You are on page 1of 1

Passage 1 In the passage below T.H.

Huxley is trying to explain that humans and apes (chimpanzees and Gorillas) have a common ancestor. In this he is supporting Darwins 1859 idea of evolution, and dismissing the view widely accepted at the time that God created humans and put special effort into it (giving humans the conscience of good and evil), thereby separating humans from animals.

On all sides I shall hear the cry We are men and women, and not a mere better sort of apes, a little longer in the leg, more compact in the foot, and bigger in the brain than your brutal chimpanzees and Gorillas. The power of knowledge the conscience of good and evil the pitiful tenderness of human affections, raise us out of all real fellowship with the brutes, however closely they may seem to approximate us. Brought face to face with these blurred copies of himself, the least thoughtful of men is conscious of a certain shock, due, perhaps, not so much to disgust at the aspect of what looks like an insulting caricature, as to the awakening of a sudden and profound mistrust of time-honoured theories and strongly-rooted prejudices regarding his own position in nature, and his relations to the under-world of life; while that which remains a dim suspicion for the unthinking becomes a vast argument, fraught with the deepest consequences, for all who are acquainted with the recent progress of the anatomical and physiological sciences. To this I can only reply that the exclamation would be most just and would have my own entire sympathy, if it were only relevant. But it is not I who seek to base mans dignity on his great toe, or insinuate that we are lost if an Ape has a hippocampus minor. On the contrary, I have done my best to sweep away this vanity. I have endeavoured to show that no absolute structural line of demarcation, wider than that between the animals that immediately succeed us in the scale, can be drawn between the animal world and ourselves.

Source: T.H. Huxley, Mans Place in Nature (1863)