|THE THEORY OF INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT|
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
ORGANIC development presents two aspects: that of the individual and that of the race, ontogeny and phylogeny (evolution). These are not two separate and distinct series of phenomena; on the one hand, the individual development is to a certain extent a record of the past history of the race, and the promise of future racial development; on the other hand, evolution is not a series of completed individuals but a series of individual life, histories; for the only road from one generation to the next is by way of a complete life history. Individual development is, therefore, not something distinct from evolution; it is a part of the process of evolution itself; the development of the individual is a chapter in the history of the race.
The development of the individual may be pictured as a steadily broadening stream that takes its source in the fertilized ovum and flows on until death. In this analogy the individual would be represented as a cross-section of the stream at whatever stage we were examining. Though such an analogy limps, inasmuch as individual development is never before us as a unit, as a stream may be conceived to be, and can indeed be said to exist only as the successive cross-sections (its past having disappeared and its future yet unborn), nevertheless, it represents very well the steady, unbroken progress of development from the ovum to old age. There may be crises in the development of the individual, as, for instance, when the chick leaves the egg or the pullet lays its first egg, but there are no breaks in its continuity. Successive generations may be pictured as new streams, each taking its source from a particle—a germ cell—from some cross-section of the preceding generation; and evolution may be represented by placing the new source at a different level than the original. For evolution studies we compare cross-sections of different developmental streams (generations) at comparable distances from the sources, and for evolutionary explanation we must examine the entire series of processes involved in the origin of the new source and in the conditions and inherent character of the new developmental stream.
We can not be said to have actual experience of any other form of development than individual development; evolution or racial de-
- One of the series of Darwin Anniversary addresses given under the auspices of the Biological Club of the University of Chicago, February 1 to March 18, 1909.