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back, laced on, and shifted from side to side as the wind blows. The Hottentots also wore a somewhat similar skin over the back, which they never removed, and in which they were buried. Even in the tropics most savages take precautions to keep their backs dry. The natives of Timor use the leaf of a fan palm, carefully stitched up and folded, which they always carry with them, and which, held over the back, forms an admirable protection from the rain. Almost all the Malay races, as well as the Indians of South America, make great palm-leaf hats, four feet or more across, which they use during their canoe voyages to protect their bodies from heavy showers of rain ; and they use smaller hats of the same kind when travelling by land.
We find, then, that so far from there being any reason to believe that a hairy covering to the back could have been hurtful or even useless to pre-historic man, the habits of modern savages indicate exactly the opposite view, as they evidently feel the want of it, and are obliged to provide substitutes of various kinds. The perfectly erect posture of man, may be supposed to have something to do with the disappearance of the hair from his body, while it remains on his head; but when walking, exposed to rain and wind, a man naturally stoops forwards, and thus exposes his back; and the undoubted fact, that most savages feel the effects of cold and wet most severely in that part of the body, sufficiently demonstrates that the hair could not have ceased to grow there merely because it was useless, even if it were likely that a character so long persistent in the entire order of mammalia, could have so completely disappeared, under the influence of so weak a selective power as a diminished usefulness..
Man's Naked Skin could not have been produced by
Natural Selection. It seems to me, then, to be absolutely certain, that “ Natural Selection ” could not have produced man's hairless body by the accumulation of variations from a hairy ancestor. The evidence all goes to show that such variations could not have been useful, but must, on the contrary, have been to some extent hurtful. If even, owing to an unknown correlation with other hurtful qualities, it had been abolished in the ancestral tropical man, we cannot conceive that, as man spread into colder climates, it should not have returned under the powerful influence of reversion to such a long persistent ancestral type. But the very foundation of such a supposition as this is untenable ; for we cannot suppose that a character which, like hairiness, exists throughout the whole of the mammalia, can have become, in one form only, so constantly correlated with an injurious character, as to lead to its permanent suppression-a suppression so complete and effectual that it never, or scarcely ever, reappears in mongrels of the most widely different races of man.
Two characters could hardly be wider apart, than the size and development of man's brain, and the distribution of hair upon the surface of his body ; yet
they both lead us to the same conclusion-that some other power than Natural Selection has been engaged / in his production.
Feet and Hands of Man, considered as Difficulties on
the Theory of Natural Selection. There are a few other physical characteristics of man, that may just be mentioned as offering similar difficulties, though I do not attach the same importance to them as to those I have already dwelt on. The specialization and perfection of the hands and feet of man seems difficult to account for. Throughout the whole of the quadrumana the foot is prehensile; and a very rigid selection must therefore have been needed to bring about that arrangement of the bones and muscles, which has converted the thumb into a great toe, so completely, that the power of opposability is totally lost in every race, whatever some travellers may vaguely assert to the contrary. It is difficult to see why the prehensile power should have been taken away. It must certainly have been useful in climbing, and the case of the baboons shows that it is quite compatible with terrestrial locomotion. It may not be compatible with perfectly easy erect locomotion; but, then, how can we conceive that early man, as an animal, gained anything by purely erect locomotion ? Again, the hand of man contains latent capacities and powers which are unused by savages, and must have been even less used by palæolithic man and his still ruder predecessors. It has all the appearance of
an organ prepared for the use of civilized man, and one which was required to render civilization possible. Apes make little use of their separate fingers and opposable thumbs. They grasp objects rudely and clumsily, and look as if a much less specialized extremity would have served their purpose as well. I do not lay much stress on this, but, if it be proved that some intelligent power has guided or determined the development of man, then we may see indications of that power, in facts which, by themselves, would not serve to prove its existence.
The voice of man. The same remark will apply to another peculiarly human character, the wonderful power, range, flexibility, and sweetness, of the musical sounds producible by the human larynx, especially in the female sex. The habits of savages give no indication of how this faculty could have been developed by natural selection; because it is never required or used by them. The singing of savages is a more or less monotonous howling, and the females seldom sing at all. Savages certainly never choose their wives for fine voices, but for rude health, and strength, and physical beauty. Sexual selection could not therefore have developed this wonderful power, which only comes into play among civilized people. It seems as if the organ had been prepared in anticipation of the future progress of man, since it contains latent capacities which are useless to him in his earlier condition. The delicate correlations of structure that give it such marvellous powers,
could not therefore have been acquired by means of natural selection.
The Origin of some of Man's Mental Faculties, by the
preservation of Useful Variations, not possible. Turning to the mind of man, we meet with many difficulties in attempting to understand, how those mental faculties, which are especially human, could have been acquired by the preservation of useful variations. At first sight, it would seem that such feelings as those of abstract justice and benevolence could never have been so acquired, because they are incompatible with the law of the strongest, which is the essence of natural selection. But this is, I think, an erroneous view, because we must look, not to individuals but to societies; and justice and benevolence, exercised towards members of the same tribe, would certainly tend to strengthen that tribe, and give it a superiority over another in which the right of the strongest prevailed, and where consequently the weak and the sickly were left to perish, and the few strong ruthlessly destroyed the many who were weaker.
But there is another class of human faculties that do not regard our fellow men, and which cannot, therefore, be thus accounted for. Such are the capacity to form ideal conceptions of space and time, of eternity and infinity—the capacity for intense artistic feelings of pleasure, in form, colour, and compositionand for those abstract notions of form and number which render geometry and arithmetic possible. How