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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/452

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

true, is an enquiry that does not fall within the limits of zoological science.

We now come to the second great division of zoology, which as a whole is concerned with broad and deep enquiry into the workings of nature; it is natural history in the best sense. Prior to the time of Darwin attempts to solve the kinetic problems of the organic world were hampered by anthropomorphism and narrowness of view, as well as by paucity of facts. But since then, owing to the immense influence of the works of that great naturalist, so much attention has been given to the fundamental problems of life that it is now possible to correlate many principles which describe not only the fact of evolution but many of the factors as well. And in this modern development wide observation has led so directly to extensive experiment that we may justly characterize the present period as an age of experimental zoology. Just as all the apparently disconnected studies of structural zoology deal with one matter—evolution—so in the sphere of experimental zoology all the radii converge upon the study of the factors and method of species transformation.

We can only mention some of the modern departments which have yielded brilliant results, such as cytology, experimental embryology, experimental fertilization and regeneration. But we may point out that the general problems in these various fields deal like the problem of evolution itself with an analysis of the internal and external influences that determine the final adult conditions of species. For example, the adult salamander possesses a specific structure, in a state of balance or adaptation, that is the final result of an evolution process up to the present time; this same specific condition is the goal of the changes through which the salamander's egg and embryo pass in development; it is the goal also that may be reached by even a portion of a divided salamander's egg; while finally it is the goal of the regenerative processes that enable a salamander from which a leg has been cut off to reproduce the missing part. Everything centers then about the question as to the origin of adult specific forms, which exhibit adaptation.

Realizing this, we may pass on immediately to consider how through the study of adaptation, Darwin was led to formulate his potent theories, which have been the basis for recent progress. As the other speakers upon biological sciences have already stated, the most striking feature of animals and plants is their adjustment to their vital conditions. An organism that seems so sufficient unto itself, so capable and independent, is nevertheless inextricably interlocked with its surroundings, for its very substance is composed of materials which with their endowments of energy have been wrested from the environment. An animal that is pressed upon by the substances of the outer world, that is played upon by various energies, and is attacked on all sides by