Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/179

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167
THE INADEQUACY OF "NATURAL SELECTION."

source repeats itself as far as possible. Hence a conflict of tendencies to evolve two structures more or less unlike. The tendencies do not harmoniously conspire; but produce partially incongruous sets of organs. And evidently where the breed is one in which there are united the traits of various lines of ancestry, there results an organization so full of small incongruities of structure and action, that it has a much-diminished power of maintaining its balance; and while it can not withstand so well adverse influences, it can not so well hold its own in the offspring. Concerning parents of pure and mixed breeds respectively, severally tending to reproduce their own structures in progeny, we may, therefore, say figuratively that the house divided against itself can not withstand the house, of which the members are in concord.

Now if this is shown to be the case with breeds the purest of which have been adapted to their habitats and modes of life during some few hundred years only, what shall we say when the question is of a breed which has had a constant mode of life in the same locality for ten thousand years or more, like the quagga? In this the stability of constitution must be such as no domestic animal can approach. Relatively stable as may have been the constitutions of Lord Morton's horses, as compared with the constitutions of ordinary horses, yet, since Arab horses, even in their native country, have probably in the course of successive conquests and migrations of tribes become more or less mixed, and since they have been subject to the conditions of domestic life, differing much from the conditions of their original wild life, and since the English breed has undergone the perturbing effects of change from the climate and food of the East to the climate and food of the West, the organizations of the horse and mare in question could have had nothing like that perfect balance produced in the quagga by a hundred centuries of harmonious co-operation. Hence the result. And hence at the same time the interpretation of the fact that analogous phenomena are not perceived among domestic animals, or among ourselves; since both have relatively mixed, and generally extremely mixed, constitutions, which, as we see in ourselves, have been made generation after generation, not by the formation of a mean between two parents, but by the jumbling of traits of the one with traits of the other, until there exist no such conspiring tendencies among the parts as cause repetition of combined details of structure in posterity.

Expectation that skepticism might be felt respecting this alleged anomaly presented by the quagga-marked foal, had led me to think over the matter; and I had reached this interpretation before sending to the College of Surgeons Museum (being unable to go myself) to obtain the particulars and refer to the records.