Punch,  43 (1862), 209.

Our Ancestry

Natural Selection


Letter, Spoof; Illustration

Relevant illustrations:



[Trident], pseud.  [Henry R Howard] *


Evolution, Descent, Darwinism, Physiology, Race, Language

    The writer of the letter begins by telling Mr Punch that man 'is radically and really a fish', noting Charles R Darwin's claim in the Origin of Species that 'all vertebrate animals having true lungs' have descended from an 'ancient prototype [...] furnished with a float-apparatus or swim-bladder'. Suggests that Darwin could have strengthened his argument by appeal to Trench 1851 and the fact that humans are often described as being 'a queer fish', 'pale about the gills', or being 'like a fish out of water'. Thinks that anybody who denies man's descent from fishes is 'a very dull man', and is not considering the existence of the 'talking fish'. Ends by praising Punch's recent article (, PU1/43/16/7) showing the 'missing link' between 'man and the Gorilla'. The author signs his article 'Struggle for Life Place'. The illustration, captioned 'A Real Native', shows the face of a negro carved into a rock on a beach.

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