When the next full expiration follows, the mouth is slightly closed, and the lips, from causes hereafter to be discussed, are somewhat protruded; and this form of the mouth, if the voice be at all exerted, produces, according to Helmholtz, the sound of the vowel _O_. Certainly a deep sound of a prolonged _Oh!_ may be heard from a whole crowd of people immediately after witnessing any astonishing spectacle. If, together with surprise, pain be felt, there is a tendency to contract all the muscles of the body, including those of the face, and the lips will then be drawn back; and this will perhaps account for the sound becoming higher and assuming the character of _Ah!_ or _Ach!_ As fear causes all the muscles of the body to tremble, the voice naturally becomes tremulous, and at the same time husky from the dryness of the mouth, owing to the salivary glands failing to act. Why the laughter of man and the tittering of monkeys should be a rapidly reiterated sound, cannot be explained. During the utterance of these sounds, the mouth is transversely elongated by the corners being drawn backwards and upwards; and of this fact an explanation will be attempted in a future chapter. But the whole subject of the differences of the sounds produced under different states of the mind is so obscure, that I have succeeded in throwing hardly any light on it; and the remarks which I have made, have but little significance.

All the sounds hitherto noticed depend on the respiratory organs; but sounds produced by wholly different means are likewise expressive. Rabbits stamp loudly on the ground as a signal to their comrades; and if a man knows how to do so properly, he may on a quiet evening hear the rabbits answering him all around. These animals, as well as some others, also stamp on the ground when made angry. Porcupines rattle their quills and vibrate their tails when angered; and one behaved in this manner when a live snake was placed in its compartment. The tail of the quills on the tail are very different from those on the body: they are short, hollow, thin like a goose-quill, with their ends transversely truncated, so that they are open; they are supported on long, thin, elastic foot-stalks. Now, when the tail is rapidly shaken, these hollow quills strike against each other and produce, as I heard in the presence of Mr. Bartlett, a peculiar continuous sound. We can, I think, understand why porcupines have been provided, through the modification of their protective spines, with this special sound-producing instrument. They are nocturnal animals, and if they scented or heard a prowling beast of prey, it would be a great advantage to them in the dark to give warning to their enemy what they were, and that they were furnished with dangerous spines. They would thus escape being attacked. They are, as I may add, so fully conscious of the power of their weapons, that when enraged they will charge backwards with their spines erected, yet still inclined backwards.

Many birds during their courtship produce diversified sounds by means of specially adapted feathers. Storks, when excited, make a loud clattering noise with their beaks. Some snakes produce a grating or rattling noise. Many insects stridulate by rubbing together specially modified parts of their hard integuments. This stridulation generally serves as a sexual charm or call; but it is likewise used to express different emotions.[8] Every one who has attended to bees knows that their humming changes when they are angry; and this serves as a warning that there is danger of being stung. I have made these few remarks because some writers have laid so much stress on the vocal and respiratory organs as having been specially adapted for expression, that it was advisable to show that sounds otherwise produced serve equally well for the same purpose.

_Erection of the dermal appendages_.--Hardly any expressive movement is so general as the involuntary erection of the hairs, feathers and other dermal appendages; for it is common throughout three of the great vertebrate classes.

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals Page 39

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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