THE FIRMAMENT OF TIME -- CHAPTER 4
HOW MAN BECAME NATURAL
Here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. -- Cardinal Newman
One instinctively feels that if anything were to graze here it would be mammoth-great sullen, shapeless hulks in the dead light. No one crosses these fields. An invisible barrier confronts one at every turn. Man literally ends here. Beyond lies something morosely violent, of which we have no knowledge, or of which it might be better said that we have a traumatic eagerness to forget. For lurking in this domain is still the nature that created us: the nature of ringing ice fields, of choked forests, of unseasonable thunders. It is the unpredictable nature of the time before the gods, before man had laid hold upon any powers with his mind. It is a season of helplessness that stirs our submerged memories and that causes us to turn back at twilight to the safe road and the lights of town. Behind us whisper the ancient, uncontrollable winds. An animal cries harshly from the dark field we refuse to enter. But enter it we must, though the effort lifts a long-vanished ruff of hair along our nape. This is man's place of birth, this region of inarticulate terror -- and this is the story of how he came through the clouds of forgetfulness to find himself in a world which has vanished.
All across Europe, from the British Isles through the North German plain to the Alps and well beyond into Russia, lie the transported boulders of an event so massive in its effects and so strange in its mechanical explanation that European man for a long time failed to digest its meaning. The same marks of that vanished episode -- the closest thing to a real cataclysmic event that the planet has ever produced -- stretch from sea to sea across temperate America. It is a curious coincidence in history that the moraines of the great continental ice fields should lie across those regions where men believed most implicitly in world deluges and the reality of incalculable violence. The coincidence is not without meaning. Western Christian man, both in America and Europe, saw -- where huge boulders lay scattered in windrows -- the signs of the passage of a giant tidal wave.
European man was surrounded by sea. He knew its force. In no other manner could he account for those isolated and far-flung monuments of the past. His religious mythology made him even more ready to accept this version of events. "It is interesting to realize," remarked Philip Lake in 1930, on the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Lyell's Principles of Geology, "how strong was the case for a great debacle until the glacial deposits of northern Europe had been recognized as glacial." Ironically enough, man had begun to peer into the dark field of his origin, in just that region which offered the greatest hints of disturbance, of mystery, of an inviolate line across which it was impossible to pass.
"If species have changed by degrees," wrote Cuvier in 1815, "we ought to find traces of this gradual modification. We should be able to discover some intermediate forms; and yet no discovery has ever been made." After reviewing the then existing knowledge of fossil elephants and other creatures nearly allied to those of the present, Cuvier says of the coming of man that it must necessarily have been posterior ... to the revolutions which covered up these bones. No argument for the antiquity of the human race in those countries can be founded upon these fossil bones or upon the rocks by which they are covered." Humanity, Cuvier asserts, "did not exist in the countries in which the fossil bones of animals have been discovered."
In Cuvier's time, and for many years thereafter, during the reign of catastrophic geology, man's thoughts about his past would falter inevitably before those boulder-strewn wastes in which the human story seemed to end abruptly. Although Cuvier's single reservation was lost in later, more enthusiastically religious volumes, it can be noted that the master anatomist did have a moment of hesitation. "I do not presume," he said, "to conclude that man did not exist at all before these epochs. He may have then inhabited some narrow region, whence he went forth to re-people the earth after the cessation of these terrible revolutions. Perhaps even the places which he then inhabited may have sunk into the abyss."
As the pre-Darwinian years began to pass, men returned again and again to the contemplation of what seemed the shallow time-depths of the human species in Europe. Industrial activities here and there resulted in the disturbance of ancient strata. A few bones and crude implements faintly suggested that beneath historic Europe, the Europe of the Romans and Greeks, might lie an unknown, shadowy world in which the white race had cracked marrow bones by campfires as primitive as those of red Indians. It was not a nice thought to intrude into civilized minds. Most people rejected it. "Man," insisted Darwin's geology teacher, Sedgwick, "has been but a few years' dweller on the earth. He was called into being within a few thousand years of the days in which we live by a provident contriving power."
If any association of the bones of Cuvier's mammoths with men was brought forward, it was suggested that the human remains and the fossils had been accidentally mixed in later times. The first paleolithic archaeologists were apt to find themselves doubted by their more conservative colleagues. No one had ever seen such crude tools before. Were they really of human manufacture? Even Darwin, in his earlier years, had been dubious. To make things worse, workmen faked finds to gain shillings or francs from overeager investigators. Thus fraud confused the issue.
