwin's fame will be bound up for all time with the
unprejudiced investigation of the question of all questions, the descent of
the human race.


Professor of Zoology in the University of Jena.

The great advance that anthropology has made in the second half of the
nineteenth century is due in the first place, to Darwin's discovery of the
origin of man. No other problem in the whole field of research is so
momentous as that of "Man's place in nature," which was justly described by
Huxley (1863) as the most fundamental of all questions. Yet the scientific
solution of this problem was impossible until the theory of descent had
been established.

It is now a hundred years since the great French biologist Jean Lamarck
published his "Philosophie Zoologique". By a remarkable coincidence the
year in which that work was issued, 1809, was the year of the birth of his
most distinguished successor, Charles Darwin. Lamarck had already
recognised that the descent of man from a series of other Vertebrates--that
is, from a series of Ape-like Primates--was essentially involved in the
general theory of transformation which he had erected on a broad inductive
basis; and he had sufficient penetration to detect the agencies that had
been at work in the evolution of the erect bimanous man from the arboreal
and quadrumanous ape. He had, however, few empirical arguments to advance
in support of his hypothesis, and it could not be established until the
further development of the biological sciences--the founding of comparative
embryology by Baer (1828) and of the cell-theory by Schleiden and Schwann
(1838), the advance of physiology under Johannes Muller (1833), and the
enormous progress of palaeontology and comparative anatomy between 1820 and
1860--provided this necessary foundation. Darwin was the first to
coordinate the ample results of these lines of research. With no less
comprehensiveness than discrimination he consolidated them as a basis of a
modified theory of descent, and associated with them his own theory of
natural selection, which we take to be distinctive of "Darwinism" in the
stricter sense. The illuminating truth of these cumulative arguments was
so great in every branch of biology that, in spite of the most vehement
opposition, the battle was won within a single decade, and Darwin secured
the general admiration and recognition that had been denied to his
forerunner, Lamarck, up to the hour of his death (1829).

Before, however, we consider the momentous influence that Darwinism has had
in anthropology, we shall find it useful to glance at its history in the
course of the last half century, and notice the various theories that have
contributed to its advance. The first attempt to give extensive expression
to the reform of biology by Darwin's work will be found in my "Generelle
Morphologie" (1866) ("Generelle Morphologie der Organismen", 2 vols.,
Berlin, 1866.) which was followed by a more popular treatment of the
subject in my "Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte (1868) (English translation;
"The History of Creation", London, 1876.), a compilation from the earlier
work. In the first volume of the "Generelle Morphologie" I endeavoured to
show the great importance of evolution in settling the fundamental
questions of biological philosophy, especially in regard to comparative
anatomy. In the second volume I dealt broadly with the principle of
evolution, distinguishing ontogeny and phylogeny as its two coordinate main
branches, and associating the two in the Biogenetic Law. The Law may be
formulated thus: "Ontogeny (embryology or the development of the
individual) is a concise and compressed recapitulation of phylogeny (the
palaeontological or genealogical series) conditioned by laws of heredity
and adaptation." The "Systematic introduction to general evolution," with
which the second volume of the "Generelle Morphologie" opens, was the first
attempt to draw up a natural system of organisms (in harmony with the
principles of Lamarck and Darwin) in the form of a hypothetical pedigree,
and was provisionally set forth in eight genealogical tables.

In the nineteenth chapter of the "Generelle Morphologie"--a part of which
has been republished, without any alteration, after a lapse of forty years
--I made a critical study of Lamarck's theory of descent and of Darwin's
theory of selection, and endeavoured to bring the complex phenomena of
heredity and adaptation under definite laws for the first time. Heredity I
divided into conservative and progressive: adaptation into indirect (or
potential) and direct (or actual). I then found it possible to give some
explanation of the correlation of the two physiological functions in the
struggle for life (selection), and to indicate the important laws of
divergence (or differentiation) and complexity (or division of labour),
which are the direct and inevitable outcome of selection. Finally, I
marked off dysteleology as the science of the aimless (vestigial, abortive,
atrophied, and useless) organs and parts of the body. In all this I worked
from a strictly monistic standpoint, and sought to explain all biological
phenomena on the mechanical and naturalistic lines that had long been
recognised in the study of inorganic nature. Then (1866), as now, being
convinced of the unity of nature, the fundamental identity of the agencies
at work in the inorganic and the organic worlds, I discarded vitalism,
teleology, and all hypotheses of a mystic character.

It was clear from the first that it was essential, in the monistic
conception of evolution, to distinguish between the laws of conservative
and progressive heredity. Conservative heredity maintains from generation
to generation the enduring characters of the species. Each organism
transmits to its descendants a part of the morphological and physiological
qualities that it has received from its parents and ancestors. On the
other hand, progressive heredity brings new characters to the species--
characters that were not found in preceding generations. Each organism may
transmit to its offspring a part of the morphological and physiological
features that it has itself acquired, by adaptation, in the course of its
individual career, through the use or disuse of particular organs, the
influence of environment, climate, nutrition, etc. At that time I gave the
name of "progressive heredity" to this inheritance of acquired characters,
as a short and convenient expression, but have since changed the term to
"transformative heredity" (as distinguished from conservative). This term
is preferable, as inherited regressive modifications (degeneration,
retrograde metamorphisis, etc.) come under the same head.

Transformative heredity--or the transmission of acquired characters--is one
of the most important principles in evolutionary science. Unless we admit
it most of the facts of comparative anatomy and physiology are
inexplicable. That was the conviction of Darwin no less than of Lamarck,
of Spencer as well as Virchow, of Huxley as well as Gegenbaur, indeed of
the great majority of speculative biologists. This fundamental principle
was for the first time called in question and assailed in 1885 by August
Weismann of Freiburg, the eminent zoologist to whom the theory of evolution
owes a great deal of valuable support, and who has attained distinction by
his extension of the theory of selection. In explanation of the phenomena
of heredity he introduced a new theory, the "theory of the continuity of
the germ-plasm." According to him the living substance in all organisms
consists of two quite distinct kinds of plasm, somatic and germinal. The
permanent germ-plasm, or the active substance of the two germ-cells (egg-
cell and sperm-cell), passes unchanged through a series of generations, and
is not affected by environmental influences. The environment modifies only
the soma-plasm, the organs and tissues of the body. The modifications that
these parts undergo through the influence of the environment or their own
activity (use and habit), do not affect the germ-plasm, and cannot
therefore be transmitted.

This theory of the continuity of the germ-plasm has been expounded by
Weismann during the last twenty-four years in a number of able volumes, and
is regarded by many biologists, such as Mr Francis Galton, Sir E. Ray
Lankester, and Professor J. Arthur Thomson (who has recently made a
thoroughgoing defence of it in his important work "Heredity" (London,
1908.)), as the most striking advance in evolutionary science. On the
other hand, the theory has been rejected by Herbert Spencer, Sir W. Turner,
Gegenbaur, Kolliker, Hertwig, and many others. For my part I have, with
all respect for the distinguished Darwinian, contested the theory from the
first, because its whole foundation seems to me erroneous, and its
deductions do not seem to be in accord with the main facts of comparative
morphology and physiology. Weismann's theory in its entirety is a finely
conceived molecular hypothesis, but it is devoid of empirical basis. The
notion of the absolute and permanent independence of the germ-plasm, as
distinguished from the soma-plasm, is purely speculative; as is also the
theory of germinal selection. The determinants, ids, and idants, are
purely hypothetical elements. The experiments that have been devised to
demonstrate their existence really prove nothing.

It seems to me quite improper to describe this hypothetical structure as
"Neodarwinism." Darwin was just as convinced as Lamarck of the
transmission of acquired characters and its great importance in the scheme
of evolution. I had the good fortune to visit Darwin at Down three times
and discuss with him the main principles of his system, and on each
occasion we were fully agreed as to the incalculable importance of what I
call transformative inheritance. It is only proper to point out that
Weismann's theory of the germ-plasm is in express contradiction to the
fundamental principles of Darwin and Lamarck. Nor is it more acceptable in
what one may call its "ultradarwinism"--the idea that the theory of
selection explains everything in the evolution of the organic world. This
belief in the "omnipotence of natural selection" was not shared by Darwin
himself. Assuredly, I regard it as of the utmost value, as the process of
natural selection through the struggle for life affords an explanation of
the mechanical origin of the adapted organisation. It solves the great
problem: how could the finely adapted structure of the animal or plant
body be formed unless it was built on a preconceived plan? It thus enables
us to dispense with the teleology of the metaphysician and the dualist, and
to set aside the old mythological and poetic legends of creation. The idea
had occurred in vague form to the great Empedocles 2000 years before the
time of Darwin, but it was reserved for modern research to give it ample
expression. Nevertheless, natural selection does not of itself give the
solution of all our evolutionary problems. It has to be taken in
conjunction with the transformism of Lamarck, with which it is in complete

The monumental greatness of Charles Darwin, who surpasses every other
student of science in the nineteenth century by the loftiness of his
monistic conception of nature and the progressive influence of his ideas,
is perhaps best seen in the fact that not one of his many successors has
succeeded in modifying his theory of descent in any essential point or in
discovering an entirely new standpoint in the interpretation of the organic
world. Neither Nageli nor Weismann, neither De Vries nor Roux, has done
this. Nageli, in his "Mechanisch-Physiologische Theorie der
Abstammungslehre" (Munich, 1884.), which is to a great extent in agreement
with Weismann, constructed a theory of the idioplasm, that represents it
(like the germ-plasm) as developing continuously in a definite direction
from internal causes. But his internal "principle of progress" is at the
bottom just as teleological as the vital force of the Vitalists, and the
micellar structure of the idioplasm is just as hypothetical as the
"dominant" structure of the germ-plasm. In 1889 Moritz Wagner sought to
explain the origin of species by migration and isolation, and on that basis
constructed a special "migration-theory." This, however, is not out of
harmony with the theory of selection. It merely elevates one single factor
in the theory to a predominant position. Isolation is only a special case
of selection, as I had pointed out in the fifteenth chapter of my "Natural
history of creation". The "mutation-theory" of De Vries ("Die
Mutationstheorie", Leipzig, 1903.), that would explain the origin of
species by sudden and saltatory variations rather than by gradual
modification, is regarded by many botanists as a great step in advance, but
it is generally rejected by zoologists. It affords no explanation of the
facts of adaptation, and has no causal value.

Much more important than these theories is that of Wilhelm Roux ("Der Kampf
der Theile im Organismus", Leipzig, 1881.) of "the struggle of parts within
the organism, a supplementation of the theory of mechanical adaptation."
He explains the functional autoformation of the purposive structure by a
combination of Darwin's principle of selection with Lamarck's idea of
transformative heredity, and applies the two in conjunction to the facts of
histology. He lays stress on the significance of functional adaptation,
which I had described in 1866, under the head of cumulative adaptation, as
the most important factor in evolution. Pointing out its influence in the
cell-life of the tissues, he puts "cellular selection" above "personal
selection," and shows how the finest conceivable adaptations in the
structure of the tissue may be brought about quite mechanically, without
preconceived plan. This "mechanical teleology" is a valuable extension of
Darwin's monistic principle of selection to the whole field of cellular
physiology and histology, and is wholly destructive of dualistic vitalism.

