Family Treasures: A Study of the Inheritance of Normal Characteristics in Man

By David D. Whitney | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
NATURE OF MAN

The Psalmist exclaimed: "What is man . . . for thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor."

Man has accepted this exalted and flattering position as a fact and has thoroughly enjoyed the contemplation of his grandeur for many centuries. Until recently it had never entered his mind to inquire concerning his remote relatives and ancestors. His supposition has been that he had not had any ancestors except possibly angel-like ones. To-day he is shocked nearly speechless and is greatly excited when learned scholars state that his ancestors of long ago were probably animals, and hairy ones at that!

If any individual is unconvinced, and believes that he is in the midst of a hairless age, he should attend a large beach party and see the perennial fur coats of some of the men (Fig. 228). Even the forearms of some of the noblest males in his immediate family may be somewhat hirsute (Fig. 230). The presence of more or less body hair is considered by many biologists to be an inherited relic from our hairy ancestors (Fig. 228).

Our Feet.--On the soft ground of forests, field, and river banks; on snow and a variety of other impressionable stepping places, man is always looking for tracks of animals. He has even found fossil tracks made several millions of years ago by animals which became extinct before man himself existed. He identifies the animals by their footprints, be they elephants or mice. A hunter can even tell how recently game animals have been in the vicinity by a careful scrutiny of the prints of their feet which they have unwittingly left as a telltale record.

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Family Treasures: A Study of the Inheritance of Normal Characteristics in Man
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 3
  • Preface 5
  • Chapter I- The Family 9
  • Chapter II- The Individual 30
  • Chapter III- Hair 48
  • Chapter IV- The Eyes 82
  • Chapter V- The Mouth 94
  • Chapter VI - The Ears 110
  • Chapter VII- The Nose, Cheeks, Chin, and Jaws 126
  • Chapter IX- The Feet 172
  • Chapter X- The Body 186
  • Chapter XI- Temperaments and Special Abilities 203
  • Chapter XII- Good Health 228
  • Chapter XIII- Birthmarks, Acquired Characters, and Disease 239
  • Chapter XIV- Sex 256
  • Chapter XV- Nature of Man 267
  • Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in the Study of Heredity in Man 288
  • Index 295
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