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Darwin and Modern Science (1909)

Edited by A.C. Seward


VIII. CHARLES DARWIN AS AN ANTHROPOLOGIST.

By By ERNST HAECKEL.
Professor of Zoology in the University of Jena.

T
he 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 harmony.

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 Orthonectida.

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 phenomena:

"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 Amphibia:

"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.



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