The most important advance that evolution has made since Darwin and the
most valuable amplification of his theory of selection is, in my opinion,
the work of Richard Semon: "Die Mneme als erhaltendes Prinzip im Wechsel
des organischen Geschehens" (Leipzig, 1904.). He offers a psychological
explanation of the facts of heredity by reducing them to a process of
(unconscious) memory. The physiologist Ewald Hering had shown in 1870 that
memory must be regarded as a general function of organic matter, and that
we are quite unable to explain the chief vital phenomena, especially those
of reproduction and inheritance, unless we admit this unconscious memory.
In my essay "Die Perigenesis der Plastidule" (Berlin, 1876.) I elaborated
this far-reaching idea, and applied the physical principle of transmitted
motion to the plastidules, or active molecules of plasm. I concluded that
"heredity is the memory of the plastidules, and variability their power of
comprehension." This "provisional attempt to give a mechanical explanation
of the elementary processes of evolution" I afterwards extended by showing
that sensitiveness is (as Carl Nageli, Ernst Mach, and Albrecht Rau express
it) a general quality of matter. This form of panpsychism finds its
simplest expression in the "trinity of substance."

To the two fundamental attributes that Spinoza ascribed to substance--
Extension (matter as occupying space) and Cogitation (energy, force)--we
now add the third fundamental quality of Psychoma (sensitiveness, soul). I
further elaborated this trinitarian conception of substance in the
nineteenth chapter of my "Die Lebenswunder" (1904) ("Wonders of Life",
London, 1904.), and it seems to me well calculated to afford a monistic
solution of many of the antitheses of philosophy.

This important Mneme-theory of Semon and the luminous physiological
experiments and observations associated with it not only throw considerable
light on transformative inheritance, but provide a sound physiological
foundation for the biogenetic law. I had endeavoured to show in 1874, in
the first chapter of my "Anthropogenie" (English translation; "The
Evolution of Man", 2 volumes, London, 1879 and 1905.), that this
fundamental law of organic evolution holds good generally, and that there
is everywhere a direct causal connection between ontogeny and phylogeny.
"Phylogenesis is the mechanical cause of ontogenesis"; in other words, "The
evolution of the stem or race is--in accordance with the laws of heredity
and adaptation--the real cause of all the changes that appear, in a
condensed form, in the development of the individual organism from the
ovum, in either the embryo or the larva."

It is now fifty years since Charles Darwin pointed out, in the thirteenth
chapter of his epoch-making "Origin of Species", the fundamental importance
of embryology in connection with his theory of descent:

"The leading facts in embryology, which are second to none in importance,
are explained on the principle of variations in the many descendants from
some one ancient progenitor, having appeared at a not very early period of
life, and having been inherited at a corresponding period." ("Origin of
Species" (6th edition), page 396.)

He then shows that the striking resemblance of the embryos and larvae of
closely related animals, which in the mature stage belong to widely
different species and genera, can only be explained by their descent from a
common progenitor. Fritz Muller made a closer study of these important
phenomena in the instructive instance of the Crustacean larva, as given in
his able work "Fur Darwin" (1864). (English translation; "Facts and
Arguments for Darwin", London, 1869.) I then, in 1872, extended the range
so as to include all animals (with the exception of the unicellular
Protozoa) and showed, by means of the theory of the Gastraea, that all
multicellular, tissue-forming animals--all the Metazoa--develop in
essentially the same way from the primary germ-layers. I conceived the
embryonic form, in which the whole structure consists of only two layers of
cells, and is known as the gastrula, to be the ontogenetic recapitulation,
maintained by tenacious heredity, of a primitive common progenitor of all
the Metazoa, the Gastraea. At a later date (1895) Monticelli discovered
that this conjectural ancestral form is still preserved in certain
primitive Coelenterata--Pemmatodiscus, Kunstleria, and the nearly-related

The general application of the biogenetic law to all classes of animals and
plants has been proved in my "Systematische Phylogenie". (3 volumes,
Berlin, 1894-96.) It has, however, been frequently challenged, both by
botanists and zoologists, chiefly owing to the fact that many have failed
to distinguish its two essential elements, palingenesis and cenogenesis.
As early as 1874 I had emphasised, in the first chapter of my "Evolution of
Man", the importance of discriminating carefully between these two sets of

"In the evolutionary appreciation of the facts of embryology we must take
particular care to distinguish sharply and clearly between the primary,
palingenetic evolutionary processes and the secondary, cenogenetic
processes. The palingenetic phenomena, or embryonic RECAPITULATIONS, are
due to heredity, to the transmission of characters from one generation to
another. They enable us to draw direct inferences in regard to
corresponding structures in the development of the species (e.g. the chorda
or the branchial arches in all vertebrate embryos). The cenogenetic
phenomena, on the other hand, or the embryonic VARIATIONS, cannot be traced
to inheritance from a mature ancestor, but are due to the adaptation of the
embryo or the larva to certain conditions of its individual development
(e.g. the amnion, the allantois, and the vitelline arteries in the embryos
of the higher vertebrates). These cenogenetic phenomena are later
additions; we must not infer from them that there were corresponding
processes in the ancestral history, and hence they are apt to mislead."

The fundamental importance of these facts of comparative anatomy, atavism,
and the rudimentary organs, was pointed out by Darwin in the first part of
his classic work, "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex"
(1871). ("Descent of Man" (Popular Edition), page 927.) In the "General
summary and conclusion" (chapter XXI.) he was able to say, with perfect
justice: "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 reappearance 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."

These few lines of Darwin's have a greater scientific value than hundreds
of those so-called "anthropological treatises," which give detailed
descriptions of single organs, or mathematical tables with series of
numbers and what are claimed to be "exact analyses," but are devoid of
synoptic conclusions and a philosophical spirit.

Charles Darwin is not generally recognised as a great anthropologist, nor
does the school of modern anthropologists regard him as a leading
authority. In Germany, especially, the great majority of the members of
the anthropological societies took up an attitude of hostility to him from
the very beginning of the controversy in 1860. "The Descent of Man" was
not merely rejected, but even the discussion of it was forbidden on the
ground that it was "unscientific."

The centre of this inveterate hostility for thirty years--especially after
1877--was Rudolph Virchow of Berlin, the leading investigator in
pathological anatomy, who did so much for the reform of medicine by his
establishment of cellular pathology in 1858. As a prominent representative
of "exact" or "descriptive" anthropology, and lacking a broad equipment in
comparative anatomy and ontogeny, he was unable to accept the theory of
descent. In earlier years, and especially during his splendid period of
activity at Wurzburg (1848-1856), he had been a consistent free-thinker,
and had in a number of able articles (collected in his "Gesammelte
Abhandlungen") ("Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur wissenschaftlichen Medizin",
Berlin, 1856.) upheld the unity of human nature, the inseparability of body
and spirit. In later years at Berlin, where he was more occupied with
political work and sociology (especially after 1866), he abandoned the
positive monistic position for one of agnosticism and scepticism, and made
concessions to the dualistic dogma of a spiritual world apart from the
material frame.

In the course of a Scientific Congress at Munich in 1877 the conflict of
these antithetic views of nature came into sharp relief. At this memorable
Congress I had undertaken to deliver the first address (September 18th) on
the subject of "Modern evolution in relation to the whole of science." I
maintained that Darwin's theory not only solved the great problem of the
origin of species, but that its implications, especially in regard to the
nature of man, threw considerable light on the whole of science, and on
anthropology in particular. The discovery of the real origin of man by
evolution from a long series of mammal ancestors threw light on his place
in nature in every aspect, as Huxley had already shown in his excellent
lectures of 1863. Just as all the organs and tissues of the human body had
originated from those of the nearest related mammals, certain ape-like
forms, so we were bound to conclude that his mental qualities also had been
derived from those of his extinct primate ancestor.

This monistic view of the origin and nature of man, which is now admitted
by nearly all who have the requisite acquaintance with biology, and
approach the subject without prejudice, encountered a sharp opposition at
that time. The opposition found its strongest expression in an address
that Virchow delivered at Munich four days afterwards (September 22nd), on
"The freedom of science in the modern State." He spoke of the theory of
evolution as an unproved hypothesis, and declared that it ought not to be
taught in the schools, because it was dangerous to the State. "We must
not," he said, "teach that man has descended from the ape or any other
animal." When Darwin, usually so lenient in his judgment, read the English
translation of Virchow's speech, he expressed his disapproval in strong
terms. But the great authority that Virchow had--an authority well founded
in pathology and sociology--and his prestige as President of the German
Anthropological Society, had the effect of preventing any member of the
Society from raising serious opposition to him for thirty years. Numbers
of journals and treatises repeated his dogmatic statement: "It is quite
certain that man has descended neither from the ape nor from any other
animal." In this he persisted till his death in 1902. Since that time the
whole position of German anthropology has changed. The question is no
longer whether man was created by a distinct supernatural act or evolved
from other mammals, but to which line of the animal hierarchy we must look
for the actual series of ancestors. The interested reader will find an
account of this "battle of Munich" (1877) in my three Berlin lectures
(April, 1905) ("Der Kampf um die Entwickelungs-Gedanken". (English
translation; "Last Words on Evolution", London, 1906.)

The main points in our genealogical tree were clearly recognised by Darwin
in the sixth chapter of the "Descent of Man". Lowly organised fishes, like
the lancelet (Amphioxus), are descended from lower invertebrates resembling
the larvae of an existing Tunicate (Appendicularia). From these primitive
fishes were evolved higher fishes of the ganoid type and others of the type
of Lepidosiren (Dipneusta). It is a very small step from these to the

"In the class of mammals the steps are not difficult to conceive which led
from the ancient Monotremata to the ancient Marsupials; and from these to
the early progenitors of the placental mammals. We may thus ascend to the
Lemuridae; and the interval is not very wide from these to the Simiadae.
The Simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the New World and Old
World monkeys; and from the latter, at a remote period, Man, the wonder and
glory of the Universe, proceeded." ("Descent of Man" (Popular Edition),
page 255.)

In these few lines Darwin clearly indicated the way in which we were to
conceive our ancestral series within the vertebrates. It is fully
confirmed by all the arguments of comparative anatomy and embryology, of
palaeontology and physiology; and all the research of the subsequent forty
years has gone to establish it. The deep interest in geology which Darwin
maintained throughout his life and his complete knowledge of palaeontology
enabled him to grasp the fundamental importance of the palaeontological
record more clearly than anthropologists and zoologists usually do.

There has been much debate in subsequent decades whether Darwin himself
maintained that man was descended from the ape, and many writers have
sought to deny it. But the lines I have quoted verbatim from the
conclusion of the sixth chapter of the "Descent of Man" (1871) leave no
doubt that he was as firmly convinced of it as was his great precursor Jean
Lamarck in 1809. Moreover, Darwin adds, with particular explicitness, in
the "general summary and conclusion" (chapter XXI.) of that standard work
("Descent of Man", page 930.):

"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."

These clear and definite lines leave no doubt that Darwin--so critical and
cautious in regard to important conclusions--was quite as firmly convinced
of the descent of man from the apes (the Catarrhinae, in particular) as
Lamarck was in 1809 and Huxley in 1863.

