Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 6 (1902).djvu/104

This page needs to be proofread.
74
THE ZOOLOGIST
 

NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.

 

 
Lamarck, the Founder of Evolution, his Life and Work: with Translations of his Writings on Organic Evolution. By Alpheus S. Packard, M.D., LL.D.Longmans, Green & Co.

Whatever may be the general conclusion as to the claim of Lamarck being "the founder of evolution," there can be no possible doubt as to his life being the "old, old story of a man of genius who lived far in advance of his age, and who died comparatively unappreciated and neglected." The exact site of his grave "is and forever will be unknown"; his remains were not even deposited in a separate grave, and his bones are now probably in the catacombs of Paris, mingled with those of a very mixed humanity. His career comprised about twenty-five years devoted to botany, and he was in his fiftieth year when he assumed the duties of his professorship of zoology, and began his real evolutionary conceptions. This was in 1793, on the eve of the "Terror," and the dull thud of the guillotine "could almost be heard by the quiet workers in the museum." We wish our space would allow many extracts from this delightful narrative, for the old French zoologists and explorers cross the pages, and we learn much about men whose names are household words to most naturalists.

It is, however, with the views of Lamarck that Dr. Packard is most engaged; and, as an American, he appropriately defends the estimation of many of his scientific countrymen, who hold the French philosopher as even greater than Darwin. We learn that it was Lamarck who proposed the word "Biology," which first appears in the preface to his 'Hydrogéologie,' published in 1802. His definition of species has the true evolutionary ring:

"Species, then, have only a relative stability, and are invariable only temporarily." As we read his views, one cardinal axiom seems always prominent: "It is not the organs—that is to say,