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13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or 13-08 - Extinction separates and defines groups 40 We shall certainly never succeed in making so perfect a collection: nevertheless, in certain classes, we are tending in this direction; and Milne Edwards has lately insisted, in an able paper, on the high importance of looking to types, whether or not we can separate and define the groups to which such types belong.

Henri Milne Edwards
Henri Milne Edwards


Finally, we have seen that natural selection, which results from the struggle for existence, and which almost inevitably induces extinction and divergence of character in the many descendants from one dominant parent-species, explains that great and universal feature in the affinities of all organic beings, namely, their subordination in group under group.

We use the element of descent in classing the individuals of both sexes and of all ages, although having few characters in common, under one species; we use descent in classing acknowledged varieties, however different they may be from their parent; and I believe this element of descent is the hidden bond of connexion which naturalists have sought under the term of the Natural System.

On this idea of the natural system being, in so far as it has been perfected, genealogical in its arrangement, with the grades of difference between the descendants from a common parent, expressed by the terms genera, families, orders, &c., we can understand the rules which we are compelled to follow in our classification.

We can understand why we value certain resemblances far more than others; why we are permitted to use rudimentary and useless organs, or others of trifling physiological importance; why, in comparing one group with a distinct group, we summarily reject analogical or adaptive characters, and yet use these same characters within the limits of the same group.

We can clearly see how it is that all living and extinct forms can be grouped together in one great system; and how the several members of each class are connected together by the most complex and radiating lines of affinities.

We shall never, probably, disentangle the inextricable web of affinities between the members of any one class; but when we have a distinct object in view, and do not look to some unknown plan of creation, we may hope to make sure but slow progress.
13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or 13-03 - Rules and difficulties in classification, explained on the theory of descent with modification 40 Any one of these characters singly is frequently of more than generic importance, though here even when all taken together they appear insufficient to separate Cnestis from Connarus.' To give an example amongst insects, in one great division of the Hymenoptera, the antennae, as Westwood has remarked, are most constant in structure; in another division they differ much, and the differences are of quite subordinate value in classification; yet no one probably will say that the antennae in these two divisions of the same order are of unequal physiological importance.

cnestis
cnestis

connarus
connarus

hymenoptera
hymenoptera


Any number of instances could be given of the varying importance for classification of the same important organ within the same group of beings.

Again, no one will say that rudimentary or atrophied organs are of high physiological or vital importance; yet, undoubtedly, organs in this condition are often of high value in classification.

No one will dispute that the rudimentary teeth in the upper jaws of young ruminants, and certain rudimentary bones of the leg, are highly serviceable in exhibiting the close affinity between Ruminants and Pachyderms.

Robert Brown has strongly insisted on the fact that the rudimentary florets are of the highest importance in the classification of the Grasses.
13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or 13-05 - Descent always used in classification 40 Geographical distribution may sometimes be brought usefully into play in classing large and widely-distributed genera, because all the species of the same genus, inhabiting any distinct and isolated region, have in all probability descended from the same parents.

We can understand, on these views, the very important distinction between real affinities and analogical or adaptive resemblances.

Lamarck first called attention to this distinction, and he has been ably followed by Macleay and others.

Jean Baptiste Lamarck
Jean Baptiste Lamarck

William Sharp Macleay
William Sharp Macleay
13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or 13-05 - Descent always used in classification 50 The resemblance, in the shape of the body and in the fin-like anterior limbs, between the dugong, which is a pachydermatous animal, and the whale, and between both these mammals and fishes, is analogical.

Amongst insects there are innumerable instances: thus Linnaeus, misled by external appearances, actually classed an homopterous insect as a moth.

Carl Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus

moth
moth


We see something of the same kind even in our domestic varieties, as in the thickened stems of the common and swedish turnip.

turnip
turnip


The resemblance of the greyhound and racehorse is hardly more fanciful than the analogies which have been drawn by some authors between very distinct animals.

greyhound
greyhound

Race Horse
Race Horse