The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex HTML version

Secondary Sexual Characters Of Man
Differences between man and woman--Causes of such differences and of certain
characters common to both sexes--Law of battle--Differences in mental powers, and
voice--On the influence of beauty in determining the marriages of mankind--Attention
paid by savages to ornaments--Their ideas of beauty in woman--The tendency to
exaggerate each natural peculiarity.
With mankind the differences between the sexes are greater than in most of the
Quadrumana, but not so great as in some, for instance, the mandrill. Man on an average is
considerably taller, heavier, and stronger than woman, with squarer shoulders and more
plainly-pronounced muscles. Owing to the relation which exists between muscular
development and the projection of the brows (1. Schaaffhausen, translation in
'Anthropological Review,' Oct. 1868, pp. 419, 420, 427.), the superciliary ridge is
generally more marked in man than in woman. His body, and especially his face, is more
hairy, and his voice has a different and more powerful tone. In certain races the women
are said to differ slightly in tint from the men. For instance, Schweinfurth, in speaking of
a negress belonging to the Monbuttoos, who inhabit the interior of Africa a few degrees
north of the equator, says, "Like all her race, she had a skin several shades lighter than
her husband's, being something of the colour of half-roasted coffee." (2. 'The Heart of
Africa,' English transl. 1873, vol i. p. 544.) As the women labour in the fields and are
quite unclothed, it is not likely that they differ in colour from the men owing to less
exposure to the weather. European women are perhaps the brighter coloured of the two
sexes, as may be seen when both have been equally exposed.
Man is more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman, and has a more
inventive genius. His brain is absolutely larger, but whether or not proportionately to his
larger body, has not, I believe, been fully ascertained. In woman the face is rounder; the
jaws and the base of the skull smaller; the outlines of the body rounder, in parts more
prominent; and her pelvis is broader than in man (3. Ecker, translation, in
'Anthropological Review,' Oct. 1868, pp. 351-356. The comparison of the form of the
skull in men and women has been followed out with much care by Welcker.); but this
latter character may perhaps be considered rather as a primary than a secondary sexual
character. She comes to maturity at an earlier age than man.
As with animals of all classes, so with man, the distinctive characters of the male sex are
not fully developed until he is nearly mature; and if emasculated they never appear. The
beard, for instance, is a secondary sexual character, and male children are beardless,
though at an early age they have abundant hair on the head. It is probably due to the
rather late appearance in life of the successive variations whereby man has acquired his
masculine characters, that they are transmitted to the male sex alone. Male and female
children resemble each other closely, like the young of so many other animals in which
the adult sexes differ widely; they likewise resemble the mature female much more
closely than the mature male. The female, however, ultimately assumes certain distinctive
characters, and in the formation of her skull, is said to be intermediate between the child
and the man. (4. Ecker and Welcker, ibid. pp. 352, 355; Vogt, 'Lectures on Man,' Eng.
translat. p. 81.) Again, as the young of closely allied though distinct species do not differ
nearly so much from each other as do the adults, so it is with the children of the different
races of man. Some have even maintained that race-differences cannot be detected in the