The vampire is associated in the popular mind with a more primitive kind of human being, says Carol Senf, whose essay "Dracula, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and Stoker's 'Burden of the Past.' is included in Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997, edited by Carol Margaret Davison (1997.)
By this point the author seeks to position the idea of the vampire within the cultural world affected by Darwin's The Origin of the Species (1859). Bram Stoker's Dracula, first published on May 26, 1897, is a prime exhibit in this argument. The essayist notes that Stoker's text highlights the animal features of the eponymous vampire: He "exits his castle headfirst like a bat, communicates with wolves, and moves with feline grace: 'there was something so panther-like...something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming.'"
To draw out the implications of Darwin's ideas Senf quotes from his The Descent of Man (1871), where "Darwin observes that humans are less hairy than other mammals, and that 'the hairs thus scattered over the body are the rudiments of the uniform hairy coat of the lower animals.'"
Hardly any hardy souls then, or now asked the related question, if we can imagine man, and lower animals than he, what would be a superior animal? Or why man felt the need to distance himself from his cousins.