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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 that 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 learnt by the study of what may be termed the external physiology of a small group of animals, inhabiting a limited 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 drawn therefrom have been shown to be supported by analogous facts, occurring in other and often widely-separated groups of 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 antennæ contains thousands of nerve-fibres, which terminate in small open cells, and this Mr. Lowne believes to be the organ of smell, or of some other, perhaps new, sense. It is quite evident, therefore, that insects may possess senses which give them a knowledge of that which we can never perceive, and enable them to perform acts which to us are incomprehensible. In the midst of this complete ignorance of their faculties and inner nature, is it wise for us to judge so boldly of their powers by a comparison with our own? How can we pretend to fathom the profound mystery of their mental nature, and decide what, and how much, they can perceive or remember, reason or reflect! To leap at one bound from our own consciousness to that of an insect's, is as unreasonable and absurd as if, with a pretty good knowledge of the multiplication table, we were to go straight to the study of the calculus of functions, or as if our comparative anatomists should pass from the study of man's bony structure to that of the fish, and, without any knowledge of the numerous intermediate forms, were to attempt to determine the homologies between these distant types of vertebrata. In such a case would not error be inevitable, and would not continued study in the same direction only render the erroneous conclusions more ingrained and more irremovable.