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TIHE

AMERICAN NATURALIST

VOL xviII.- 7ANVARY, i884.-No. i.

DISADVANTAGES OF THE UPRIGHT POSITION.


BY S. V. CLEVENGER, M.D.

THE immediateand remotecauses of thingshave been and


will be sought by thinkerswho are not afraid to follow
whereverfactslead them. The doctrinethat there is no effect
withoutan antecedentcause, has met with fierceoppositionfrom
those who sawvthat the logical conclusions of correlatedfacts,
such as are presentedby Darwin, tended to the overthrowof
puerile legends theybelievedin,and-who werecontentto imagine
that everythingwas causeless,or at best originatedin some in-
scrutablc way. The Arab, upon having the sidereal motions
explained to him, said, " You trouble yourself greatly about
thingsnot intended for you to know. Even though what you
tell me is true,the Koran leads us to believe otherwise. Mlo-
hammedtaughtus sufficient, and his followerscan tortureyou
out of your rationalism. Forbear your hereticalfacts!"
The mechanicalnatureof thingsanimateis as old in theoryas
Democritus, 5oo B. C.; and Giordano Bruno,in A. D. i6co, for
having amplifiedthe Democritic idea, was burnedat the stake.
Kant granteda mechanicalcosmogony, but in organic nature
claimed causarfinales. The battle of cause efficientes was fully
won by Galileo, Copernicus,Kepler, Neewton,Herschel, Laplace,
etc., so faras the inanimateuniverse was concerned,but the me-
chanical conceptionof that which pertains to living thingswas
hintedat by Aristotle. Geoffrey de St. Hilaire contendedagainst
Cuvier for the mutabilityof species and the monistic theory.
2 DiDadvantages oftie UprigltPosition. January,

