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defend themselves from these small enemies, would be able to range into new pastures and thus gain a great advantage. It is not that the larger quadrupeds are actually destroyed (except in some rare cases) by flies, but they are incessantly harassed and their strength reduced, so that they are more subject to disease, or not so well enabled in a coming dearth to search for food, or to escape from beasts of prey.
Organs now of trifling importance have probably in some cases been of high importance to an early progenitor, and, after having been slowly perfected at a former period, have been transmitted in nearly the same state, although now become of very slight use ; and any actually injurious deviations in their structure will always have been checkedby natural selection. Seeing how important an organ of locomotion the tail is in most aquatic animals, its general presence and use for many purposes in so many land animals, which in their lungs or modified swimbladders betray their aquatic origin, may perhaps be thus accounted for. A well-developed tail having been formed in an aquatic animal, it might subsequently come to be worked in for all sorts of purposes, as a fly-flapper, an organ of prehension, or as an aid in turning, as with the dog, though the aid must be slight, for the hare, with hardly any tail, can double quickly enough.
In the second place, we may sometimes attribute importance to characters which are really of very little importance, and which have originated from quite secondary causes, independently of natural selection. We should remember that climate, food, &c., probably have some little direct influence on the organisation ; that characters reappear from the law of reversion; that correlation of growth will have had a most important influence in modifying various structures; and finally, that sexual selection will often have largely modified the external characters of animals having a will, to give one male an advantage in fighting with another or in charming the females. Moreover when a modification of structure has primarily arisen from the above or other unknown causes, itjmay at first have been of no advantage to the species, but may subsequently have been taken advantage of by the descendants of the species under new conditions of life and with newly acquired habits.
To give a few instances to illustrate these latter remarks. If green woodpeckers alone had existed, and we did not know that there were many black and pied kinds, I dare say that we should have thought that the green colour was a beautiful adaptation to hide this tree-frequenting bird from its enemies; and consequently that it was a character of' importance and might have been acquired through natural selection; as it is, we cannot doubt that the colour is due to some quite distinct cause, probably to sexual selection. A trailing palm in the Malay Archipelago climbs the loftiest trees by the aid of exquisitely constructed hooks clustered round the ends of the branches, and this contrivance, no doubt, is of the highest service to the plant; but as we see nearly similar hooks on many trees which are not climbers, the hOoks on the palm may have arisen from (unknown laws of growth, and have been subsequently taken advantage of by the plant undergoing further modification and becoming a climber. The naked skin on the head of a vulture is generally considered as a direct adaptation for wallowing in putridity; and so it may be, or it may possibly be due to the direct action of putrid matter ; but we should be very cautious in drawing any such inference, when we see that the skin on the head of the clean-feeding male turkey is likewise naked. The sutures in the skulls of young mammals have been advanced as a beautiful adaptation for aiding parturition, and no doubt they facilitate, or may be indispensable for this act ; but as sutures occur in the skulls of young birds and reptiles, which have only to escape from a broken egg, we may infer that this structure has arisen from‘ the laws of growth, and has been taken advantage of in the parturition of the higher animals.
We are profoundly ignorant of the causes producing slight and unimportant variations ; and we are immediately made conscious of this by reflecting on the differences in the breeds of our domesticated animals in different countries, —more especially in the less civilised countries where there has been but little artificial selection. Animals kept by savages in different countries often have to struggle for their own subsistence, and would be exposed as a certain extent to natural selection, and individuals with slightly different constitutions would succeed best under. different climates. A good observer states that in cattle susceptibility to the attacks of flies is correlated with colour, as is the liability to be poisoned by certain plants ; so that even colour would be thus subjected to the action of natural selection. Other observers are convinced that a damp climate affects the growth of the hair, and that with
the hair the horns are correlated. Mountain breeds always differ from lowland breeds; and a mountainous country would probably affect the hind limbs from exercising them more, and possibly even the form of the pelvis; and then by the law of homologous variation, the front limbs and the head would probably be affected. The shape, also, of the pelvis might affect by pressure ,the shape of the head of the young in the womb. The laborious breathing necessary in high regions would, we have some reason to believe, increase the size of the chest ; and again correlation would come into play. The effects on the whole organisation of lessened exercise with abundant food is probably still more important; and this, as H. von Nathusius has lately shown in his excellent Treatise, is apparently one chief cause of the great modification which the breeds of swine have undergone. But we are far too ignorant to speculate on the relative importance of the several known and unknown laws of variation; and I have here alluded to them only to show that, if we are unable to account for the characteristic differences of our domestic breeds, which nevertheless we generally admit to have arisen through ordinary generation, we ought not to lay too much stress on our ignorance of the precise cause of the slight analogous differences between species. I might have adduced for this same purpose the differences between the races of man, which are so strongly marked; I may add that some little light can apparently be thrown on the origin of these differences, chiefly through sexual selection of a particular kind, but without here entering on copious details my reasoning would appear frivolous.
