And it was just seventy generations after this new tribe had taken origin from the highest type of lemur ancestor that the next epoch-making development occurred—the sudden differentiation of the ancestors of the next vital step in the evolution of human beings on Urantia. The less numerous but more powerful and intelligent offshoot of the species had survived at the expense of their ancestors.
Compared with their ancestors, they were really handsome little creatures.
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They had little hair on their bodies, but this was no disability as they lived in a warm and equable climate. They were in every way larger than their parents, having longer legs and shorter arms. They had almost perfectly opposable thumbs, just about as well adapted for diversified work as the present human thumb. They walked upright, having feet almost as well suited for walking as those of the later human races. All of the great and vicious animals of former times had perished.
Therefore did these mid-mammals wax valiant and subdue the whole of their corner of creation. Even their potential life span was longer, being about twenty-five years. A number of rudimentary human traits appeared in this new species. In addition to the innate propensities exhibited by their ancestors, these mid-mammals were capable of showing disgust in certain repulsive situations.
They further possessed a well-defined hoarding instinct; they would hide food for subsequent use and were greatly given to the collection of smooth round pebbles and certain types of round stones suitable for defensive and offensive ammunition. The twins early displayed superior intelligence and were soon recognized as the heads of the whole tribe of dawn mammals, really instituting a primitive form of social organization and a crude economic division of labor. This brother and sister mated and soon enjoyed the society of twenty-one children much like themselves, all more than four feet tall and in every way superior to the ancestral species.
This new group formed the nucleus of the mid-mammals. They largely forsook the trees as places of abode, living on the ground during the day and sleeping in the treetops at night. These struggles continued until only one group of less than one hundred individuals was left alive.
But peace once more prevailed, and this lone surviving tribe built anew its treetop bedrooms and once again resumed a normal and semipeaceful existence. Their ancestors had always learned to walk on their hind legs, but these Primates twins stood erect from the beginning. They attained a height of over five feet, and their heads grew larger in comparison with others among the tribe. While early learning to communicate with each other by means of signs and sounds, they were never able to make their people understand these new symbols.
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And these new creatures are very properly denominated Primates since they were the direct and immediate animal ancestors of the human family itself. The skeletal proportions of this new species were very similar to those of the primitive human races. The human type of hand and foot had fully developed, and these creatures could walk and even run as well as any of their later-day human descendants. They largely abandoned tree life, though continuing to resort to the treetops as a safety measure at night, for like their earlier ancestors, they were greatly subject to fear.
The increased use of their hands did much to develop inherent brain power, but they did not yet possess minds that could really be called human. They were, indeed, splendid and superior animals, reaching maturity at about ten years of age and having a natural life span of about forty years. That is, they might have lived that long had they died natural deaths, but in those early days very few animals ever died a natural death; the struggle for existence was altogether too intense.
The Primates tribes were the last vital link in the evolution of man, but in less than five thousand years not a single individual of these extraordinary tribes was left.
The Philippine islands, by Fred W. Atkinson.
Slightly to the west of India, on land now under water and among the offspring of Asiatic migrants of the older North American lemur types, the dawn mammals suddenly appeared. These small animals walked mostly on their hind legs, and they possessed large brains in proportion to their size and in comparison with the brains of other animals. In the seventieth generation of this order of life a new and higher group of animals suddenly differentiated.
These new mid-mammals—almost twice the size and height of their ancestors and possessing proportionately increased brain power—had only well established themselves when the Primates, the third vital mutation, suddenly appeared. At this same time, a retrograde development within the mid-mammal stock gave origin to the simian ancestry; and from that day to this the human branch has gone forward by progressive evolution, while the simian tribes have remained stationary or have actually retrogressed.
Had the ancestral frog of all humanity jumped two inches less on a certain occasion, the whole course of evolution would have been markedly changed. The immediate lemurlike mother of the dawn-mammal species escaped death no less than five times by mere hairbreadth margins before she gave birth to the father of the new and higher mammalian order. But the closest call of all was when lightning struck the tree in which the prospective mother of the Primates twins was sleeping. Both of these mid-mammal parents were severely shocked and badly burned; three of their seven children were killed by this bolt from the skies.
These evolving animals were almost superstitious. This couple whose treetop home had been struck were really the leaders of the more progressive group of the midmammal species; and following their example, more than half the tribe, embracing the more intelligent families, moved about two miles away from this locality and began the construction of new treetop abodes and new ground shelters—their transient retreats in time of sudden danger.
These twins, one male and one female, were indifferent to conquest; they were concerned only with obtaining food and, since they would not eat flesh, soon lost all interest in seeking prey. These retarded twins became the founders of the modern simian tribes. Their descendants sought the warmer southern regions with their mild climates and an abundance of tropical fruits, where they have continued much as of that day except for those branches which mated with the earlier types of gibbons and apes and have greatly deteriorated in consequence.
