A Neanderthal Ponders Evolution


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January 20, 1960, Vol. V, No. 13

Darwin Was Half Right

By Dan Balaban

For some time now evidence has been accruing that apes did not precede man on the evolutionary tree. Modern paleontologists incline to the theory that man and ape developed contemporaneously from some common ancestor.

I’m not surprised.

I think that as time goes on more discoveries like the recent ones in Tanganyika will establish the fact that man did not descend from the apes.

But I think woman did.

I want to state right now I mean to connote absolutely no value judgments. Let us follow the scientific method dispassionately, wherever it may lead us.

One of the assumptions we’ve never questioned in considering human evolution is that man and woman stemmed from the same species. Obviously they are now, but was it always so?

The question occurred to me as I was pondering the philosophical problem: what distinguishes man from animals? My speculations boiled down to the quality of pity. Men have it, animals don’t. This was the only difference that satisfied the most rigid scientific tests at my disposal.

I would have stopped there if the thought hadn’t struck me: But women have no pity!

Such had been my experience, and when I compared my data with those of other reliable investigators the consensus was: women may love, honor, and obey, but they are absolutely merciless.

That left me face to face with the fact that there was no difference between women and animals, which could only lead to the conclusion that woman was an animal; obviously, of course, the highest form of animal. Probably a direct descendant of the great apes.

I mulled the whole thing over carefully, and this is what I believe happened:

Man and the great ape evolved gradually, but at the same time, from their common ancestor, probably a specie of late Paleocene arboreal insectivore…

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