The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
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The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.
which are the most illustrative, as want of space prevents me from considering all. The giraffe, by its lofty stature, much elongated neck, forelegs, head and tongue, has its whole frame beautifully adapted for browsing on the higher branches of trees. It can thus obtain food beyond the reach of the other Ungulata or hoofed animals inhabiting the same country; and this must be a great advantage to it during dearths. The Niata cattle in S. America show us how small a difference in structure may
present; for then, as we have seen, the spherical surfaces would wholly disappear and be replaced by plane surfaces; and the Melipona would make a comb as perfect as that of the hive-bee. Beyond this stage of perfection in architecture, natural selection could not lead; for the comb of the hive-bee, as far as we can see, is absolutely perfect in economising labour and wax. Thus, as I believe, the most wonderful of all known instincts, that of the hive-bee, can be explained by natural selection
related, forming sections and sub-genera, species of distinct genera much less closely related, and genera related in different degrees, forming sub-families, families, orders, subclasses and classes. The several subordinate groups in any class cannot be ranked in a single file, but seem clustered round points, and these round other points, and so on in almost endless cycles. If species had been independently created, no explanation would have been possible of this kind of classification; but it
all favourable variations, has produced similar organs, as far as function is concerned, in distinct organic beings, which owe none of their structure in common to inheritance from a common progenitor. Fritz Muller, in order to test the conclusions arrived at in this volume, has followed out with much care a nearly similar line of argument. Several families of crustaceans include a few species, possessing an air-breathing apparatus and fitted to live out of the water. In two of these families,
on the principle of natural selection, can a variety live side by side with the parent species? If both have become fitted for slightly different habits of life or conditions, they might live together; and if we lay on one side polymorphic species, in which the variability seems to be of a peculiar nature, and all mere temporary variations, such as size, albinism, &c., the more permanent varieties are generally found, as far as I can discover, inhabiting distinct stations,—such as high land or