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Title: Secrets of Earth and Sea
Author: Lankester, E. Ray (Edwin Ray), Sir
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  K.C.B., F.R.S.




The present volume is, like its predecessors, "Science from an Easy
Chair" (Series I and Series II) and "Diversions of a Naturalist"—mainly
a revision and reprint–with considerable additions–of articles
published in daily or weekly journals. The first chapter appeared
originally in "The Field." The Chapters VI, XX, XXI, and XXII were
published in the "Illustrated London News," under the title "About a
Number of Things." The rest are some of the articles which, as "Science
from an Easy Chair," I contributed, during seven years, to the "Daily
Telegraph." That, to me very happy, conjunction was, like so many other
happy things, necessarily interrupted by the Great War.

One result of that terrible cataclysm is that not a few thoughtful
writers have been led to deny the existence of what they call
"Progress," meaning by that word the development of mankind from a
less to a more complete attainment of moral and physical well-being.
The question raised is obscured by the arbitrary use of the word
"progress," since by it any movement from point to point–whether
advantageous and desirable or the reverse–is described, as, for
instance, in the familiar titles given by Bunyan to his book "The
Pilgrim's Progress" and by Hogarth to his pictures "The Rake's
Progress." Those who to-day despair of man's future limit their
outlook on the past to the conventional history of some three or four
thousand years. The only solid ground upon which we can base the
supposition that mankind has moved from a less to a more complete
attainment of moral and physical well-being and will continue to do so,
exists in the ascertained facts of the past history of living things
on this Earth, and of man since his earliest emergence from among the
man-like apes made known to us by his stone-implements and fossilized
bones. That there has been a development from lower, simpler structure
to higher, more complex, more efficient structure is demonstrable,
and so is the proposition that there has been in the human race a
continuous development in the direction of increased adaptation to the
conditions of social life and an increased control by man of those
natural agencies which he can either favour when conducive to his
prosperity, or on the other hand can arrest when inimical to it. "The
continuous weakening of selfishness and the continuous strengthening
of sympathy" (to adopt the words of the American philosopher, Fiske)
are, in spite of numerous lapses and outbursts of savagery, patent
features of the long history of mankind. We have no reason to doubt
their continuation, whilst at the same time we must be prepared for
and accept, without desponding, the ups and the downs, the disasters
as well as the triumphs, which inevitably characterize the natural
process of evolution. One thing, above all others, we as conscious,
reasoning beings can do which must tend to the further development and
security of human well-being: we can ascertain ever more and more of
the truth, or in other words, "that which is." We can discover the
actual conditions of natural law, under which we exist and promote the
knowledge of that truth among our fellows. To do that which is right,
we must know that which is true. To act rightly, we must know truly.

We possess, a vast heritage of knowledge handed on to us in tradition
and in writings from our father-man in the past. But there are yet
immense fields of knowledge to be explored and yet a greater task to
be accomplished in spreading the knowledge which we possess, and in
persuading all men that it is their right and their duty to acquire it
and to enjoy the power and the pleasure which it gives. All must also
help, directly or indirectly, in the making of new knowledge. Whilst
mankind is still so backward in knowledge and the worship of wisdom, it
is idle to indulge in despair of the future. A chief way to increased
welfare is still open and untrodden.

These are big speculations and problems with which to preface a small
book. But I am content to offer the small book as a contribution,
however restricted, to the spread of a desire for further knowledge of
the things about which it tells–a possible incitement to serious study
of some one or other among them.

