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a gradual retrogression. Suppose, for example, a return of the glacial epoch and a spread of polar climatal conditions over the whole globe. The operation of natural selection under these circumstances would tend, on the whole, to the weeding out of the higher organisms and the cherishing of the lower forms of life. Cryptogamic vegetation would have the advantage over Phanerogamic ; IIydrozoa over Corals; Crustacea over Insecta, and Amphipoda and Isopoda over the higher Crustacea; Cetaceans and Seals over the Primates, the civilisation of the Esquimaux over that of the European.
“5. Pelzeln has also objected that if the later organisms have proceeded from the earlier, the whole developmental series, from the simplest to the highest, could not now exist; in such a case the simpler organisms must have disappeared.”
To this Professor Kölliker replies, with perfect justice, that the conclusion drawn by Pelzeln does not really follow from Darwin's premises, and that, if we take the facts of Palaeontology as they stand, they rather support than oppose Darwin's theory.
“6. Great weight must be attached to the objection brought forward by Huxley, otherwise a warm supporter of Darwin's hypothesis, that we know of no varieties which are sterile with one another, as is the rule among sharply distinguished animal forms.
“If Darwin is right, it must be demonstrated that forms may be produced by selection, which, like the present sharply distinguished animal forms, are infertile, when coupled with one another, and this has not been done.”
The weight of this objection is obvious; but our ignorance of the conditions of fertility and sterility, the want of carefully conducted experiments extending over long series of years, and the strange anomalies presented by the results of the cross-fertilisation of many plants, should all, as Mr. Darwin has urged, be taken into account in considering it. The seventh objection is that we have already discussed (supra p. 82). The eighth and last stands as follows:– “8. The developmental theory of Darwin is not needed to enable us to understand the regular harmonious progress of the complete series of organic forms from the simpler to the more perfect. “The existence of general laws of Nature explains this harmony, even if we assume that all beings have arisen separately and independent of one another. Darwin forgets that inorganic mature, in which there can be no thought of genetic connexion of forms, exhibits the same regular plan, the same harmony, as the organic world; and that, to cite only one example, there is as much a natural system of minerals as of plants and animals.” We do not feel quite sure that we seize Professor Kölliker's meaning here, but he appears to suggest that the observation of the general order and harmony which pervade inorganic nature, would lead us to anticipate a similar order and harmony in the organic world. And this is no doubt true, but it by no means follows that the particular order and harmony observed among them should be that which we see. Surely the
stripes of dun horses, and the teeth of the foetal Balaena, are not explained by the “existence of general laws of Nature.” Mr. Darwin endeavours to explain the exact order of organic nature which exists; not the mere fact that there is some order. And with regard to the existence of a natural system of minerals; the obvious reply is that there may be a natural classification of any objects—of stones on a sea-beach, or of works of art; a natural classification being simply an assemblage of objects in groups, so as to express their most important and fundamental resemblances and differences. No doubt Mr. Darwin believes that those resemblances and differences upon which our natural systems or classifications of animals and plants are based, are resemblances and differences which have been produced genetically, but we can discover no reason for supposing that he denies the existence of natural classifications of other kinds. And, after all, is it quite so certain that a genetic relation may not underlie the classification of minerals The inorganic world has not always been what we see it. It has certainly had its metamorphoses, and, very probably, a long “Entwickelungsgeschichte" out of a nebular blastema. Who knows how far that amount of likeness among sets of minerals, in virtue of which they are now grouped into families and orders,
may not be the expression of the common conditions to which that particular patch of nebulous fog, which may have been constituted by their atoms, and of which they may be, in the strictest sense, the descendants, was subjected 2
It will be obvious from what has preceded, that we do not agree with Professor Kölliker in thinking the objections which he brings forward so weighty as to be fatal to Darwin's view. But even if the case were otherwise, we should be unable to accept the “Theory of Heterogeneous Generation” which is offered as a substitute. That theory is thus stated —
“The fundamental conception of this hypothesis is, that, under the influence of a general law of development, the germs of organisms produce others different from themselves. This might happen (1) by the fecundated ova passing, in the course of their development, under particular circumstances, into higher forms; (2) by the primitive and later organisms producing other organisms without fecundation, out of germs or eggs (Parthenogenesis).”
In favour of this hypothesis, Professor Kölliker adduces the well-known facts of Agamogenesis, or “alternate generation"; the extreme dissimilarity of the males and females of many animals; and of the males, females, and neuters of those insects which live in colonies: and he defines its relations to the Darwinian theory as follows:–
“It is obvious that my hypothesis is apparently very similar to Darwin's, inasmuch as I also consider that the various forms of animals have proceeded directly from one another. My hypothesis of the creation of organisms by heterogeneous generation, however, is distinguished very essentially from Darwin's by the entire absence of the principle of useful variations and their natural selection: and my fundamental conception is this, that a great plan of development lies at the foundation of the origin of the whole organic world, impelling the simpler forms to more and more complex developments. How this law operates, what influences determine the development of the eggs and germs, and impel them to assume constantly new forms, I naturally cannot pretend to say: but I can at least adduce the great analogy of the alternation of generations. If a Bipinnaria, a Brachiolaria, a Pluteus, is competent to produce the Echinoderm, which is so widely different from it; if a hydroid polypecan produce the higher Medusa ; if the vermiform Trematode nurse’ can develop within itself the very unlike Cercaria, it will not appear impossible that the egg, or ciliated embryo, of a sponge, for once, under special conditions, might become a hydroid polype, or the embryo of a Medusa, an Echinoderm.”
It is obvious, from these extracts, that Professor Kölliker's hypothesis is based upon the supposed existence of a close analogy between the phaenomena of Agamogenesis and the production of new species from pre-existing ones. But is the analogy a real one We think that it is not, and, by the hypothesis cannot be
For what are the phaenomena of Agamogenesis, stated generally An impregnated egg develops into a sexless form, A.; this gives rise, non-sexually, to a second form or forms, B, more or less different from A, B may multiply non-sexually again; in the simpler cases, however, it does not, but, acquiring sexual characters, produces impregnated eggs from whence A, once more, arises.