Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/755

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

the theologians, relying on the explicit statement of St. Paul that the gospel had gone into all lands, had for ages declared there could be none; until finally it overtaxed even the theological imagination to conceive of angels, in obedience to the divine command, distributing over the earth the various animals, dropping the megatherium in South America, the archeopteryx in Europe, the ornithorhynchus in Australia, and the opossum in North America.

It was under the impression made by the beginnings of this new array of facts established by the earlier voyages of discovery that in 1667 Abraham Milius published at Geneva his book on The Origin of Animals and the Migrations of Peoples. An acute author says that this book shows, as no other does, the shock and strain to which the discovery of America subjected the received theological scheme of things. The book was issued with the full and special approbation of the Bishop of Salzburg, and it indicates the possibility that a solution of the whole trouble might be found in the text, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind." Milius goes on to show that the ancient philosophers agree with Moses, and that "the earth and the waters, and especially the heat of the sun and of the genial sky, together with that slimy and putrid quality which seems to be inherent in the soil, may furnish the origin for fishes, terrestrial animals, and birds." On the other hand, he is very severe against those who imagine that man can have had the same origin with animals. But the subject with which Milius especially grapples is the distribution of animals. He is greatly exercised by the many species found in America and in remote islands of the ocean—species entirely unknown in the other continents—and of course he is especially troubled by the fact that these species existing in those exceedingly remote parts of the earth do not exist in the neighborhood of Mount Ararat. He confesses that to explain the distribution of animals is the most difficult part of the problem. If it be urged that birds could reach America by flying and fishes by swimming, he asks, "What of the beasts which neither fly nor swim?" Yet even as to the birds he asks, "Is there not an infinite variety of winged creatures who fly so slowly and heavily, and have such a horror of the water, that they would not even dare trust themselves to fly over a wide river?" As to fishes, he says, "They are very averse to wandering from their native waters," and he shows that there are now reported many species of American and East Indian fishes entirely unknown on the other continents, whose presence, therefore, can not be explained by any theory of natural dispersion.

Of those who suggest that land animals may have been dispersed over the earth by the direct agency of man for his use or