Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/501

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485
PROFESSOR WEISMANN'S THEORIES.

tation, the remembrance of a remark I heard many years ago concerning dogs, led to the inquiry whether they furnished analogous evidence. It occurred to me that a friend who is frequently appointed judge of animals at agricultural shows, Mr. Fookes, of Fairfield, Pewsey, Wiltshire, might know something about the matter. A letter to him brought various confirmatory statements. From one "who had bred dogs for many years" he learned that—

"It is a well-known and admitted fact that if a bitch has two litters by two different dogs, the character of the first father is sure to be perpetuated in any litters she may afterward have, no matter how pure-bred a dog may be the begetter."

After citing this testimony, Mr. Fookes goes on to give illustrations known to himself.

"A friend of mine near this had a very valuable Dachshund bitch, which most unfortunately had a litter by a stray sheep-dog. The next year her owner sent her on a visit to a pure Dachshund dog, but the produce took quite as much of the first father as the second, and the next year he sent her to another Dachshund with the same result. Another case: A friend of mine in Devizes had a litter of puppies, unsought for, by a setter from a favorite pointer bitch, and after this she never bred any true pointers, no matter of what the paternity was."

These farther evidences, to which Mr. Fookes has since added others, render the general conclusion incontestable. Coming from remote places, from those who have no theory to support, and who are some of them astonished by the unexpected phenomena, the agreement dissipates all doubt. In four kinds of mammals, widely divergent in their natures—man, horse, dog, and pig—we have this same seemingly anomalous kind of heredity made visible under analogous conditions. We must take it as a demonstrated fact that, during gestation, traits of constitution inherited from the father produce effects upon the constitution of the mother; and that these communicated effects are transmitted by her to subsequent offspring. We are supplied with an absolute disproof of Prof. Weismann's doctrine that the reproductive cells are independent of, and uninfluenced by, the somatic cells; and there disappears absolutely the alleged obstacle to the transmission of acquired characters.

 

Notwithstanding experiences showing the futility of controversy for the establishment of truth, I am tempted here to answer opponents at some length. But even could the editor allow me the needful space, I should be compelled both by lack of time and by ill health to be brief. I must content myself with noticing a few points which most nearly concern me.

Referring to my argument respecting tactual discriminativeness, Mr. Wallace thinks that I—