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The Simian Basis of Human Mechanics or Ape to Engineer*

Abstract

My subject should not be construed by the refined as a malicious innuendo, nor by the vulgar(unrepresented here, of course) as a ‘ dirty dig ’. The transition from ape to engineer is from the ridiculous to the sublime-or, at any rate, from a little short of one to a little short of the other. This handsome statement must serve as my panegyric on mechanical science. As an anthropologist, I am perturbed by the fact that human invention has outstripped man's organic development, and his control of nature his control of himself. So I propose to discuss the organic basis of mechanical achievement and the cause of man's physical and social lag in relation to his material progress.

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1 The Mentality of Apes, by Köhler , pp. 139172, N.Y., 1925.

2 The Great Apes, by Yerkes Robert M. and Yerkes Ada W., p. 513, New Haven, 1929.

* The Tenth Henry Robinson Towne Lecture. Delivered at the Annual Meeting, New York, N.Y., Dec. 6–10, 1937, of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Reprinted from Mechanical Engineering (New York City) for January, 1938, by the kind permission of the Editor and of Professor Hooton.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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