But the boulders still stretched in mysterious lines across Europe. Hutton's inspired guess about ice action had long since been forgotten. Even his intellectual descendant, Charles Lyell, speculated that the stones were transported by icebergs in greater seas. As Sir James Geikie, the great Scotch geologist, was later to observe, "Even a cautious thinker like Lyell saw less difficulty in sinking the whole of Central Europe under the sea and covering the waters with floating icebergs, than in conceiving that the Swiss glaciers were once large enough to reach to the Jura. Men shut their eyes to the meaning of the unquestionable fact that, while there was absolutely no evidence for a marine submergence, the former track of the glaciers could be followed mile after mile ..." The episode is again an apt illustration of how difficult it is even for trained scientists to break out of a prevailing mode of thought.
In 1837, however, two remarkable discoveries occurred. They did not change the intellectual climate of the age overnight. Nevertheless they resulted, eventually, in a drastic revision of the ruling conception of human antiquity and of the nature of those boulder-strewn fields whose wastes had long tantalized and intimidated the inquiring human spirit.
The first of these events was the discovery of the fossil remains of great apes and other primates in the Tertiary beds of northern India. It had long been assumed that man's nearest anatomical relatives were totally contemporaneous with himself, and were, in catastrophist terms, part of the living creation which included man.
In 1830, Hugh Falconer, a young Scotch doctor with a deep interest in natural history, had gone out to India as an assistant surgeon in the service of the East India Company. He rapidly acquired a reputation as a scientist and in 1832 became superintendent of the Botanic Gardens at Suharunpoor, which lies about twenty-five miles from the Siwalik hills, an eroded Tertiary outlyer of the Himalayas. Here Falconer, with the assistance of many friends, began the paleontological explorations which were to lead to the discovery of one of the finest Tertiary fossil beds in the world. Falconer, with his friend Captain Proby Cautley, established the age of the deposits and brought to light a subtropical mammalian fauna which excelled in richness any other Cenozoic fossil beds then known.
Although Cautley and Falconer made the first discovery of a fossil primate from these beds, they deferred publication because of the fragmentary nature of their discovery. In the meantime, their friends W. E. Baker and H. M. Durand, of the army engineers, located and reported upon a much larger species, equivalent in size to the orang. The specimen, they indicated, revealed "the existence of a gigantic species of quadrumanous animal contemporaneously with the Pachydermata of the sub-Himalayas and thus supplies ... proof of the existence, in a fossil state, of the type of organization most nearly resembling that of man."
Here at last was more than a new fossil for the taxonomist. Here, in Falconer's words, was a mixture of the old and new together, "affording another illustration of constancy in the order of nature, of an identity of condition in the earth with what it exhibits now." Most scientists were not yet evolutionists, but the barrier to the past which they had encountered in Europe had been most dramatically pierced on the far-off flanks of the Himalayas. There "was clear evidence, physical and organic," Falconer reminisced later, "that the present order of things had set in from a very remote period in India. Every condition was suited to the requirements of man. The wide spread of the plains of India showed no signs of the unstratified superficial Gravels, Sands and Clays, which for a long time were confidently adduced as evidence that a great Diluvial wave had suddenly passed over Europe and other continents, overwhelming terrestrial life."
It was not in Europe, nor in North America, that the earliest relics of the human race were to be sought. Man in those regions, argued Falconer, was a creature of yesterday. It was in the great alluvial valleys of the tropics and subtropics that his earlier history would be found.
The second discovery which was drastically to alter our notions of the environment of prehistoric man was made, or rather reintroduced into science, in the same year that Falconer and his friends were busying themselves with the Siwalik primates. Louis Agassiz, whose remarkable researches upon the fossil fishes of Europe had brought him international acclaim, turned, at the age of thirty-three, to a study of glaciation. Before his time, save for the premonitory glimpses of a few men, including Hutton, who did not pursue the problem, the European and American ice erratics were accounted for in one of two ways: as the product of turbulent flood waters of oceanic proportions, or as the result of transportal by floating ice drifting over submerged areas.
Agassiz studied the effects of ice action in modern glaciers and observed the marks of scouring and engraving which no water action could duplicate. He was the first to recognize the enormous extent of the continental ice fields in both Europe and America. He grasped equally well the fact that such a widespread phenomenon must involve causes at work throughout the whole northern hemisphere.
