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piece of mechanism by which its long tongue is suddenly projected, and suddenly retracted, a mechanism of elastic bone, the hyoid or tongue-bone greatly lengthened backward, the horns turned upward in a groove of the cranium and planted in the right nostril. Inexplicable on any view but that of a wise co-ordination of the different parts of the structure to answer an appointed end. With this view in our
. minds we no longer wonder at the long spirally wrapped muscles which govern this elastic bone, or at the terminal armature of the tongue.
Nor under such an aspect are we confounded by the sudden outrush of the Chamæleon's tongue, which seizes instantly, by its moistened extremity, the fly so patiently watched; the result of a combined mechanism whereby the soft mass is straightened, directed, and shot forth like an arrow flying to its mark, and then retracted and folded within the jåws which otherwise could not have received it'.
Life on land presents no less variety of appropriate adjustments, by which the general types of the Vertebrata and Articulata are made to answer a great diversity of requirements. To take examples from Mammalia. For pure motion what can be conceived more complete than the whole frame, and
1 These peculiarities of the Woodpecker and Chamæleon and other animals were some of my pleasant studies of Natural History 30 years since.
especially the unidigital limbs of the horse? The predaceous habits of the Feline races are indicated by their sharp curved claws, retractile into sheaths; the Mole is strengthened for digging by the approximation of the scapulæ, and the outward-turned broad anterior feet; even for suspension during hybernation the Bat has a hooked finger prepared; and thus, to close this part of the subject, we find everywhere in rich profusion, what would be regarded as remarkable inventions, if they were due to human minds and hands, and which cannot be removed from the list of intelligent adaptations because they are frequent in nature, and are of higher perfection and greater beauty than any work of man.
On the whole it is evident that in the several great types of animals very similar mechanical functions are performed by means of organizations which depend on the type, and have only analogical resemblances in the different types.
In each great type the variations of the several organs may be such that, while the homologies are not to be doubted, the employment of the organs varies much. In some cases parts of the fabric dwindle to mere representatives, as the wing-bones of the Ostrich and the pelvic bones of the Whale; in others they die out altogether, as the hind-limbs of the Cetacea.
These gradations and modifications of the parts constituting a general type may be represented by one of three suppositions: First, that the structure is what we see because that portion of the general type, and that state of the organ or constituent part of the type was selected as suitable for the life of the creature; Secondly, that the structure has become what it is by degradation from a fuller type through the reduction or suppression of certain parts by want of exercise of their functions; Thirdly, that the typical structure is incompletely manifested because some of the functions have been unexercised, and the organs which belong to them consequently remain undeveloped.
Each of these views may be thought to be so far founded on observation of nature as to be allowed in an hypothesis for comparison with more observations. The choice between them can only be justified by reference to phenomena, which by their number, consistency and critical character, may furnish a basis for sound judgment. Without such reference a choice no doubt will be often made, but it can then be little better than prejudice, and must be expected to differ in different persons, according to the previous training of their minds. It is consoling to believe that each may be connected, indeed will be connected, by minds accustomed
To look through Nature up to Nature's God,
with reverential thoughts of the GREAT MAKER. No sincere inquirer for truth will be likely to expect success in the search,
unde queat res quæque creari, Et quo quæque modo fiant, operâ sine Divom;
and no one who has advanced so far in Philosophy as to have thought of one thing in relation to another will ever be satisfied with Laws which had no Author, Works which had no Maker, Co-ordinations which had no Designer. In this as in other cases,
An undevout philosopher is mad.
SYSTEM OF LIFE COEVAL WITH MAN.
The Living creation then, as we see it, is found to exist only in a fabric of certain sorts and certain combinations of matter, in the presence of the atmosphere, subject to continual loss and restoration of parts, suffering death in every individual, and renewed by birth of other individuals; adapted to the elements of water, land, and air; limited by temperature and physical conditions; called into being at certain points of origin, and spread over certain areas of occupation.
Thus the visible creation presents itself as a cal
culated whole; the parts co-ordinated; the conditions adjusted; the origin defined; and a long duration secured. Looking at it in this aspect we may conceive it to be all of one age—the result of one act of power and wisdom,—the expression of one will at one epoch of time, and in this sense employ for the whole the term, Creation, which admits of no explanation in human language, because it refers to an act of God's power, transcending all human thought and experience.
How completely the life of to-day represents the life of the earliest historic times, in the same countries, may be ascertained by the slightest examination of the books, sculptures and buried skeletons, which speak of those times. The Swallows, whose twittering disturbed Anacreon, still break the slumbers of the luxurious poets of our day, and still excite the wonder of naturalists by their long flight to Memphis"; the Ibis still wanders by Egyptian rivers; Philomela still charms us with her song of love; still clang the Cranes, and soar aloft the Eagles ; still dance in air the summer-loving Flies as in the days of Homer; and still the Polypus and Sponge, and all the inhabitants of the sea, exhibit in the Mediterranean the peculiar properties noticed in them by Aristotle. Various as are the races of
1 Anac. 12. 33.