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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-nieasures 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 tu Archegosaurus for millions of centuries before.” “Jicrolestes, 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 relies 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 base line, their march through the Tertiaries." « Their appearance is a difficulty, but each group must have countless ancestral forms, secreted no one knows where."
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
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,
traversing more of the scale or traversing less, beginning abruptly, ending abruptly; but such as if produced upwards would bring the type into the present, and if produced downwards would carry it into the Sub-Silurian past. Species may masquerade, Mr. Darwin holds it must, but it has never been caught masquerading. The ratio of Historic to Geologic time-of human literature and observation to the writing on the rocks--is indeed very small. If the Iliad, or Genesis, or the oldest Egyptian monuments be as 1, the remoteness of the Lingula zone may be put as 10,000; or even let us grant, age of the Iliad = distance of the sun, age of the Lingula zone = distance of Sirius. Yet though relatively small, it is not to be forgotten that the historic period is absolutely great. If a class of celestial objects or phenoinena, generally analogous, lay along a line drawn between the earth and the sun and produced through the sun to a fixed star, a perfect knowledge of those phenomena on the route relatively so contracted would still afford a fair basis of reasoning for the partially inaccessible phenomena on the route beyond. Now the historic witness to the constancy of species is complete. Within the experience of man no new species has appeared and no old species been transmuted.
balmed dogs of Egypt may seem to Mr. Darwin a broken reed :
: they impressed differently the great mind of Cuvier. " It might seem as if the ancient Egyptians had been inspired by nature, with a view to transmitting to after ages a monument of her history. That strange and whimsical people, by embalming with so much care the brutes which were the object of their stupid adoration, have left us, in their sacred grottos, cabinets of zoology almost complete. Climate has conspired with art to preserve the bodies from corruption, and we can now assure ourselves by our own eyes what was the state of a great number of species three thousand years
These remains then have doubtless a unique value; but all ancient literature has the same tale to tell, and that none the less invitingly that it leads us not to the dissecting room, nor smells of the sepulchre. The camel that bore his bride to Isaac, and drew nigh as he was meditating at the even-tide, still projects the same outline, sharply chiselled on the horizon-wall of the eastern deserts, between the sky and the sand ; the war-horse, "his neck clothed with thunder, and that said among the trumpets Ha, ha,” in Syrian warfare, shows the same noble instincts on the battle-fields of Europe; and the dog that endangered the incognito of Ulysses