15 SEPTEMBER 1883, Page 3

The Lancet endorses an opinion recently delivered by Mr. Spence

Bate, F.R.S., and long since maintained by the few thoughtful dentists, that human teeth among the culti- vated classes are in process of degeneracy. The. " dentine " is becoming deteriorated, interglobnlar spaces not found, in the savage races making their appearance, while the• enamel is becoming opaque. Moreover, which is more

serious, the development of the cranium which follows cultivation is attended with a shrinking-in and weakening of the jaws, till there is not room for the teeth. The facts being granted, the question arises whether these symp- toms will end in a decay of the race, or in an extinction of each cultivated class as it springs up, the learned perishing, while the barbarians below them flourish. The latter is the more probable, for Nature seems opposed to the steady trans- mission of high brain-power. Genius does not breed, and families over-cultivated for their physique have long been known to tend either to sterility, to insanity, or to decrepi- tude. It may be found yet that the hopes of Comte are exactly opposed to the conclusions of science, and that a race, after developing its force, as, for instance, the Chinese did, can only be saved by becoming strictly non-progressive. Humanity may continue only on condition of its healthy barbarians always rising to the top. The Professor may rule the costermonger, but the costermonger's progeny will always survive the Professor's.