Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/21

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11
AMERICAN ZOÖLOGISTS AND EVOLUTION.

of the main field. This interpretation of arctic forms on high peaks, though attended to by several American naturalists, is not new. Oswald Heer, in discussing the origin of certain animals and plants, coincides with De Candolle that Alpine plants are relics, as it were, of a glacial epoch. Prof. Gray[1] had also independently arrived at the same conclusions, based on a comparison of the plants of Eastern North America and Japan. In the position he maintained regarding the derivation of species from preëxisting ones, he stood far in advance of his brother naturalists in this country, for this was before Darwin's great work had appeared, and before Heer had developed the host of fossil plants from the arctic zone. Mr. S. I. Smith, in speaking of mountain faunæ, points out the gradual encroachment of glaciers, and the drawing down of northern forms; and, as the glaciers retreated, these forms were caught, "the mountain-summits being left as aërial islands." Dr. Packard and Mr. Scudder have severally called attention to the same thing.

Prof. A. R. Grote has more fully dealt with the subject in a paper read before this Association, and in a graphic way shows that the "former existence of a long and widely-spread winter of years is offered in evidence through the frail brown Œneis butterflies, that live on the top of the mountains within the temperate zone." I have been thus explicit, in order to contrast these more rational views with those formerly entertained by eminent naturalists, whose minds were imbued at the time with the idea of special creation. Mr. Samuel H. Scudder[2] read before the Boston Society of Natural History an account of distinct zones of life on high mountains, as illustrated in the insect-life of Mount Washing-ton. He called attention to certain insects which he supposed peculiar to the summit, and not found farther north, though showing a remarkable correspondence to certain arctic forms. Prof. Wyman asked whether all the facts might not be accounted for on the theory of migration northward after a glacial epoch, and Prof. Rogers suggested that the facts might be accounted for on the migratory theory if we added thereto the supposition of subsequent variation induced by isolation. Yet these views were persistently opposed by the other naturalists present. The mass of evidence already contributed, as to the extraordinary variation in color, markings, and size of species coinciding with their physical surroundings, though perhaps trivial in itself, becomes important when the proofs are grouped together, and all bear upon the theory of derivation. So slight a thins; as change of food is found to influence certain animals even to a degree usually regarded specific. The late Dr. B. D. Walsh[3] discovered some very curious features among in-

  1. "Memoirs of the American Academy," vol. vi., pp. 377-458 (1859).
  2. "Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History," vol. ix., p. 230.
  3. "On Phytophagic Varieties and Phytophagic Species," "Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia," vol. iii., p. 403.