ABSTRACT

In The Descent of Man, Darwin began dismantling the hierarchical supremacy of civilized European man over the animal kingdom, but his theories also opened the way for his contemporary Edward Burnett Tylor, the first cultural anthropologist, to find cultural, religious, and even psychological similarities between "savages" and "civilised" humanity. No longer could humanity's "mental powers" be construed as godlike, for in the Descent, Darwin catalogued the "faculties" long held to be particular to humans - ''Attention,'' "Memories," "Imagination" (dreaming), "Reason," "Morality," "Language," "Self-consciousness or Individuality," "Sense of Beauty," even "Belief in God" - and demonstrated that they share these attributes with dogs, cats, horses,

monkeys, bees, and other creatures, by piling up multiple instances of observed evidence (36-46). According to the traditional hierarchical "chain of being" , comparison between classifications is anathema, but Darwin's leveling of creation suddenly made comparison an enormol}Sly fruitful methodology. Instead of looking everywhere for humanity's special differences from the rest of creation, scientists now became fascinated with finding similarities.