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Nature volume 113, pages 761763 (24 May 1924) | Download Citation



THE ORIGIN or MAN.—An article by the late Dr. A. A. Mendes-Correa which appears in the issue of Scientia for May, deals in an acutely critical manner with current theory as to the origin and evolution of man. His conclusions are that too great reliance is placed upon tffe evidential value of the teeth of fossil man, particularly of the so-called Hesperopithecus tooth from Nebraska. The various conclusions relating to the classification of Pithecanthropus, and to the relation of man to the anthropoids, are contradictory or inconclusive; nor have the attempts to affiliate man to the fossil apes yielded any more satisfactory result. While the theory of a single line I of descent presents difficulties, that of a convergence of different lines of descent requires repeated coincidence in conditions unlikely to occur in Nature. While one theory holds that causation in evolution is to be sought in the formation of the Himalaya range and consequent changes in climate, another sees it in differentiation in adaptation of the organism to local conditions. It is probable that both internal factors as well as external environment each play a part in development. The place of origin and the date in geological time are equally indeterminate. In both cases no trustworthy conclusion has yet been attained.

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