The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beduty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory. Yet I fully admit that many structures are of no direct use to their possessors. Physical conditions probably have had some little effect on structure, quite independently of any good thus gained. Correlation of growth has no doubt played a most important part, and a useful modification of one part will often have entailed on'other parts diversified changes of no direct use. So again characters which formerly were useful, or which formerly had arisen from correlation of growth, or from other unknown cause, may reappear from the law of reversion, though now of no direct use. The effects of sexual selection, when displayed in beauty to charm the females, can be called useful only in rather a forced sense. But by far the most important consideration is that the chief part of the organisation of every being is simply due to inheritance; and consequently, though each being assuredly is well fitted for its place in nature, many structures now have no direct relation to the habits of life of each species. 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. \Ve may safely attribute these structures to inheritance. But to the progenitor of the upland goose and of the frigate-bird, webbed feet no doubt were as useful as they now are to the most aquatic of existing birds. So we may believe that the progenitor of the seal had not a flipper, but a foot with five toes fitted for walking or grasping ; and we may further venture to believe that the several bones in the limbs of the monkey, horse, and bat, which have been inherited from a common progenitor, were formerly of more special use to that progenitor, or its progenitors, than they now are to these animals having such widely diversified habits. Therefore we may infer that these several bones might have been. acquired through natural selection, subjected formerly, as now, to the several laws of inheritance, reversion, correlation of growth, &c. Hence every detail of structure in every living creature (making some little allowance for the direct action of physical conditions) may be viewed, either as having been of special use to some ancestral form, or as being now of special use to the descendants of this form—-either directly, or indirectly through the complex laws of growth. ‘
Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of
the ichneumon, by which its eggs are-deposited in the
living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been pro— duced through natural selection. , Although many state— ments may be found in works on natural history to this effect, I cannot find even one which seems to me of any weight. It is admitted that the rattlesnake has a poisonfang for its own defence and for the destruction of its prey ; but some authors suppose that at the same time this snake is furnished" with a-rattle for its own- injury, namely, to warn its prey to escape. I would almost as soon believe that the cat curls the end of its tail when preparing to spring, in order to warn the doomed mouse. But I have not space here tov enter on this and other such cases.
Natural selection will never'produce in a being anything injurious to itself, for natural selection acts solely by and for the good of each. No organ will be formed, as Paley has remarked, for the purpose of causing pain or for doing an injury to its possessor. If a fair balance be struck between the good and evil caused by each part, each will be found on the whole advantageous. After the lapse of time, under changing conditions of life, if any part comes to be injurious,vit will be modified ; _or if it be not so, the being will become extinct, as myriads have become extinct. 3
Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than, the other inhabitants of the same country with which it has to struggle for existence. And we see that this is the degree of perfection attained under nature. The endemic productions of New Zealand, for instance, are perfect one compared with another ; but they are now rapidly yielding before the advancing legions of plants and animals introduced from'Europe. Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection, nor do we always meet, as far as we can judge, with this high standard under nature. The
correction for the aberration of light is said, on high
authority, not to be perfect even in that most perfect organ, the eye. If our reason leads us to admire with enthusiasm a multitude of inimitable contrivances in nature, this same reason tells us, though we may easily err on both sides, that some other contrivances are less perfect. Can we consider the sting of the wasp or of the