Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 70

which crowned it.

Immediately from all about, out of burrows and rough, rocky lairs,
poured a perfect torrent of beasts similar to my captors. They
clustered about, jabbering at my guards and attempting to get their
hands upon me, whether from curiosity or a desire to do me bodily harm
I did not know, since my escort with bared fangs and heavy blows kept
them off.

Across the mesa we went, to stop at last before a large pile of rocks
in which an opening appeared. Here my guards set me upon my feet and
called out a word which sounded like "Gr-gr-gr!" and which I later
learned was the name of their king.

Presently there emerged from the cavernous depths of the lair a
monstrous creature, scarred from a hundred battles, almost hairless and
with an empty socket where one eye had been. The other eye, sheeplike
in its mildness, gave the most startling appearance to the beast, which
but for that single timid orb was the most fearsome thing that one
could imagine.

I had encountered the black, hairless, long-tailed ape--things of the
mainland--the creatures which Perry thought might constitute the link
between the higher orders of apes and man--but these brute-men of
Gr-gr-gr seemed to set that theory back to zero, for there was less
similarity between the black ape-men and these creatures than there was
between the latter and man, while both had many human attributes, some
of which were better developed in one species and some in the other.

The black apes were hairless and built thatched huts in their arboreal
retreats; they kept domesticated dogs and ruminants, in which respect
they were farther advanced than the human beings of Pellucidar; but
they appeared to have only a meager language, and sported long, apelike
tails.

On the other hand, Gr-gr-gr's people were, for the most part, quite
hairy, but they were tailless and had a language similar to that of the
human race of Pellucidar; nor were they arboreal. Their skins, where
skin showed, were white.

From the foregoing facts and others that I have noted during my long
life within Pellucidar, which is now passing through an age analogous
to some pre-glacial age of the outer crust, I am constrained to the
belief that evolution is not so much a gradual transition from one form
to another as it is an accident of breeding, either by crossing or the
hazards of birth. In other words, it is my belief that the first man
was a freak of nature--nor would one have to draw overstrongly upon
his credulity to be

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