                                        E. RAY LANKESTER

  _June 2nd, 1920_


  CHAP.                                                            PAGE

      I. THE EARLIEST PICTURE IN THE WORLD                            1


    III. THE ART OF PREHISTORIC MEN                                  35

     IV. VESUVIUS IN ERUPTION                                        55

      V. BLUE WATER                                                  74

     VI. THE BIGGEST BEAST                                           84

    VII. WHAT IS MEANT BY "A SPECIES"?                               92

   VIII. MORE ABOUT SPECIES                                         100

     IX. SPECIES IN THE MAKING                                      108

      X. SOME SPECIFIC CHARACTERS                                   118

     XI. HYBRIDS                                                    131

    XII. THE CROSS-BREEDING OF RACES                                139

   XIII. WHEEL ANIMALCULES                                          157

    XIV. MORE ABOUT WHEEL ANIMALCULES                               165

     XV. SUSPENDED ANIMATION                                        173

    XVI. MORE ABOUT SUSPENDED ANIMATION                             182

   XVII. THE SWASTIKA                                               191

  XVIII. THE ORIGIN OF THE SWASTIKA                                 200

    XIX. THE TOMOYE AND THE SWASTIKA                                209

     XX. COAL                                                       217

    XXI. BORING FOR OIL                                             223

   XXII. THE STORY OF LIME-JUICE AND SCURVY                         229

         INDEX                                                      239


This plate shows the restoration of the extinct lizard, Dimetrodon
gigas (Cope), lately made by Mr. Charles W. Gilmore of the United
States National Museum, by whose kind permission it is here reproduced
from the Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, vol. 56, 1919. It is
based upon the study of a very fine skeleton and some hundred bones of
allied species, collected by Mr. Sternberg from "the Permian formation"
exposed in the vicinity of Seymour, Texas, U.S.A. It is selected for
illustration here because its most striking feature–the high dorsal
fin-like crest along the middle of the back formed by the elongation
of the neural spines of the vertebræ–is a puzzle to the conscientious
Darwinian. Professor Case says of it: "The elongate spines were
useless, so far as I can imagine, and I have been puzzling over them
for several years. It is impossible to conceive of them as useful
either for defence or concealment, or in any other way than as a great
burden to the creatures (terrestrial non-aquatic animals) that bore
them. They must have been a nuisance in getting through the vegetation,
and a great drain upon the creature's vitality, both to develop them
and keep them in repair." The reader is referred to pp. 127, 128,
where a brief discussion of such exuberant growths will be found. The
excessive growth of the median fins in the fish Pteraclis allied to the
Dolphin which displays changing floods of surface colour as it dies–and
in the Australian Blenny called Patæcus–both figured on p. 130–should
be compared with that of the strange crest of the grotesque Dimetrodon.