The British, in particular, were loath to give up the conception of sea-borne ice, but in the end Agassiz carried the day and became, in the process, the founder of glacial geology. Flood-swept Europe became ice-locked Europe, though, as we have intimated, it was growing apparent that man -- at least late glacial man -- had managed to subsist under rude conditions in caves and rock shelters south of the ice desert. There had been no diluvial wave to carry him off.
The crude tools associated with the bones of extinct animals, which had been so long scorned, were read. There actually was a way through the doorway of the past. Paradoxically, Agassiz lived on to oppose Darwin and reiterate his belief in world-wide extinctions. Falconer, too, though more temperate and a warm friend of Darwin's, had reservations about the reality of evolution.
Nevertheless, the two men had opened new vistas. We have already examined the mechanism which Darwin had provided as a natural explanation of organic change. We will now want to observe the manner in which the Darwinian circle applied this conception to human evolution. The creation of natural man encountered unexpected obstacles, not all of which were provided by resentful theologians. Darwin and his followers, carrying over concepts which had proved useful in the other realms of biology, were not always judicious in their examination of man. Their biological triumph had been so complete, however, that they, in turn, had created an intellectual climate which accepted their views unquestioningly.
We have already had occasion to observe that to the catastrophist school of thought man was not the incidental product of variation in a ground-dwelling ape, but rather a creature foreordained and foreseen from the beginning of geologic time. When evolution began to be taken seriously in England, and it seemed inevitable that it would be extended to man, the latter's peculiarly human characteristics began to be scrutinized with care. The biologist sought to "animalize" man, even if he had to humanize the animal world in order to demonstrate a genetic connection.
The advocate of man's divinity, on the other hand, sought to identify human traits of which there was no trace in the surrounding organic world and thus to confront the Darwinists with a break, or discontinuity, in their system. This was apt to be particularly nettling, because Darwin had placed such emphasis upon slow, almost invisible change over vast time periods. It needs scarcely to be said that both sides were forced to argue almost entirely on theoretical grounds, for although human antiquity had been greatly extended after the full understanding of the ice age, only one extinct specimen of man had been doubtfully recognized, while none of the really subhuman links in the phylogeny of man were yet known. Human evolution, therefore, was for long debated upon largely abstract grounds. Indeed, the very lack of human fossils was occasionally pointed out as an argument against attaching man to the rest of the organic world. To many thinkers he remained a divine interposition in the universe.
I have said that the biologist of that day, lacking enough fossils to substantiate his points, sought to thrust living men and living animals closer together than the facts sometimes warranted. This was not a conscious attempt at deception, but again was the product of a particular intellectual climate. There was, for example, a tendency to see human evolution in terms of the eighteenth-century scale of nature as based on living forms. Thus one could begin with one of the existing great apes, the gorilla, orang or chimpanzee, as representing the earliest "human" stage, and from this pass to the existing human races, which were arranged in a vertical series with white Victorian man representing the summit of evolutionary ascent.
The fact that the existing apes are creatures contemporaneous with ourselves, who have evolved down another evolutionary pathway which is also highly specialized, was lost from sight. Even the contemporary races of man came to be regarded as living fossils. Today this whole approach to the human problem has been abandoned, but it was peculiarly attractive to many nineteenth-century thinkers. The past, so to speak, had been quietly transported into the present, and evolutionary roles -- not always attractive ones -- assigned to living actors without their consent. As a matter of fact, a curious twofold interpretation of the human psyche has descended from the Darwinian epoch into modern science. Darwin himself seems to have hesitated in his book, The Descent of Man, between a conception of man the warrior -- the product of ruthless, competitive forces -- and man the weak-bodied, unarmed primate who, until his intellectual powers were strengthened, might not have been able to survive on the ground in competition with the great carnivores.
Today it is frequently recalled, because of fossil discoveries made there in the last decade, that Darwin once suggested Africa as the possible original home of man. What is less often remembered is the fact that Darwin, in the same volume, suggested that man, even if far more helpless and defenseless than any existing savages, would not have been exposed to any special danger had he inhabited some warm continent or large island such as Australia, New Guinea or Borneo. The creation of a sort of Garden of Eden for early man seems to have been forced upon Darwin by the criticism of the Duke of Argyll, who pointed out that physically man is one of the most helpless creatures in the world.
