Punch,  43 (1862), 165.

The Missing Link



Essay, Drollery


Evolution, Zoology, Animal Development, Language, Human Development, Race, Cultural Geography, Politics, War, Religious Authority, Degeneration

    Insists that the 'preferable side' in the 'Gorilla controversy' is that of 'the philosophers who maintain themselves descendants of a Gorilla' because it 'tends to expand the sphere of their affections'. Attempts to supply the 'deficiency' of the 'Gorilla theory', which is that 'no known fact' provides its 'foundation'. Observes that the 'gulf [...] between the Gorilla and the Negro' can be bridged by 'a tribe of Irish savages', 'the lowest species of Irish Yahoo' which 'talks a sort of gibberish' and is 'a climbing animal' that ascends ladders 'with a hod of bricks'. Details more of the apparently savage habits of this species, including its tendency to attack 'civilised human beings that have provoked its fury', notably those people who recently supported Giuseppe Garibaldi. Describes its 'abject and truculent devotion' to Pope Pius IX and its brutal ways of attacking the 'friends of the Italian monarchy'. Suggests that the ability of the Irish Yahoo to 'utter articulate sounds' shows that it is a 'development, and not [...] a degeneration of the Gorilla'. Concludes that the discovery of this 'Missing Link' will make readers conceive of their fellow creatures 'in a truly liberal and catholic spirit'.

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