but it seemed to me that I recognised the marble mantelpieces.

time:2023-12-01 01:06:00 Classification:qsj source:ios

My relations with Prof. Cope are of the most friendly character; and although fortunate in publishing a few months ahead, I consider that this gives me no right to claim anything beyond such an amount of participation in the discovery, if it may be so called, as the thoroughness and worth of my work entitles me to...

but it seemed to me that I recognised the marble mantelpieces.

The collections which I have studied, it will be remembered, are fossils collected without special reference to the very minute subdivisions, such as the subdivisions of the Lower or Middle Lias as made by the German authors, especially Quenstedt and Oppel, but pretty well defined for the larger divisions in which the species are also well defined. The condition of the collections as regards names, etc., was chaotic, localities alone, with some few exceptions, accurate. To put this in order they were first arranged according to their adult characteristics. This proving unsatisfactory, I determined to test thoroughly the theory of evolution by following out the developmental history of each species and placing them within their formations, Middle or Upper Lias, Oolite or so, according to the extent to which they represented each other's characteristics. Thus an adult of simple structure being taken as the starting-point which we will call a, another species which was a in its young stage and became b in the adult was placed above it in the zoological series. By this process I presently found that a, then a b and a b c, c representing the adult stage, were very often found; but that practically after passing these two or three stages it did not often happen that a species was found which was a b c in the young and then became d in the adult. But on the other hand I very frequently found one which, while it was a in the young, skipped the stages b and c and became d while still quite young. Then sometimes, though more rarely, a species would be found belonging to the same series, which would be a in the young and with a very faint and fleeting resemblance to d at a later stage, pass immediately while still quite young to the more advanced characteristics represented by e, and hold these as its specific characteristics until old age destroyed them. This skipping is the highest exemplification, or rather manifestation, of acceleration in development. In alluding to the history of diseases and inheritance of characteristics, you in your "Origin of Species" allude to the ordinary manifestation of acceleration, when you speak of the tendency of diseases or characteristics to appear at younger periods in the life of the child than of its parents. This, according to my observations, is a law, or rather mode, of development, which is applicable to all characteristics, and in this way it is possible to explain why the young of later-occurring animals are like the adult stages of those which preceded them in time. If I am not mistaken you have intimated something of this sort also in your first edition, but I have not been able to find it lately. Of course this is a very normal condition of affairs when a series can be followed in this way, beginning with species a, then going through species a b to a b c, then a b d or a c d, and then a d e or simply a e, as it sometimes comes. Very often the acceleration takes place in two closely connected series, thus:

but it seemed to me that I recognised the marble mantelpieces.

in which one series goes on very regularly, while another lateral offshoot of a becomes d in the adult. This is an actual case which can be plainly shown with the specimens in hand, and has been verified in the collections here. Retardation is entirely Prof. Cope's idea, but I think also easily traceable. It is the opponent of acceleration, so to speak, or the opposite or negative of that mode of development. Thus series may occur in which, either in size or characteristics, they return to former characteristics; but a better discussion of this point you will find in the little treatise which I send by the same mail as this letter, "On Reversions among the Ammonites."

but it seemed to me that I recognised the marble mantelpieces.

LETTER 254. TO A. HYATT. Down, December 4th, 1872.

I thank you sincerely for your most interesting letter. You refer much too modestly to your own knowledge and judgment, as you are much better fitted to throw light on your own difficult problems than I am.

It has quite annoyed me that I do not clearly understand yours and Prof. Cope's views (254/1. Prof. Cope's views may be gathered from his "Origin of the Fittest" 1887; in this book (page 41) is reprinted his "Origin of Genera" from the "Proc. Philadelph. Acad. Nat. Soc." 1868, which was published separately by the author in 1869, and which we believe to be his first publication on the subject. In the preface to the "Origin of the Fittest," page vi, he sums up the chief points in the "Origin of Genera" under seven heads, of which the following are the most important:--"First, that development of new characters has been accomplished by an ACCELERATION or RETARDATION in the growth of the parts changed...Second, that of EXACT PARALLELISM between the adult of one individual or set of individuals, and a transitional stage of one or more other individuals. This doctrine is distinct from that of an exact parallelism, which had already been stated by von Baer." The last point is less definitely stated by Hyatt in his letter of December 4th, 1872. "I am thus perpetually led to look upon a series very much as upon an individual, and think that I have found that in many instances these afford parallel changes." See also "Lamarck the Founder of Evolution, by A.S. Packard: New York, 1901.) and the fault lies in some slight degree, I think, with Prof. Cope, who does not write very clearly. I think I now understand the terms "acceleration" and "retardation"; but will you grudge the trouble of telling me, by the aid of the following illustration, whether I do understand rightly? When a fresh- water decapod crustacean is born with an almost mature structure, and therefore does not pass, like other decapods, through the Zoea stage, is this not a case of acceleration? Again, if an imaginary decapod retained, when adult, many Zoea characters, would this not be a case of retardation? If these illustrations are correct, I can perceive why I have been so dull in understanding your views. I looked for something else, being familiar with such cases, and classing them in my own mind as simply due to the obliteration of certain larval or embryonic stages. This obliteration I imagined resulted sometimes entirely from that law of inheritance to which you allude; but that it in many cases was aided by Natural Selection, as I inferred from such cases occurring so frequently in terrestrial and fresh- water members of groups, which retain their several embryonic stages in the sea, as long as fitting conditions are present.

Another cause of my misunderstanding was the assumption that in your series

the differences between the successive species, expressed by the terminal letter, was due to acceleration: now, if I understand rightly, this is not the case; and such characters must have been independently acquired by some means.