It is to be noted particularly that, in these and other observations on the
subject, Darwin decidedly assumes the monophyletic origin of the mammals,
including man. It is my own conviction that this is of the greatest
importance. A number of difficult questions in regard to the development
of man, in respect of anatomy, physiology, psychology, and embryology, are
easily settled if we do not merely extend our progonotaxis to our nearest
relatives, the anthropoid apes and the tailed monkeys from which these have
descended, but go further back and find an ancestor in the group of the
Lemuridae, and still further back to the Marsupials and Monotremata. The
essential identity of all the Mammals in point of anatomical structure and
embryonic development--in spite of their astonishing differences in
external appearance and habits of life--is so palpably significant that
modern zoologists are agreed in the hypothesis that they have all sprung
from a common root, and that this root may be sought in the earlier
Palaeozoic Amphibia.

The fundamental importance of this comparative morphology of the Mammals,
as a sound basis of scientific anthropology, was recognised just before the
beginning of the nineteenth century, when Lamarck first emphasised (1794)
the division of the animal kingdom into Vertebrates and Invertebrates.
Even thirteen years earlier (1781), when Goethe made a close study of the
mammal skeleton in the Anatomical Institute at Jena, he was intensely
interested to find that the composition of the skull was the same in man as
in the other mammals. His discovery of the os intermaxillare in man
(1784), which was contradicted by most of the anatomists of the time, and
his ingenious "vertebral theory of the skull," were the splendid fruit of
his morphological studies. They remind us how Germany's greatest
philosopher and poet was for many years ardently absorbed in the
comparative anatomy of man and the mammals, and how he divined that their
wonderful identity in structure was no mere superficial resemblance, but
pointed to a deep internal connection. In my "Generelle Morphologie"
(1866), in which I published the first attempts to construct phylogenetic
trees, I have given a number of remarkable theses of Goethe, which may be
called "phyletic prophecies." They justify us in regarding him as a
precursor of Darwin.

In the ensuing forty years I have made many conscientious efforts to
penetrate further along that line of anthropological research that was
opened up by Goethe, Lamarck, and Darwin. I have brought together the many
valuable results that have constantly been reached in comparative anatomy,
physiology, ontogeny, and palaeontology, and maintained the effort to
reform the classification of animals and plants in an evolutionary sense.
The first rough drafts of pedigrees that were published in the "Generelle
Morphologie" have been improved time after time in the ten editions of my
"Naturaliche Schopfungsgeschichte" (1868-1902). (English translation; "The
History of Creation", London, 1876.) A sounder basis for my phyletic
hypotheses, derived from a discriminating combination of the three great
records--morphology, ontogeny, and palaeontology--was provided in the three
volumes of my "Systematische Phylogenie (Berlin, 1894-96.) (1894 Protists
and Plants, 1895 Vertebrates, 1896 Invertebrates). In my "Anthropogenie"
(Leipzig, 1874, 5th edition 1905. English translation; "The Evolution of
Man", London, 1905.) I endeavoured to employ all the known facts of
comparative ontogeny (embryology) for the purpose of completing my scheme
of human phylogeny (evolution). I attempted to sketch the historical
development of each organ of the body, beginning with the most elementary
structures in the germ-layers of the Gastraea. At the same time I drew up
a corrected statement of the most important steps in the line of our
ancestral series.

At the fourth International Congress of Zoology at Cambridge (August 26th,
1898) I delivered an address on "Our present knowledge of the Descent of
Man." It was translated into English, enriched with many valuable notes
and additions, by my friend and pupil in earlier days Dr Hans Gadow
(Cambridge), and published under the title: "The Last Link; our present
knowledge of the Descent of Man". (London, 1898.) The determination of
the chief animal forms that occur in the line of our ancestry is there
restricted to thirty types, and these are distributed in six main groups.

The first half of this "Progonotaxis hominis," which has no support from
fossil evidence, comprises three groups: (i) Protista (unicellular
organisms, 1-5: (ii) Invertebrate Metazoa (Coelenteria 6-8, Vermalia 9-
11): (iii) Monorrhine Vertebrates (Acrania 12-13, Cyclostoma 14-15). The
second half, which is based on fossil records, also comprises three groups:
(iv) Palaeozoic cold-blooded Craniota (Fishes 16-18, Amphibia 19, Reptiles
20: (v) Mesozoic Mammals (Monotrema 21, Marsupialia 22, Mallotheria 23):
(vi) Cenozoic Primates (Lemuridae 24-25, Tailed Apes 26-27, Anthropomorpha
28-30). An improved and enlarged edition of this hypothetic "Progonotaxis
hominis" was published in 1908, in my essay "Unsere Ahnenreihe".
("Festschrift zur 350-jahrigen Jubelfeier der Thuringer Universitat Jena".
Jena, 1908.)

If I have succeeded in furthering, in some degree, by these anthropological
works, the solution of the great problem of Man's place in nature, and
particularly in helping to trace the definite stages in our ancestral
series, I owe the success, not merely to the vast progress that biology has
made in the last half century, but largely to the luminous example of the
great investigators who have applied themselves to the problem, with so
much assiduity and genius, for a century and a quarter--I mean Goethe and
Lamarck, Gegenbaur and Huxley, but, above all, Charles Darwin. It was the
great genius of Darwin that first brought together the scattered material
of biology and shaped it into that symmetrical temple of scientific
knowledge, the theory of descent. It was Darwin who put the crown on the
edifice by his theory of natural selection. Not until this broad inductive
law was firmly established was it possible to vindicate the special
conclusion, the descent of man from a series of other Vertebrates. By his
illuminating discovery Darwin did more for anthropology than thousands of
those writers, who are more specifically titled anthropologists, have done
by their technical treatises. We may, indeed, say that it is not merely as
an exact observer and ingenious experimenter, but as a distinguished
anthropologist and far-seeing thinker, that Darwin takes his place among
the greatest men of science of the nineteenth century.

To appreciate fully the immortal merit of Darwin in connection with
anthropology, we must remember that not only did his chief work, "The
Origin of Species", which opened up a new era in natural history in 1859,
sustain the most virulent and widespread opposition for a lengthy period,
but even thirty years later, when its principles were generally recognised
and adopted, the application of them to man was energetically contested by
many high scientific authorities. Even Alfred Russel Wallace, who
discovered the principle of natural selection independently in 1858, did
not concede that it was applicable to the higher mental and moral qualities
of man. Dr Wallace still holds a spiritualist and dualist view of the
nature of man, contending that he is composed of a material frame
(descended from the apes) and an immortal immaterial soul (infused by a
higher power). This dual conception, moreover, is still predominant in the
wide circles of modern theology and metaphysics, and has the general and
influential adherence of the more conservative classes of society.

In strict contradiction to this mystical dualism, which is generally
connected with teleology and vitalism, Darwin always maintained the
complete unity of human nature, and showed convincingly that the
psychological side of man was developed, in the same way as the body, from
the less advanced soul of the anthropoid ape, and, at a still more remote
period, from the cerebral functions of the older vertebrates. The eighth
chapter of the "Origin of Species", which is devoted to instinct, contains
weighty evidence that the instincts of animals are subject, like all other
vital processes, to the general laws of historic development. The special
instincts of particular species were formed by adaptation, and the
modifications thus acquired were handed on to posterity by heredity; in
their formation and preservation natural selection plays the same part as
in the transformation of every other physiological function. The higher
moral qualities of civilised man have been derived from the lower mental
functions of the uncultivated barbarians and savages, and these in turn
from the social instincts of the mammals. This natural and monistic
psychology of Darwin's was afterwards more fully developed by his friend
George Romanes in his excellent works "Mental Evolution in Animals" and
"Mental Evolution in Man". (London, 1885; 1888.)

Many valuable and most interesting contributions to this monistic
psychology of man were made by Darwin in his fine work on "The Descent of
Man and Selection in Relation to Sex", and again in his supplementary work,
"The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals". To understand the
historical development of Darwin's anthropology one must read his life and
the introduction to "The Descent of Man". From the moment that he was
convinced of the truth of the principle of descent--that is to say, from
his thirtieth year, in 1838--he recognised clearly that man could not be
excluded from its range. He recognised as a logical necessity the
important conclusion that "man is the co-descendant with other species of
some ancient, lower, and extinct form." For many years he gathered notes
and arguments in support of this thesis, and for the purpose of showing the
probable line of man's ancestry. But in the first edition of "The Origin
of Species" (1859) he restricted himself to the single line, that by this
work "light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history." In the
fifty years that have elapsed since that time the science of the origin and
nature of man has made astonishing progress, and we are now fairly agreed
in a monistic conception of nature that regards the whole universe,
including man, as a wonderful unity, governed by unalterable and eternal
laws. In my philosophical book "Die Weltratsel" (1899) ("The Riddle of the
Universe", London, 1900.) and in the supplementary volume "Die
Lebenswunder" (1904) "The Wonders of Life", London, 1904.), I have
endeavoured to show that this pure monism is securely established, and that
the admission of the all-powerful rule of the same principle of evolution
throughout the universe compels us to formulate a single supreme law--the
all-embracing "Law of Substance," or the united laws of the constancy of
matter and the conservation of energy. We should never have reached this
supreme general conception if Charles Darwin--a "monistic philosopher" in
the true sense of the word--had not prepared the way by his theory of
descent by natural selection, and crowned the great work of his life by the
association of this theory with a naturalistic anthropology.


Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

On a bright day in late autumn a good many years ago I had ascended the
hill of Panopeus in Phocis to examine the ancient Greek fortifications
which crest its brow. It was the first of November, but the weather was
very hot; and when my work among the ruins was done, I was glad to rest
under the shade of a clump of fine holly-oaks, to inhale the sweet
refreshing perfume of the wild thyme which scented all the air, and to
enjoy the distant prospects, rich in natural beauty, rich too in memories
of the legendary and historic past. To the south the finely-cut peak of
Helicon peered over the low intervening hills. In the west loomed the
mighty mass of Parnassus, its middle slopes darkened by pine-woods like
shadows of clouds brooding on the mountain-side; while at its skirts
nestled the ivy-mantled walls of Daulis overhanging the deep glen, whose
romantic beauty accords so well with the loves and sorrows of Procne and
Philomela, which Greek tradition associated with the spot. Northwards,
across the broad plain to which the hill of Panopeus descends, steep and
bare, the eye rested on the gap in the hills through which the Cephissus
winds his tortuous way to flow under grey willows, at the foot of barren
stony hills, till his turbid waters lose themselves, no longer in the vast
reedy swamps of the now vanished Copaic Lake, but in the darkness of a
cavern in the limestone rock. Eastward, clinging to the slopes of the
bleak range of which the hill of Panopeus forms part, were the ruins of
Chaeronea, the birthplace of Plutarch; and out there in the plain was
fought the disastrous battle which laid Greece at the feet of Macedonia.
There, too, in a later age East and West met in deadly conflict, when the
Roman armies under Sulla defeated the Asiatic hosts of Mithridates. Such
was the landscape spread out before me on one of those farewell autumn days
of almost pathetic splendour, when the departing summer seems to linger
fondly, as if loth to resign to winter the enchanted mountains of Greece.
Next day the scene had changed: summer was gone. A grey November mist
hung low on the hills which only yesterday had shone resplendent in the
sun, and under its melancholy curtain the dead flat of the Chaeronean
plain, a wide treeless expanse shut in by desolate slopes, wore an aspect
of chilly sadness befitting the battlefield where a nation's freedom was

But crowded as the prospect from Panopeus is with memories of the past, the
place itself, now so still and deserted, was once the scene of an event
even more ancient and memorable, if Greek story-tellers can be trusted.
For here, they say, the sage Prometheus created our first parents by
fashioning them, like a potter, out of clay. (Pausanias X. 4.4. Compare
Apollodorus, "Bibliotheca", I. 7. 1; Ovid, "Metamorph." I. 82 sq.; Juvenal,
"Sat". XIV. 35. According to another version of the tale, this creation of
mankind took place not at Panopeus, but at Iconium in Lycaonia. After the
original race of mankind had been destroyed in the great flood of
Deucalion, the Greek Noah, Zeus commanded Prometheus and Athena to create
men afresh by moulding images out of clay, breathing the winds into them,
and making them live. See "Etymologicum Magnum", s.v. "'Ikonion", pages
470 sq. It is said that Prometheus fashioned the animals as well as men,
giving to each kind of beast its proper nature. See Philemon, quoted by
Stobaeus, "Florilegium" II. 27. The creation of man by Prometheus is
figured on ancient works of art. See J. Toutain, "Etudes de Mythologie et
d'Histoire des Religions Antiques" (Paris, 1909), page 190. According to
Hesiod ("Works and Days", 60 sqq.) it was Hephaestus who at the bidding of
Zeus moulded the first woman out of moist earth.) The very spot where he
did so can still be seen. It is a forlorn little glen or rather hollow
behind the hill of Panopeus, below the ruined but still stately walls and
towers which crown the grey rocks of the summit. The glen, when I visited
it that hot day after the long drought of summer, was quite dry; no water
trickled down its bushy sides, but in the bottom I found a reddish
crumbling earth, a relic perhaps of the clay out of which the potter
Prometheus moulded the Greek Adam and Eve. In a volume dedicated to the
honour of one who has done more than any other in modern times to shape the
ideas of mankind as to their origin it may not be out of place to recall
this crude Greek notion of the creation of the human race, and to compare
or contrast it with other rudimentary speculations of primitive peoples on
the same subject, if only for the sake of marking the interval which
divides the childhood from the maturity of science.

The simple notion that the first man and woman were modelled out of clay by
a god or other superhuman being is found in the traditions of many peoples.
This is the Hebrew belief recorded in Genesis: "The Lord God formed man of
the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul." (Genesis ii.7.) To the Hebrews this
derivation of our species suggested itself all the more naturally because
in their language the word for "ground" (adamah) is in form the feminine of
the word for man (adam). (S.R. Driver and W.H.Bennett, in their
commentaries on Genesis ii. 7.) From various allusions in Babylonian
literature it would seem that the Babylonians also conceived man to have
been moulded out of clay. (H. Zimmern, in E. Schrader's "Die
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament"3 (Berlin, 1902), page 506.)
According to Berosus, the Babylonian priest whose account of creation has
been preserved in a Greek version, the god Bel cut off his own head, and
the other gods caught the flowing blood, mixed it with earth, and fashioned
men out of the bloody paste; and that, they said, is why men are so wise,
because their mortal clay is tempered with divine blood. (Eusebius,
"Chronicon", ed. A. Schoene, Vol. I. (Berlin, 1875), col. 16.) In Egyptian
mythology Khnoumou, the Father of the gods, is said to have moulded men out
of clay. (G. Maspero, "Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient
Classique", I. (Paris, 1895), page 128.) We cannot doubt that such crude
conceptions of the origin of our race were handed down to the civilised
peoples of antiquity by their savage or barbarous forefathers. Certainly
stories of the same sort are known to be current among savages and

Thus the Australian blacks in the neighbourhood of Melbourne said that
Pund-jel, the creator, cut three large sheets of bark with his big knife.
On one of these he placed some clay and worked it up with his knife into a
proper consistence. He then laid a portion of the clay on one of the other
pieces of bark and shaped it into a human form; first he made the feet,
then the legs, then the trunk, the arms, and the head. Thus he made a clay
man on each of the two pieces of bark; and being well pleased with them he
danced round them for joy. Next he took stringy bark from the Eucalyptus
tree, made hair of it, and stuck it on the heads of his clay men. Then he
looked at them again, was pleased with his work, and again danced round
them for joy. He then lay down on them, blew his breath hard into their
mouths, their noses, and their navels; and presently they stirred, spoke,
and rose up as full-grown men. (R. Brough Smyth, "The Aborigines of
Victoria" (Melbourne, 1878), I. 424. This and many of the following
legends of creation have been already cited by me in a note on Pausanias X.
4. 4 ("Pausanias's Description of Greece, translated with a Commentary"
(London, 1898), Vol V. pages 220 sq.).) The Maoris of New Zealand say that
Tiki made man after his own image. He took red clay, kneaded it, like the
Babylonian Bel, with his own blood, fashioned it in human form, and gave
the image breath. As he had made man in his own likeness he called him
Tiki-ahua or Tiki's likeness. (R. Taylor "Te Ika A Maui, or New Zealand
and its Inhabitants", Second Edition (London, 1870), page 117. Compare E.
Shortland, "Maori Religion and Mythology" (London, 1882), pages 21 sq.) A
very generally received tradition in Tahiti was that the first human pair
was made by Taaroa, the chief god. They say that after he had formed the
world he created man out of red earth, which was also the food of mankind
until bread-fruit was produced. Further, some say that one day Taaroa
called for the man by name, and when he came he made him fall asleep. As
he slept, the creator took out one of his bones (ivi) and made a woman of
it, whom he gave to the man to be his wife, and the pair became the
progenitors of mankind. This narrative was taken down from the lips of the
natives in the early years of the mission to Tahiti. The missionary who
records it observes: "This always appeared to me a mere recital of the
Mosaic account of creation, which they had heard from some European, and I
never placed any reliance on it, although they have repeatedly told me it
was a tradition among them before any foreigner arrived. Some have also
stated that the woman's name was Ivi, which would be by them pronounced as
if written "Eve". "Ivi" is an aboriginal word, and not only signifies a
bone, but also a widow, and a victim slain in war. Notwithstanding the
assertion of the natives, I am disposed to think that "Ivi", or Eve, is the
only aboriginal part of the story, as far as it respects the mother of the
human race. (W. Ellis, "Polynesian Researches", Second Edition (London,
1832), I. 110 sq. "Ivi" or "iwi" is the regular word for "bone" in the
various Polynesian languages. See E. Tregear, "The Maori-Polynesian
Comparative Dictionary" (Wellington, New Zealand, 1891), page 109.)
However, the same tradition has been recorded in other parts of Polynesia
besides Tahiti. Thus the natives of Fakaofo or Bowditch Island say that
the first man was produced out of a stone. After a time he bethought him
of making a woman. So he gathered earth and moulded the figure of a woman
out of it, and having done so he took a rib out of his left side and thrust
it into the earthen figure, which thereupon started up a live woman. He
called her Ivi (Eevee) or "rib" and took her to wife, and the whole human
race sprang from this pair. (G. Turner, "Samoa" (London, 1884), pages 267
sq.) The Maoris also are reported to believe that the first woman was made
out of the first man's ribs. (J.L. Nicholas, "Narrative of a Voyage to New
Zealand" (London, 1817), I. 59, who writes "and to add still more to this
strange coincidence, the general term for bone is 'Hevee'.") This wide
diffusion of the story in Polynesia raises a doubt whether it is merely, as
Ellis thought, a repetition of the Biblical narrative learned from
Europeans. In Nui, or Netherland Island, it was the god Aulialia who made
earthen models of a man and woman, raised them up, and made them live. He
called the man Tepapa and the woman Tetata. (G. Turner, "Samoa", pages 300

In the Pelew Islands they say that a brother and sister made men out of
clay kneaded with the blood of various animals, and that the characters of
these first men and of their descendants were determined by the characters
of the animals whose blood had been kneaded with the primordial clay; for
instance, men who have rat's blood in them are thieves, men who have
serpent's blood in them are sneaks, and men who have cock's blood in them
are brave. (J. Kubary, "Die Religion der Pelauer", in A. Bastian's
"Allerlei aus Volks- und Menschenkunde" (Berlin, 1888), I. 3, 56.)
According to a Melanesian legend, told in Mota, one of the Banks Islands,
the hero Qat moulded men of clay, the red clay from the marshy river-side
at Vanua Lava. At first he made men and pigs just alike, but his brothers
remonstrated with him, so he beat down the pigs to go on all fours and made
men walk upright. Qat fashioned the first woman out of supple twigs, and
when she smiled he knew she was a living woman. (R.H. Codrington, "The
Melanesians" (Oxford, 1891), page 158.) A somewhat different version of
the Melanesian story is told at Lakona, in Santa Maria. There they say
that Qat and another spirit ("vui") called Marawa both made men. Qat made
them out of the wood of dracaena-trees. Six days he worked at them,
carving their limbs and fitting them together. Then he allowed them six
days to come to life. Three days he hid them away, and three days more he
worked to make them live. He set them up and danced to them and beat his
drum, and little by little they stirred, till at last they could stand all
by themselves. Then Qat divided them into pairs and called each pair
husband and wife. Marawa also made men out of a tree, but it was a
different tree, the tavisoviso. He likewise worked at them six days, beat
his drum, and made them live, just as Qat did. But when he saw them move,
he dug a pit and buried them in it for six days, and then, when he scraped
away the earth to see what they were doing, he found them all rotten and
stinking. That was the origin of death. (R.H. Codrington op. cit., pages
157 sq.)

The inhabitants of Noo-Hoo-roa, in the Kei Islands say that their ancestors
were fashioned out of clay by the supreme god, Dooadlera, who breathed life
into the clay figures. (C.M. Pleyte, "Ethnographische Beschrijving der
Kei-Eilanden", "Tijdschrift van het Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig
Genootschap", Tweede Serie X. (1893), page 564.) The aborigines of
Minahassa, in the north of Celebes, say that two beings called Wailan
Wangko and Wangi were alone on an island, on which grew a cocoa-nut tree.
Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Remain on earth while I climb up the tree."
Said Wangi to Wailan Wangko, "Good." But then a thought occurred to Wangi
and he climbed up the tree to ask Wailan Wangko why he, Wangi, should
remain down there all alone. Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Return and take
earth and make two images, a man and a woman." Wangi did so, and both
images were men who could move but could not speak. So Wangi climbed up
the tree to ask Wailan Wangko, "How now? The two images are made, but they
cannot speak." Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Take this ginger and go and
blow it on the skulls and the ears of these two images, that they may be
able to speak; call the man Adam and the woman Ewa." (N. Graafland "De
Minahassa" (Rotterdam, 1869), I. pages 96 sq.) In this narrative the names
of the man and woman betray European influence, but the rest of the story
may be aboriginal. The Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo say that the
first man was made by two large birds. At first they tried to make men out
of trees, but in vain. Then they hewed them out of rocks, but the figures
could not speak. Then they moulded a man out of damp earth and infused
into his veins the red gum of the kumpang-tree. After that they called to
him and he answered; they cut him and blood flowed from his wounds.
(Horsburgh, quoted by H. Ling Roth, "The Natives of Sarawak and of British
North Borneo" (London, 1896), I. pages 299 sq. Compare The Lord Bishop of
Labuan, "On the Wild Tribes of the North-West Coast of Borneo,"
"Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London", New Series, II.
(1863), page 27.)