Treviranus,Oken, Goethe, Lamarck,and in our day, Darwin,


Haeckel, Huxley, have carriedon the warfare. HerbertSpencer
advanced a mechanical physiology and morphology. His has
carriedthe conceptioninto histology,and Cope into palxontql-
w
ogy. The unityof the laws ashich controlorganicand inorganic
natureare to-dayfullyrecognizedby thosewho stand in the front
rank of investigators and thinkers,but not until completertext-
books fromthe new standpointshall have found theirway into
the hands of medicalstudentsand naturalistsgenerally,will com-
mon recognitionof the success of the mechanical idea be ob-
tained.
Assuredlythe teleological is a verylazy way of thinking. It
amountsto takingthings forgranted as so, because theyare so.
and hands us bound
It bars all inquiry,stops all investigation,
hand and footto ignoranceand superstition.
Mechanical influences,such as impactsand strains,permanently
alteringanimal organs,have been discussed by ProfessorE. D.
Cope in the AMERICANNATURALIST,in articles entitled, Origin of
the Foot Structuresof Ungulates. April, i88i ; Effectsof Im-
pacts and Strains on the Feet of Mammalia, July, iMi ; by
Alpheus Hyatt,Transformations of Planorbis at Steinheim,with
Remarks on the Effectsof Gravityupon the formsof Shells and
Animals,June,1882. In articles published in the Januaryand
February,i88i, numbers,I attempteda disquisitionupon physi-
cal influencesin theirrelationsto comparativeneurology,and in
the July, M88i,number of the AMERICAN NATURALIST,on the
Origin and Descent of the Human Brain,pointedout some hith-
erto neglectedmechanicalfactorsin the developmentof theorgan
of the mindand its osseous envelope.
While engaged in anatomicalstudies,the idea thattherewas a
definitereasonforeverything, and that we mightsome day dis-
cover the reasons formanythingsnot now known,was ever pres-
ent to my mind. I could get half lightsand glimpsesof causes
fromhintsin Henle, Holden, or Sharpey and Quain, and fancied
I saw mattersclearlyenough in some particulars,only to be con-
fusedby contradictory experiencessubsequently.
There seemed to be a definiteenough law in the formation of
valves in the veins,for instance,but every studentwas compelled
to learn the location of these valves by arbitraryexerciseof the
memory. I thinkeverystudentwill conclude at the end of this
1884.] Disadvantag-esofthe UprightPosition.- 3
paper that it is easy enough now to rememberwhich veins are
valved and which are not. Let me present the subject just as it
perplexed me at first. Nothing could be simplerfromthe teleo-
logical standpoint,than that we should have valves in the veins
of the arms and legs to assist the returnof blood to the heart
against gravitation,but what earthly use has a man forvalves in
the intercostalveins whichcarryblood almost horizontallyback-
ward to the azygos veins? When recumbentthesevalves are an
actual detrimentto the freeflowof blood. The inferiorthyroid
veins which drop theirblood intothe innominateare obstructed
by valves at their junction. Two pairs of valves are situated in
the externaljugular and another pair in the internaljugular, but
in recognitionof theiruselessness they(1o not preventregurgita-
tion of blood nor liquids frontpassing upwards.
An apparent anomaly exists in the absence of valves from
parts where they are most needed, such as in the venx cava,
spinal, iliac, hemorrhoidal and portal. The azygos veins have
imperfectvalves.
Place man upon " all fours" and the law governingthe pres-
ence and absence of valves is at once apparent,applicable, so
far as I have been able to ascertain, to all quadrupedal and
quadrumanous animals: Doi-sad veinsare valved; cephalad,ven-
trad and caudad veins leave no valves. The apparent excep-
tions to this rule, I think, can be disposed of by considering
the jugular valves as obsolescing,rendered rudimentaryin man
by the erecthead, which in th, lemur stage depended. The ru-
dimentaryazvgos valves may be a recentcreation,and an expla-
nationof theirpresence may be found in the mutabilityof the
cardinalsystem. The single Eustachian valve, being large in the
fcetus,has a phylogeneticvalue. In this connectionI would call
attentionto my mention,in Science (New York), June25, I88I,
of the probable bronchial origin of the thyroidand thymus
glands. There are many reasons forbelievingthese bodies to be
rudimentary gills.
The only reason I can assign for the absence of cephalic and
cervicalvalves generally,while the jugulars possess them,is, that
the jugular systemwas the most importantto our quadrupedal
ancestorswithdependentheads, hence valves developed in them,
a6d that owingto the cranial blood-vesselsdeveloping,paripassu,
with the craniumand its contentsgenerally,largelyafterman had
4 Disadvantages of tlzwUprigti Position. [January,
b assumed the erect position, the valvular
formationelsewherein the head would not
occur while the jugular valves became ru-
nd_ { dimentary.
I_ I l,
I I .1 Certainlyvalves in the hoemorrhoidal
veins would be out of place in quadrupeds,
_________ but to theirabsence in man manya lifehas
= ~~beenand will be sacrificed,to say nothing
______ of the discomfortand distress occasioned
_ by the engorgementknownas piles, which
the presenceof valves in these veins would
obviate. The spermaticvalves are as useful
in man as in otheranimals.
A glance at the accompanyingdiagram
_ will affordan idea of the confusingdistri-
_ bution of valved and unvalved veins in the
_ human being.
The position assumed by these valved
_ veins when man is placed on all fours,
a, refers to the spinal
,
systea; jugular and Ca- corresponds with those to be found in
val to femoral; c, brach- quadrupeds, thus:
ial; d, intercostal.

_ l ~~~- - -I i-11

A noticeabledeparturefromthe rule obtainingin the vascular


systemof Mammalia also occurs in the exposed situationof the
femoralarteryin man. The arterieslie deeper than the veins or
are otherwiseprotectedforthe purpose,the teleologistwould say,
of preventinghemorrhageby superficialcuts. From the evolu-
tionarystandpointit would appear that onlyanimals withdeeply-
placed arterieswould survive and transmittheir peculiaritiesto
theiroffspring,as the ordinaryabrasions to which all animalsare
1884.] Disadvantages of the UprightPosition. 5

