Lovecraft in The themes of the story are tainted ancestry, knowledge that it would be best to remain unaware of, and a reality which human understanding finds intolerable. The story begins by describing the ancestors of Sir Arthur Jermyn, a British nobleman. His great-great-great-grandfather, Sir Wade Jermyn, had been an early explorer of the Congo region , whose books on a mysterious white civilization there had been ridiculed. He had been confined to an asylum in Lovecraft describes how the Jermyn family has a peculiar physical appearance that began to appear in the children of Wade Jermyn and his mysterious and reclusive wife, who Wade claimed was Portuguese.
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The White Ape. This article concludes our discussion of H. In the tale there are legends of a gray city of white apes ruled by a white god and a white ape-princess. It turns out the mummified white ape-princess is discovered and is in fact a direct descendant of Arthur Jermyn. What could explain this strange idea of a population of white apes living in the jungle of the Congo? Second, during the economic boom of the s the Belgian Congo was one of the leading producers of copper-ore on the planet.
Thus, Lovecraft may have frequently seen this county mentioned in the newspapers of the day. The dominant ecosystems of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are swamp forest, lowland forest and secondary forest. In such a dense, highly vegetated ecosystem, native prey and predators would be adapted to their surroundings. Thus, adaptive strategies such as camouflage, mimicry of vegetation and excellent eyesight in low light environments, would be important to possess for both prey and predators.
The Congo jungle. A white ape would certainly stand out in a jungle ecosystem. However, most apes live on a mainly vegetarian diet supplemented with insects particularly ants and termites. Thus, their feeding strategies do not warrant camouflage. While nothing really feeds on adult apes, young white apes would potentially be easy prey for carnivores such as the African leopard and the African golden cat.
Thus, being white in a jungle environment would be a disadvantage relative to natural selection. Typically, animals pigmented white tend to be more common in tundra or arctic environments. For example, polar bears and arctic foxes are found in the arctic but not in more temperate environments. Thus, it is unlikely that a population of white apes would be established in the Congo jungles. However, is it possible that such a population could be established based on a genetic mutation such as albinism?
The red fox is found temperate regions while the arctic fox is found in arctic regions. One well-known albino ape was Snowflake, a Western lowland gorilla who was captured in and placed Barcelona Zoo in Spain. Like many organisms with albinism, Snowflake had several medical issues. He had poor vision and would eventually develop an unusual form of skin cancer, which was at least partially due to his lack of pigments. As is common with inbreeding with most plants and animals, Snowflake received the recessive genes for pigment from both parent, resulting in a mutation of a specific gene producing the albinism.
Very unlikely. As mentioned albinism tends to produce weaker offspring that are typically selected against from an evolutionary point of view. Snowflake the albino gorilla lived until when he had to be euthanized due to being in constant pain as a result of the skin cancer.
Snowflake was estimated to be between 38 and 40 years old at the time of his death; however, in the wild more than likely Snowflake would not have survived to adulthood. In a jungle ecosystem albinism would not be a favorable trait to have and so it is very difficult to propose that the white ape civilization was built on a population of albinos. The one hypothesis that may explain a population of white apes is a population of reproducing hybrids of apes albino or otherwise and humans Europeans?
If such a population was established, they may have possibly survived in an isolated community. This would explain why a light-colored population would exist in the jungles of Congo. The white ape-human hybrid by Michael Bukowski www. Thus, it may be possible that a highly intelligent population of ape-human hybrids existing in the Congo, largely keeping to themselves in the grey city. Thus, it was already recognized that the white apes were hybrids to begin with.
If Arthur understood this, maybe he would not have killed himself due to his genetic heritage. Thank you — Fred. Fisher, Jr. Haldane and S. Wright were developing the foundation for population genetics between the s and s. Additionally, it was not until the s when Crick and Watson discovered that RNA and DNA were the keys to the transference of inherited traits from one generation to the next that a gene-based view of evolution was developed. Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics.
