페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

ends his discussion with the confession that the question must be answered in the negative, and that we must rest content with the hope that perhaps, “in still older strata, the fossilized bones of an ape more anthropoid, or a man more pithecoid, than any yet known, await the researches of some unborn palæontologist."1

Theologians yet unborn may deal with these. The human skulls which have been found up to the present time, and which are supposed to be of great antiquity, do not differ from the skulls of the present day. Against the assertion that “the earliest of the human skulls which have been found show a bestial conformation,”? or that “the surest and most important conclusion which has been attained to by investigation into prehistoric times is, that the oldest human remains show signs of a low organization, in part lower than that of the savages of the present day,"3 we may set Virchow's statement, that “It is just the oldest skulls which show no signs of a lower race.”4 Vogt, speaking of a skull found in the cave of Furfooz, says that we are struck by the tremendous prognathism which is shown in the upper jaw; but he goes on to add, “ The teeth are more ape-like than I have ever seen them in any skull; but even among strictly straight-toothed peoples we find single examples of such positions, which are in their case abnormal.”5 Virchow

1 Evidences, p. 159. Strauss also relies on this “slender hope.” In Der alte und der neue Glaube, p. 193, he says it is “extremely probable » that in future ages “we may possibly find fossil men at a much lower stage of development, much nearer to their animal origin."

? Strauss, Der alte und der neue Glaube, p. 193.
3 Schaafhausen in the Archiv für Anthr, viii. 249.

* Die Urbevölkerung Europa's, Berlin 1874, p. 46. Cf. Aeby, Die Schädelformen, p. 89. Nadaillac, L'ancienneté de l'homme, p. 189.

s Archiv für Anthr. i. 34.

says of the same skull, that its prognathism is no greater than that of many Flemish skulls in the present day, and if we were to conclude from it that the race to which it belonged was an inferior race, the same conclusion must be applied to the Flemings. Several strangely shaped under jaws have been found in France, and people have endeavoured to use them as proofs of the existence of a special race of men standing nearer to the apes. Of this Aeby says, “We cannot think that this conclusion has the slightest weight, when we consider the endless number of variations which, as every anatomist knows, are found even now in this bone, the under jaw. In my opinion it is very rash to make an under jaw the type of a peculiar race, because some parts have some peculiarities, or because its teeth are somewhat unusually formed. If weight is to be attached to such details as these, we may well ask that the limits of the existing structure should first be a little more studied.”3

The skulls which have been most talked about, and which according to the opinion of many are the oldest known, are two which were found respectively at Engis on the Maas, and in the Neanderthal between Dusseldorf and Elberfeld. As regards the first Huxley says, “I confess I can find no character in the remains of that cranium which if it were a recent skull would give any trustworthy clue as to the race to which it might appertain. Its contours and measurements agree very well with those of some Australian skulls which I have examined; ... on the other hand, its measurements agree equally well with those of some European skulls. And assuredly there is no mark of degradation about any part of its structure. It is in fact a fair average human skull, which might have belonged to a philosopher, or might have contained the thoughtless brains of a savage.” Aeby, Lucæ, and Virchow also say that this skull has no peculiarities which do not exist now-a-days.?

1 Archiv für Anthr, vi, 115. ? Ausland, 1866, p. 791. Le Hon, L'homme fossile, p. 41. 3 Die Schüdelformen, p. 89.

The so-called Neanderthal skull was found, together with some other human bones, in 1856, in a cave with the remains of extinct animals. Professor Fuhlrott of Elberfeld was the first to make it known, and since then many treatises have been written about it. Only the upper parts of the skull, situated above the roof of the orbits, have been preserved. The cranium is of unusual size, and of elliptical form. Its most striking peculiarity consists in the unusual development of the frontal sinuses, owing to which the superciliary ridges which coalesce completely in the centre are rendered so prominent that the frontal bone exhibits a considerable hollow or depression behind them. The forehead is narrow and low, whereas the middle and hinder portions of the cranial arch are well developed. The importance of the discovery of this skull has been much exaggerated by some. Schaafhausen was inclined to see in the

' Evidences, p. 156.

2 Archiv für Anthr, vi. 14. A. von Frantzius, Die vierte allg. Versamm. lung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Brunswick 1874, p. 48.

3C. Fuhlrott, Der fossile Mensch aus dem Neanderthal, und sein Verhältniss zum Alter des Menschengeschlechts, Duisburg 1865. Archiv für Anthr. viii. 66.

Neanderthal skull the “type of the man of the Tertiary period ;"l the Englishman King wished to draw from it conclusions as to the earlier existence of a special race of men, essentially different from the present race, and this race he proposed to call Homo Neanderthalensis. Lyell, however, observes, “ As to the remarkable Neanderthal skeleton, it is at present too isolated and exceptional, and its age too uncertain, to warrant us in relying on its abnormal and ape-like characters as bearing on the question whether the farther back we trace man into the past, the more we shall find him approach in bodily conformation to those species of the anthropoid quadrumana which are most akin to him in structure.” 3 And Huxley says even more decidedly, "In no sense then can the Neanderthal bones be regarded as the remains of a human being intermediate between man and apes. At most they demonstrate the existence of a man whose skull may be said to revert somewhat towards the pithecoid type.” 4 Since then several eminent anatomists and anthropologists have expressed their opinions about the Neanderthal skull. Aeby, Virchow, Hyrtl, Lucæ all say that it is undoubtedly a pathological skull, and ought therefore to be no more considered in the question of the skull formation of the earliest men than a microcephalous skull is considered in the question of the present formation."

1 Archiv für Anthr. v. 118.

2 Ausland, 1863, p. 1056. 3 Antiquity of Man, p. 419.

4 Evidences, p. 157. 5 Aeby, Die Schädelformen, p. 89. Virchow, Die Urbevölkerung Europa's, p. 46. Cf. Frantzius, Die 4 allg. Vers. etc. p. 48. Lucæ in the Archiv für Anthr. vi. 14. J. W. Spengel, Archiv für Anthr. viii. 49,

Neither in the past then do we find any intermediate forms which are calculated to bridge over the gulf between man and the ape, and we are justified in saying that even if according to the theory of descent it were shown to be likely that several nearly connected species of animals had a common stock, this conclusion would not properly be applied to a common descent of men and apes ; because even if we only consider the bodily conditions, they are separated from one another by a wider gulf than are the higher apes from the lower, or than are any two different species of animals which can be called nearly related, and this gulf is filled up by no intermediate forms.

“Even in the oldest times,” says Aeby, “no forms of human skulls have been found which are not in existence now-a-days. Any believer in the truth of the theory of descent may no doubt consistently apply it to men, but he must not hope to be able to adduce one single fact in support of his hypothesis from the history of mankind, so far as we can trace it at present. As far back as we can go, we find man in his present shape. The only likeness between man and the pithecoid type exists in the caricatures which have been made by several authors, with a complete contempt for truth by exaggerating single features.” 1

Considering these results of anthropological inquiry, it is astonishing that two contemporary French theo logians should have brought forward the old predenies the pathological character of the Neanderthal skull, but he describes several “ neanderthaloid” skulls which are now in existence, especially some from the islands of the Zuyder Zee.

1 Die Schädelformen, p 90.

« 이전계속 »