The Duke raised the question, in the light of Darwin's and Huxley's emphasis on the struggle for existence, how, by their own philosophy, the human body could have diverged in the direction of greater helplessness in the early phase of its evolution. This criticism forced upon Darwin the wary evasion of his island Eden. "We do not know," he admitted, "whether man is descended from some small species, like the chimpanzee, or from one as powerful as the gorilla. Therefore we cannot say whether man has become larger and stronger or smaller and weaker than his ancestors." He confessed, however, that an animal as powerful as the gorilla might not have become social.
In spite of this hesitation as to the precise nature of early man, it is evident that the existing great apes played a large part in Darwinian thinking and that some gorilloid characters came to be projected upon the first Neanderthal fossils. Such characters seemed appropriate in the light of the Darwinian interpretation of the struggle for existence.
Just a little over a hundred years ago two German quarrymen were digging in a small cave along the gorge of the Neander near Dusseldorf, Germany. In a dark interior chamber which was filled to a depth of four or five feet by earth which had been swept into the cave at some time in the long past, the workmen stumbled upon some strange bones. As the deposit of clay and stones was removed, the men came first upon a skull lying near the entrance of the grotto. Later, stretched along the floor of the cave, other skeletal remains appeared. With no idea that they had unearthed a human skeleton destined to become the scientific sensation of its time, these rough and unskilled quarrymen picked up some of the larger bones and tossed them out with the debris of their excavation.
Weeks later, what could be found of the broken and dispersed skeleton was placed in the hands of a local physician, Dr. Fuhlrott of Elberfeld. This individual, an enlightened collector and one of those early scientific pioneers of whom the medical profession affords so many examples, immediately dispatched the bones to a skilled anatomist, Professor Hermann Schaafhausen of Bonn University. Thus, three years before Charles Darwin gave to the world his theory of evolution, science found placed in its hands an important clue to the prehistoric past of the human race.
Today we know that this low-browed, thick-walled skull vault, which its describer promptly characterized as "due to a natural conformation hitherto not known to exist even in the most barbarous races," belongs to an era far more remote than even Schaafhausen dreamed. This skull is man's first relic of the ice age -- of a long-vanished world where men and women had endured glacial cold and had struggled for existence armed only with crude spears and sharpened flints.
When this dead man had been interred in the little cave by the gorge of the Neander, all the enormous triumphs of humanity, the piled wealth of our great cities, still lay tens of thousands of years in the future. On the glacial uplands of Europe, winds had howled and dust had swirled endlessly over naked grasslands. Only in sheltered gullies and occasional caves flickered the fires of the sparse human population, which lived by hunting mammoth through the phantom streets of future Paris and Berlin.
By Darwinian standards, these creatures were an odd and unimagined link with the past. Their skulls, in spite of jutting brow ridges and massive chinless faces, had brains as large as or larger than our own. Huxley, the swashbuckling evolutionist, hesitated over their meaning with the reluctance of a choirboy. Darwin saw them as armed with gorilloid fangs, and an artist pictured them with the grasping feet of apes. A distinguished anatomist spoke of them as "the quintessence of brute-benightedness."
These were the men who had scouted for game within a few miles of that great blue barrier which had once lain like a sea over all of northern Europe. These were the men whose skin and eye color we do not know, but who fought a battle for naked survival against cold and the prowling beasts thrust southward by the long inexorable advance of the continental ice field. Generation by generation life fell back before it. Ice grumbled across the North German plain; in the Alps the glaciers of the high altitudes moved downward, coalesced and blocked Italy away from the north. The vast northern sheet reduced the corridor between eastern Europe and the west to a narrow and freezing channel between two great ice masses.
Here then was the "ice island." On the south lay the barrier of the Mediterranean Sea; on the north was a blue-white silence which could be matched today only in the Antarctic; a place of winter unbroken save by the crack of ice and the fall of avalanches. Almost where the borders of the Iron Curtain run today, ran the ice curtain. Below it men moved, tiny and overawed, surrounded and cut off from Asia and the world farther east. And still the ice came on, and still, warmed by the Atlantic waters and the Mediterranean, the little groups of naked hunters clung to life.
