Continuing with Adam’s Diary (translated from Adam’s original hieroglyphics by Mark Twain) …
THREE MONTHS LATER — The Kangaroo still continues to grow, which is very strange and perplexing. I never knew one to be so long getting its growth. It has fur on its head now; not like kangaroo fur, but exactly like our hair except that it is much finer and softer, and instead of being black is red. I am like to lose my mind over the capricious and harassing developments of this unclassifiable zoological freak. If I could catch another one — but that is hopeless; it is a new variety, and the only sample; this is plain. But I caught a true kangaroo and brought it in, thinking that this one, being lonesome, would rather have that for company than have no kin at all, or any animal it could feel a nearness to or get sympathy from in its forlorn condition here among strangers who do not know its ways or habits, or what to do to make it feel that it is among friends; but it was a mistake — it went into such fits at the sight of the kangaroo that I was convinced it had never seen one before. I pity the poor noisy little animal, but there is nothing I can do to make it happy. If I could tame it — but that is out of the question; the more I try the worse I seem to make it. It grieves me to the heart to see it in its little storms of sorrow and passion. I wanted to let it go, but she wouldn’t hear of it. That seemed cruel and not like her; and yet she may be right. It might be lonelier than ever; for since I cannot find another one, how could IT?
FIVE MONTHS LATER — It is not a kangaroo. No, for it supports itself by holding to her finger, and thus goes a few steps on its hind legs, and then falls down. It is probably some kind of a bear; and yet it has no tail — as yet — and no fur, except upon its head. It still keeps on growing — that is a curious circumstance, for bears get their growth earlier than this. Bears are dangerous-since our catastrophe — and I shall not be satisfied to have this one prowling about the place much longer without a muzzle on. I have offered to get her a kangaroo if she would let this one go, but it did no good — she is determined to run us into all sorts of foolish risks, I think. She was not like this before she lost her mind.
A FORTNIGHT LATER — I examined its mouth. There is no danger yet: it has only one tooth. It has no tail yet. It makes more noise now than it ever did before — and mainly at night. I have moved out. But I shall go over, mornings, to breakfast, and see if it has more teeth. If it gets a mouthful of teeth it will be time for it to go, tail or no tail, for a bear does not need a tail in order to be dangerous.
In today’s excerpts and those of the previous post, Twain’s Adam proposed a whole series of possibilities for the identity of the new Cain creature: fish, snake, frog, bird, kangaroo, bear. All are of course ridiculous, and the real Adam would never have entertained such foolishness.
German zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s purposefully distorted diagrams of humans in the womb purportedly showing the development of the embryo through its supposed evolutionary history were popular in Twain’s day. This is known as “ontogeny (embryonic development) recapitulates phylogeny (evolutionary development of ancestors)” – a completely discredited theory. These diagrams no doubt influenced Twain and may have been the instigation for this humor.
On the other hand (it’s hard to tell for sure), Twain may have tried to use satire to discredit Haeckel’s obviously stupid theory. For if the unborn child progressed through supposed evolutionary stages, there’s no reason to think the progression would stop at birth. Why wouldn’t it continue through early childhood development as Twain suggests? Twain may have done this to illustrate the ridiculousness of the idea.
Read the prequels in this series on Adam’s Diary:
1. Adam’s Diary – A New Creature
2. Adam’s Diary – Naming the Animals
3. Adam’s Diary – Garden of Eden
4. Adam’s Diary – “We”
5. Adam’s Diary – Sunday
6. Adam’s Diary – Eve
7. Adam’s Diary – Niagara Falls
8. Adam’s Diary – Escape
9. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain I
10. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain II
11. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain III
12. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain IV
13. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain V
14. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain VI
15. Adam’s Diary – Rib
16. Adam’s Diary – The Snake
17. Adam’s Diary – Catastrophe
18. Adam’s Diary – Clothing
19. Adam’s Diary – Cain
Read the sequel:
21. Adam’s Diary – Abel
©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
Thursday June 24, 2010 A.D.
Read my June 2010 Bible-Science column
Noah’s Ark Found?.
Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”