RECORD: Anon. 1871. [Review of Descent]. Monkey and man. Fort Scott Daily Monitor (Kansas), (21 March): 2. [From New York Times]. 

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2022. RN1

[page] 2

Monkey and Man.

[From the New York Times.]

Mr. Darwin's new work on the Descent of Man, has recently appeared, and a lively ethnological discussion may now fairly be expected. The broad conclusion arrived at by Mr. Darwin is thus unequivocally expressed by him "Man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World." This is laid down by the author as the result of a long chain of reasoning, and we need not say that it will be hotly disputed. The protracted series of skirmishes that has been going on for the last twelve years, and in which Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and others have taken part, will now in all probability culminate in a battle royal, and end, perhaps, in furnishing the world with more definite conclusions than have hitherto been reached. Pending this result we may observe two interesting facts: First, that startling as is Mr. Darwin's proposition, it only affirms as the final term of a logical analysis what Lord Monboddo bluntly asserted one hundred years ago without one; and second, that the latest discoveries, which from time to time we have printed, seem to establish the superior antiquity of man as man on the American continent.

Mr. Darwin, however, considers that our original progenitors lived in Africa, so that the queer song which claims among other things that the Ethiopian is "de sooperior race" may, so far as age goes, have something besides humor to recommend it. Mr. Darwin traces with immense pains and elaboration the so-called evidences in the physical structure of man of his descent from less highly organized forms. He holds that there is a general tendency in our race to augment the totality of its functions; a theory altogether in harmony with the "progressive" notions of the day. He points out the rudimentary structures in man, which he possesses in common with some of the lower animals—one of these being the blunt point of the folded margin of the ear. Mr. Darwin concedes that the present difference between the lowest savage and the highest monkey is great—greater than that between Shakespeare and an idiot; but he insists that the difference is not in kind, but in degree. He then proceeds to give a vast number of illustrations of the "intellectual and emotional peculiarities of the lower animals."


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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