Page:Origin of Species 1859 facsimile.djvu/370
with each other, and with the many existing oceanic islands. Several facts in distribution,—such as the great difference in the marine faunas on the opposite sides of almost every continent,—the close relation of the tertiary inhabitants of several lands and even seas to their present inhabitants,—a certain degree of relation (as we shall hereafter see) between the distribution of mammals and the depth of the sea,—these and other such facts seem to me opposed to the admission of such prodigious geographical revolutions within the recent period, as are necessitated on the view advanced by Forbes and admitted by his many followers. The nature and relative proportions of the inhabitants of oceanic islands likewise seem to me opposed to the belief of their former continuity with continents. Nor does their almost universally volcanic composition favour the admission that they are the wrecks of sunken continents;—if they had originally existed as mountain-ranges on the land, some at least of the islands would have been formed, like other mountain-summits, of granite, metamorphic schists, old fossiliferous or other such rocks, instead of consisting of mere piles of volcanic matter.
I must now say a few words on what are called accidental means, but which more properly might be called occasional means of distribution. I shall here confine myself to plants. In botanical works, this or that plant is stated to be ill adapted for wide dissemination; but for transport across the sea, the greater or less facilities may be said to be almost wholly unknown. Until I tried, with Mr. Berkeley's aid, a few experiments, it was not even known how far seeds could resist the injurious action of sea-water. To my surprise I found that out of 87 kinds, 64 germinated after an immersion of 28 days, and a few survived an immersion of 137 days.