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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/506

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Darwinian factor of modification, and a whole volume of illustrations may be drawn from entomology; for in no class is the contest more severe, whether with plants, or with other animals, or with one another, than in insects. In no other field of biology, for instance, have the physical conditions resulted in such infinite diversity of form and habit fitted, whether for earth, air, or water, and often for all in the same individual; so, also, in no other field is parasitism carried to such a degree, or are the purely adaptive structures due to this interaction so varied or so remarkable. The entomologist who goes beyond the "dry bones" of his science is inevitably a Darwinian.

In this category must also be included that interrelation between insects and plants which has eventuated in the so-called carnivorous plants, and that still more wonderful interaction between flowers and insects by which each has modified the other, and the facts of which have been so. untiringly observed and so well set forth by a number of writers from Sprengel's day to this, and by none more successfully than by Darwin himself. These are plainly inexplicable on external conditions acting on masses alike, and are meaningless enigmas except on the theory of natural selection, or some supra-natural and dogmatic gospel.

We are thus led, through this last, from the external to the internal factors in evolution, or those of a physiological and psychical nature. In these, natural selection is the key which, so far, best unlocks their meaning, and shows how they have acted in the formation of species and the less fundamental of the great groups. In considering them it is hardly necessary to discuss their relative importance as compared with the external conditions, though it may be remarked that they are the factors which have induced the great variety of adaptive forms and minor differentiations, while the external conditions have governed the formation of the great and more comprehensive types of structure.

Darwin was led to give more importance toward the end than he had originally done to some of these internal factors, and especially to functionally produced modifications. In the "Descent of Man" he says that he did not sufficiently consider variations "which so far as we can at present judge are neither of benefit nor injurious; and this I believe to be one of the greatest oversights I have yet detected in my work." And in the sixth edition of the "Origin" he frankly admits that he had omitted in other editions to consider properly the frequency and importance of modifications due to spontaneous variability. He further refers to morphologic differences, which may have become constant through the nature of the organism and the surrounding conditions rather than through natural selection, since they do not affect the wel-