The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man

The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man

The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man

The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man

Excerpt

Labor is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. It is this, next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labor created man himself.

Many hundreds of thousands of years ago, during an epoch, not yet definitely determinable, of that period of the earth’s history which geologists call the Tertiary period, most likely towards the end of it, a specially highly developed race of anthropoid apes lived somewhere in the tropical zone — probably on a great continent that has now sunk to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Darwin has given us an approximate description of these ancestors of ours. They were completely covered with hair, they had beards and pointed ears, and they lived in bands in the trees.

Presumably as an immediate consequence of their mode of life, which in climbing assigns different functions to the hands than to the feet, these apes when walking on level ground began to drop the habit of using their hands and to adopt a more and more erect posture. This was the decisive step in the transition from ape to man.

All extant anthropoid apes can stand erect and move about on their feet alone, but only in case of urgent need and in a very clumsy way. Their natural gait is in a half-erect posture . . .

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