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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/139

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THE PENYCUIK EXPERIMENTS.

other organs, the reproductive glands. This view, which in some respects recalls the pangenesis of Darwin, is intermediate between the saturation and the infection hypothesis. Professor Ewart refers to it as indirect infection.

Weismann, to whom we owe the term telegony, came to consider the facts for and against its existence in connection with his well-known inquiry into the inheritance of acquired characters. If telegony be true, there is no need to look further for a clear case of the inheritance of a character which has been acquired during the lifetime of the parent. The quagga-ness—if one may be permitted to use such an expression—of Lord Morton's mare was acquired when she was put to the quagga or shortly afterward, and was transmitted to her foals. A clearer case of a character acquired during lifetime and transmitted to offspring could not be imagined. Weismann does not absolutely deny the possibility of the existence of telegony, but he would like more evidence. In the Contemporary Review he writes, "I must say that to this day, and in spite of the additional cases brought forward by Spencer and Romanes, I do not consider that telegony has been proved." And further: "I should accept a case like that of Lord Morton's mare as satisfactory evidence if it were quite certainly beyond doubt. But that is by no means the case, as Settegast has abundantly proved." He would, in fact, refer the case to reversion, and quotes Settegast to the effect that every horse breeder is well aware that the cases are not rare when colts are born with stripes which recall the markings of a quagga or zebra. We shall return to this point later.

A considerable number of German breeders support the contention of Weismann that telegony is as yet unproved, and it may be pointed out that in Germany, on the whole, breeders have had a more scientific education than in England, and that in that country science is regarded with less aversion or contempt than is usually the case among so-called practical men in England. We may mention one more case of an experienced breeder who was equally skeptical—the late Sir Everett Millais, who was, as is well known, an authority of great weight in the matter of dog-breeding. He writes as follows, in a lecture entitled Two Problems of Reproduction: "I may further adduce the fact that in a breeding experience of nearly thirty years' standing, during which I have made all sorts of experiments with pure-blood dams and wild sires, and returned them afterward to pure sires of their own breeds, T have never seen a case of telegony, nor has my breeding stock suffered. I may further adduce the fact that I have made over fifty experiments for Professor Romanes to induce a case of telegony in a variety of animals—dogs, ducks, hens, pigeons, etc.—but I have hopelessly failed, as has every single experimenter who has tried to produce the phenomenon."