« AnteriorContinuar »
breeding season has passed. And only the birds of the Gallinaceous family are an exception to the rule of making such association permanent once it has been started, death alone ending it.
Real marriage is to be found only among birds.' For mammals the same cannot be said, for though the mother generally gives much attention to the young, the father does not always have as much He even, in some cases, is the enemy of his own offspring. Yet even in the cases of mammals there are durable associations between the sexes. Very often these last only during the rutting season, but among whales, seals, hippopotami, the Cervus campestris, gazelles,3 the Neotragus Hemprichii and other small antelopes, reindeer, the Hydromus coypus, squirrels, moles, the ichneumon, and certain carnivorous animals, among the latter cats, martens, the yaguarundi of South America, and the Canis Brasiliensis and perhaps the wolf, there are durable matings. Association between the sexes is common among all of these animals for periods after the young have been born. And in all cases the male is the family's protector.
What is an exception among the lower mammals is, however, a rule among the Quadrumana. According to the natives of Madagascar some species
'Brehm, Bird-Life, p. 285, and Herman Müller's Am Neste.
Rengger, Naturgeschichte der Saugethiere von Paraguay, p. 354. 3 Brehm, vol. iii., p. 206.
Family Life among the Apes 23
of Prosimii are nursed by both male and female in common. Among the Arctopitheci the female is always assisted by the male in taking care of the young.
Coming to the man-like apes, we are told by Lieutenant de Crespigny that "in the northern part of Borneo they live in families-the male, female, and young one. On one occasion," he says, "I found a family in which were two young ones, one of them much larger than the other, and I took this as a proof that the family tie had existed for at least two seasons. They build commodious nests in the trees which form their feeding-ground, and, so far as I could observe, the nests, which are well lined with dry leaves, are occupied only by the female and young, the male passing the night in the fork of the same or another tree in the vicinity. The nests are very numerous all over the forest, for they are not occupied above a few nights, the mias (or orang-utan) leading a roving life."
Dr. Savage says that the gorillas live in bands and that but one male is seen in every band. M. du Chaillu says that the male gorilla is always accompanied by the female.
It is among the Negritians of Africa that we find today the at-hand evidence of the attitude of man toward his progeny in the first stages of culture, or perhaps the last stages of savagery. It must be remembered that in Africa, however, habits of other races will be found grafted on the
negro stock, thereby causing them to appear sometimes unusually gentle or again unusually advanced. In Africa the Semitic and the Hamitic grafts on negro stock provide many varieties of mankind, just as in Oceania, the Mongol (Malay) and the Caucasian (Indonesian) grafts on the negro stock have produced many varieties there. As an example of the methods of the lowest of savage tribes, there is, however, no better example than the Papuans of New Guinea of whom the ethnologist, Keane, says: "They stand in some respects on the lowest rung of the social ladder."
As an example of the low state of culture in which part of them exist it is said that those near Astrolabe Bay on the north-west coast of New Guinea had no knowledge of the metals, all their implements being of stone, wood, or bones; neither had they knowledge of fire, the grandfathers of the present generation being able to recall the time when they had no fire at all, but ate their food raw. In the study of these people we are studying contemporaries of our own neolithic
According to their most popular myth, a crocodile named Nugu was responsible for the frequent disappearance of children until the tribe made an agreement to supply him with pig's fat instead. Here we have the beginning of the theory of sacrifice.
"In their treatment of children they are often