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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/368

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354
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

these kinds the assemblies answering to them, so far as may be in position and function, are formed under the influence of tradition or example; and in default of men of the original kind are formed of others—generally, however, of those who, by position, seniority, or previous official experience, are more eminent than those forming popular assemblies. It is only to what may be called the normal consultative body which grows up during that compounding and recompounding of small societies into large ones which war effects that the foregoing description applies; and the senates, or superior chambers, which arise under later and more complex conditions, may be considered as homologous to them in function and composition so far only as the new conditions permit.

 

ON FRUITS AND SEEDS.[1]
By Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, F. R. S.

IN a very large number of cases the diffusion of seeds is effected by animals. To this class belong the fruits and berries. In them an outer fleshy portion becomes pulpy, and generally sweet, inclosing the seeds. It is remarkable that such fruits, in order, doubtless, to attract animals, are, like flowers, brightly colored—as, for instance, the cherry, currant, apple, peach, plum, strawberry, raspberry, and many others. This color, moreover, is not present in the unripe fruit, but is rapidly developed at maturity. In such cases the actual seed is generally protected by a dense, sometimes almost stony, covering, so that it escapes digestion, while its germination is perhaps hastened by the heat of the animal's body. It may be said that the skin of apple and pear pips is comparatively soft; but then they are imbedded in a stringy core, which is seldom eaten.

These colored fruits form a considerable part of the food of monkeys in the tropical regions of the earth, and we can, I think, hardly doubt that these animals are guided by the colors, just as we are, in selecting the ripe fruit. This has a curious bearing on an interesting question as to the power of distinguishing color possessed by our ancestors in bygone times. Magnus and Geiger, relying on the well known fact that the ancient languages are poor in words for color, and that in the oldest books—as, for instance, in the Vedas, the Zend-Avesta, the Old Testament, and the writings of Homer and Hesiod—though, of course, the heavens are referred to over and over again, its blue color is never dwelt on, have argued that the ancients were very deficient in the power of distinguishing colors, and especially blue. In our own country Mr. Gladstone has lent the weight of his great

  1. Continued from page 171.