Known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his impassioned defense of evolutionary theory, Thomas Huxley published this, his most famous book, just a few years after Darwin's The Origin of the Species. Unlike Origin, this book focuses on human ancestry and offers a concise, nontechnical survey of the state of mid-nineteenth-century knowledge about primate and human paleontology and ethology.
Man's Place in Nature concurs with Darwin's assertion of the absence of a physiologic and psychic structural line of demarcation between humans and apes. Huxley ventures further than Darwin, however, by making the first attempt to apply the principles of evolution directly to the human race (an issue that Darwin skirted). Despite Huxley's acknowledgements of the wide gulf represented by the human capacity for rational speech and language, some Victorian readers were scandalized by the application of Darwinian theory to humans and by Huxley's evidence of the fundamental similarities between the human brain and the ape brain.
A landmark of scientific progress, this immensely readable book reflects the stylistic gifts that made its author a popular public speaker.