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Origin of Marriage


been mistaken for promiscuity. Almost equally low in the social scale is polyandry, where one woman may have several husbands.

Whatever the origin of marriage, the fact is, however, that the idea of marriage comes after the idea of the child-as in the animal world, the family is established for the purpose of taking care of the children that have been brought into the world.1

In Mahabharata, the Indian poem, we are told that marriage was founded by Swetaketu, son of the Rishi Uddalaka; according to the Chinese annals, the Emperor Fou-hi established the custom; the Egyptians ascribed its introduction to Menes, and the Greeks to Kerops. Nowhere is it assumed as a condition of the race of all time. Its origin, growth, and development are really the origin, growth, and development of the idea of protecting human offspring.

A convincing scientific explanation of marriage, however, has been set forth by Westermarck.2 Among the great sub-kingdom of the Invertebrata not even the female parent exhibits any anxiety about the offspring. The heat of the sun hatches the eggs of the highest order, the insects, and in most cases the mother does not even see her young. 3

'J. Deneker, The Races of Man, p. 239.

a Westermarck, History of Human Marriage, p. 9.

3 D. G. Brinton, Races and Peoples, p. 55. "The sequel of the sexual impulse is the formation of the family through the development of parental affection. This instinct is as strong in many of the lower animals as in human beings. In primitive

Parental care is rare among the lowest vertebrata. Among fishes the young are generally hatched without the assistance of the parents. There are exceptions to this among the Teleostei, where the male assumes the usual maternal functions of constructing a nest and jealously guarding the ova deposited there by the female. The male of certain species of the Arius, carries the ova in his pharynx. Nearly all of the reptiles, having placed their eggs in a convenient sunny spot, pay no more attention to them.

With few exceptions, the relations of the sexes of the lower vertebrata can be described as fickle; they meet in the pairing time, part again, and have little more to do with one another.

"The Chelonia form," says Westermarck, "with regard to their domestic habits, transition to the birds, as they do also from a zoological and particularly from an embryological point of view." He then goes on to show that parental affection in the latter class, not only on the side of the mother but on that of the father, has come to high development. Members of the two sexes aid each other in nest-building, the females bringing the materials and the males doing the work. Other duties which come with the mating season are

conditions it is largely confined to the female parent, the father paying but slight attention to the welfare of his offspring. To this, rather than to doubt of paternity, should we attribute the very common habit in such communities of reckoning ancestry in the female line only."


Sharing Parental Duties


shared by both, the mother being concerned with incubation and the father aiding her by taking her position when she leaves the nest for intervals, providing her with food which he gathers, and protecting her from dangers. When the breeding season is over and the young have come, a new set of duties is evolved. Young birds are not left alone by their parents, absences being necessitated only by searches for food for all members of the nest. When dangers threaten the nest both father and mother defend it bravely.

All efforts are made to have the young shift for themselves as soon as they have grown strong enough to make it feasible. Independence and self-dependence come only after they are in all ways capable of meeting their needs.

On the other hand, there are some species whose young, from the beginning of their ultra-oval existence, require and receive no care from the parents. The duck is one of a species which leaves all parental care to the female. In general it may be said that both parents share the parental duties, the chief duties, such as hatching and rearing of the young, falling to the mother, while the father gathers food and keeps off enemies.'

The relations of the two sexes are, therefore, very intimate, and association lasts even after the

The ostrich forms, however, a curious exception. The male sits on the eggs, and brings up the young birds, the female never troubling herself about either of these duties.-Brehm, Bird-Life, P. 324.

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