03 - Struggle for Existence
03-05 - Nature of the Checks to Increase
In looking at Nature, it is most necessary to keep the foregoing considerations always in mind- never to forget that every single organic being may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers; that each lives by a struggle at some period of its life; that heavy destruction inevitably falls either on the young or old, during each generation or at recurrent intervals. Lighten any cheek, mitigate the destruction ever so little, and the number of the species will
almost instantaneously increase to any amount.
11 - Geographical Distribution
11-01 - Present distribution cannot be accounted for by differences in physical conditions
In considering the distribution of organic beings over the face of the globe, the first great fact which strikes us is, that neither the similarity nor the dissimilarity of the inhabitants of various regions can be accounted for by their climatal and other physical conditions.
Of late, almost every author who has studied the subject has come to this conclusion.
The case of America alone would almost suffice to prove its truth: for if we exclude the northern parts where the circumpolar land is almost continuous, all authors agree that one of the most fundamental divisions in geographical distribution is that between the New and Old Worlds; yet if we travel over the vast American continent, from the central parts of the United States to its extreme southern point, we meet with the most diversified conditions; the most humid districts, arid deserts, lofty mountains, grassy plains, forests, marshes, lakes, and great rivers, under almost every temperature.
There is hardly a climate or condition in the Old World which cannot be paralleled in the New at least as closely as the same species generally require; for it is a most rare case to find a group of organisms confined to any small spot, having conditions peculiar in only a slight degree; for instance, small areas in the Old World could be pointed out hotter than any in the New World, yet these are not inhabited by a peculiar fauna or flora.
Notwithstanding this parallelism in the conditions of the Old and New Worlds, how widely different are their living productions!
In the southern hemisphere, if we compare large tracts of land in Australia, South Africa, and western South America, between latitudes 25° and 35°, we shall find parts extremely similar in all their conditions, yet it would not be possible to point out three faunas and floras more utterly dissimilar.
Or again we may compare the productions of South America south of lat. 35° with those north of 25°, which consequently inhabit a considerably different climate, and they will be found incomparably more closely related to each other, than they are to the productions of Australia or Africa under nearly the same climate.
Analogous facts could be given with respect to the inhabitants of the sea.
13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or
13-04 - Classification of varieties
In confirmation of this view, let us glance at the classification of varieties, which are believed or known to have descended from one species.
These are grouped under species, with sub-varieties under varieties; and with our domestic productions, several other grades of difference are requisite, as we have seen with pigeons.
The origin of the existence of groups subordinate to groups, is the same with varieties as with species, namely, closeness of descent with various degrees of modification.
Nearly the same rules are followed in classifying varieties, as with species.
Authors have insisted on the necessity of classing varieties on a natural instead of an artificial system; we are cautioned, for instance, not to class two varieties of the pine-apple together, merely because their fruit, though the most important part, happens to be nearly identical; no one puts the swedish and common turnips together, though the esculent and thickened stems are so similar.
Whatever part is found to be most constant, is used in classing varieties: thus the great agriculturist Marshall says the horns are very useful for this purpose with cattle, because they are less variable than the shape or colour of the body, &c.; whereas with sheep the horns are much less serviceable, because less constant.
In classing varieties, I apprehend if we had a real pedigree, a genealogical classification would be universally preferred; and it has been attempted by some authors.
For we might feel sure, whether there had been more or less modification, the principle of inheritance would keep the forms together which were allied in the greatest number of points.
In tumbler pigeons, though some sub-varieties differ from the others in the important character of having a longer beak, yet all are kept together from having the common habit of tumbling; but the short-faced breed has nearly or quite lost this habit; nevertheless, without any reasoning or thinking on the subject, these tumblers are kept in the same group, because allied in blood and alike in some other respects.
|Short Faced Tumbler Pigeon|
If it could be proved that the Hottentot had descended from the Negro, I think he would be classed under the Negro group, however much he might differ in colour and other important characters from negroes.
01 - Variations Under Domestication
01-06 - Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species
In attempting to estimate the amount of structural differencebetween allied domestic races, we are soon involved in doubt, from not knowing whether they are descended from one or several parent species.
This point, if it could be cleared up, would be interesting; if, for instance, it could be shown that the greyhound, bloodhound, terrier, spaniel, and bull-dog, which we all know propagate their kind truly, were the offspring of any single species, then such facts would have great weight in making us doubt about the immutability of the many closely allied natural species-
for instance, of the many foxes- inhabiting different quarters of the world. I do not believe, as we shall presently see, that the whole amount of difference between the several breeds of the dog has been produced under domestication;
I believe that a small part of the difference is due to their being descended from distinct species.
In the case of strongly marked races of some other domesticated species, there is presumptive or even strong evidence, that all are descended from a single wild stock.