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hairy females must have had still less hair, and if this rule was observed throughout a few hundred generations the hair would have gradually decreased.' To this Wallace rightly objects, that “as Mr. Darwin says, each race admires its own characteristics carried to a moderate extreme. Hairy races would therefore admire abundant hairiness, just as bearded races now admire fine beards, and any admiration of deficient hairiness would probably be as rare and abnormal as the admiration for partial baldness or scanty hair in women would be among ourselves. Any individual fancy for such an abnormal peculiarity as deficient hair in a hair-covered animal would produce no effect; and that any such fancy should become general with our semi-human ancestors, and so produce universal nakedness, does not seem at all probable when we have no evidence of such a result of sexual selection elsewhere in the whole animal kingdom ; it is true that in that early state the struggle for existence would have been severe, and only the best endowed would have survived ; but unless we suppose a universal or simultaneous fancy among all the most vigorous and therefore probably the most hairy men for what would be then an unnatural character
-deficiency of hair in women, and that this fancy should have persisted in all its force for a long series of generations, it is not easy to see how this severe struggle for existence and survival of the fittest would in any way aid sexual selection in abolishing the hairy covering. On the contrary, it seems more likely that it would entirely prevent it. We can hardly, therefore, impute much influence to sexual selection in the case of
* Descent of Man. ii. 377.
man, even as regards less important characteristics than the loss of hair, because it requires the very same tastes to persist in the majority of the race during a period of long and unknown duration. All analogy teaches us that there would be no such identity of taste in successive generations; and this seems a fatal objection to the belief that any fixed and definite characteristics could have been produced in man by sexual selection.”ı
It is the same with other transformations. If the members of that “ape-like herd,” to use Strauss' expression,” from which we are descended were, as he says, “ tree animals," and if their feet were prehensile, it was of no advantage to them in the struggle for existence that they gradually became more fitted for walking, and to the same degree more unfitted for climbing. Our foot is admirably suited to our present wants and habits now that we walk in an upright position and are no longer tree animals, and the prehensile foot is equally suited to the wants of the ape. But an intermediate form, a transitional foot, which was neither prehensile and suited for climbing, nor a human foot fitted for walking, could not have been more perfect or of advantage in the struggle for existence. An ape whose foot was not suited for climbing must have played a melancholy part among his companions, and the fact that he was intended to be the ancestor of a posterity who would be able to walk upright after a hundred generations, could have been of little comfort to him. It is very easy to depict on paper the intermediate forms through which the pre
? See Academy, March 15, 1871, p. 180.
hensile foot of the ape has gradually perfected into the human foot. Each successive form in this series is a step in advance of the preceding, and in this series the foot becomes more perfect the farther it gets from the point of departure, the prehensile foot, and the nearer it approaches to the goal, the human foot. But is each of these intermediate forms more advantageous to. the individual who is said to have possessed it than the preceding form in the series ? On the contrary, the middle form, which differs from a prehensile foot just as much as from a human foot, is practically the worst, because it is as little fitted for climbing and seizing as for walking ; each preceding form is more advantageous to the ape, each succeeding form more advantageous for man. We have therefore for practical use, and this is the one thing to be thought of in the struggle for existence, not a continuously ascending series of steps, but a series in which the practical usefulness of the members first gradually diminishes, and then when it has reached the lowest point gradually increases. This is quite unnatural, and does not in the least harmonize with the Darwinian system.
Wallace draws our attention to another point. The volume or the size of the brain generally speaking stands in direct relationship to the intellectual development. The larger brain of man must therefore, according to Darwin, have developed gradually from the smaller brain of the ape. But the brains of the lowest savages and, so far as can be ascertained from the skulls that have been preserved, the brains of the so-called pre
Cf. the humourous description in Moses und die Materialisten, by Graw, Brunswick 1872, p. 43.
historic races of men, are as regards volume very little below the brains of the highest men, and very much above the brains of the higher animals.
According to Wallace, sections of the skulls show that the capacity of the skull of the lowest savages is always as much as five-sixths of the capacity of that of the highest races of men, whereas that of the gorilla is hardly one-third of that of man. How can we explain the fact that the brain of the lowest man has grown from one-third to five-sixths ? Darwinians do not place the Australian negroes and other low races of men very high above the animals as regards their intellectual wants and the exercise of their intellectual faculties; therefore a brain not much larger than that of a gorilla would suffice for them. At any rate natural selection would not have given them a brain superior to their requirements, and yet they possess a brain which as far as volume is concerned is essentially superior to their requirements, and is very little below the brain of a philosopher. This also cannot be explained by the Darwinian theory.
This last observation of Wallace's leads us to another point of view, from which we must look at the “ Pithecoid theory.” The brain and the faculty of the mind are no doubt unmistakeably connected, but the faculty of the mind is not necessarily the more perfect because the brain is bigger or more developed, and still less does the psychical power depend entirely on the bodily organization. An English savant justly says, “Nobody disputes that there is the strongest analogy and resemblance between the structural organization of the
* J. B. Meyer, Philos. Zeitfragen, r. 170.
human body and the structural organization of the higher mammalia. The senses and many of the organs of man are the same in kind, though not in degree, as those of the lower animals; and where there is a difference it is often in favour of the brute creation. The eye of the vulture, the scent of the hound, the limbs of the horse, are far more powerful than the corresponding human organs. But this dispute which agitates the comparative anatomists of the present day, and makes them alternately offensive to each other and ridiculous to everybody else, has no practical bearing at all on the question of the proper origin and nature of mankind; for the real distinctive characteristics of man begin just where these resemblances of structural organization leave off. This is the barrier which is absolutely insurmountable by the advocates of the theory of development, because the differences between the animals and man are not differences of degree, but differences of kind.”ı
There is no doubt that, however great the likeness between the bodily form of the gorilla and that of man may be thought to be, no reasonable and unprejudiced observer can deny that so far as the spiritual life is concerned, the difference between them is very great, much greater than we should have expected consider ing the bodily resemblance. This shows that man's spiritual life has nothing whatever to do with the bodily form, especially with the conformation of the brain ; for otherwise we could not comprehend why a similar spiritual life is not found in the ape, why he does not stand much nearer to man, in this respect at least, than
1 Edinburgh Revier, April 1863, p. 566.