« EelmineJätka »
study of nature would have lost for me its greatest charm. I should feel as would the geologist, if you could convince him that his interpretation of the earth's past history was all a delusion—that strata were never formed in the primeval ocean, and that the fossils he so carefully collects and studies are no true record of a former living world, but were all created just as they now are, and in the rocks where he now finds them.
I must here express my own belief that none of these phenomena, however apparently isolated or insignificant, can ever stand alone-that not the wing of a butterfly can change in form or vary in colour, except in harmony with, and as a part of the grand march of nature. I believe, therefore, that all the curious phenomena I have just recapitulated, are immediately dependent on the last series of changes, organic and inorganic, in these regions; and as the phenomena presented by the island of Celebes differ from those of all the surrounding islands, it can, I conceive, only be because the past history of Celebes has been, to some extent, unique and different from theirs. We must have much more evidence to determine exactly in what that difference has consisted. At present, I only see my way clear to one deduction, viz., that Celebes represents one of the oldest parts of the archipelago ; that it has been formerly more completely isolated both from India and from Australia than it is now, and that amid all the mutations it has undergone, a relic or substratum of the fauna and flora of some more ancient land has been here preserved to us.
It is only since my return home, and since I have been able to compare the productions of Celebes side by side with those of the surrounding islands, that I have been fully impressed with their peculiarity, and the great interest that attaches to them. The plants and the reptiles are still almost unknown; and it is to be hoped that some enterprising naturalist may soon devote himself to their study. The geology of the country would also be well worth exploring, and its newer fossils would be of especial interest as elucidating the changes which have led to its present anomalous condition. This island stands, as it were, upon the boundary-line between two worlds. On one side is hat ancient Australian fauna, which preserves to the present day the facies of an early geological epoch ; on the other is the rich and varied fauna of Asia, which seems to contain, in every class and order, the most perfect and highly organised animals. Celebes has relations to both, yet strictly belongs to neither : it possesses characteristics which are altogether its own ; and I am convinced that no single island upon the globe would so well repay a careful and detailed research into its past and present history.
Concluding Remarks. In writing this essay it has been my object to show how much may, under favourable circumstances, be earnt by the study of what may be termed the external hysiology of a small group of animals, inhabiting a mited district. This branch of natural history had
received little attention till Mr. Darwin showed how important an adjunct it may become towards a true interpretation of the history of organized beings, and attracted towards it some small share of that research which had before been almost exclusively devoted to internal structure and physiology. The nature of species, the laws of variation, the mysterious influence of locality on both form and colour, the phenomena of dimorphism and of mimicry, the modifying influence of sex, the general laws of geographical distribution, and the interpretation of past changes of the earth's surface, have all been more or less fully illustrated by the very limited group of the Malayan Papilionidæ; while, at the same time, the deductions drawi therefrom have been shown to be supported by analo gous facts, occurring in other and often widely-sepa. rated groups of animals.
ON INSTINCT IN MAN AND ANIMALS.
The most perfect and most striking examples of what is termed instinct, those in which reason or observation appear to have the least influence, and which seem to imply the possession of faculties farthest removed from our own, are to be found among insects. The marvellous constructive powers of bees and wasps, the social economy of ants, the careful provision for the safety of a progeny they are never to see manifested by many beetles and flies, and the curious preparations for the pupa state by the larvæ of butterflies and moths, are typical examples of this faculty, and are supposed to be conclusive as to the existence of some power or intelligence, very different from that which we derive from our senses or from our reason.
How Instinct may be best Studied. Whatever we may define instinct to be, it is evidently some form of mental manifestation, and as we can only judge of mind by the analogy of our own mental functions and by observation of the results of mental action in other men and in animals, it is incumbent on us, first, to study and endeavour to comprehend the minds of infants, of savage men, and of animals not very far removed from ourselves, before we pronounce positively as to the nature of the mental operations in creatures so radically different from us as insects. We have not yet even been able to ascertain what are the senses they possess, or what relation their powers of seeing, hearing, and feeling have to ours. Their sight may far exceed ours both in delicacy and in range, and may possibly give them knowledge of the internal constitution of bodies analogous to that which we obtain by the spectroscope; and that their visual organs do possess some powers which ours do not, is indicated by the extraordinary crystalline rods radiating from the optic ganglion to the facets of the compound eye, which rods vary in form and thickness in different parts of their length, and possess distinctive characters in each group of insects. This complex apparatus, so different from anything in the eyes of vertebrates, may subserve some function quite inconceivable by us, as well as that which we know as vision. There is reason to believe that insects appreciate sounds of extreme delicacy, and it is supposed that certain minute organs, plentifully supplied with nerves, and situated in the subcostal vein of the wing in most insects, are the organs of hearing. But besides these, the Orthoptera (such as grasshoppers, &c.) have what are supposed to be ears on their fore legs, and Mr. Lowne believes that the little stalked balls, which are the sole remnants of the hind wings in flies, are also organs of hearing or of some analogous sense. In flies, too, the third joint of the