14 - Recapitulation and Conclusion
14-05 - Effects of its adoption on the study of Natural history
A new variety raised by man will be a far more important and interesting subject for study than one more species added to the infinitude of already recorded species.
Our classifications will come to be, as far as they can be so made, genealogies; and will then truly give what may be called the plan of creation.
The rules for classifying will no doubt become simpler when we have a definite object in view.
We possess no pedigrees or armorial bearings; and we have to discover and trace the many diverging lines of descent in our natural genealogies, by characters of any kind which have long been inherited.
Rudimentary organs will speak infallibly with respect to the nature of long-lost structures.
Species and groups of species, which are called aberrant, and which may fancifully be called living fossils, will aid us in forming a picture of the ancient forms of life.
11 - Geographical Distribution
11-02 - Importance of barriers
A second great fact which strikes us in our general review is, that barriers of any kind, or obstacles to free migration, are related in a close and important manner to the differences between the productions of various regions.
We see this in the great difference of nearly all the terrestrial productions of the New and Old Worlds, excepting in the northern parts, where the land almost joins, and where, under a slightly different climate, there might have been free migration for the northern temperate forms, as there now is for the strictly arctic productions.
We see the same fact in the great difference between the inhabitants of Australia, Africa, and South America under the same latitude: for these countries are almost as much isolated from each other as is possible.
On each continent, also, we see the same fact; for on the opposite sides of lofty and continuous mountain-ranges, and of great deserts, and sometimes even of large rivers, we find different productions; though as mountain chains, deserts, &c., are not as impassable, or likely to have endured so long as the oceans separating continents, the differences are very inferior in degree to those characteristic of distinct continents.
Turning to the sea, we find the same law.
No two marine faunas are more distinct, with hardly a fish, shell, or crab in common, than those of the eastern and western shores of South and Central America; yet these great faunas are separated only by the narrow, but impassable, isthmus of panama.
Westward of the shores of America, a wide space of open ocean extends, with not an island as a halting-place for emigrants; here we have a barrier of another kind, and as soon as this is passed we meet in the eastern islands of the Pacific, with another and totally distinct fauna.
So that here three marine faunas range far northward and southward, in parallel lines not far from each other, under corresponding climates; but from being separated from each other by impassable barriers, either of land or open sea, they are wholly distinct.
On the other hand, proceeding still further westward from the eastern islands of the tropical parts of the Pacific, we encounter no impassable barriers, and we have innumerable islands as halting-places, until after travelling over a hemisphere we come to the shores of Africa; and over this vast space we meet with no well-defined and distinct marine faunas.
Although hardly one shell, crab or fish is common to the above-named three approximate faunas of Eastern and Western America and the eastern Pacific islands, yet many fish range from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean, and many shells are common to the eastern islands of the Pacific and the eastern shores of Africa, on almost exactly opposite meridians of longitude.
06 - Difficutiles in Theory
06-12 - Organs not in all Cases Absolutely Perfect
A similar line of argument holds good with fruits; that a ripe strawberry or cherry is as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,- that the gaily-coloured fruit of the spindle-wood tree and the scarlet berries of the holly are beautiful objects,- will be admitted by every one.
But this beauty serves merely as a guide to birds and beasts, in order that the fruit may be devoured and the matured seeds disseminated: I infer that this is the case from having as yet found no exception to the rule that seeds are always thus disseminated when embedded within a fruit of any kind (that is within a fleshy or pulpy envelope), if it be coloured of any brilliant tint, or rendered conspicuous by being white or black.