The first human beings appeared during the third glacier. Their sole survivors are the Eskimos.
A mutation within the stock of the progressing Primates suddenly produced two primitive human beings, the actual ancestors of mankind. And the sole survivors of these Urantia aborigines, the Eskimos, even now prefer to dwell in frigid northern climes. They possessed perfect human thumbs, as had many of their ancestors, while they had just as perfect feet as the present-day human races.
They were walkers and runners, not climbers; the grasping function of the big toe was absent, completely absent. When danger drove them to the treetops, they climbed just like the humans of today would. They would climb up the trunk of a tree like a bear and not as would a chimpanzee or a gorilla, swinging up by the branches.
They experienced admiration for both objects and other beings and exhibited considerable vanity. But the most remarkable advance in emotional development was the sudden appearance of a new group of really human feelings, the worshipful group, embracing awe, reverence, humility, and even a primitive form of gratitude. Fear, joined with ignorance of natural phenomena, is about to give birth to primitive religion. They were mildly cognizant of pity, shame, and reproach and were acutely conscious of love, hate, and revenge, being also susceptible to marked feelings of jealousy.
They were so curious and adventurous that they nearly lost their lives on numerous occasions before they were eight years old.
As it was, they were rather well scarred up by the time they were twelve. But try as hard as they might, they were able to teach only a few of their new signs and symbols to their parents. Every celestial intelligence stationed on Urantia, including myself, was present as an observer of the transactions of this noontide tryst. On this eventful day they arrived at an understanding to live with and for each other, and this was the first of a series of such agreements which finally culminated in the decision to flee from their inferior animal associates and to journey northward, little knowing that they were thus to found the human race.
Migration of the twins northward with the guidance of Life Carriers to escape biologic degradation by admixture with their inferior relatives. But within the permissible limits of planetary function, we, the Life Carriers, together with our associates, all conspired to lead the human twins northward and far from their hairy and partially tree-dwelling people.
And so, by reason of their own intelligent choice, the twins did migrate , and because of our supervision they migrated northward to a secluded region where they escaped the possibility of biologic degradation through admixture with their inferior relatives of the Primates tribes.
While she did not possess their intelligence, she did have a worthy mammalian affection of a high order for her offspring, and she fearlessly gave her life in the attempt to save the wonderful pair. Nor was her sacrifice in vain, for she held off the enemy until the father arrived with reinforcements and put the invaders to rout. He refused to eat, even when food was brought to him by his other children.
His brilliant offspring having been lost, life did not seem worth living among his ordinary fellows; so he wandered off into the forest, was set upon by hostile gibbons and beaten to death. With the differentiation of higher types, the spirit of understanding was able to endow such creatures with the gift of spontaneous association of ideas. Later on we observed the spirit of courage in operation; evolving animals really developed a crude form of protective self-consciousness.
Subsequent to the appearance of the mammalian groups, we beheld the spirit of knowledge manifesting itself in increased measure. And the evolution of the higher mammals brought the function of the spirit of counsel , with the resulting growth of the herd instinct and the beginnings of primitive social development. But never had the remaining two, the highest mind ministers, been able to function in the Urantia type of evolutionary mind.
We knew that something closely skin to human mind was approaching culmination; and when, about a year later, they finally resolved, as a result of meditative thought and purposeful decision, to flee from home and journey north, then did the spirit of wisdom begin to function on Urantia and in these two now recognized human minds.
We were alive with expectation; we realized that the long-waited-for hour was approaching; we knew we were upon the threshold of the realization of our protracted effort to evolve will creatures on Urantia. At noon, the day after the runaway of the twins, there occurred the initial test flash of the universe circuit signals at the planetary reception-focus of Urantia.
We were, of course, all astir with the realization that a great event was impending; but since this world was a life-experiment station, we had not the slightest idea of just how we would be apprised of the recognition of intelligent life on the planet. But we were not long in suspense. On the third day after the elopement of the twins, and before the Life Carrier corps departed, there arrived the Nebadon archangel of initial planetary circuit establishment.
And this first message, dictated by the chief of the archangel corps, said:. We transmit assurance of great pleasure on Salvington, Edentia, and Jerusem in honor of the registration on the headquarters of Nebadon of the signal of the existence on Urantia of mind of will dignity. The purposeful decision of the twins to flee northward and segregate their offspring from their inferior ancestors has been noted.
This is the first decision of mind—the human type of mind—on Urantia and automatically establishes the circuit of communication over which this initial message of acknowledgment is transmitting. Instructions to the Life Carriers on Urantia concerning their future relation to the human race.