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S. J. HOLMES, Ph.D.
HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY
The aim of the present volume is to serve as an introduction to the study of biology. The subject-matter has been chosen to meet the needs of general students rather than prospective rispecialists in different branches of the science. Biology has
exerted a profound influence upon psychology, sociology, ethics, philosophy, and many other fields of human knowledge, and, in these days, no one who is entitled to lay claim to a liberal education, can afford to remain ignorant of the rudiments of this subject. In so wide a field there is an almost unlimited opportunity for the choice of material to present, and doubtless several topics have been omitted which, in the opinion of many readers, should have been discussed. It has been my aim to present those aspects of biology which would best prepare the student for appreciating the great changes in our outlook upon the world which have resulted from discoveries and generalizations in regard to living forms. Considerable space has therefore been devoted to the doctrine of organic evolution, and the related topics of heredity, variation, and eugenics.
Although this book is intended for use as a text in colleges and universities, I have avoided the common pedagogical devices of subdividing and labeling the contents, and have endeavored to make the volume one that can be read in a normal manner. It is hoped that the book may prove useful also to the general reader who may be curious in regard to the content and import of modern biology.
I am indebted to my colleagues, Dr. C. A. Kofoid, Dr. Karl Meyer, Dr. J. Grinnell, Dr. C. V. Taylor, Dr. L. J. Strong, Dr. C. L. Camp, Mr. S. F. Light, and Mr. H. C. Hinshaw of the University of California, for critically reading several of the chapters. The entire manuscript has been read by Dr. H. B. Torrey who has made several useful criticisms and suggestions.