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    Naturevolume 18page192 (1878) | Download Citation



    THIS volume forms another of the Library of Contemporary Science, and it purports to elucidate a science which is well described by Paul Broca as being one of vast dimensions and one in process of rapid development, as well as one which has hitherto not received sufficient attention. The masters of the science engaged in original research naturally shrink from the labour of writing a handbook of a popular character: and it fell to Dr. Topinard's lot to make, the attempt—in which attempt he seems pretty fairly to have succeeded. This work falls into three sections: the first treats of the physical characters of man, and of his place in nature. The chief human anatomical peculiarities are briefly alluded to, with a somewhat needless—to our mind—reiteration of the assertion that the organisation of anthropoids is a counterpart of that of man, and differs widely from that of the other Simian groups. The second section treats of the races of mankind; and here we have a great many important and interesting facts marshalled in fair order before us. A few more woodcuts would have been an improvement to this portion. In the concluding section the origin of man is discussed; and the author passes in array the monogenestic theory of Quatrefages, the polygenestic theory of L. Agassiz, the transformation theory of Lamarck, and the natural selection theory of Darwin, and works out in detail the application of each to man and his genealogy. The translation, which is generally good, might, however, in places be improved, and it is sometimes a little confused.


    Dr. Paul Topinard, with a Preface by Prof. Paul Broca, translated by Dr. R. Bartley. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1878.)

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