Whether the human body should be less hairy than the bodies of other animals.

Further one inquires whether the human body should be less hairy than the bodies of other animals.

1. It seems not. Hairs serve as a covering for animals, but a human needs a covering just as other animals do. Therefore, he ought not to have less hair.

2. Likewise, hairs arise from many dry and earthy superfluities. But such superfluities do not occur any less in humans than in other animals; therefore, etc.

The Philosopher says the opposite.

One should say that the human body ought not to be hairy on two accounts. One reason is to enable good sensation, because a human has a better sense of touch than all the other animals. But we perceive something by touch better in an immediate rather than a meditated fashion. If, then, the human body were hairy, the human would only perceive touch through the medium of the hairs. But hairs are without sensation on account of their earthiness, and, as a result, the human would not then have the best sense of touch.

Another reason is owing to the complexion. For the human especially abounds in heat and moisture, through which his life continues. Thus his heat consumes a great deal of the dry and earthy superfluities, which are the material for hair. And for this reason the hairs are only thin and fine except on the parts where there is a superabundance of these [dry and earthy superfluities], for example, under the arms and on the groin and on the rear part of the head, because the vapors rise to the brain and the posterior part is drier than the anterior part, and for that reason hairs are more abundant on the posterior than the anterior part of the head and face, etc.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one should say that a human is ruled by reason. Thus what is given to other animals by nature the human can prepare and furnish for himself with his hands, because he has the organ of organs, namely, hands, and for this reason he does not need hairs for a covering because he can make a covering for himself.

2. To the second argument one should say that the dry and earthy superfluities are distributed, thinned, and exhaled in the human imperceptibly, and little of them remains. This is why the human body has only thin and fine hairs.

Whether every animal ought to be horned.

Why does the stag have solid and not hollow horns?

Why does he alone cast off his horns and acquire new ones?

Why does an animal that is without teeth on the upper jaw ruminate?

Further, one inquires whether every animal ought to be horned.

1. It seems so, because horns are given for defense. But every animalfor example, a horserequires defense, just as do the others. Therefore, etc.

2. Likewise, horns are generated from smoky and gross superfluities. But these exist in every animal.

Sense indicates just the opposite.

After this, one asks why the stag has solid and not hollow horns. And, why does it alone, among the other animals, cast off its horns and acquire new ones and, when it has cast them away, why does it hide them? And why does an animal without teeth on its upper jaw ruminate, and why does it have several stomachs and twisted intestines and horns that are not twisted? Examples include the cow and lamb.

1. To the first, one must respond that the superfluity in the human as well as in any animal is moist and dry. The moist one is eliminated through the urine or through perspiration. But the dry superfluity, which is left behind after the last digestion, is of three types. From the superfluity of the first digestion, because it is the dregs, there is no power at present. Of these three, one is subtle, one is gross, and one is in-between. From the subtle superfluity hairs are generated; from the gross one, horns; from the one in-between, the teeth are generated. Now, however, it is the case that in certain animals the heat is sufficient to disarrange and scatter the gross fumes, which are the material for the horns. And for this reason not every animal has horns. Similarly nature provides horns for defense. But some animals defend themselves with their feet and some with their teeth examples being the falcon, the lion, and the dogand for this reason not every animal needs horns. Similarly there is another cause why those animals that do not have molars have horns and ruminate, like the sheep, because the material for the teeth is converted into horn. But those that have all the teeth, like the horse, the human, and the ass, lack horns, because the material for the horns is converted into teeth, etc.

2. From this the response to the second argument is clear.

To the first question one must respond that some animals defend themselves with their feet and teeth, and so they do not need horns. And, moreover, not all have the gross fumes that are the material for the horns, or it is because these fumes are converted in these animals into teeth, as has been shown.

To the second question one must respond that the stag is a very melancholy animal. Thus the stag has a lot of gross, earthy fumes that are converted into horns, and for that reason too it has the biggest horns. And because it belongs to the male to defend the female, as the Philosopher says below, nature therefore provides horns to males rather than to females. Nevertheless, horns are given to both male and female in some animals, as in the case of the oxen and goats. This is because they are not as swift of foot as the stag. Now, although the doe does not have horns, she nevertheless has swift feet so that she can flee attackers. But this is not the case in cows and she-goats, and for that reason nature has bestowed upon them horns so that they may defend themselves when they cannot flee.

Furthermore, all marrow is naturally warm and moist, except the marrow of the stag, because black bile [ melancholia] is especially abundant in the horns of the stag. For this reason there is very little marrow in them, but instead they are solid and not hollow.

Besides, the horns grow so much that they put a burden on nature, and it is especially onerous for nature to carry and bear them, and for that reasonbecause they are beyond the order of naturenature allows for them to be cast off or removed, just as in the bellwether ram.[1] And this is also why the stag casts off its horns. But because it is instinctive for the stag to defend itself from this or that animal, it perceives through its particular estimation that if rapacious animals, like a bear, lion, dog, or some other of this sort, see that it has cast off its horns, they will quickly attack it as if the stag were unarmed. This is why it naturally hides its horns as soon as it has cast them off, owing to the wisdom of nature, lest they be discovered by other animals.

To the last point one must reply that animals lacking teeth in the upper jaw cannot digest or masticate their food properly in their mouths owing to its grossness, since they live on the things born from the earth, and for that reason they immediately send it to the inner stomach in which it is partly softened and ground up. But then it sends it to the mouth a second time in order to chew it up completely, and that is when such animals ruminate and masticate such food completely. Once they have chewed the cud, it is sent again to another stomach, and, because that nutriment is gross, such animals have very twisted intestines so that it will remain in them a very long time and be digested better. And because the gross and poorly digested foods produce vapors and they produce gross fumes on their own as well, this is the reason why such fumes abound in these animals and why they ascend to the head, from which horns are generated.

And this is why these five things accompany one another: to wit, ruminating, having several stomachs, twisted intestines, a lack of upper teeth on the upper jaw, and having horns that are not twisted on its forehead, unless the animal is warm and can consume such fumes, like the camel and strong he-goats and oxen and others of this sort.

  • [1] The text here actually reads "just as in the wisent [in wisente]" but the corrigenda provide in vervice as a better reading. For the vervix, see DA (SZ 2: 1528-29).
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