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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/574

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kind of raw material, the recognition that a mixture or blending is often more serviceable than when the substances employed are uncombined, the discovery of new processes of treating the articles used in manufactures, the invention of improved machinery, all lead to the expansion of trade to the occupation of the people, and to the development of great industrial centers. In science, also, the invention and employment of new and more precise instruments and appliances enable us to appreciate more clearly the signification of facts and phenomena which were previously obscure, and to penetrate more deeply into the mysteries of nature. They mark fresh departures in the history of science, and provide a firm base of support from which a continuous advance may be made and fresh conceptions of nature can be evolved.

It is not my intention, even had I possessed the requisite knowledge, to undertake so arduous a task as to review the progress which has recently been made in the great body of sciences which lie within the domain of the British Association. As my occupation in life has required me to give attention to the science which deals with the structure and organization of the bodies of man and animals—a science which either includes within its scope or has intimate and widespread relations to comparative anatomy, embryology, morphology, zoölogy, physiology and anthropology—I shall limit myself to the attempt to bring before you some of the more important observations and conclusions which have a bearing on the present position of the subject. As this is the closing year of the century it will not, I think, be out of place to refer to the changes which a hundred years have brought about in our fundamental conceptions of the structure of animals. In science, as in business, it is well from time to time to take stock of what we have been doing, so that we may realize where we stand and ascertain the balance to our credit in the scientific ledger.

So far back as the time of the ancient Greeks it was known that the human body and those of the more highly organized animals were not homogeneous, but were built up of parts, the partes dissimilares (τὰ άνόμοια μέρη) of Aristotle, which differed from each other in form, color, texture, consistency and properties. These parts were familiarly known as the bones, muscles, sinews, blood-vessels, glands, brain, nerves and so on. As the centuries rolled on, and as observers and observations multiplied, a more and more precise knowledge of these parts throughout the animal kingdom was obtained, and various attempts were made to classify animals in accordance with their forms and structure. During the concluding years of the last century and the earlier part of the present, the Hunters, William and John, in our country, the Meckels in Germany, Cuvier and St. Hilaire in France, gave an enormous impetus to anatomical studies, and contributed largely to our knowledge of the construction of the bodies of animals. But whilst by