Season followed season. Men grubbed for roots and nuts and berries in the short, cool summers, and followed remorselessly upon the trail of animals heavy with young. The spear and cutting flints were their only weapons; the bow was as far away in the future as gunpowder from the bow. All killing was personal. If a thrust failed, men stood to the charge of big game with nothing but a wooden spear and a flint knife. In the camps were children to be fed -- big-browed children, the sides of whose foreheads were beginning to roof out with the heavy bone of their strange fathers.
Somewhere, perhaps around the forty-thousand-year mark, the ice hesitated. A little more and the men of West Europe might have vanished. They huddled in the caves of France and along the warm Mediterranean shore, little bands composed of a few score people, tough and enduring. Illiterate, they had no knowledge of any other world. This was their life, the sound of ice in the mountains, the endless search for game.
Thousands of years had passed while the ice ground southward, thousands more while the great sheet thrust out exploring tongues into the western valleys, paused, and slowly, very slowly, began a slight retreat. All this time western man in scant numbers had lived alone and without contact. We have information which suggests that outside of Europe a branch of the old big-browed strain was modifying in the direction of today's human type. Here in West Europe, however, the caves of this period yield up only the massive-muzzled creature who seems, in the eyes of modern science, to be in some degree the creation of the ice.
We know two things. We know that wherever small populations of any type of living thing are marooned as Neanderthal man was marooned, a process of genetic drift sets in. That is, mutations, little changes in the germ plasm, may run with comparative quickness over a whole group. If the new physical characters promote survival, so much the better. In any case, little groups of primitive men are always intimately related. The novelist Thomas Hardy expressed this in his poem about family likeness "leaping from place to place over oblivion." Even today, in a few regions in the mountain South, one can observe a physical likeness which is the product of local isolation over several generations. The people are interrelated; a local type has arisen and is revealed in a vague physical similarity. In West Europe such isolation continued for thousands of years. In addition, it may well be that something in that desperate struggle with the ice enhanced the value of these primitive characters.
Now the classic western Neanderthal type has been carefully analyzed. Such notions as those of the Darwinian years that our cave men had threatening gorilloid fangs or clasping feet have long since been abandoned. Nevertheless, these people who were living in the earlier part of the last ice advance in caves in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium are distinctly different from ourselves. Their skulls, which housed a brain in some instances larger than the modern average, were low, long and broad. Where the modern skull vault is high, Neanderthal man, by contrast, had a low but very wide skull. The eye orbits were large and overhung by a pronounced bar of bone suggestive of that which can be observed in a modern chimpanzee or gorilla. The face is massive, the jaw lacking the pointed chin of today.
The chest was barrel-like and the stature short -- just slightly over five feet. The forearm was short and powerful, as was the lower leg. The overall picture is that of a very powerful but economically built man -- a creature selected for survival under conditions demanding great hardihood and physical strength sustained often on a minimum of food.
Nevertheless, the Neanderthal people reveal no such quick descent to beastdom as the nineteenth-century writers presumed with their lurid pictures of a creature "in the highest degree hideous and ferocious." Indeed, we have clear evidence that they buried their dead with offerings. There is evidence also that these men were capable of altruistic care of adults. The big-brained primitives who seem to characterize the upper reaches of the ice age in the end forced scholars to reassess the time involved in the human transformation and to extend it. It has become more and more evident with the passing years that the place of the human emergence, whether it be Darwin's fanged gorilla of unsocial nature or his Eden-like creature of comparative helplessness, lies much farther back in the time scale than the nineteenth century realized. The nature of the original animal-man is still a matter of some debate.
The likelihood of man's origin on some idyllic Bornean island has been abandoned long since. However man managed his transformation, it was achieved amidst the great mammals of the Old World land mass, and most probably in Africa. Here the discoveries of the last few decades have revealed small-bodied, upright-walking man-ape's whose brains appear little, if at all, larger than those of the existing great apes. Whether they could speak is not known, but it now appears that they were capable of at least some crude tool-making capacities.
As might be expected, these bipedal apes are quite different from our arboreal cousins, the great apes of today. Their teeth are heavy-molared, but they lack completely the huge canine teeth with which the nineteenth century, using gorilla models, endowed our ancestors. In spite of a powerful jaw musculature the creatures are light-bodied and apparently pygmoid, compared with modern man.