  DIMETRODON                                             _Frontispiece_

  FIGS.                                                            PAGE



           LORTET ANTLER                                             12

           ANTLER                                                    13

           (_CIRCA_ 800 B.C.) FROM TIRYNS                            23




           EITHER A CAGE OR A TRAP                                   33


           (ARIÈGE)                                                  43

           ENGRAVED ON REINDEER ANTLER (MAS D'AZIL)                  43

           TWISTED ROPE-BRIDLE AND TRAPPINGS                         45

           NEIGHING HORSE                                            45

  16. REINDEER (ENGRAVING ON SCHIST)                                 46

  17. RHINOCEROS IN RED OUTLINE                                      46


  19. BISON: WALL ENGRAVINGS                                         48

           EYZIES                                                    48

  21. BEAR: ENGRAVED ON STONE, MASSOL (ARIÈGE)                       48


  23. WALL ENGRAVING OF A CAVE LION (COMBARELLES)                    48

  24. GOOSE: SMALL ENGRAVING ON REINDEER ANTLER                      49

           NEAR KREMS, LOWER AUSTRIA (1908)                          50

           CARVING (FULLY ROUNDED) OF A FEMALE HEAD                  51

           HAND                                                      51

           THROWING A SPEAR                                          51

           THE CAVE OF ARUDY (HAUTES PYRÉNÉES)                       54

           79                                                        57

           (FROM PHILLIPS' "VESUVIUS," 1869)                         61

           (GIGANTOSAURUS) OF TENDAGOROO                             88

      THE GIGANTIC REPTILE DIPLODOCUS ON LAND                        91

           (MAXILLIPEDES) IS ARTICULATED                            122

      STRANGELY-SHAPED FISHES                                       130


           MAGNIFIED 180 DIAMETERS                                  161


           FOUR-HORNED CARAPACE                                     163


  37 (_bis_). THREE TUBE-BUILDING WHEEL ANIMACULES                  169



  39. THREE SIMPLE VARIETIES OF THE SWASTIKA                        192

  40. FOOTPRINT OF THE BUDDHA                                       192

           WITH LOTUS, BIRD AND FOUR SWASTIKAS                      194



  43 (_bis_). SWASTIKAS IN BRONZE REPOUSSÉ                          195



           TWO SWASTIKAS                                            197

           SWASTIKA IS CARVED                                       198

           CROSS ENCLOSED BY A CIRCLE                               199

           OR "CURRENT" FORM                                        202

  50. DIAGRAMS OF THE "TRISKELION"                                  203

           ALLIGATOR                                                205



  54. THE "TOMOYE"–THE JAPANESE BADGE OF TRIUMPH                    209

           CHINESE PHILOSOPHER CHU-HSI                              209



           ARMS                                                     211

  59. AN ALTAR-STONE OF PREHISTORIC AGE                             213

  60. DIAGRAMS OF ARBELI                                            214




In Figs. 1 and 2 on the next page a cylindrical piece of the antler of
a red deer is represented of half the natural size. On it are carved
by in-sunk lines certain representations of animals. It was found in
the cavern of Lortet, near Lourdes, in the department of the Hautes
Pyrénées, in the south of France, together with many other remains of
prehistoric man. This cavern was excavated and all its contents of
human origin carefully preserved by M. Edouard Piette in 1873 and the
following years. Drawings of this and other remarkable carved pieces
of bone and antler, many in the form of harpoon heads, and of small
chipped flint implements, all found in this cave, were published by
him.[1] He excavated also several other caverns with great care, and
his collections were bequeathed by him on his death to the great Museum
of National Archæology at St. Germain, near Paris, where I have had the
advantage of studying them.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.

FIG. 2.

FIGS. 1 AND 2.–Engraved cylinder of red-deer's antler, from the Azilian
(Elapho-Tarandian) horizon of the cavern of Lortet. Drawn of a little
more than half the actual size of the specimen.]

The age assigned to this carving is that called by Piette
"Elapho-Tarandian." At this period the reindeer (Tarandus), which
previously abounded, is giving place to the red deer (Elaphus). The
layer in which this carving was found belongs to the latest of the
Palæolithic cave deposits, and was followed by a warmer period, in
which the red deer and the modern fauna entirely replaced the old
fauna of the Glacial period. The deposits in Pyrenean caves of the
Elapho-Tarandian age are characterized by an abundance of large flat
harpoons serrated on both sides. In this latest horizon of the Reindeer
period the art of engraving in outline on bone and stone had attained
the highest pitch of excellence which it reached in the prehistoric
race of South-West Europe.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.–_A._ Perforated harpoon of the Azilian or
Red-Deer period, made from antler of red deer, found in quantity in the
upper layers of deposit in the cavern of the Mas d'Azil (Arriège). _B_
and _C_. Imperforate harpoons or lance heads made from reindeer antler
of the Magdalenian period (Reindeer epoch). _B_ from Bruniquel Cave
(Tarn-et-Garonne). _C_ from a cavern in the Hautes Pyrénées. Same size
as the objects.]

