Page:Darwinism by Alfred Wallace 1889.djvu/394

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370
CHAP.
DARWINISM

lands; and, in the next place, there is not a particle of direct evidence that any such lowering of temperature in inter-tropical lowlands ever took place. The only alleged evidence of the kind is that adduced by the late Professor Agassiz and Mr. Hartt; but I am informed by my friend, Mr. J.C. Branner (now State Geologist of Arkansas, U.S.), who succeeded Mr. Hartt, and spent several years completing the geological survey of Brazil, that the supposed moraines and glaciated granite rocks near Rio Janeiro and elsewhere, as well as the so-called boulder-clay of the same region, are entirely explicable as the results of sub-aerial denudation and weathering, and that there is no proof whatever of glaciation in any part of Brazil.

Lower Temperature not needed to Explain the Facts.

But any such vast physical change as that suggested by Darwin, involving as it does such tremendous issues as regards its effects on the tropical fauna and flora of the whole world, is really quite uncalled for, because the facts to be explained are of the same essential nature as those presented by remote oceanic islands, between which and the nearest continents no temperate land connection is postulated. In proportion to their limited area and extreme isolation, the Azores, St. Helena, the Galapagos, and the Sandwich Islands, each possess a fairly rich—the last a very rich—indigenous flora; and the means which sufficed to stock them with a great variety of plants would probably suffice to transmit others from mountain-top to mountain-top in various parts of the globe. In the case of the Azores, we have large numbers of species identical with those of Europe, and others closely allied, forming an exactly parallel case to the species found on the various mountain summits which have been referred to. The distances from Madagascar to the South African mountains and to Kilimandjaro, and from the latter to Abyssinia, are no greater than from Spain to the Azores, while there are other equatorial mountains forming stepping-stones at about an equal distance to the Cameroons. Between Java and the Himalayas we have the lofty mountains of Sumatra and of North-western Burma, forming steps at about the same distance apart; while between Kini Balu and the Australian Alps we