subject,not to mentiontheirfierceonslaughtsupon one another,


would quickly kill offanimals with superficiallylocated arteries.
But when man assumed the uprightposture,the femoralartery,
which was placed out of reach on the innerpart of the thigh,be-
came exposed, and were it not that this defect is nearlyfully
atoned forby his abilityto protect the exposed artery in ways
the brutecould not,he too would have become extinct. Even
cause of troubleand death.
as iC is, this aberrationis a fruitful
Anotherdisadvantagewhich occurs in the uprightposition of
man, is his greaterliabilityto inguinalhernia. Quadrupeds have
the main weight of abdominal viscera supported by ribs and
strongpectoraland abdominal muscles. The weakestpart of the
latter group of muscles is in the regionof Poupart's ligament,
above the groin. Inguinal herniais rare in othervertebratesbe-
cause this weak part is relievedof the visceral stress,but as the
pelvis receivesthe intestinalload in man,an immensenumberof
tissues are mainufactured to supplementthis deficiency. It has
been estimated that,twentyper cent of the human familysuffer
in this way, and strangulatedhernia frequentlyoccasions death.
If man has always been erect from creation,then we have
nothing to hope fromthe future by way of an alteration of
this defect. The same percentage of hiumanitywill sufferto
the end of time; but considered mechanicallythe so-called con-
servativeinfluenceof naturewhichwill tend to pile up additional
musculartissue in this region by reason of the increased blood
supply to that part, aided by natural and sexual selection,will
eventually reduce the percentageof ruptures greatly,if it does
not eventually correct the trouble altogether. The liabilityto
femoralherniais similarlyincreasedby the uprightposition.
The peritoneal ligamentsof the uterus subserve suspensorial
functionsin quadrupeds fully,which require much ingenious
speculationto be faintlyseen in man. The anterior,posteriorand
lateralligamentsare mainlyconcerned in preventingthe gravid
uterusfrompitchingtoo fartowardthe diaphragmof four-footed
animals,. The round ligamentsare absolutelymeaninglessin the
human female,but in lower animals serve the same purpose as
the otherligaments. Prolapsus uteri by the erect positionand
absence of support fittedto that attitude,are thus renderedfre-
quent,to the destructionof health and happiness of multitudes.
As a deductionfrommechanical laws, it could easily be imag-
6 Disadvantages of 1/ieUprighzt
Position. [January,

ined thatan animal or race of men whichhad the longest main-


tained the erectpositionwould have straighterabdomens,widely
flared pelvic brims with contracted pelvic outlets,and that the
weightof the spinal column would carrythe sacrumlower down,
and in general termswe findthis to be the case. In quadrupeds
the box-shaped pelvis,which admits of easy parturition, prevails,
but where the positionof the animal is such as to throw the
weightof the viscera into the pelvis,the brimnecessarilywidens,
these weightyorgans sink lower,and the heads of the femora,
acting as fulcra,admit of the crest of the ilium being carriedout-
ward, while the lower part of the pelvis must be contracted.
This box shape exists in the child's innominatebones, while its
protrudingabdomen resemblesthat of the gorilla. The gibbon
exhibitsthis iliac expansion throughthe sittingposture,which
developed his ischial callosities. Similarlyiliac expansion occurs
in the chimpanzee. The Megatherium had wide iliacal expan-
sion, due to its semi-erecthabits,but as its weight was mainly
supportedby the huge tail withfemorarestingin acetabula placed
farforwards,the leverage necessaryto contract the lower pelvis
is absent. ProfessorWeber, of Bonn, noted by Carl Vogt, " Vor-
lesungen uiberden Menschen,"etc.,distinguishedfourchieffori's
of the pelvis in man: the oval, round, square and cuneiform,
owned in order by Europeans, nativeAmericans,Mongols and
black races. Resting upon its own meritsas an osseous mechani-
cal proposition,it would seem that the older the race the lower
the sacrum and the greater the tendencyto approximate the
largertransversediameterof the European female. The antero-
posteriordiameterof the simianpelvis is usually greaterthan the
transverse;a similarconditionaffordsthe cuneiform, fromwhich
could be inferredthat the erect positionin the negro races had
not been so long maintainedas by the Mongols, whose pelvis as-
sumed the quadrilateral shape owing to persistence of spinal
axis weightthroughgreatertime; this pressurehas finallyculmi-
nated in pressingthe sacruLm of the European nearer the pubes,
withconsequentlateral expansion at the expense of the antero-
posterioror conjugate. From Marsupialia to Lemuride the box
shape pelvis persists,but withthe wedge shape induced in man a
remarkablephenomenonalso occurs in the increased size of the
feetalhead in disproportionto the contractionof the pelvic out-
let. While the marsupialhead is about one-sixththe size of the
i884.] Disadvantages of the Upri,,h1
Position. 7

