Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/824

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
804
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wore little figures of saints on their necks. It will be very hard to take the fetich-faith entirely away from the negroes. It is too deeply lodged in their natures.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Das Ausland.

 

WHAT AMERICAN ZOÖLOGISTS HAVE DONE FOR EVOLUTION.[1]
By Professor EDWARD S. MORSE.

ELEVEN years ago I had the honor of reading before this Association an address in which an attempt was made to show what American zoölogists had done for evolution. (See "Popular Science Monthly," Vol. X, pages 1 and 181.) My reasons for selecting this subject were, first, that no general review of this nature had been made; and, second, that many of the oft-repeated examples in support of the derivative theory were from European sources and did not carry the weight of equally important facts, the records of which were concealed in our own scientific journals. Darwin was pleased to write to me that most of the facts I had mentioned were familiar to him; but, to use his own words, he was amazed at their number and importance when brought together in this manner. The encouragement of his recognition has led me to select a continuation of this theme as a subject for the customary presidential address, a task which is at best a thankless if not a profitless one. Had I faintly realized, however, the increasing number and importance of the contributions made by our students on this subject, I should certainly have chosen a different theme.

Incomplete as is this record of ten years' work, I am compelled to present it. In the Buffalo address two marked periods in the work of the zoölogists in this country are recognized: the one period embracing the work of the topographers, the field-surveyors in the science; the other period elating from the advent of Agassiz, with the wonderful impulse he imparted to the study by his enthusiasm and devotion. A third period in American zoölogical science, and by far the most important awakening, dates from the publication of Darwin's "Origin of Species." Its effect on zoölogical literature was striking. The papers were first tinged with the new doctrine, then saturated, and now, without reference to the theory, derivation is taken for granted.

As zoölogists we are indebted to Darwin for the wide-spread public interest in our work. Before Darwin the importance of our special studies was far outweighed by the practical value placed upon science, in the application of which an immediate material gain was assured. Chemistry, physics, geology were important to the public only because

  1. Address of the retiring President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, delivered at the New York meeting, August 10, 1887.