The Kumis of South-Eastern India related to Captain Lewin, the Deputy
Commissioner of Hill Tracts, the following tradition of the creation of
man. "God made the world and the trees and the creeping things first, and
after that he set to work to make one man and one woman, forming their
bodies of clay; but each night, on the completion of his work, there came a
great snake, which, while God was sleeping, devoured the two images. This
happened twice or thrice, and God was at his wit's end, for he had to work
all day, and could not finish the pair in less than twelve hours; besides,
if he did not sleep, he would be no good," said Captain Lewin's informant.
"If he were not obliged to sleep, there would be no death, nor would
mankind be afflicted with illness. It is when he rests that the snake
carries us off to this day. Well, he was at his wit's end, so at last he
got up early one morning and first made a dog and put life into it, and
that night, when he had finished the images, he set the dog to watch them,
and when the snake came, the dog barked and frightened it away. This is
the reason at this day that when a man is dying the dogs begin to howl; but
I suppose God sleeps heavily now-a-days, or the snake is bolder, for men
die all the same." (Capt. T.H. Lewin, "Wild Races of South-Eastern India"
(London, 1870), pages 224-26.) The Khasis of Assam tell a similar tale.
(A. Bastian, "Volkerstamme am Brahmaputra und verwandtschaftliche Nachbarn"
(Berlin, 1883), page 8; Major P.R.T. Gurdon, "The Khasis" (London, 1907),
page 106.)

The Ewe-speaking tribes of Togo-land, in West Africa, think that God still
makes men out of clay. When a little of the water with which he moistens
the clay remains over, he pours it on the ground and out of that he makes
the bad and disobedient people. When he wishes to make a good man he makes
him out of good clay; but when he wishes to make a bad man, he employs only
bad clay for the purpose. In the beginning God fashioned a man and set him
on the earth; after that he fashioned a woman. The two looked at each
other and began to laugh, whereupon God sent them into the world. (J.
Spieth, "Die Ewe-Stamme, Material zur Kunde des Ewe-Volkes in Deutsch-Togo"
(Berlin, 1906), pages 828, 840.) The Innuit or Esquimaux of Point Barrow,
in Alaska, tell of a time when there was no man in the land, till a spirit
named "a se lu", who resided at Point Barrow, made a clay man, set him up
on the shore to dry, breathed into him and gave him life. ("Report of the
International Expedition to Point Barrow" (Washington, 1885), page 47.)
Other Esquimaux of Alaska relate how the Raven made the first woman out of
clay to be a companion to the first man; he fastened water-grass to the
back of the head to be hair, flapped his wings over the clay figure, and it
arose, a beautiful young woman. (E.W. Nelson, "The Eskimo about Bering
Strait", "Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology",
Part I. (Washington, 1899), page 454.) The Acagchemem Indians of
California said that a powerful being called Chinigchinich created man out
of clay which he found on the banks of a lake; male and female created he
them, and the Indians of the present day are their descendants. (Friar
Geronimo Boscana, "Chinigchinich", appended to (A. Robinson's) "Life in
California" (New York, 1846), page 247.) A priest of the Natchez Indians
in Louisiana told Du Pratz "that God had kneaded some clay, such as that
which potters use and had made it into a little man; and that after
examining it, and finding it well formed, he blew up his work, and
forthwith that little man had life, grew, acted, walked, and found himself
a man perfectly well shaped." As to the mode in which the first woman was
created, the priest had no information, but thought she was probably made
in the same way as the first man; so Du Pratz corrected his imperfect
notions by reference to Scripture. (M. Le Page Du Pratz, "The History of
Louisiana" (London, 1774), page 330.) The Michoacans of Mexico said that
the great god Tucapacha first made man and woman out of clay, but that when
the couple went to bathe in a river they absorbed so much water that the
clay of which they were composed all fell to pieces. Then the creator went
to work again and moulded them afresh out of ashes, and after that he
essayed a third time and made them of metal. This last attempt succeeded.
The metal man and woman bathed in the river without falling to pieces, and
by their union they became the progenitors of mankind. (A. de Herrera,
"General History of the vast Continent and Islands of America", translated
into English by Capt. J. Stevens (London, 1725, 1726), III. 254; Brasseur
de Bourbourg, "Histoire des Nations Civilisees du Mexique et de l'Amerique-
Centrale" (Paris, 1857--1859), III. 80 sq; compare id. I. 54 sq.)

According to a legend of the Peruvian Indians, which was told to a Spanish
priest in Cuzco about half a century after the conquest, it was in
Tiahuanaco that man was first created, or at least was created afresh after
the deluge. "There (in Tiahuanaco)," so runs the legend, "the Creator
began to raise up the people and nations that are in that region, making
one of each nation of clay, and painting the dresses that each one was to
wear; those that were to wear their hair, with hair, and those that were to
be shorn, with hair cut. And to each nation was given the language, that
was to be spoken, and the songs to be sung, and the seeds and food that
they were to sow. When the Creator had finished painting and making the
said nations and figures of clay, he gave life and soul to each one, as
well men as women, and ordered that they should pass under the earth.
Thence each nation came up in the places to which he ordered them to go."
(E.J. Payne, "History of the New World called America", I. (Oxford, 1892),
page 462.)

These examples suffice to prove that the theory of the creation of man out
of dust or clay has been current among savages in many parts of the world.
But it is by no means the only explanation which the savage philosopher has
given of the beginnings of human life on earth. Struck by the resemblances
which may be traced between himself and the beasts, he has often supposed,
like Darwin himself, that mankind has been developed out of lower forms of
animal life. For the simple savage has none of that high notion of the
transcendant dignity of man which makes so many superior persons shrink
with horror from the suggestion that they are distant cousins of the
brutes. He on the contrary is not too proud to own his humble relations;
indeed his difficulty often is to perceive the distinction between him and
them. Questioned by a missionary, a Bushman of more than average
intelligence "could not state any difference between a man and a brute--he
did not know but a buffalo might shoot with bows and arrows as well as man,
if it had them." (Reverend John Campbell, "Travels in South Africa"
(London, 1822, II. page 34.) When the Russians first landed on one of the
Alaskan islands, the natives took them for cuttle-fish "on account of the
buttons on their clothes." (I. Petroff, "Report on the Population,
Industries, and Resources of Alaska", page 145.) The Giliaks of the Amoor
think that the outward form and size of an animal are only apparent; in
substance every beast is a real man, just like a Giliak himself, only
endowed with an intelligence and strength, which often surpass those of
mere ordinary human beings. (L. Sternberg, "Die Religion der Giljaken",
"Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft", VIII. (1905), page 248.) The
Borororos, an Indian tribe of Brazil, will have it that they are parrots of
a gorgeous red plumage which live in their native forests. Accordingly
they treat the birds as their fellow-tribesmen, keeping them in captivity,
refusing to eat their flesh, and mourning for them when they die. (K. von
den Steinen, "Unter den Naturvolkern Zentral-Brasiliens" (Berlin, 1894),
pages 352 sq., 512.)

This sense of the close relationship of man to the lower creation is the
essence of totemism, that curious system of superstition which unites by a
mystic bond a group of human kinsfolk to a species of animals or plants.
Where that system exists in full force, the members of a totem clan
identify themselves with their totem animals in a way and to an extent
which we find it hard even to imagine. For example, men of the Cassowary
clan in Mabuiag think that cassowaries are men or nearly so. "Cassowary,
he all same as relation, he belong same family," is the account they give
of their relationship with the long-legged bird. Conversely they hold that
they themselves are cassowaries for all practical purposes. They pride
themselves on having long thin legs like a cassowary. This reflection
affords them peculiar satisfaction when they go out to fight, or to run
away, as the case may be; for at such times a Cassowary man will say to
himself, "My leg is long and thin, I can run and not feel tired; my legs
will go quickly and the grass will not entangle them." Members of the
Cassowary clan are reputed to be pugnacious, because the cassowary is a
bird of very uncertain temper and can kick with extreme violence. (A.C.
Haddon, "The Ethnography of the Western Tribe of Torres Straits", "Journal
of the Anthropological Institute", XIX. (1890), page 393; "Reports of the
Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits", V. (Cambridge,
1904), pages 166, 184.) So among the Ojibways men of the Bear clan are
reputed to be surly and pugnacious like bears, and men of the Crane clan to
have clear ringing voices like cranes. (W.W. Warren, "History of the
Ojibways", "Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society", V. (Saint
Paul, Minn. 1885), pages 47, 49.) Hence the savage will often speak of his
totem animal as his father or his brother, and will neither kill it himself
nor allow others to do so, if he can help it. For example, if somebody
were to kill a bird in the presence of a native Australian who had the bird
for his totem, the black might say, "What for you kill that fellow? that my
father!" or "That brother belonging to me you have killed; why did you do
it?" (E. Palmer, "Notes on some Australian Tribes", "Journal of the
Anthropological Institute", XIII. (1884), page 300.) Bechuanas of the
Porcupine clan are greatly afflicted if anybody hurts or kills a porcupine
in their presence. They say, "They have killed our brother, our master,
one of ourselves, him whom we sing of"; and so saying they piously gather
the quills of their murdered brother, spit on them, and rub their eyebrows
with them. They think they would die if they touched its flesh. In like
manner Bechuanas of the Crocodile clan call the crocodile one of
themselves, their master, their brother; and they mark the ears of their
cattle with a long slit like a crocodile's mouth by way of a family crest.
Similarly Bechuanas of the Lion clan would not, like the members of other
clans, partake of lion's flesh; for how, say they, could they eat their
grandfather? If they are forced in self-defence to kill a lion, they do so
with great regret and rub their eyes carefully with its skin, fearing to
lose their sight if they neglected this precaution. (T. Arbousset et F.
Daumas, "Relation d'un Voyage d'Exploration au Nord-Est de la Colonie du
Cap de Bonne-Esperance" (Paris, 1842), pages 349 sq., 422-24.) A Mandingo
porter has been known to offer the whole of his month's pay to save the
life of a python, because the python was his totem and he therefore
regarded the reptile as his relation; he thought that if he allowed the
creature to be killed, the whole of his own family would perish, probably
through the vengeance to be taken by the reptile kinsfolk of the murdered
serpent. (M. le Docteur Tautain, "Notes sur les Croyances et Pratiques
Religieuses des Banmanas", "Revue d'Ethnographie", III. (1885), pages 396
sq.; A. Rancon, "Dans la Haute-Gambie, Voyage d'Exploration Scientifique"
(Paris, 1894), page 445.)

