Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 2: Dia-Ins
Todd, Robert Bentley
rating, the application of the mother’s hand to 
any part of her own body will cause a dis¬ 
figuration or specific impression on a corres¬ 
ponding part of the body of the child.” 
§ 3. Number of children ; and relative 
proportion of the male and female sexes. 
The simpler animals are, generally speaking, 
more fruitful than the complicated ones. As 
examples of great fecundity, may be mentioned 
some of the Entozoa and Mollusca, which pro¬ 
duce hundreds of thousands of ova ; among 
Crustacea and Insects some produce many 
thousand young. The Perch and Cyprinus 
genus among fishes produce some hundreds of 
thousands, and the common Cod, it is said, 
some millions of ova. Most of the Batrachia 
produce at least some hundreds. But in the 
warm-blooded Vertebrata, the necessity of in¬ 
cubation or utero-gestation puts a limit to the 
number of young ; and there are also compara¬ 
tively few in the Blenny, Skate, Shark, Land 
Salamander, or such animals as are ovo-vivi- 
In the human female, the number of chil¬ 
dren altogether produced is limited, first, by 
the number of Graafian vesicles in the ovaries, 
which usually amounts to from twelve to fif¬ 
teen in each ovary ; and second, by the length 
of the time during which a woman bears chil¬ 
dren, (the greatest extent of which is usually 
twenty-five years, that is, from the age of fifteen 
to forty, or twenty to forty-five,) the length of 
this period again depending upon the rapidity 
with which the births succeed one another, and 
the number of children produced at each. 
Women most frequently bear every twenty 
months, but some have children at shorter in¬ 
tervals, as of fifteen or even twelve months. 
This often depends upon the circumstance 
that in some lactation prevents conception; 
in others it does not. 
The number of the eggs of birds for one in¬ 
cubation varies from two to sixteen. The num¬ 
ber of the young of Mammalia produced in 
one utero-gestation varies from one to fifteen, 
and occasionally more. 
Woman usually bears a single child. The 
proportion of twin-births to those of single 
children is estimated by Burdach as one to 
seventy or eighty : the proportion of triplet 
births one to six or seven thousand ; quadru¬ 
plets, one to twenty or fifty thousand. Occa¬ 
sionally five children come at one birth, and 
there are instances on record of six or even 
seven children being born at once. 
The causes of this greater or less fecundity 
are not known : they are in all probability 
various; being not of an accidental nature, 
but connected with the constitution of one 
or other of the parents, most frequently per¬ 
haps of the mother. 
A healthy woman bearing during the whole 
time, and with the common duration of inter¬ 
val, may have in all from twelve to sixteen chil¬ 
dren ; but some have as many as eighteen or 
twenty ; and when there are twins, &c. con¬ 
siderably more, as in the following remarkable 
instances. First, eighteen children at six births. 
Second, forty-four children in all, thirty in the 
first marriage, and fourteen in the second ; and 
in a still more extraordinary case, fifty-three 
children in all in one marriage, eighteen times 
single births, five times twins, four times tri¬ 
plets, once six, and once seven.* 
Men have been known to beget seventy or 
eighty children in two or more marriages, but 1 
the tendency of polygamy is generally believed 
to be to diminish rather than to increase the 
number of the whole progeny. 
According to Marc, not more than two or 
three children are born from tw’o thousand pros¬ 
titutes in the course of a year,—a circumstance 
depending in part on their want of liability to 
conception, and in part on frequent abortion. 
The proportion of children bom in each mar¬ 
riage varies much in different countries. The 
following statement of the average number is 
taken from Burdach : Germany, 6—8 ; Eng¬ 
land, 5—7 ; France, 4—5 ; Spain and Italy, 
In reference to the average proportion of male 
and female births, it appears from very exten¬ 
sive data that in this and most other countries 
the number of males usually exceeds that of 
females ; in this country in the proportion of ’ 
four or five in a hundred. 
The circumstances which influence the pre¬ 
ponderance of male births are not known. The 
accompanying table shews how very constant 
it is in different countries. 
Table of the proportional number of males 
and females born in different countries ; the 
females being taken as 100. 
Great Britain............ 104.75 
■p 1106.55 
D f 106.94 
Prussia................. \ 105.90 
Sweden .................104.72 
Westphalia and Rhine .... 105.86 
Bohemia................ 105.38 
Netherlands.............. 106.44 
Saxony and Silesia........ 106.05 
Sicily................... 106.18 
Brandenburg............ 106.27 
Mecklenburg............ 107.07 
Mailand................ 107.61 
Russia.................. 108.91 
Jews in Prussia.......... 112. 
-in Breslau.......... 114. 
-in Leghorn.......... 120. 
Christians in Leghorn...... 104. 
It has been found, on the other hand, that the 
first children of a marriage consist of a greater 
number of females and fewer males, in the pro¬ 
portion, according to Burdach, of fifty-three 
male births to a hundred females. A similar 
preponderance of females is said to exist among 
illegitimate children ; but the difference is 
* See Fournier, Diet, des Seien. Méd. tom iv. 
t According to Burdach, one marriage out of 
fifty is unfruitful ; there is one birth on an average 
for every twenty-five of the population of a place ; 
and taking the whole population of the world at six 
hundred and thirty-three millions, about fifty-one 
children are born every second !


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