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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/115

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105
AMERICAN ZOÖLOGISTS AND EVOLUTION.

A parallel case may be seen in the increase in size of the brain in the vertebrates, and conspicuously in the higher vertebrates, since their first appearance in geological history. The individual brain clearly varies in size, and it does not require a great effort to perceive how in the long run the greater brain survives in the complex struggle for existence. Associated with the greater development, parts that were freely used for locomotion before are now compelled to perform additional service, and through the law of use and effort, which all admit as an important factor, organs are modified in structure, the anterior portion of the body assumes a new aspect; and it was on the character of these parts and aspects that Professor Dana was led to formulate his comprehensive and ingenious principle of cephalization. It is a result and not a cause. And so I believe, though with great deference to Cope and Hyatt, that the laws of acceleration and retardation, exact parallelisms, inexact parallelisms, and still more inexact parallelisms, and many other laws and theories advanced by these gentlemen, are not causes but effects, to be explained by the doctrine of natural selection and survival of the fittest.

The connecting links and intermediate forms which the skeptical public so hungrily demand are continually being discovered. Great gaps are being closed up rapidly; but the records of this work, being published in the journals of our scientific societies, are hidden from the public eye as much as if they had been published in Coptic. So rapidly have these missing links been established that the general zoologist finds it difficult to keep up with the progress made in this direction. He can hardly realize the completion of so many branches of the genealogical tree.

Professor Cope,[1] who has accomplished so much in this direction, says; "Those who have, during the last ten years, devoted themselves to this study, have been rewarded by the discovery of the course of development of many lines of animals, so that it is now possible to show the kind of changes in structure which have resulted in the species of animals with which we are familiar as living on the surface of the earth at the present time. Not that this continent has given us the parentage of all forms of animal life, or all forms of animals with skeletons, or vertebrae, but it has given us many of them. To take the vertebrata, we have obtained the long-since extinct ancestor of the very lowest vertebrates. Then we have discovered the ancestor of the true fishes. We have the ancestor of all the reptiles, of the birds, and of the mammals. If we consider the mammals, or milk-givers, separately, we have traced up a great many lines to their points of departure from very primitive things. Thus we have obtained the genealogical trees of the deer, the camels, the musk, the horse, the tapir, and the rhinoceros, of the cats and dogs, of the lemurs and monkeys, and have important evidence as to the origin of man."

  1. "Popular Science Monthly," vol. xxvii, p. 605.