Sometimes, indeed, the savage goes further and identifies the revered
animal not merely with a kinsman but with himself; he imagines that one of
his own more or less numerous souls, or at all events that a vital part of
himself, is in the beast, so that if it is killed he must die. Thus, the
Balong tribe of the Cameroons, in West Africa, think that every man has
several souls, of which one is lodged in an elephant, a wild boar, a
leopard, or what not. When any one comes home, feels ill, and says, "I
shall soon die," and is as good as his word, his friends are of opinion
that one of his souls has been shot by a hunter in a wild boar or a
leopard, for example, and that that is the real cause of his death. (J.
Keller, "Ueber das Land und Volk der Balong", "Deutsches Kolonialblatt", 1
October, 1895, page 484.) A Catholic missionary, sleeping in the hut of a
chief of the Fan negroes, awoke in the middle of the night to see a huge
black serpent of the most dangerous sort in the act of darting at him. He
was about to shoot it when the chief stopped him, saying, "In killing that
serpent, it is me that you would have killed. Fear nothing, the serpent is
my elangela." (Father Trilles, "Chez les Fang, leurs Moeurs, leur Langue,
leur Religion", "Les Missions Catholiques", XXX. (1898), page 322.) At
Calabar there used to be some years ago a huge old crocodile which was well
known to contain the spirit of a chief who resided in the flesh at Duke
Town. Sporting Vice-Consuls, with a reckless disregard of human life, from
time to time made determined attempts to injure the animal, and once a
peculiarly active officer succeeded in hitting it. The chief was
immediately laid up with a wound in his leg. He SAID that a dog had bitten
him, but few people perhaps were deceived by so flimsy a pretext. (Miss
Mary H. Kingsley, "Travels in West Africa" (London, 1897), pages 538 sq.
As to the external or bush souls of human beings, which in this part of
Africa are supposed to be lodged in the bodies of animals, see Miss Mary H.
Kingsley op. cit. pages 459-461; R. Henshaw, "Notes on the Efik belief in
'bush soul'", "Man", VI.(1906), pages 121 sq.; J. Parkinson, "Notes on the
Asaba people (Ibos) of the Niger", "Journal of the Anthropological
Institute", XXXVI. (1906), pages 314 sq.) Once when Mr Partridge's canoe-
men were about to catch fish near an Assiga town in Southern Nigeria, the
natives of the town objected, saying, "Our souls live in those fish, and if
you kill them we shall die." (Charles Partridge, "Cross River Natives"
(London, 1905), pages 225 sq.) On another occasion, in the same region, an
Englishman shot a hippopotamus near a native village. The same night a
woman died in the village, and her friends demanded and obtained from the
marksman five pounds as compensation for the murder of the woman, whose
soul or second self had been in that hippopotamus. (C.H. Robinson,
"Hausaland" (London, 1896), pages 36 sq.) Similarly at Ndolo, in the Congo
region, we hear of a chief whose life was bound up with a hippopotamus, but
he prudently suffered no one to fire at the animal. ("Notes Analytiques
sur les Collections Ethnographiques du Musee du Congo", I. (Brussels, 1902-
06), page 150.

Amongst people who thus fail to perceive any sharp line of distinction
between beasts and men it is not surprising to meet with the belief that
human beings are directly descended from animals. Such a belief is often
found among totemic tribes who imagine that their ancestors sprang from
their totemic animals or plants; but it is by no means confined to them.
Thus, to take instances, some of the Californian Indians, in whose
mythology the coyote or prairie-wolf is a leading personage, think that
they are descended from coyotes. At first they walked on all fours; then
they began to have some members of the human body, one finger, one toe, one
eye, one ear, and so on; then they got two fingers, two toes, two eyes, two
ears, and so forth; till at last, progressing from period to period, they
became perfect human beings. The loss of their tails, which they still
deplore, was produced by the habit of sitting upright. (H.R. Schoolcraft,
"Indian Tribes of the United States", IV. (Philadelphia, 1856), pages 224
sq.; compare id. V. page 217. The descent of some, not all, Indians from
coyotes is mentioned also by Friar Boscana, in (A. Robinson's) "Life in
California" (New York, 1846), page 299.) Similarly Darwin thought that
"the tail has disappeared in man and the anthropomorphous apes, owing to
the terminal portion having been injured by friction during a long lapse of
time; the basal and embedded portion having been reduced and modified, so
as to become suitable to the erect or semi-erect position." (Charles
Darwin, "The Descent of Man", Second Edition (London, 1879), page 60.) The
Turtle clam of the Iroquois think that they are descended from real mud
turtles which used to live in a pool. One hot summer the pool dried up,
and the mud turtles set out to find another. A very fat turtle, waddling
after the rest in the heat, was much incommoded by the weight of his shell,
till by a great effort he heaved it off altogether. After that he
gradually developed into a man and became the progenitor of the Turtle
clan. (E.A. Smith, "Myths of the Iroquois", "Second Annual Report of the
Bureau of Ethnology" (Washington, 1883), page 77.) The Crawfish band of
the Choctaws are in like manner descended from real crawfish, which used to
live under ground, only coming up occasionally through the mud to the
surface. Once a party of Choctaws smoked them out, taught them the Choctaw
language, taught them to walk on two legs, made them cut off their toe
nails and pluck the hair from their bodies, after which they adopted them
into the tribe. But the rest of their kindred, the crawfish, are crawfish
under ground to this day. (Geo. Catlin, "North American Indians"4 (London,
1844), II. page 128.) The Osage Indians universally believed that they
were descended from a male snail and a female beaver. A flood swept the
snail down to the Missouri and left him high and dry on the bank, where the
sun ripened him into a man. He met and married a beaver maid, and from the
pair the tribe of the Osages is descended. For a long time these Indians
retained a pious reverence for their animal ancestors and refrained from
hunting beavers, because in killing a beaver they killed a brother of the
Osages. But when white men came among them and offered high prices for
beaver skins, the Osages yielded to the temptation and took the lives of
their furry brethren. (Lewis and Clarke, "Travels to the Source of the
Missouri River" (London, 1815), I. 12 (Vol. I. pages 44 sq. of the London
reprint, 1905).) The Carp clan of the Ootawak Indians are descended from
the eggs of a carp which had been deposited by the fish on the banks of a
stream and warmed by the sun. ("Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses", Nouvelle
Edition, VI. (Paris, 1781), page 171.) The Crane clan of the Ojibways are
sprung originally from a pair of cranes, which after long wanderings
settled on the rapids at the outlet of Lake Superior, where they were
changed by the Great Spirit into a man and woman. (L.H. Morgan, "Ancient
Society" (London, 1877), page 180.) The members of two Omaha clans were
originally buffaloes and lived, oddly enough, under water, which they
splashed about, making it muddy. And at death all the members of these
clans went back to their ancestors the buffaloes. So when one of them lay
adying, his friends used to wrap him up in a buffalo skin with the hair
outside and say to him, "You came hither from the animals and you are going
back thither. Do not face this way again. When you go, continue walking.
(J. Owen Dorsey, "Omaha Sociology", "Third Annual Report of the Bureau of
Ethnology" (Washington, 1884), pages 229, 233.) The Haida Indians of Queen
Charlotte Islands believe that long ago the raven, who is the chief figure
in the mythology of North-West America, took a cockle from the beach and
married it; the cockle gave birth to a female child, whom the raven took to
wife, and from their union the Indians were produced. (G.M. Dawson,
"Report on the Queen Charlotte Islands" (Montreal, 1880), pages 149B sq.
("Geological Survey of Canada"); F. Poole, "Queen Charlotte Islands", page
136.) The Delaware Indians called the rattle-snake their grandfather and
would on no account destroy one of these reptiles, believing that were they
to do so the whole race of rattle-snakes would rise up and bite them.
Under the influence of the white man, however, their respect for their
grandfather the rattle-snake gradually died away, till at last they killed
him without compunction or ceremony whenever they met him. The writer who
records the old custom observes that he had often reflected on the curious
connection which appears to subsist in the mind of an Indian between man
and the brute creation; "all animated nature," says he, "in whatever
degree, is in their eyes a great whole, from which they have not yet
ventured to separate themselves." (Rev. John Heckewelder, "An Account of
the History, Manners, and Customs, of the Indian Nations, who once
inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States", "Transactions of the
Historical and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical Society",
I. (Philadelphia, 1819), pages 245, 247, 248.)

Some of the Indians of Peru boasted of being descended from the puma or
American lion; hence they adored the lion as a god and appeared at
festivals like Hercules dressed in the skins of lions with the heads of the
beasts fixed over their own. Others claimed to be sprung from condors and
attired themselves in great black and white wings, like that enormous bird.
(Garcilasso de la Vega, "First Part of the Royal Commentaries of the
Yncas", Vol. I. page 323, Vol. II. page 156 (Markham's translation).) The
Wanika of East Africa look upon the hyaena as one of their ancestors or as
associated in some way with their origin and destiny. The death of a
hyaena is mourned by the whole people, and the greatest funeral ceremonies
which they perform are performed for this brute. The wake held over a
chief is as nothing compared to the wake held over a hyaena; one tribe only
mourns the death of its chief, but all the tribes unite to celebrate the
obsequies of a hyaena. (Charles New, "Life, Wanderings, and Labours in
Eastern Africa" (London, 1873) page 122.) Some Malagasy families claim to
be descended from the babacoote (Lichanotus brevicaudatus), a large lemur
of grave appearance and staid demeanour, which lives in the depth of the
forest. When they find one of these creatures dead, his human descendants
bury it solemnly, digging a grave for it, wrapping it in a shroud, and
weeping and lamenting over its carcase. A doctor who had shot a babacoote
was accused by the inhabitants of a Betsimisaraka village of having killed
"one of their grandfathers in the forest," and to appease their indignation
he had to promise not to skin the animal in the village but in a solitary
place where nobody could see him. (Father Abinal, "Croyances fabuleuses
des Malgaches", "Les Missions Catholiques", XII. (1880), page 526; G.H.
Smith, "Some Betsimisaraka superstitions", "The Antananarivo Annual and
Madagascar Magazine", No. 10 (Antananarivo, 1886), page 239; H.W. Little,
"Madagascar, its History and People" (London, 1884), pages 321 sq; A. van
Gennep, "Tabou et Totemisme a Madagascar" (Paris, 1904), pages 214 sqq.)
Many of the Betsimisaraka believe that the curious nocturnal animal called
the aye-aye (Cheiromys madagascariensis) "is the embodiment of their
forefathers, and hence will not touch it, much less do it an injury. It is
said that when one is discovered dead in the forest, these people make a
tomb for it and bury it with all the forms of a funeral. They think that
if they attempt to entrap it, they will surely die in consequence." (G.A.
Shaw, "The Aye-aye", "Antananarivo Annual and Madagascar Magazine", Vol.
II. (Antananarivo, 1896), pages 201, 203 (Reprint of the Second four
Numbers). Compare A. van Gennep, "Tabou et Totemisme a Madagascar", pages
223 sq.) Some Malagasy tribes believe themselves descended from crocodiles
and accordingly they deem the formidable reptiles their brothers. If one
of these scaly brothers so far forgets the ties of kinship as to devour a
man, the chief of the tribe, or in his absence an old man familiar with the
tribal customs, repairs at the head of the people to the edge of the water,
and summons the family of the culprit to deliver him up to the arm of
justice. A hook is then baited and cast into the river or lake. Next day
the guilty brother or one of his family is dragged ashore, formally tried,
sentenced to death, and executed. The claims of justice being thus
satisfied, the dead animal is lamented and buried like a kinsman; a mound
is raised over his grave and a stone marks the place of his head. (Father
Abinal, "Croyances fabuleuses des Malgaches", "Les Missions Catholiques",
XII. (1880), page 527; A. van Gennep, "Tabou et Totemisme a Madagascar",
pages 281 sq.)

