Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/38

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28
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

There remains only to notice the third conceivable mode of adjustment. It may be imagined that though, by the natural selection of miscellaneous variations, these adjustments can not be effected, they may nevertheless be made to take place appropriately. How made? To suppose them so made is to suppose that the prescribed end is somewhere recognized; and that the changes are step by step simultaneously proportioned for achieving it—is to suppose a designed production of these changes. In such case, then, we have to fall back in part upon the primitive hypothesis; and if we do this in part, we may as well do it wholly—may as well avowedly return to the doctrine of special creation.

What, then, is the only defensible interpretation? If such modifications of structure produced by modifications of function as we see take place in each individual, are in any measure transmissible to descendants, then all these co-adaptations, from the simplest up to the most complex, are accounted for. In some cases this inheritance of acquired characters suffices by itself to explain the facts; and in other cases it suffices when taken in combination with the selection of favorable variations. An example of the first class is furnished by the change just considered; and an example of the second class is furnished by the case before named of development in a deer's horns. If, by some extra massiveness spontaneously arising, or by formation of an additional "point," an advantage is gained either for attack or defense, then, if the increased muscularity and strengthened structure of the neck and thorax, which wielding of these somewhat heavier horns produces, are in a greater or less degree inherited, and in several successive generations, are by this process brought up to the required extra strength, it becomes possible and advantageous for a further increase of the horns to take place, and a further increase in the apparatus for wielding them, and so on continuously. By such processes only, in which each part gains strength in proportion to function, can co-operative parts be kept in adjustment, and be readjusted to meet new requirements. Close contemplation of the facts impresses me more strongly than ever with the two alternatives—either there has been inheritance of acquired characters, or there has been no evolution.—Contemporary Review.

 

[To be concluded.]

 


 
In his work on Burma and Farther India, Genera! A. R. MacMahon, ex-Political Resident, expresses the opinion that the caste restriction on social intercourse, the absence of which in Burma gives occasion for much pleasant intimacy with Europeans, has preserved the natives of India from many evils—the result of a too sudden introduction to European ways and habits to which the Burmese succumb.