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amounts to a manifestation of Divine Order in the introduction of living forms ; it is essential that each division
; shall make its entrance in some mean and dubious representative, some type closely osculant with those beneath it in the series. Mr. Darwin, as we have seen, confesses that the record does not yield this reading; it must, he suggests, have dropped out. The older Scottish annalists, when inclined to romance on the buried glories of their country, used to make great capital of the destruction of attesting parchments by King Edward the first. I know a person who applied, in the early years of this century, to an octogenarian Jacobite clergyman for a certificate of the date of his birth. “My good youth,” said he, “ you should recollect that our registers were all destroyed after the '45"-some fifty years before the applicant was born. These shifts may be more or less amusing, but they are not satisfactory. In the investigation of ancient nature they are not even amusing. “ Asaphus gigas is of Silurian, and Pterygotus problematicus of Devonian age; this latter crustacean weakling would outweigh a couple of sheep : where are his ancestors ? ” “They are lost.” “Here are high cephalopods, Lituites and Huronia, almost as low-lying as any form of Molluscan life.” "They are quite recent not
withstanding.” “Zones there are three of primæval nature: from the Ludlow beds upwards, a zone teening with fish ; from the Lingula bed downwards, a zone almost lifeless but for Arenicola; and a zone between, teeming with well-grown and well-marked Mollusks and Crustaceans. Amphioxus, on hypothesis, ought to be the
Old Red : Fish abundant.
Silurian : Crustacea, &c. abundant.
Cambrian : Oldest Trilobites, Arenicola, Zoo
phytes, Fucoids: lower strata, azoic.
father of fishes; and even lampreys or lancelets might have left their print on the peaceful, plastic, and retentive mould which has kept so fresh the trail of a tiny sand-worm. But instead of Amphioxus, we have, in the eldest born of fishes, a grandee of the order—a member of the primatial family of sharks. The defensive spine betokens a congener of the sagacious dog-fish either greatly more bulky or much more powerfully armed; and so equipped, if the doctrine of final causes do not mislead us, for the purpose of protection against a fish, as yet undiscovered, considerably more powerful than itself. 41 What then of the status of Onchus Murchisoni ?” “It is high because Onchus is young. There is a buried universe of fishes immeasurably older, a thousand million years or so, than he. Cætera desunt indeed ; 'tis the fault of the register; and yet there is earlier writing, and the leaves are not torn out. For all that, it is certain that Onchus had an enormouslyextended pedigree, though it cannot be recovered.” We put the evidence again. “On the Sandstone of Connecticut are stamped the footprints of a creature to which the ostrich was a dwarf, and which strode, at its ordinary walking-pace, full six feet forward at a time.”
“ This could not have been the eldest born of birds. It is the index to an immense previous development of the
class.” Possibly, but the forest relics of the coal-measures have no earlier traces, so far as is yet known, to show. “ Archegosaurus is a well-sized reptile of its order." Frogs and newts had run their course up to Archegosaurus for millions of centuries before." · Microlestes, though comparatively minute, in accordance with the general character of the period, which was the golden age of saurians, still exhibits the typical mammalian dentition; and is no congener of Ornithorhyncus.” “The duck-bill, nevertheless, must be believed to be by far the more ancient form.” “The great mammifers start, all abreast and full-grown, from their terminus in the Eocene or Miocene. No whale relics lie entombed side by side with Ichthyosaurus in the oceans of the Oolite ; no elephant tusks commingle with the bones of Iguanodon in the meadows of the Wealden. The tooth of Mastodon, nearly twenty pounds in weight, the skull of Dinotherium, ten feet in circumference, whence came these? Like the battalions of an army, brought together by concert, and wielded by one will, the mammalian groups commence, from a common baseline, their march through the Tertiaries.” appearance is a difficulty, but each group must have countless ancestral forms, secreted no one knows where."
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It is idle to call this an appeal to evidence. This is no reading of the record, but an escape from the record ; a reading the record backwards. Mr. Darwin's business with the register is to open his eyes and look; he prefers to shut his eyes and dream. 25.
“ Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ?” However deep into the past the soundings may go, constancy of species, persistence of type, is the answer brought back to the surface. Species
may be compared to the elementary substances; as these of atoms, so those made up of units, capable only of the like alliances, and repeating substantially “the same biography.” 42 The individual perishes, at genus immortale manet. Or if, on the large scale of duration which the ancient poet knew not, the species has its death-day as well as the individual, from first to last, like the individual, it keeps its proper identity. We may trace it far, or we may lose it soon; but so far as it is traceable it wavers not, falters not. The thread may be long, or it may be short ; but it never changes its texture, or straggles into a something that is not itself. The writing on the wall of nature is not a series of ramified, yet mutually converging lines, running up into one root, but of lines strictly parallel and perpendicular,