smallestpart of the parturientbony canal, the momentwe pass


to erectanimals the greater-relativeincrease is therein the cran-
ial size withcoexisting decrease in the area of the outlet. This
altered conditionof things has caused the death of millionsof
otherwiseperfectlyhealthyand well-formedhuman mothersand
children. The paleontologist might tell us if some such phe-
nomenonof ischial approximationby natural mechanical causes
has not caused the probable extinctionof whole genera of verte-
brates. If we are to believe that forour originalsin the pangs
and labor at termwere increased,and also believe in the dispro-
portionatecontractionof the pelvicspace being an efficient cause
of the same difficultiesof parturition,
the logical inferenceis in-
evitablethat man's originalsin consisted in his gettingupon his
hind legs.
Something of the changes noticed in the angle at which the
head of the femuris set upon the shaftat different ages, is also
noticeablephylogenetically. The neck of the femurin the child
is obliquely placed, but in the adult is less so, and in advanced
age tends to forma right-anglewiththe socket. Both in the ad-
vance of age in the individual and the tendencyof an animal to
assume more and more the uprightposture,this change of angle
seems attributableto no other cause than bodily weightagainst
the femoralheads.
This subject is not withoutdirect application. Gynecologists
cause theirpatientsto assume what is called the knee chest posi-
tion,a prone one, forthe purpose of restoringuterito something
near a natural position. Brown-Sequard recommends drawing
away the blood fromthe spine in myelitis,or spinal congestion,
by placing the patienton his abdomen or side withhands and feet
somewhatdependent. The liabilityto spina-bifidais greatestin
the human infantthroughthe stressthrownupon the spine,and
the absence of deliverytroubles among lower races have refer-
ence to discrepancybetweenpelvic and cranial sizes not having
been reached by those races. The Sandwich island motherhas
difficult deliveryonly when her progenyis half white,thatbreed
being largerin the foreheadthan the nativechild.
The mechanismof the body, when fullyrecognized as mech-
anism and nothing else, and as governed by mechanical laws,
physical as well as chemical influences,will place forthcoming
physiologicalstudies upon a broader,saferfoundation,and result
8 Disadvantages of the UprightPosition. [January,

in grand generalizations. The hydro-dynamicsof animal life


would alone furnisha theme forthousandsof investigators. At
present the world goes on in its blindness,apparentlysatisfied
that everythingis all rightbecause it existsat all, ignorantof the
evil consequences of apparentlybeneficentpeculiarities,vaunting
man's erectnessand its advantages,while ignoringthe disadvan-
tages. The observationthat the lower the animal the more pro-
lific,would eventuatethe belief that the higher the animal the
more difficultiesencompass his developmentand propagation,
and the cranio-pelvicincompatibility.alone maysettlethe Malthu-
sian doctrineeffectuallyforthe higherraces of men throughtheir
extinction.

