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Export to Excel select * from OriginOfSpecies where subject = '13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or' order by ordinal limit 24, 4 (Page 7: Row)
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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 50 Numerous instances could be given of characters derived from parts which must be considered of very trifling physiological importance, but which are universally admitted as highly serviceable in the definition of whole groups.

For instance, whether or not there is an open passage from the nostrils to the mouth, the only character, according to Owen, which absolutely distinguishes fishes and reptiles the inflection of the angle of the jaws in Marsupials -- the manner in which the wings of insects are folded mere colour in certain Algae mere pubescence on parts of the flower in grasses the nature of the dermal covering, as hair or feathers, in the Vertebrata.

fish
fish

reptile
reptile

marsupials
marsupials


If the Ornithorhynchus had been covered with feathers instead of hair, this external and trifling character would, I think, have been considered by naturalists as important an aid in determining the degree of affinity of this strange creature to birds and reptiles, as an approach in structure in any one internal and important organ.

ornithorhynchus
ornithorhynchus
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 60 The importance, for classification, of trifling characters, mainly depends on their being correlated with several other characters of more or less importance.

The value indeed of an aggregate of characters is very evident in natural history.

Hence, as has often been remarked, a species may depart from its allies in several characters, both of high physiological importance and of almost universal prevalence, and yet leave us in no doubt where it should be ranked.

Hence, also, it has been found, that a classification founded on any single character, however important that may be, has always failed; for no part of the organisation is universally constant.

The importance of an aggregate of characters, even when none are important, alone explains, I think, that saying of Linnaeus, that the characters do not give the genus, but the genus gives the characters; for this saying seems founded on an appreciation of many trifling points of resemblance, too slight to be defined.

Certain plants, belonging to the Malpighiaceae, bear perfect and degraded flowers; in the latter, as A. de Jussieu has remarked, `the greater number of the characters proper to the species, to the genus, to the family, to the class, disappear, and thus laugh at our classification.' But when Aspicarpa produced in France, during several years, only degraded flowers, departing so wonderfully in a number of the most important points of structure from the proper type of the order, yet M. Richard sagaciously saw, as Jussieu observes, that this genus should still be retained amongst the Malpighiaceae.


Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Or 13-05 - Descent always used in classification 60 On my view of characters being of real importance for classification, only in so far as they reveal descent, we can clearly understand why analogical or adaptive character, although of the utmost importance to the welfare of the being, are almost valueless to the systematist.

For animals, belonging to two most distinct lines of descent, may readily become adapted to similar conditions, and thus assume a close external resemblance; but such resemblances will not reveal will rather tend to conceal their blood-relationship to their proper lines of descent.

We can also understand the apparent paradox, that the very same characters are analogical when one class or order is compared with another, but give true affinities when the members of the same class or order are compared one with another: thus the shape of the body and fin-like limbs are only analogical when whales are compared with fishes, being adaptations in both classes for swimming through the water; but the shape of the body and fin-like limbs serve as characters exhibiting true affinity between the several members of the whale family; for these cetaceans agree in so many characters, great and small, that we cannot doubt that they have inherited their general shape of body and structure of limbs from a common ancestor.

whale
whale

fish
fish


So it is with fishes.
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 70 This case seems to me well to illustrate the spirit with which our classifications are sometimes necessarily founded.

Practically when naturalists are at work, they do not trouble themselves about the physiological value of the characters which they use in defining a group, or in allocating any particular species.

If they find a character nearly uniform, and common to a great number of forms, and not common to others, they use it as one of high value; if common to some lesser number, they use it as of subordinate value.

This principle has been broadly confessed by some naturalists to be the true one; and by none more clearly than by that excellent botanist, Aug. St. Hilaire.

Augustin Saint Hilaire
Augustin Saint Hilaire