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pouter pigeons, and poodle dogs could never have come into existence in a state of nature, because the very first step towards such inferior forms would have led to the rapid extinction of the race; still less could they now exist in competition with their wild allies. The great speed but slight endurance of the race horse, the unwieldly strength of the ploughman's team, would both be useless in a state of nature. If turned wild on the pampas, such animals would probably soon become extinct, or under favourable circumstances might each gradually lose those extreme qualities which would never be called into action, and in a few generations revert to a common type, which must be that in which the various powers and faculties are so proportioned to each other as to be best adapted to procure food and secure safety,—that in which by the full exercise of every part of its organisation the animal can alone continue to live. Domestic varieties, when turned wild, must return to something near the type of the original wild stock, or become altogether extinct.*
We see, then, that no inferences as to the permanence of varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observations of those occurring among domestic animals. The two are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other. Domestic animals are abnormal, irregular, artificial ; they are subject to variations which never occur and never can occur in a state of nature : their very existence depends altogether on human care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties, that true balance of organisation, by means of which alone an animal left to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race.
* That is, they will vary, and the variations which tend to adapt them to the wild state, and therefore approximate them to wild animals, will be preserved. Those individuals which do not vary sufficiently will perish.
Lamarck's Hypothesis very different from that now
advanced. The hypothesis of Lamarck-that progressive changes in species have been produced by the attempts of animals to increase the development of their own organs, and thus modify their structure and habits-has been repeatedly and easily refuted by all writers on the subject of varieties and species, and it seems to have been considered that when this was done the whole question has been finally settled ; but the view here developed renders such hypothesis quite unnecessary, by showing that similar results must be produced by the action of principles constantly at work in nature. The powerful retractile talons of the falcon- and the cat-tribes have not been produced or increased by the volition of those animals; but among the different varieties which occurred in the earlier and less highly organized forms of these groups, those always survived longest which had the greatest facilities for seizing their prey. Neither did the giraffe acquire its long neck by desiring to reach the foliage of the more lofty shrubs, and constantly stretching it neck for the purpose, but because any varieties which occurred among its antitypes with a longer neck than usual at once secured a fresh range of pasture over the same ground as their shorter-necked companions, and on the first scarcity of food were thereby enabled to outlive them. Even the peculiar colours of many animals, more especially of insects, so closely resembling the soil or leaves or bark on which they habitually reside, are explained on the same principle; for though in the course of ages varieties of many tints may have occurred, yet those races having colours best adapted to concealment from their enemies would inevitably survive the longest. We have also here an acting cause to account for that balance so often observed in nature,-a deficiency in one set of organs always being compensated by an increased development of some others-powerful wings accompanying weak feet, or great velocity making up for the absence of defensive weapons ; for it has been shown that all varieties in which an unbalanced deficiency occurred could not long continue their existence. The action of this principle is exactly like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident; and in like manner no unbalanced deficiency in the animal kingdom can ever reach any conspicuous magnitude, because it would make itself felt at the very first step, by rendering existence difficult and extinction almost sure soon to follow. An origin such as is here advocated will also agree with the peculiar character of the modifications of form and structure which obtain in organized beings—the many lines of divergence from a central type, the increasing efficiency and power of a particular organ through a succession of allied species, and the remarkable persistence of unimportant parts, such as colour, texture of plumage and hair, form of horns or crests, through a series of species differing considerably in more essential characters. It also furnishes us with a reason for that more specialized structure” which Professor Owen states to be a characteristic of recent compared with extinct forms, and which would evidently be the result of the progressive modification of any organ applied to a special purpose in the animal economy.
Conclusion. We believe we have now shown that there is a tendency in nature to the continued progression of certain classes of varieties further and further from the original type-a progression to which there appears no reason to assign any definite limits-and that the same principle which produces this result in a state of nature will also explain why domestic varieties have a tendency, when they become wild, to revert to the original type. This progression,
by minute steps, in various directions, but always checked and balanced by the necessary conditions, subject to which alone existence can be preserved, may, it is believed, be followed out so as to agree with all the phænomena presented by organized beings, their extinction and succession in past ages, and all the extraordinary modifications of form, instinct and habits which they exhibit.