Amongst the Tshi-speaking tribes of the Gold Coast in West Africa the
Horse-mackerel family traces its descent from a real horse-mackerel whom an
ancestor of theirs once took to wife. She lived with him happily in human
shape on shore till one day a second wife, whom the man had married,
cruelly taunted her with being nothing but a fish. That hurt her so much
that bidding her husband farewell she returned to her old home in the sea,
with her youngest child in her arms, and never came back again. But ever
since the Horse-mackerel people have refrained from eating horse-mackerels,
because the lost wife and mother was a fish of that sort. (A.B. Ellis,
"The Tshi-speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa" (London,
1887), pages 208-11. A similar tale is told by another fish family who
abstain from eating the fish (appei) from which they take their name (A.B.
Ellis op. cit. pages 211 sq.).) Some of the Land Dyaks of Borneo tell a
similar tale to explain a similar custom. "There is a fish which is taken
in their rivers called a puttin, which they would on no account touch,
under the idea that if they did they would be eating their relations. The
tradition respecting it is, that a solitary old man went out fishing and
caught a puttin, which he dragged out of the water and laid down in his
boat. On turning round, he found it had changed into a very pretty little
girl. Conceiving the idea she would make, what he had long wished for, a
charming wife for his son, he took her home and educated her until she was
fit to be married. She consented to be the son's wife cautioning her
husband to use her well. Some time after their marriage, however, being
out of temper, he struck her, when she screamed, and rushed away into the
water; but not without leaving behind her a beautiful daughter, who became
afterwards the mother of the race." (The Lord Bishop of Labuan, "On the
Wild Tribes of the North-West Coast of Borneo", "Transactions of the
Ethnological Society of London", New Series II. (London, 1863), pages 26
sq. Such stories conform to a well-known type which may be called the
Swan-Maiden type of story, or Beauty and the Beast, or Cupid and Psyche.
The occurrence of stories of this type among totemic peoples, such as the
Tshi-speaking negroes of the Gold Coast, who tell them to explain their
totemic taboos, suggests that all such tales may have originated in
totemism. I shall deal with this question elsewhere.)

Members of a clan in Mandailing, on the west coast of Sumatra, assert that
they are descended from a tiger, and at the present day, when a tiger is
shot, the women of the clan are bound to offer betel to the dead beast.
When members of this clan come upon the tracks of a tiger, they must, as a
mark of homage, enclose them with three little sticks. Further, it is
believed that the tiger will not attack or lacerate his kinsmen, the
members of the clan. (H. Ris, "De Onderafdeeling Klein Mandailing Oeloe en
Pahantan en hare Bevolking met uitzondering van de Oeloes", "Bijdragen tot
de Tall- Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlansch-Indie, XLVI. (1896), page
473.) The Battas of Central Sumatra are divided into a number of clans
which have for their totems white buffaloes, goats, wild turtle-doves,
dogs, cats, apes, tigers, and so forth; and one of the explanations which
they give of their totems is that these creatures were their ancestors, and
that their own souls after death can transmigrate into the animals. (J.B.
Neumann, "Het Pane en Bila-stroomgebied op het eiland Sumatra",
"Tijdschrift van het Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap", Tweede
Serie, III. Afdeeling, Meer uitgebreide Artikelen, No. 2 (Amsterdam, 1886),
pages 311 sq.; id. ib. Tweede Serie, IV. Afdeeling, Meer uitgebreide
Artikelen, No. 1 (Amsterdam, 1887), pages 8 sq.) In Amboyna and the
neighbouring islands the inhabitants of some villages aver that they are
descended from trees, such as the Capellenia moluccana, which had been
fertilised by the Pandion Haliaetus. Others claim to be sprung from pigs,
octopuses, crocodiles, sharks, and eels. People will not burn the wood of
the trees from which they trace their descent, nor eat the flesh of the
animals which they regard as their ancestors. Sicknesses of all sorts are
believed to result from disregarding these taboos. (J.G.F. Riedel, "De
sluik- en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua" (The Hague, 1886),
pages 32, 61; G.W.W.C. Baron van Hoevell, "Ambon en meer bepaaldelijk de
Oeliasers" (Dordrecht, 1875), page 152.) Similarly in Ceram persons who
think they are descended from crocodiles, serpents, iguanas, and sharks
will not eat the flesh of these animals. (J.G.F. Riedel op. cit. page
122.) Many other peoples of the Molucca Islands entertain similar beliefs
and observe similar taboos. (J.G.F. Riedel "De sluik- en kroesharige
rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua" (The Hague, 1886), pages 253, 334, 341,
348, 412, 414, 432.) Again, in Ponape, one of the Caroline Islands, "The
different families suppose themselves to stand in a certain relation to
animals, and especially to fishes, and believe in their descent from them.
They actually name these animals 'mothers'; the creatures are sacred to the
family and may not be injured. Great dances, accompanied with the offering
of prayers, are performed in their honour. Any person who killed such an
animal would expose himself to contempt and punishment, certainly also to
the vengeance of the insulted deity." Blindness is commonly supposed to be
the consequence of such a sacrilege. (Dr Hahl, "Mittheilungen uber Sitten
und rechtliche Verhaltnisse auf Ponape", "Ethnologisches Notizblatt", Vol.
II. Heft 2 (Berlin, 1901), page 10.)

Some of the aborigines of Western Australia believe that their ancestors
were swans, ducks, or various other species of water-fowl before they were
transformed into men. (Captain G. Grey, "A Vocabulary of the Dialects of
South Western Australia", Second Edition (London, 1840), pages 29, 37, 61,
63, 66, 71.) The Dieri tribe of Central Australia, who are divided into
totemic clans, explain their origin by the following legend. They say that
in the beginning the earth opened in the midst of Perigundi Lake, and the
totems (murdus or madas) came trooping out one after the other. Out came
the crow, and the shell parakeet, and the emu, and all the rest. Being as
yet imperfectly formed and without members or organs of sense, they laid
themselves down on the sandhills which surrounded the lake then just as
they do now. It was a bright day and the totems lay basking in the
sunshine, till at last, refreshed and invigorated by it, they stood up as
human beings and dispersed in all directions. That is why people of the
same totem are now scattered all over the country. You may still see the
island in the lake out of which the totems came trooping long ago. (A.W.
Howitt, "Native Tribes of South-East Australia" (London, 1904), pages 476,
779 sq.) Another Dieri legend relates how Paralina, one of the Mura-Muras
or mythical predecessors of the Dieri, perfected mankind. He was out
hunting kangaroos, when he saw four incomplete beings cowering together.
So he went up to them, smoothed their bodies, stretched out their limbs,
slit up their fingers and toes, formed their mouths, noses, and eyes, stuck
ears on them, and blew into their ears in order that they might hear.
Having perfected their organs and so produced mankind out of these
rudimentary beings, he went about making men everywhere. (A.W. Howitt op.
cit., pages 476, 780 sq.) Yet another Dieri tradition sets forth how the
Mura-Mura produced the race of man out of a species of small black lizards,
which may still be met with under dry bark. To do this he divided the feet
of the lizards into fingers and toes, and, applying his forefinger to the
middle of their faces, created a nose; likewise he gave them human eyes,
mouths and ears. He next set one of them upright, but it fell down again
because of its tail; so he cut off its tail and the lizard then walked on
its hind legs. That is the origin of mankind. (S. Gason, "The Manners and
Customs of the Dieyerie tribe of Australian Aborigines", "Native Tribes of
South Australia" (Adelaide, 1879), page 260. This writer fell into the
mistake of regarding the Mura-Mura (Mooramoora) as a Good-Spirit instead of
as one of the mythical but more or less human predecessors of the Dieri in
the country. See A.W. Howitt, "Native Tribes of South-East Australia",
pages 475 sqq.)

The Arunta tribe of Central Australia similarly tell how in the beginning
mankind was developed out of various rudimentary forms of animal life.
They say that in those days two beings called Ungambikula, that is, "out of
nothing," or "self-existing," dwelt in the western sky. From their lofty
abode they could see, far away to the east, a number of inapertwa
creatures, that is, rudimentary human beings or incomplete men, whom it was
their mission to make into real men and women. For at that time there were
no real men and women; the rudimentary creatures (inapertwa) were of
various shapes and dwelt in groups along the shore of the salt water which
covered the country. These embryos, as we may call them, had no distinct
limbs or organs of sight, hearing, and smell; they did not eat food, and
they presented the appearance of human beings all doubled up into a rounded
mass, in which only the outline of the different parts of the body could be
vaguely perceived. Coming down from their home in the western sky, armed
with great stone knives, the Ungambikula took hold of the embryos, one
after the other. First of all they released the arms from the bodies, then
making four clefts at the end of each arm they fashioned hands and fingers;
afterwards legs, feet, and toes were added in the same way. The figure
could now stand; a nose was then moulded and the nostrils bored with the
fingers. A cut with the knife made the mouth, which was pulled open
several times to render it flexible. A slit on each side of the face
separated the upper and lower eye-lids, disclosing the eyes, which already
existed behind them; and a few strokes more completed the body. Thus out
of the rudimentary creatures were formed men and women. These rudimentary
creatures or embryos, we are told, "were in reality stages in the
transformation of various animals and plants into human beings, and thus
they were naturally, when made into human beings, intimately associated
with the particular animal or plant, as the case may be, of which they were
the transformations--in other words, each individual of necessity belonged
to a totem, the name of which was of course that of the animal or plant of
which he or she was a transformation." However, it is not said that all
the totemic clans of the Arunta were thus developed; no such tradition, for
example, is told to explain the origin of the important Witchetty Grub
clan. The clans which are positively known, or at least said, to have
originated out of embryos in the way described are the Plum Tree, the Grass
Seed, the Large Lizard, the Small Lizard, the Alexandra Parakeet, and the
Small Rat clans. When the Ungambikula had thus fashioned people of these
totems, they circumcised them all, except the Plum Tree men, by means of a
fire-stick. After that, having done the work of creation or evolution, the
Ungambikula turned themselves into little lizards which bear a name meaning
"snappers-up of flies." (Baldwin Spencer and F.J. Gillen, "Native Tribes
of Central Australia (London, 1899), pages 388 sq.; compare id., "Northern
Tribes of Central Australia" (London, 1904), page 150.)

