Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 379 pages of information about Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism.
dissolve and mix with the fluid, serve for aliment or support to these kind of plants is doubtful,” he thinks, but he should be credited with the suggestion.  In one sentence he speaks of the quantities of insects which, “being invited down to sip the mellifluous exuvia from the interior surface of the tube, where they inevitably perish,” being prevented from returning by the stiff hairs all pointing downward.  This, if it refers to the sweet secretion, would place it below, and not, as it is, above the bristly surface, while the liquid below, charged with decomposing insects, is declared in an earlier sentence to be “cool and animating, limpid as the morning dew.”  Bartram was evidently writing from memory; and it is very doubtful if he ever distinctly recognized the sweet exudation which entices insects.

Why should these plants take to organic food more than others?  If we cannot answer the question, we may make a probable step toward it.  For plants that are not parasitic, these, especially the sundews, have much less than the ordinary amount of chlorophyll—­that is, of the universal leaf-green upon which the formation of organic matter out of inorganic materials depends.  These take it instead of making it, to a certain extent.

What is the bearing of these remarkable adaptations and operations upon doctrines of evolution?  There seems here to be a field on which the specific creationist, the evolutionist with design, and the necessary evolutionist, may fight out an interesting, if not decisive, “triangular duel.”



Climbing plants [XI-1]

(The Nation, January 6 and 13, 1876)

“Minerals grow; vegetables grow and live; animals grow, live, and feel;” this is the well-worn, not to say out-worn, diagnosis of the three kingdoms by Linnaeus.  It must be said of it that the agreement indicated in the first couplet is unreal, and that the distinction declared in the second is evanescent.  Crystals do not grow at all in the sense that plants and animals grow.  On the other hand, if a response to external impressions by special movements is evidence of feeling, vegetables share this endowment with animals; while, if conscious feeling is meant, this can be affirmed only of the higher animals.  What appears to remain true is, that the difference is one of successive addition.  That the increment in the organic world is of many steps; that in the long series no absolute lines separate, or have always separated, organisms which barely respond to impressions from those which more actively and variously respond, and even from those that consciously so respond—­this, as we all know, is what the author of the works before us has undertaken to demonstrate.  Without reference here either to that part of the series with which man is connected, and in some sense or other forms a part of, or to that lower limbo where the two organic

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Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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