In spite, also, of exaggerated guesses when the first massive jaws were recovered, the several forms of these creatures in no case indicate man's descent from a giant primate -- quite the reverse, in fact. Instead, we seem to be confronted with a short-faced, big-jawed ape of quite moderate body dimensions and a brain qualitatively, if not quantitatively, superior to that of any existing anthropoid.
It is unlikely that all of the several species known became men. Some, indeed, are late enough in time that primitive men were probably already in existence. Surveyed as a whole, however, they suggest an early half-human or near-human level, revealing clearly that the creature who became man was a ground-dwelling, well-adapted ape long before his skull and brain underwent their final transformation.
Interestingly, the hesitation exhibited by Darwin over the psychical nature of the human forerunner continues into these remote time depths of the lower ice age. Raymond Dart, one of the pioneer discoverers of these ape-men, regards them as successful carnivores and killers of big game. He sees them as brutal and aggressive primates, capable of killing their own offspring, and carrying in their genetic structure much of the sadism and cruelty still manifested by modern man. They are club swingers par excellence, already ably balanced on their two feet, and the terror of everything around them.
One cannot help but feel, however, that Dart tends to minimize the social nature which even early man must have had to survive and care for young who needed ever more time for adaptation to group life. He paints a picture too starkly overshadowed by struggle to be quite believable. It would seem that into his paleontological studies has crept a touch of disillusionment and distaste which has been projected backward upon that wild era in which the human predicament began. This judgment is, of course, a subjective one. It reveals that the hesitations of Darwin's day, in spite of increased knowledge, follow man back into the past. Perhaps it is a matter of temperament on the part of the observer. Perhaps man has always been both saint and sinner -- even in his raw beginnings.
As we press farther back in time, however, back until the long, desolate years of the fourth ice lie somewhere far in the remote future, we come upon something almost unbelievable. We come upon man, near-man, "the bridge to man," estimated as some two million years removed from us, in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanganyika. He is a step beyond Dart's man-apes, according to Dr. L. S. B. Leakey, his discoverer. Like them, he is small, huge-jawed, with a sagittal crest like that of a gorilla, but a true shaper of tools. Unlike Dart, Leakey describes his specimen as a semivegetarian eater of nuts, small rodents and lizards. Perhaps massive jaws and molar teeth, just as in the case of the living gorilla, were developed for other food than flesh.
The thing which appears the strangest of any news to come down from that far epoch, however, is the report from London that the youthful apeman's body had apparently been carefully protected from scavenging hyenas until rising lake waters buried him among his tools.
Three years ago, in a symposium on the one hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Neanderthal man, I made these remarks: "When we consider this creature of 'brute benightedness' and 'gorilloid ferocity,' as most of those who peered into that dark skull vault chose to interpret what they saw there, let us remember what was finally revealed at the little French cave near La Chapelle-aux-Saints in 1908. Here, across millennia of time, we can observe a very moving spectacle. For these men whose brains were locked in a skull foreshadowing the ape, these men whom scientists had contended to possess no thoughts beyond those of the brute, had laid down their dead in grief.
"Massive flint-hardened hands had shaped a sepulcher and placed flat stones to guard the dead man's head. A haunch of meat had been left to aid the dead man's journey. Worked flints, a little treasure of the human dawn, had been poured lovingly into the grave. And down the untold centuries the message had come without words: 'We too were human, we too suffered, we too believed that the grave is not the end. We too, whose faces affright you now, knew human agony and human love.'
"It is important to consider," I said then, "that across fifty thousand years nothing has changed or altered in that act. It is the human gesture by which we know a man, though he looks out upon us under a brow reminiscent of the ape."
If the London story is correct, an aspect of that act has now been made distant from us by almost a million years. The creature who made it could only be identified by specialists as human. He is far more distant from Neanderthal man than the latter is from us.
Man, bone by bone, flint by flint, has been traced backward into the night of time more successfully than even Darwin dreamed. He has been traced to a creature with an almost gorilloid head on the light, fast body of a still completely upright, plains-dwelling creature. In the end he partakes both of Darwinian toughness, resilience, and something else, a humanity -- if this story is true -- that runs well nigh as deep as time itself.
Man has, in scientific terms, become natural, but the nature of his "naturalness" escapes him. Perhaps his human freedom has left him the difficult choice of determining what it is in his nature to be. Perhaps the two sides of the dark question Darwin speculated upon were only an evolutionary version of man's ancient warfare with himself -- a drama as great in its hidden fashion as the story of the Garden and the Fall.