« FöregåendeFortsätt »
2. Natural Provinces of the Animal World, and their re
lation to the different types of Man; from an Essay by Professor Agassiz, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 'Ethnological Researches.'
[The earliest migrations recorded, in any form, show us man meeting man, wherever he moves upon the habitable surface of the globe, small islands excepted; so that history, in its origin, finds a distribution of the human race in different parts of the world.
If we exclude modern migrations and historical changes of habitation, the white race of men is circumscribed within the same limits as the European zoological realm, including the inhabitants of South-western Asia, and of Northern Africa, with the lower parts of the valley of the Nile.
The unity of the European zoological realm, exclusive of the Arctic regions, is established by the range of its mammalia, and by the limits of the migrations of its birds, as well as by the physical features of its whole extent. It may however be subdivided into a number of distinct faunæ*, each characterized by a variety of peculiar animals.
Thus Mount Sinai, Mounts Taurus and Caucasus have goats and wild sheep, which differ as much from those of Asia as they are distinct from similar animals in Greece, Italy, the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Atlas, and Egypt.
Wild horses are known to have inhabited Spain and Germany; and a wild bull extended over the whole
range tral Europe, which no longer exists there. The Asiatic origin of our domesticated animals may therefore well be questioned,
* A fauna is a natural combination of animals, circumscribed within definite boundaries, which are found in each case to include a district coinciding generally with the natural range of a distinct type of man.
even if we were still to refer Western Asia to the Asiatic realm, since the ass, and some of the breeds of our horse, only belong to the table-lands of Iran and Mongolia, whilst the other species, including the cat, may all be traced to species of the European realm. The domesticated cat is referred by Rüppell to the Felis maniculata of Egypt; by others to the Felis catus-ferus of central Europe; thus, in both cases, to an animal of the European realm.
Whether the dog be a species by itself, or its varieties derived from several species which have completely amalgamated, or whether it descended from the wolf, the fox, or the jackal, every theory must limit its natural range to the European world.
The merino sheep is still represented in the wild state by the mouflon of Sardinia, and was formerly wild in all the mountains of Spain; whether the sheep of the patriarchs were derived from those of Mount Taurus or from Armenia, still they differed from those of Western Europe, since a thousand years before the Christian era, the Phænicians preferred the wool from the Iberian peninsula to that of their Syrian neighbours.
The goats differ so much in different parts of the world that it is still less possible to refer them to one common stock; and while Nepaul and Cashmere have their own breeds, we may well consider those of Egypt and Sinai as distinct, especially as they differ equally from those of Caucasus and Europe.
The common bull is derived from the wild species which has become extinct in Europe, and is not identical with any of the wild species of Asia, notwithstanding some assertions to the contrary. The hog descends from the common boar, now found wild over the whole temperate zone in the Old World.
Both ducks and geese have their wild representatives in Europe; so also the pigeon. As for the common fowls, they are decidedly of East Asiatic origin; but neither the period of their importation is known, nor even the wild species from which they are derived. The wild turkey is well known as an inhabitant of the American continent.
Now taking into account the special distribution of all the animals, wild as well as domesticated, of the European temperate zone, we may subdivide it into the following eight faunæ, located in the districts of Iran or Persia, Syria, Egypt, the Barbary States, Southern Europe, Central Europe, Russia, and Scandinavia.
It is further very striking, that the different subdivisions of the white race of man, even to the limits of distinct nationalities, cover precisely the same ground as the special faunæ or zoological provinces of this most important part of the world, which in all ages has been the seat of the most advanced civilization.
In the South-west of Asia, we find, along the table-land of Iran, the countries of Persia and Asia Minor; in the plains southward, Mesopotamia and Syria ; along the sea-shores, Palestine and Phænicia ; in the valley of the Nile, Egypt; and along the northern shores of Africa, Barbary. Thus we have Semitic nations spreading over the districts of the North African and South-west Asiatic faunæ, while the South European peninsulas, including Asia Minor, are inhabited by GræcoRoman nations, and the cold temperate zone, by Celto-Germanic nations; the Eastern range of Europe being peopled by Sclavonian tribes.
This coincidence may justify the inference of an independent origin for these different nations, as soon as it can be admitted that the races of men were primitively created in separate nations; the more so since all of them claim to have been autochthones, or aboriginal creations of the countries they inhabit. This claim is so universal, that it well deserves more attention; it may be more deeply founded than historians generally seem inclined to grant.
Professor Agassiz advocates the independent origin of a primitive stock for every nation on the earth, with which, at some subsequent period, migrating or conquering tribes became more or less completely amalgamated, as in the case of mixed nationalities. The evidence adduced from the affinities of the languages of different nations in favour of a common origin, he regards as of no value; since we know that among vociferous animals every species has its peculiar intonations, and that the different species of the same family produce sound as closely allied, and forming as natural combinations, as the so-called Indo-Germanic languages compared with one another. Nobody, for instance, would suppose that because the notes of the different species of thrushes, inhabiting different parts of the world, bear the closest affinity to each other, these birds must all have had a common origin; and yet with reference to man, philologists still look upon the affinities of languages as affording direct evidence of such a community of origin among the races, even though they have already discovered the most essential differences in the structure of those languages. The
presence of man and other animals in different parts of the earth has been determined by the direct agency of their Almighty Creator, and their original distribution is thus arranged by Professor Agassiz in the eight following zoological realms or provinces, each of which contains separate races of mankind:1. European realm, including South-western Asia and North
ern Africa. 2. Arctic realm, including the Esquimaux, Laplanders, etc. 3. Asiatic realm, including the Chinese, Mongolians, Turks,
and Japanese. 4. American realm, including North and South America. 5. African realm, including Nubia, Abyssinia, etc. 6. Hottentot realm, including the South of Africa. 7. Malayan or East Indian realm.
8. Australian realm, including New Holland and Van Die
men's Land. “Ever since New Holland was discovered,” observes Professor Agassiz, “it has been known as the land of zoological marvels. All its animals differ so completely from those of other parts of our globe, that it may be said to constitute a world in itself, as isolated in that respect from the other continents, as it truly is in its physical relations*.”
The coincidence between the boundaries of the races of man, and the natural limits of different zoological provinces characterized by peculiar distinct species of animals, is one of the most important and unexpected features in the natural history of mankind which the study of the geographical distribution of all the organized beings now existing upon earth has disclosed to us. It is a fact which cannot fail to throw light, at some future time, upon the very origin of the differences existing among men, since it shows that man's physical nature is modified by the same laws as that of animals, and that any general results obtained from the animal kingdom regarding the organic differences of its various types must also apply to
Now there are only two alternatives before us at present:
1st. Either that mankind originated from a common stock, and that all the different races, with their peculiarities, in their present distribution, are to be ascribed to subsequent changes ; an assumption for which there is no evidence whatever, and which leads at once to the admission that the diversity among animals is not an original one, and that their distribution was not determined by a general plan, established in the beginning of the creation; or,
* Types of Mankind; or, Ethnological Researches,' by L. G. Morton, M.D., J. C. Nott, M.D., and G. R. Gliddon, with Contributions from Professor L. Agassiz, LL.D., etc., p. lxxiii. Philadelphia, United States, 1854.