FoOT-NOTE.-This articlehas a littlehistoryof its own, the natureof whichshall


be its excuse forpublicationhere.
Some membersof the Chicago Universityfacultyasked me, last year,if I would
acceptthe chair of ComparativeAnatomyand Physiologyin that institution. I re-
plied thatI would,but mustbe allowed to teach what I consideredto be the truth,
and thatevolutionwas theonlysensiblebasis forsuch instruction.The presidentof
thefaculty,a Baptistminister, was to call upon me, I was told,upon a certainday to
arrangeconcerningsalaryand minordetails. April i8, 1882, by invitation,I lec-
turedbeforetheChicago University Club on the Disadvantagesof the UprightPosi-
tion. The subject and its treatmentproved too Darwinistic,as a foretaste of my
teachings,and thepresidentdid not call to see me. Since thenProfessorE. S. Bas-
tin,who had ably filledall the scientificchairsin the university, was found to be
teachingstricttruth,towhichno objectionwas raised,but the .efts of such teach-
ing upon the mindsof thestudentswas foundto interferewith theirdocile gulping
of all the antiquated rubbishdealt out fromother chairs. A " safe" teacherwas
wanted,one who could use the text-booksof last century'sscience. ProfessorBas-
tin resigned.
Another" university " hereaboutsmade thesubstitution of Egyptianmythol6gy for
botanyoptionalin the classical course.
These tottering schools do not seem to have asked themselveswhya halfmillion
people fail to supportthem,norto be aware that Eastern colleges are filled with
Westernyouth,who mightas well be taughtnearertheirhomes the branchesthey
can learn onlyin otherStates.
The Academyof Sciences in thiscityhas neverrecoveredfromthe disasterof ths
greatfire. The buildinghas been forfeited throughdebts; 'large and valuable collec-
tionsare being donatedto it by Eastern institutions, but remain boxed up and un-
used. The lastlectureI attendedtherewas bya reverennd gentlemanwhose thesis
was theimpossibility of the riverNile being morethan 6ooo yearsold. He based
his calculationsupon tenyears' observationsof the alluvial depositat the mouthof
a small creekin thisState. Darwinismmentionedwithintheseprecinctshas some-
thingof the effectof the red rag shown to the bull, thoughno objection has been
raised againstth.edeliveryof evolutionary lectures.
The fewscientificmen Chicago has originatedare drifting away fromthe place.
Gigantic barter occupies the time and attention of the people exclusively. It will
i o54.1 l ze Manmalian Fauna of theAustralianDesert. q

probablybe fivehundredyearsbeforeabstractscience can be supportedhere,from


presentindications.
This paper has been withheldfrompublicationthreeyears,as I earnestlydesired
to make full dissectionsof widelydiverginggenera,to fullycorroborate the general
law whichmaybe said to have been arrived at both inductivelyand deductively.
The pathologyof insanitynow claimsmyentiretime,and I mustleave to othersthe
completionof what I have begun.
There have been occasionalpassages in medicaljournalswhichboreupon thesub-
ject of the significanceof valves in the veins,but I believe thatno one has antici-
pated me in the announcement of the influencewhich gravitationexertsupon the
creationof these valves in quadrupeds,and that man's veins are valved in such
manneras to place his derivationfroma quadrupedal formbeyond dispute. The
deductionsfrommechanicalinfluencesmade in thispaper are original,and I cannot
find that theyhave been elsewherementioned. Certainlythe publication of so
sweepinga statementas thatpertainingto the valves would have attracteduniversal
attentionamong comparativeanatomistshad it been made before,and eminentgen-
tlemenin thatfieldhave confessedto me thatthematterwas new to them.
Besides its reading before the UniversityClub, April i8, 1882, the substanceof
thispaper was presentedby me beforethe Philadelphia Academyof Natural Sci-
ences last May, as noted in AMERICAN NATURALIST, September, 1883.

THE MAMMALIAN FAUNA OF THE AUSTRALIAN


DESERT.
BY EDWARD B. SANGER.

THE physical conditions of the interiorof Australia are not


such as to supporta varied fauna. The mammalsare fewin
number,and are principallythose whichare best adapted for dry
and arid regions. But fourordersof Mammalia are represented,
viz: Cheiroptera,Rodentia,Carnivoraand Marsupialia. The first
named order is representedby Scotop/ijiusmoris,the chocolate
bat. These animals are very numerous. They live in hollow
trees,and flyaround in greatnumbersabout dusk. To the natives,
who catch and eat them,theyare known by the name of " oolo-
warra.' They are generallycaughtby choppingthemout of the
hollow treesin day time. This is the only species of bat that I
observedin the interior. The Rodentia are representedby three
genera and five species,viz: Hapalotis conditor,H. mitcnielli,
H.
cerzvina,Mus vellerosus, HIydroys fulvolovaizls.
Hlacpalotuscoziditor is the Australian building rat. It builds
nests,among the sandhills near the creeks,of sticks,leaves, &c.
The nest is veryroughlyconstructed, and to a non-observingeye
looks like a mere bunch of dry sticks. Inside it is lined with
softleaves and bits of grass. The entranceis a small hole on the

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