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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/150

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suits of investigations in portions of the world not often visited, and thus has made contributions of inestimable value to science. The study of animals in zoological gardens, if not in their native haunts, and of marine life by sea-going expeditions, or in extensive experimental stations by the seashore, as in Naples, Plymouth, England, or Woods Hole, Mass., has given a new impulse to the study of zoology and biology. The study of forms, especially those that are living, has been of great advantage to the physician also. From the days of Galen till the present time efforts have been made to apply the knowledge of physical laws to bodily healing. Galvanism, electricity, the nature and effect of different foods, the study of animal heat, have been made use of by the physician.

It is to Goethe that we are indebted for the word morphology, which describes his ideas as to the metamorphosis of plants. He saw, even if indistinctly, the unity of plant and animal life and the possible unity of all departments of nature. Merz says:

In the perpetual variety of change the morphological view tries to define those recurring forms or types which present themselves again and again, towards which all changes seem to revert, thus bringing some order into what would otherwise be disorder and confusion. . . . The object of morphology as distinct from that of classification is the attempt to describe, and if possible to comprehend and explain the relative similarity as well as the graduated differences of form and structure which natural objects present to our gaze.

Natural objects can best be studied where nature presents them, under conditions which enable one to see them as they really exist in nature. But the study of nature, as a whole, is often best carried on by a study of its departments. HaĆ¼y creates for us in his mastery of the forms of crystals, and of the laws of crystallization, the science of crystallography. It is but a step from crystals to minerals and fossils, thence to plant and animal life. It is not surprising that, following hints from various sources and from his own studies, Theodore Schwann, having established the cellular theory of life, should assert, as he did in 1840, the essential identity of animal and vegetable structure. Since then his special department of study has made vast strides and ere long the science of biology may embrace everything in nature that relates even remotely to life.

Cuvier, the comparative anatomist, while cherishing large views, yet believed in types, in the fixity of species, and explained the changes produced in the world of animal life, the world of fossils, of plants and minerals, by sudden convulsions or catastrophes, by means of which old types of life are destroyed and new ones introduced. In this theory he was opposed by Etienne St. Hilaire, who explained the changes observable in the different departments of nature as the gradual outcome of the forces of nature. In this view he had the sympathy of Goethe.

Morphology without the microscope to assist in its study would have