But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

With respect to the absence of fossil remains, serving to connect man with his ape-like progenitors, no one will lay much stress on this fact who reads Sir C. Lyell's discussion (19. 'Elements of Geology,' 1865, pp. 583- 585. 'Antiquity of Man,' 1863, p. 145.), where he shews that in all the vertebrate classes the discovery of fossil remains has been a very slow and fortuitous process. Nor should it be forgotten that those regions which are the most likely to afford remains connecting man with some extinct ape- like creature, have not as yet been searched by geologists.


We have seen that man appears to have diverged from the Catarrhine or Old World division of the Simiadae, after these had diverged from the New World division. We will now endeavour to follow the remote traces of his genealogy, trusting principally to the mutual affinities between the various classes and orders, with some slight reference to the periods, as far as ascertained, of their successive appearance on the earth. The Lemuridae stand below and near to the Simiadae, and constitute a very distinct family of the primates, or, according to Haeckel and others, a distinct Order. This group is diversified and broken to an extraordinary degree, and includes many aberrant forms. It has, therefore, probably suffered much extinction. Most of the remnants survive on islands, such as Madagascar and the Malayan archipelago, where they have not been exposed to so severe a competition as they would have been on well-stocked continents. This group likewise presents many gradations, leading, as Huxley remarks (20. 'Man's Place in Nature,' p. 105.), "insensibly from the crown and summit of the animal creation down to creatures from which there is but a step, as it seems, to the lowest, smallest, and least intelligent of the placental mammalia." From these various considerations it is probable that the Simiadae were originally developed from the progenitors of the existing Lemuridae; and these in their turn from forms standing very low in the mammalian series.

The Marsupials stand in many important characters below the placental mammals. They appeared at an earlier geological period, and their range was formerly much more extensive than at present. Hence the Placentata are generally supposed to have been derived from the Implacentata or Marsupials; not, however, from forms closely resembling the existing Marsupials, but from their early progenitors. The Monotremata are plainly allied to the Marsupials, forming a third and still lower division in the great mammalian series. They are represented at the present day solely by the Ornithorhynchus and Echidna; and these two forms may be safely considered as relics of a much larger group, representatives of which have been preserved in Australia through some favourable concurrence of circumstances. The Monotremata are eminently interesting, as leading in several important points of structure towards the class of reptiles.

In attempting to trace the genealogy of the Mammalia, and therefore of man, lower down in the series, we become involved in greater and greater obscurity; but as a most capable judge, Mr. Parker, has remarked, we have good reason to believe, that no true bird or reptile intervenes in the direct line of descent.

Charles Darwin

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