Now evolution can be studies and analyzed from the molecular level to populations to extremely long periods of time with the use of the fossil record. I always say the strength of the theory of evolution is the fact that whole new disciplines of sciences have been developed e. Thus, in a big-brained, ape-jawed fossil specimen was discovered in a gravel pit outside of a small U. Thus, as S. We will find that he would on occasion revise a story at the last moment in order to be as up to date on the scientific veracity of his tale as he could be.
Lovecraft by S. Joshi Examination of the Piltdown skull. Lovecraft , S. Ultimately, the Piltdown man turned out to be a hoax; probably one of the biggest scientific hoaxes of the 20 th century. While Lovecraft died before the Piltdown man was discredited as a fraud, he must have appreciated and supported the idea that an important missing link between humans and apes was found in the United Kingdom. As an anglophile, it must have pleased him that such an important component of the story of human evolution was found in England.
However, as molecular biology and genetics have revealed, the concept of race means very little relative to human evolution. Today we know that genetics and fossil evidence confirm that Homo sapiens originated from Africa sometime between , and , years ago. Yet in the early 20 th century the Piltdown man led the scientific community down the wrong path, searching the English countryside for more evidence for the missing link.
Thus, important fossil findings in South Africa were largely ignored for decades due to the Piltdown man. Indeed, a lot of time and effort was dedicated over the Piltdown man and its validity.
It is estimated at more than scientific papers have been written on the topic. However, scientific scrutiny and new technologies emerged that finally revealed the truth about the Piltdown man. Science is supposed to be a self-correcting process; however, the foundation of this process is the collection and use of valid, non-tampered data.
In the case of the Piltdown man, it was ultimately discovered that skull was human but the jawbone was that of a female orangutan. An orangutan National Geographic.
One of my presentations at the NecronomiCon in August was on H. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species—if separate species we be—for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world. If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night.
The structure and themes of these opening paragraphs are very similar. I am certainly not the first to notice this; S. Lovecraft Essentially both paragraphs cited above state that science will reveal things about the Universe or ourselves that will result in humanity going mad, falling into a new dark age or killing ourselves.
This was not based on scientific skepticism associated the theory. Instead, for the layperson questions over the validity of evolution were associated with two main issues. First, how can evolution be correct in the light of the biblical stories of creation? Second, species were thought to be distinctly separate populations, discrete categories of life. A wombat is very different than a scorpion or a pine tree, just like a hammer is very different than a screwdriver or wrench.
Humans were no longer the divine product of an omnipotent deity. Instead, we were relinquished to the role of just another by-product of the forces of natural selection.
Yes, humans had culture, technology, society and sentient understanding; however, we were produced by the same biological forces and produced sand fleas and slime molds.
To many people this upsets their religious and philosophical view of the Cosmos and our position in it. For example, recent studies indicate that the last common ancestor of all living apes and humans might have been a fruit-eating, slow-climbing primate that was similar in appearance to a baby gibbon.
A million-year-old infant skull of an extinct ape named Nyanzapithecus alesi nicknamed Alesi was found in Kenya in and is thought to be this common ancestor between apes and humans www. Choi; 10 August Indeed, the diversification or increased speciation of the hominoids gibbons, great apes and humans occurred during the Miocene Epoch approximately 23 to 5 million years ago and the last common ancestor that humans had with chimpanzees existed between 7 and 6 million years ago www.
Essentially, Lovecraft was tapping into this fear and resentment associated with the Theory of Evolution. Such fear and skepticism was quite common in the early 20 th century, particularly in the United States, which led it culminating in the initiation of the Scopes Trial on the 21 st of July The White Ape This article concludes our discussion of H.
Tag: Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
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Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
Sex is an intimate aspect of racial prejudice and stereotyping in the United States. Dixon, Jr. Lovecraft had seen the play and the film; he would discuss the Massie and Scottsboro Boys trials with correspondents like Robert E. Howard and J. Vernon Shea. While less taboo today than in the s, the taboo remains powerful.
Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn and his Family
One of my presentations at the NecronomiCon in August was on H. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species—if separate species we be—for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world. If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night. The structure and themes of these opening paragraphs are very similar. I am certainly not the first to notice this; S.