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OriginOfSpecies - 475 Rows
Column Type #Values Column Stats
id int(11) 475 Column Stats
subject varchar(80) 14 Column Stats
title varchar(250) 139 Column Stats
ordinal int(11) 30 Column Stats
description text 474 Column Stats

475 rows, page 40 of 119 (4/p)
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Export to Excel select * from OriginOfSpecies order by title limit 156, 4 (Page 40: Row)
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04 - Natural Selection 04-09 - Circumstances favourable for the production of new forms through Natural Selection 70 Lapse of time is only so far important, and its importance in this respect is great, that it gives a better chance of beneficial variations arising and of their being selected, accumulated, and fixed. It likewise tends to increase the direct action of the physical conditions of life, in relation to the constitution of each organism.

If we turn to nature to test the truth of these remarks, and look at any small isolated area, such as an oceanic island, although the number of species inhabiting it is small, as we shall see in our chapter on Geographical Distribution; yet of these species a very large proportion are endemic,- that is, have been produced there and nowhere else in the world. Hence an oceanic island at first sight seems to have been highly favourable for the production of new species.

island
island

Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Tortoise
Galapagos Tortoise
04 - Natural Selection 04-09 - Circumstances favourable for the production of new forms through Natural Selection 80 But we may thus deceive ourselves, for to ascertain whether small isolated area, or a large open area like a continent has been most favourable for the production of new organic forms, we ought to make the comparison within equal times; and this we are incapable of doing.

Although isolation is of great importance in the production of new species, on the whole I am inclined to believe that largeness of area is still more important, especially for the production of species which shall prove capable of enduring for a long period, and of spreading widely.

Australia
Australia

koala
koala

kangaroo
kangaroo

rabbit
rabbit

mouse
mouse
04 - Natural Selection 04-09 - Circumstances favourable for the production of new forms through Natural Selection 90 Throughout a great and open area, not only will there be a better chance of favourable variations, arising from the large number of individuals of the same species there supported, but the conditions of life are much more complex from the large number of already existing species; and if some of these many species become modified and improved, others will have to be improved in a corresponding degree, or they will be exterminated.

Each new form, also, as soon as it has been much improved, will be able to spread over the open and continuous area, and will thus come into competition with many other forms.

Moreover, great areas, though now continuous, will often, owing to former oscillations of level, have existed in a broken condition; so that the good effects of isolation will generally, to a certain extent, have concurred.

Finally, I conclude that, although small isolated areas have been in some respects highly favourable for the production of new species, yet that the course of modification will generally have been more rapid on large areas; and what is more important, that the new forms produced on large areas, which already have been victorious over many competitors, will be those that will spread most widely, and will give rise to the greatest number of new varieties and species.

They will thus play a more important part in the changing history of the organic world. In accordance with this view, we can, perhaps, understand some facts which will be again alluded to in our chapter on Geographical Distribution; for instance, the fact of the productions of the smaller continent of Australia now yielding before those of the larger Europaeo-Asiatic area.

Australia
Australia

Europe
Europe

Asia
Asia


Thus, also, it is that continental productions have everywherebecome so largely naturalised on islands.

On a small island, the race for life will have been less severe, and there will have been less modification and less extermination.
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04 - Natural Selection 04-09 - Circumstances favourable for the production of new forms through Natural Selection 120 That natural selection generally acts with extreme slowness I fully admit. It can act only when there are places in the natural polity of a district which can be better occupied by the modification of some of its existing inhabitants.

The occurrence of such places will often depend on physical changes, which generally take place very slowly, and on the immigration of better adapted forms being prevented.

As some few of the old inhabitants become modified, the mutual relations of others will often be disturbed; and this will create new places, ready to be filled up by better adapted forms, but all this will take place very slowly.

Although the individuals of the same species differ in some slight degree from each other, it would often be long before differences of the right nature in various parts of the organisation might occur.

The result would often be greatly retarded by free intercrossing.

Many will exclaim that these several causes are amply sufficient to neutralise the power of natural selection.

I do not believe so.

But I do believe that natural selection will generally act very slowly, only at long intervals of time, and only on a few of the inhabitants of the same region.

I further believe that these slow, intermittent results accord well with what geology tells us of the rate and manner at
which the inhabitants of the world have changed.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon


Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and complexity of the coadaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may have been effected in the long course of time through nature's power of selection, that is by the survival of the fittest.