the idea of an origin from fishes or reptiles. He thinks the ancestors of the whales must have been quadrupedal mammals. He is obliged, for good reasons, to reject the seals and the otters, and turns to the ungulates, though here, also, the difficulties are formidable. Finally he has recourse to an imaginary ancestor, supposed to have haunted marshes and rivers of the mesozoic age and to have been intermediate between a hippopotamus and a dolphin, and omnivorous in diet. As this animal is altogether unknown to geology or zoölogy, and not much less difficult to account for than the whales themselves, he very properly adds, "Please to recollect, however, that this is a mere speculation." He trusts, however, that such speculations are "not without their use"; but this will depend upon whether or not they lead men's minds from the path of legitimate science into the quicksands of baseless conjecture.
Gaudry, in his recent work, "Enchainements du Monde Animal," though a strong advocate of evolution, is obliged in his final résumé to say: "Il ne laisse point percer le mystère qui entoure le developpement primitif des grandes classes du monde animal. Nul homme ne sait comment ont été formés les premiers individus de foraminifères, de polypes, d'etoiles de mer, de crinoides, etc. Les fossiles primaires ne nous ont pas encore fourni de preuves positives du passage des animaux d'une classe à ceux d'une autre classe."
Professor Williamson, of Manchester, in an address delivered in February last before the Royal Institution of Great Britain, after showing that the conifers, ferns, and lycopods of the palæozoic have no known ancestry, uses the significant words, "The time has not yet arrived for the appointment of a botanical king-at-arms and constructor of pedigrees."
Another caution which a paleontologist has occasion to give with regard to theories of life has reference to the tendency of biologists to infer that animals and plants were introduced under embryonic forms, and at first in few and imperfect species. Facts do not substantiate this. The first appearance of leading types of life is rarely embryonic. On the contrary, they often appear in highly perfect and specialized forms; often, however, of composite type, and expressing characters afterward so separated as to belong to higher groups. The trilobites of the Cambrian are some of them of few segments, and, so far, embryonic; but the greater part are many-segmented and very complex. The batrachians of the carboniferous present many characters higher than those of their modern successors, and now appropriated to the true reptiles. The reptiles of the Permian and trias usurped some of the prerogatives of the mammals. The ferns, lycopods, and equisetums of the Devonian and carboniferous were, to say the least, not inferior to their modern representatives. The shell-bearing cephalopods] of the palæozoic would seem to have possessed
- Paris, 1883.