for plants and for many animals during their migration. In the coral-producing oceans such sunken islands are now marked by rings of coral or atolls standing over them. Whenever it is fully admitted, as it will some day be, that each species has proceeded from a single birthplace, and when in the course of time we know something definite about the means of distribution, we shall be enabled to speculate with security on the former extension of the land. But I do not believe that it will ever be proved that within the recent period most of our continents which now stand quite separate, have been continuously, or almost continuously united with each other, and with the many existing oceanic islands. Several facts in distribution,— such as the great difference in the marine faunas on the opposite sides of almost every continent,— the close relation of the tertiary inhabitants of several lands and even seas to their present inhabitants — the degree of affinity between the mammals inhabiting islands with those of the nearest continent, being in part determined (as we shall hereafter see) by the depth of the intervening ocean,— these and other such facts are opposed to the admission of such prodigious geographical revolutions within the recent period, as are necessary on the view advanced by Forbes and admitted by his followers. The nature and relative proportions of the inhabitants of oceanic islands are likewise opposed to the belief of their former continuity of continents. Nor does the almost universally volcanic composition of such islands favour the admission that they are the wrecks of sunken continents;— if they had originally existed as continental mountain ranges, some at least of the islands would have been formed, like other mountain summits, of granite, metamorphic schists, old fossiliferous and other rocks, instead of consisting of mere piles of volcanic matter.
I must now say a few words on what are called accidental means, but which more properly should be called occasional means of distribution. I shall here confine myself to plants. In botanical works, this or that plant is often stated to be ill adapted for wide dissemination; but the greater or less facilities for transport across the sea may be said to be almost wholly unknown. Until I tried, with Mr. Berkeley's aid, a few experiments, it was not even known how far seeds could resist the injurious action of sea-water. To my surprise I found that out of eighty-seven kinds, sixty-four germinated after an immersion of twenty-eight days, and a few survived an immersion of 137 days. It deserves notice that certain orders were far more injured than others: nine Leguminosæ were tried, and, with one exception, they resisted the salt-water badly; seven species of the allied orders, Hydrophyllaceæ and Polemoniaceæ, were all killed by a month's