Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, Band 14

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Seite 289 - To say, therefore, in the admitted absence of evidence, that I have any belief as to the mode in which the existing forms of life have originated, would be using words in a wrong sense. But expectation is permissible where belief is not; and if it were given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the earth was passing through physical and chemical conditions, which it can no more see again than a man may recall his infancy, I should expect to...
Seite 285 - Any new set of conditions occurring to an animal, which render its food and safety very easily attained, seem to lead, as a rule, to degeneration, just as an active, healthy man sometimes degenerates when he becomes suddenly possessed of a fortune or as Rome degenerated when possessed of the riches of the ancient world.
Seite 285 - Any new set of conditions occurring to an animal which render its food and safety very easily attained, seem to lead as a rule to Degeneration ; just as an active healthy man sometimes degenerates when he becomes suddenly possessed of a fortune ; or as Rome degenerated when possessed of the riches of the ancient world. The habit of parasitism clearly acts upon animal organisation in this way. Let the parasitic life once be secured, and away go legs, jaws, eyes, and ears ; the active, highly-gifted...
Seite 288 - IT assume? the properties we call " vital " may not, some day, be artificially brought together. All I feel justified in affirming is, that I see no reason for believing that the feat has been performed yet. And, looking back through the prodigious vista of the past, I find no record of the commencement of life, and therefore I am devoid of any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions of its appearance.
Seite 466 - ... (4) That forms that are now isolated in their zoological affinities, and bordering on extinction, are generally highly specialised in some direction, but often show some signs of degeneration, and usually have ancestors of greater specialisation during some former period of dominance. A few, at any rate, seem to show a smaller degree of fertility than might be expected. (5) Other forms which have come down to us from a distant period with small amount of change, or with very gradually-acquired...
Seite 289 - And, looking back through the prodigious vista of the past, I find no record of the commencement of life, and therefore I am devoid of any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions of its appearance. Belief, in the scientific sense of the word, is a serious matter and needs strong foundations. To say, therefore, in the admitted absence of evidence, that I have any belief as to the mode in which the existing forms of life have originated, would be using words in a wrong sense. But...
Seite 287 - ... whale; insects which never bite have rudimental jaws, and others which never fly have rudimental wings; naturally blind creatures have rudimental eyes ; and the halt have rudimentary limbs. So, again, no animal or plant puts on its perfect form at once, but all have to start from the same point...
Seite 466 - That the later forms in extinct groups frequently show signs of degeneration, and sometimes a more primitive organisation than the most specialised forms, possibly owing their persistence to their slower specialisation. (10) That long retention of primitive characteristics, or a great degree of stability and want of variation, has been usually associated with a long range in time. And lastly, higher groups do not spring from the most specialised forms of the parent groups before them in time, but...
Seite 108 - February, as related by Doctor Nansen. On the 10th of March Doctor Nansen mentions that " millions " were seen flying up the sound at 6 am, and " when we went out at 2 In the afternoon there was an unceasing passage of flock after flock out to sea, and this continued until late In the afternoon.
Seite 64 - The Platymeric, Pilastric, and Popliteal Indices of the Race Collection of Femora in the Anatomical Museum of the University of Edinburgh,

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