On the Origin of Species: or, the Causes of the Phenomena of Organic Nature

On the Origin of Species: or, the Causes of the Phenomena of Organic Nature

Language: English

Pages: 164


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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not known, whether plant or animal; Lingula, a kind of mollusc; Trilobites, a crustacean animal, having the same essential plan of construction, though differing in many details from a lobster or crab; and Hymenocaris, which is also a crustacean. So that you have all the Fauna reduced, at this period, to four forms: one a kind of animal or plant that we know nothing about, and three undoubted animals—two crustaceans and one mollusc. I think, considering the organization of these mollusca and

Then the amount of naked skin round the eyes, and at the base of the beak, may vary enormously; so may the length of the eyelids, the shape of the nostrils, and the length of the neck. I have already noticed the habit of blowing out the gullet, so remarkable in the Pouter, and comparatively so in the others. There are great differences, too, in the size of the female and the male, the shape of the body, the number and width of the processes of the ribs, the development of the ribs, and the size,

varieties,—and that those varieties may be perpetuated in the same way that I have shown you spontaneous varieties are perpetuated; I say, therefore, that there can be no doubt as to the origin and perpetuation of varieties in nature. But the question now is:—Does selection take place in nature? is there anything like the operation of man in exercising selective breeding, taking place in nature? You will observe that, at present, I say nothing about species; I wish to confine myself to the

limited to that question that I spent a good deal of time in a former lecture (which, perhaps some of you thought might have been better employed) in endeavouring to illustrate the method and nature of scientific inquiry in general. We shall now have to put in practice the principles that I then laid down. I stated to you in substance, if not in words, that wherever there are complex masses of phenomena to be inquired into, whether they be phenomena of the affairs of daily life, or whether they

crushes and pounds down the rocks and earths in precisely the same way as the wearing action of the sea waves. The matters forming the deposit are torn from the mountainside and whirled impetuously into the valley, more slowly over the plain, thence into the estuary, and from the estuary they are swept into the sea. The coarser and heavier fragments are obviously deposited first, that is, as soon as the current begins to lose its force by becoming amalgamated with the stiller depths of the ocean,

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