traversed near Celebes by a space of deep ocean, and this separates two widely distinct mammalian faunas. On either side, the islands stand on a moderately shallow submarine bank, and these islands are inhabited by the same or by closely allied quadrupeds. I have not as yet had time to follow up this subject in all quarters of the world; but as far as I have gone, the relation holds good. For instance, Britain is separated by a shallow channel from Europe, and the mammals are the same on both sides; and so it is with all the islands near the shores of Australia. The West Indian Islands, on the other hand, stand on a deeply submerged bank, nearly 1000 fathoms in depth, and here we find American forms, but the species and even the genera are quite distinct. As the amount of modification which animals of all kinds undergo partly depends on the lapse of time, and as the islands which are separated from each other, or from the mainland, by shallow channels, are more likely to have been continuously united within a recent period than the islands separated by deeper channels, we can understand how it is that a relation exists between the depth of the sea separating two mammalian faunas, and the degree of their affinity,— a relation which is quite inexplicable on the theory of independent acts of creation.
The foregoing statements in regard to the inhabitants of oceanic islands,— namely, the fewness of the species, with a large proportion consisting of endemic forms — the members of certain groups, but not those of other groups in the same class, having been modified — the absence of certain whole orders, as of batrachians and of terrestrial mammals, notwithstanding the presence of aerial bats, the singular proportions of certain orders of plants,— herbaceous forms having been developed into trees, &c.,— seem to me to accord better with the belief in the efficiency of occasional means of transport, carried on during a long course of time, than with the belief in the former connection of all oceanic islands with the nearest continent; for on this latter view it is probable that the various classes would have immigrated more uniformly, and from the species having entered in a body, their mutual relations would not have been much disturbed, and consequently, they would either have not been modified, or all the species in a more equable manner.
I do not deny that there are many and serious difficulties in understanding how many of the inhabitants of the more remote islands, whether still retaining the same specific form or subsequently modified, have reached their present homes. But the probability of other islands having once existed as halting-places, of which not a wreck now remains, must not be overlooked. I will