This Arunta tradition of the origin of man, as Messrs Spencer and Gillen,
who have recorded it, justly observe, "is of considerable interest; it is
in the first place evidently a crude attempt to describe the origin of
human beings out of non-human creatures who were of various forms; some of
them were representatives of animals, others of plants, but in all cases
they are to be regarded as intermediate stages in the transition of an
animal or plant ancestor into a human individual who bore its name as that
of his or her totem." (Baldwin Spencer and F.J. Gillen, "Native Tribes of
Central Australia", pages 391 sq.) In a sense these speculations of the
Arunta on their own origin may be said to combine the theory of creation
with the theory of evolution; for while they represent men as developed out
of much simpler forms of life, they at the same time assume that this
development was effected by the agency of two powerful beings, whom so far
we may call creators. It is well known that at a far higher stage of
culture a crude form of the evolutionary hypothesis was propounded by the
Greek philosopher Empedocles. He imagined that shapeless lumps of earth
and water, thrown up by the subterranean fires, developed into monstrous
animals, bulls with the heads of men, men with the heads of bulls, and so
forth; till at last, these hybrid forms being gradually eliminated, the
various existing species of animals and men were evolved. (E. Zeller, "Die
Philosophie der Griechen", I.4 (Leipsic, 1876), pages 718 sq.; H. Ritter et
L. Preller, "Historia Philosophiae Graecae et Romanae ex fontium locis
contexta"5, pages 102 sq. H. Diels, "Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker"2, I.
(Berlin, 1906), pages 190 sqq. Compare Lucretius "De rerum natura", V. 837
sqq.) The theory of the civilised Greek of Sicily may be set beside the
similar theory of the savage Arunta of Central Australia. Both represent
gropings of the human mind in the dark abyss of the past; both were in a
measure grotesque anticipations of the modern theory of evolution.

In this essay I have made no attempt to illustrate all the many various and
divergent views which primitive man has taken of his own origin. I have
confined myself to collecting examples of two radically different views,
which may be distinguished as the theory of creation and the theory of
evolution. According to the one, man was fashioned in his existing shape
by a god or other powerful being; according to the other he was evolved by
a natural process out of lower forms of animal life. Roughly speaking,
these two theories still divide the civilised world between them. The
partisans of each can appeal in support of their view to a large consensus
of opinion; and if truth were to be decided by weighing the one consensus
against the other, with "Genesis" in the one scale and "The Origin of
Species" in the other, it might perhaps be found, when the scales were
finally trimmed, that the balance hung very even between creation and


Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in the University of

The publication of "The Origin of Species" ushered in a new era in the
study of Embryology. Whereas, before the year 1859 the facts of anatomy
and development were loosely held together by the theory of types, which
owed its origin to the great anatomists of the preceding generation, to
Cuvier, L. Agassiz, J. Muller, and R. Owen, they were now combined together
into one organic whole by the theory of descent and by the hypothesis of
recapitulation which was deduced from that theory. The view (First clearly
enunciated by Fritz Muller in his well-known work, "Fur Darwin", Leipzig,
1864; (English Edition, "Facts for Darwin", 1869).) that a knowledge of
embryonic and larval histories would lay bare the secrets of race-history
and enable the course of evolution to be traced, and so lead to the
discovery of the natural system of classification, gave a powerful stimulus
to morphological study in general and to embryological investigation in
particular. In Darwin's words: "Embryology rises greatly in interest,
when we look at the embryo as a picture, more or less obscured, of the
progenitor, either in its adult or larval state, of all the members of the
same great class." ("Origin" (6th edition), page 396.) In the period
under consideration the output of embryological work has been enormous. No
group of the animal kingdom has escaped exhaustive examination and no
effort has been spared to obtain the embryos of isolated and out of the way
forms, the development of which might have an important bearing upon
questions of phylogeny and classification. Marine zoological stations have
been established, expeditions have been sent to distant countries, and the
methods of investigation have been greatly improved. The result of this
activity has been that the main features of the developmental history of
all the most important animals are now known and the curiosity as to
developmental processes, so greatly excited by the promulgation of the
Darwinian theory, has to a considerable extent been satisfied.

To what extent have the results of this vast activity fulfilled the
expectations of the workers who have achieved them? The Darwin centenary
is a fitting moment at which to take stock of our position. In this
inquiry we shall leave out of consideration the immense and intensely
interesting additions to our knowledge of Natural History. These may be
said to constitute a capital fund upon which philosophers, poets and men of
science will draw for many generations. The interest of Natural History
existed long before Darwinian evolution was thought of and will endure
without any reference to philosophic speculations. She is a mistress in
whose face are beauties and in whose arms are delights elsewhere
unattainable. She is and always has been pursued for her own sake without
any reference to philosophy, science, or utility.

Darwin's own views of the bearing of the facts of embryology upon questions
of wide scientific interest are perfectly clear. He writes ("Origin" (6th
edition), page 395.):

"On the other hand it is highly probable that with many animals the
embryonic or larval stages show us, more or less completely, the condition
of the progenitor of the whole group in its adult state. In the great
class of the Crustacea, forms wonderfully distinct from each other, namely,
suctorial parasites, cirripedes, entomostraca, and even the malacostraca,
appear at first as larvae under the nauplius-form; and as these larvae live
and feed in the open sea, and are not adapted for any peculiar habits of
life, and from other reasons assigned by Fritz Muller, it is probable that
at some very remote period an independent adult animal, resembling the
Nauplius, existed, and subsequently produced, along several divergent lines
of descent, the above-named great Crustacean groups. So again it is
probable, from what we know of the embryos of mammals, birds, fishes, and
reptiles, that these animals are the modified descendants of some ancient
progenitor, which was furnished in its adult state with branchiae, a swim-
bladder, four fin-like limbs, and a long tail, all fitted for an aquatic

"As all the organic beings, extinct and recent, which have ever lived, can
be arranged within a few great classes; and as all within each class have,
according to our theory, been connected together by fine gradations, the
best, and, if our collections were nearly perfect, the only possible
arrangement, would be genealogical; descent being the hidden bond of
connexion which naturalists have been seeking under the term of the Natural
System. On this view we can understand how it is that, in the eyes of most
naturalists, the structure of the embryo is even more important for
classification than that of the adult. In two or more groups of animals,
however much they may differ from each other in structure and habits in
their adult condition, if they pass through closely similar embryonic
stages, we may feel assured that they all are descended from one parent-
form, and are therefore closely related. Thus, community in embryonic
structure reveals community of descent; but dissimilarity in embryonic
development does not prove discommunity of descent, for in one of two
groups the developmental stages may have been suppressed, or may have been
so greatly modified through adaptation to new habits of life, as to be no
longer recognisable. Even in groups, in which the adults have been
modified to an extreme degree, community of origin is often revealed by the
structure of the larvae; we have seen, for instance, that cirripedes,
though externally so like shell-fish, are at once known by their larvae to
belong to the great class of crustaceans. As the embryo often shows us
more or less plainly the structure of the less modified and ancient
progenitor of the group, we can see why ancient and extinct forms so often
resemble in their adult state the embryos of existing species of the same
class. Agassiz believes this to be a universal law of nature; and we may
hope hereafter to see the law proved true. It can, however, be proved true
only in those cases in which the ancient state of the progenitor of the
group has not been wholly obliterated, either by successive variations
having supervened at a very early period of growth, or by such variations
having been inherited at an earlier stage than that at which they first
appeared. It should also be borne in mind, that the law may be true, but
yet, owing to the geological record not extending far enough back in time,
may remain for a long period, or for ever, incapable of demonstration. The
law will not strictly hold good in those cases in which an ancient form
became adapted in its larval state to some special line of life, and
transmitted the same larval state to a whole group of descendants; for such
larvae will not resemble any still more ancient form in its adult state."

As this passage shows, Darwin held that embryology was of interest because
of the light it seems to throw upon ancestral history (phylogeny) and
because of the help it would give in enabling us to arrive at a natural
system of classification. With regard to the latter point, he quotes with
approval the opinion that "the structure of the embryo is even more
important for classification than that of the adult." What justification
is there for this view? The phase of life chosen for the ordinary
anatomical and physiological studies, namely, the adult phase, is merely
one of the large number of stages of structure through which the organism
passes. By far the greater number of these are included in what is
specially called the developmental or (if we include larvae with embryos)
embryonic period, for the developmental changes are more numerous and take
place with greater rapidity at the beginning of life than in its later
periods. As each of these stages is equal in value, for our present
purpose, to the adult phase, it clearly follows that if there is anything
in the view that the anatomical study of organisms is of importance in
determining their mutual relations, the study of the organism in its
various embryonic (and larval) stages must have a greater importance than
the study of the single and arbitrarily selected stage of life called the

But a deeper reason than this has been assigned for the importance of
embryology in classification. It has been asserted, and is implied by
Darwin in the passage quoted, that the ancestral history is repeated in a
condensed form in the embryonic, and that a study of the latter enables us
to form a picture of the stages of structure through which the organism has
passed in its evolution. It enables us on this view to reconstruct the
pedigrees of animals and so to form a genealogical tree which shall be the
true expression of their natural relations.

The real question which we have to consider is to what extent the
embryological studies of the last 50 years have confirmed or rendered
probable this "theory of recapitulation." In the first place it must be
noted that the recapitulation theory is itself a deduction from the theory
of evolution. The facts of embryology, particularly of vertebrate
embryology, and of larval history receive, it is argued, an explanation on
the view that the successive stages of development are, on the whole,
records of adult stages of structure which the species has passed through
in its evolution. Whether this statement will bear a critical verbal
examination I will not now pause to inquire, for it is more important to
determine whether any independent facts can be alleged in favour of the
theory. If it could be shown, as was stated to be the case by L. Agassiz,
that ancient and extinct forms of life present features of structure now
only found in embryos, we should have a body of facts of the greatest
importance in the present discussion. But as Huxley (See Huxley's
"Scientific Memoirs", London, 1898, Vol. I. page 303: "There is no real
parallel between the successive forms assumed in the development of the
life of the individual at present, and those which have appeared at
different epochs in the past." See also his Address to the Geological
Society of London (1862) 'On the Palaeontological Evidence of Evolution',
ibid. Vol. II. page 512.) has shown and as the whole course of
palaeontological and embryological investigation has demonstrated, no such
statement can be made. The extinct forms of life are very similar to those
now existing and there is nothing specially embryonic about them. So that
the facts, as we know them, lend no support to theory.

But there is another class of facts which have been alleged in favour of
the theory, viz. the facts which have been included in the generalisation
known as the Law of v. Baer. The law asserts that embryos of different
species of animals of the same group are more alike than the adults and
that, the younger the embryo, the greater are the resemblances. If this
law could be established it would undoubtedly be a strong argument in
favour of the "recapitulation" explanation of the facts of embryology. But
its truth has been seriously disputed. If it were true we should expect to
find that the embryos of closely similar species would be indistinguishable
from one another, but this is notoriously not the case. It is more
difficult to meet the assertion when it is made in the form given above,
for here we are dealing with matters of opinion. For instance, no one
would deny that the embryo of a dogfish is different from the embryo of a
rabbit, but there is room for difference of opinion when it is asserted
that the difference is less than the difference between an adult dogfish
and an adult rabbit. It would be perfectly true to say that the
differences between the embryos concern other organs more than do the

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