In an American Spectator essay, "Evolution Needs to Evolve", Hal G.P. Colebatch writes:
Monkeys and men appear to have a common ancestor. Monkeys, like men, have hands. But, as Chesterton said, the significant point is not that monkeys have hands, but that, compared to Man, monkeys do almost nothing with them. A five-year old child can paint a crude picture of a monkey. But not the wisest monkey ever painted a picture of a child. Years of experiments trying to teach apes language show they cannot form even the simplest sentences.
If a monkey was born capable not only of gathering nuts and bananas but also of building cathedrals, writing Hamlet or flying to the moon, we would see it as a major objection to the pure theory of evolution. We might even be tempted to believe that a God had intervened somewhere along the line.
But Man is born capable of doing these things and has done them. The fact speaks for itself. Further, as far as paleontology can tell us, Cro-Magnon Man, the earliest form of Homo sapiens, had brains as good as modern men -- Cro-Magnon Man simply knew less. We know from cave paintings that 16,000 years ago at least Man had highly developed art.
Why? Art is useless for survival. There is no reason why evolution should have produced it. It is possible to be reminded of Gandalf's cryptic comment in The Lord of the Rings: "Something else is at work."
The reference to Chesterton is, I believe, a reference to one or more passages in The Everlasting Man, one of his greatest books. Chesterton wrote:
It is the simple truth that man does differ from the brutes in kind and not in degree; and the proof of it is here; that it sounds like a truism to say that the most primitive man drew a picture of a monkey and that it sounds like a joke to say that the most intelligent monkey drew a picture of a man. Something of division and disproportion has appeared; and it is unique. Art is the signature of man.
That is the sort of simple truth with which a story of the beginnings ought really to begin. The evolutionist stands staring in the painted cavern at the things that are too large to be seen and too simple to be understood. He tries to deduce all sorts of other indirect and doubtful things from the details of the pictures, because he can not see the primary significance of the whole; thin and theoretical deductions about the absence of religion or the presence of superstition; about tribal government and hunting and human sacrifice and heaven knows what. ... When all is said, the main fact that the record of the reindeer men attests, along with all other records, is that the reindeer man could draw and the reindeer could not. If the reindeer man was as much an animal as the reindeer, it was all the more extraordinary that he could do what all other animals could not. If he was an ordinary product of biological growth, like any other beast or bird, then it is all the more extraordinary that he was not in the least like any other beast or bird. He seems rather more supernatural as a natural product than as a supernatural one. ...
It is not contended here that these primitive men did wear clothes any more than they did weave rushes; but merely that we have not enough evidence to know whether they did or not. But it may be worthwhile to look back for a moment at some of the very few things that we do know and that they did do. If we consider them, we shall certainly not find them inconsistent with such ideas as dress and decoration. We do not know whether they decorated other things. We do not know whether they had embroideries, and if they had the embroideries could not be expected to have remained. But we do know that they did have pictures; and the pictures have remained. And there remains with them, as already suggested, the testimony to something that is absolute and unique; that belongs to man and to nothing else except man; that is a difference of kind and not a difference of degree. A monkey does not draw clumsily and a man cleverly; a monkey does not begin the art of representation and a man carry it to perfection. A monkey does not do it at all; he does not begin to do it at all; he does not begin to begin to do it at all. A line of some kind is crossed before the first faint line can begin.
On a lighter note, see the young Chesterton's satirical piece, "Half Hours in Hades" (written and illustrated in 1891, when Chesterton was seventeen), which contains a section on the "evolution of demons". The piece contains this little bit of hilarious brilliance:
To proceed at once to business, I will first introduce to my young readers the Common, or "Garden" serpent, so called because its first appearance in the world took place in a garden. Since that time its proportions have dwindled considerably, but its influence and power have largely increased; it is found in almost everything.