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[p. 229]persons in regard to those
activities which are obvious without dissection, and, in the case of those which are more obscure, dissecting animals which are near to man;
Note this expression. For Galen's views on the origin of species, cf. Introduction, p. xxxi., footnote.
not that even animals unlike him will not show, in a general way, the faculty in question, but because in this manner we may find out at once what is common to all and what is peculiar to ourselves, and so may become more resourceful in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Now it is impossible to speak of both organs at once, so we shall deal with each in turn, beginning with the one which is capable of demonstrating the retentive faculty most plainly. For the stomach retains the food until it has quite digested it, and the uterus retains the embryo until it brings it to completion, but the time taken for the completion of the embryo is many times more than that for the digestion of food.
We may expect, then, to detect the retentive faculty in the uterus more clearly in proportion to the longer duration of its activity as compared with that of the stomach. For, as we know, it takes nine months in most women for the foetus to attain maturity in the womb, this organ having its neck quite closed, and entirely surrounding the embryo together with the chorion. Further, it is the utility of the function which determines the closure of the os and the stay of the foetus in the uterus. For it is not casually nor without reason that Nature has made