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06 - Difficutiles in Theory 06-12 - Organs not in all Cases Absolutely Perfect 70 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.
strawberry
strawberry

cherry
cherry

Spindle Wood
Spindle Wood

Holly Berries
Holly Berries


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.
06 - Difficutiles in Theory 06-12 - Organs not in all Cases Absolutely Perfect 20 But a still more important consideration is that the chief part of the organisation of every living creature is due to inheritance; and consequently, though each being assuredly is well fitted for its place in nature, many structures have now no very close and direct relation to present habits of life.

Thus, we can hardly believe that the webbed feet of the upland goose or of the frigate-bird are of special use to these birds; we cannot believe that the similar bones in the arm of the monkey, in the fore-leg of the horse, in the wing of the bat, and in the flipper of the seal, are of special use to these animals. We may safely attribute these structures to inheritance.
goose
goose

Frigate Bird
Frigate Bird

monkey
monkey

horse
horse

bat
bat

seal
seal


But webbed feet no doubt were as useful to the progenitor of the upland goose and of the frigate-bird, as they now are to the most aquatic of living birds.
06 - Difficutiles in Theory 06-12 - Organs not in all Cases Absolutely Perfect 90 How the sense of beauty in its simplest form- that is, the reception of a peculiar kind of pleasure from certain colours, forms, and sounds- was first developed in the mind of man and of the lower animals, is a very obscure subject.

The same sort of difficulty is presented, if we enquire how it is that certain flavours and odours give pleasure, and others displeasure.

Habit in all these cases appears to have come to a certain extent into play; but there must be some fundamental cause in the constitution of the nervous system in each species.
06 - Difficutiles in Theory 06-12 - Organs not in all Cases Absolutely Perfect 130 If we look at the sting of the bee, as having existed in a remote progenitor, as a boring and serrated instrument, like that in so many members of the same great order, and which has since been modified but not perfected for its present purpose, with the poison originally adapted for some other object, such as to produce galls, since intensified, we can perhaps understand how it is that the use of the sting should so often cause the insect's own death: for if on the whole the power of stinging be useful to the social community, it will fulfil all the requirements of natural selection, though it may cause the death of some few members.
bee
bee


If we admire the truly wonderful power of scent by which the males of many insects find their females, can we admire the production for this single purpose of thousands of drones, which are utterly useless to the community for any other purpose, and which are ultimately slaughtered by their industrious and sterile sisters?

It may be difficult, but we ought to admire the savage instinctive hatred of the queen-bee, which urges her to destroy the young queens, her daughters, as soon as they are born, or to perish herself in the combat; for undoubtedly this is for the good of the community; and maternal love or maternal hatred, though the latter fortunately is most rare, is all the same to the inexorable principle of natural selection.

If we admire the several ingenious contrivances, by which orchids and many other plants are fertilised through insect agency, can we consider as equally perfect the elaboration of dense clouds of pollen by our fir trees, so that a few granules may be wafted by chance on to the ovules?

orchid
orchid