A very natural tendency among those who hear from time to time
something of what is being discovered about primitive man is to confuse
all the periods and races of prehistoric man together, and so picture
to themselves one ideal "primitive man." My friend Mr. Rudyard Kipling
does this, although it would be no further from a true conception
were he to blend his ancient Britons, his Phenicians, his Romans,
his Saxons, his Normans, and a few Hindoos into one imaginary man
and represent him as taking a coloured photograph of the Druids of
Stonehenge on a piece of Egyptian papyrus. Here is Mr. Kipling's vision
of primitive man:

    Once on a glittering icefield, ages and ages ago,
    Ung, a maker of pictures, fashioned an image of snow.
    Later he pictured an aurochs, later he pictured a bear–
    Pictured the sabre-tooth tiger dragging a man to his lair–
    Pictured the mountainous mammoth, hairy, abhorrent, alone–
    Out of the love that he bore them, scribing them clearly on bone,
    Straight on the glittering icefield, by the caves of the lost Dordogne,
    Ung, a maker of pictures, fell to his scribing on bone.

The fact is that several prehistoric races have succeeded one another
in Western Europe during the immensely long period–amounting to
hundreds of thousands of years–during which man existed before the dawn
of history. The "lost" or "prehistoric Dordogne" was like the present
historic Dordogne in regard to the fact that many races and dynasties
successively held possession of it and left their work in its soil and

Passing back through the historic age of iron and the sub-historic
age of bronze, we come to a time, about four thousand years ago, when
there were no men in the west of Europe who made use of metals at all,
although, for a thousand or two years earlier, men were using bronze
and copper in the East. European races immediately before the first
use of metals made beautiful implements of stone (chiefly flint), and
finished them by grinding and polishing them. These men are spoken of
as Neolithic men, or men of the Neolithic period. They had herds and
cultivated crops, and they built after a fashion rough houses in wood
and tombs and temples with great slabs of stone. They made pottery
and woven cloth. The animals and plants of Europe were the same in
those late prehistoric times as they are to-day. The Lake dwellings
of Switzerland belong to this epoch and yield us their remains
as evidence. The men had very nearly the same set of domesticated
animals as we have to-day, but they had no skill in carving outlines
of animals. Their only decorative work consisted of parallel lines,
straight or in zigzags or in circles, graven on the great stone slabs
which they erected.

We can trace them back to some seven thousand years B.C. and then comes
a huge gap–we do not know how many thousand years–in our evidence as
to what was going on in this part of the world. We find convincing
proof that before this interval the climate was much colder than it is
to-day, and that the land surface of Europe was in many respects very
different from what it became later. Britain was continuous with the
Continent. There were in that remote period human tribes spread over
the less frigid valleys of Europe. They had no fields, no herds; they
fed on the roasted flesh of the animals they chased and on the fish
they speared, and on wild fruits and roots. They dwelt chiefly, if not
wholly, in caves, probably also in skin tents, but they did not build
either in wood or in stone. The age which we thus reach is called the
Palæolithic, or "ancient" Stone age, because men made use of stone,
which they chipped into shape, but, unlike the Neolithic people, never
polished it. We find enormous numbers of these rough or Palæolithic
stone implements both in caves and in the gravels deposited in the
ancient beds of rivers. They are so abundant as to prove the existence
of a very considerable human population in the remote ages when they
were fashioned and used. The changes which have taken place and the
time involved since some of these Palæolithic implements were made and
used may be guessed at (but cannot be definitely calculated) from the
fact that the beds of the rivers which formed the gravel terraces in
which they are found in England were, in many cases, from one to six
hundred feet above the level of the present rivers. The land surface
has risen and the rivers have simultaneously excavated deep and wide
valleys leaving terraces of gravel high up on their sides. These show
where the rivers once flowed. The vastness of the excavation of the
valley from the level of the old river bed 600 ft. up on the sloping
hill-side to its present low-lying bed in the floor of the valley–gives
us some measure of the time which has elapsed in the process.

No one can tell, at present, the limit in the past of Palæolithic man.
The period of time over which his existence extended, as indicated
by the trimmed flints undoubtedly made by human workmanship, is a
matter of hundreds of thousands of years. In Western Europe races came
and went, succeeded one another and disappeared, either migrating or
absorbed or more rarely destroyed by the later invaders. Naturally
enough, in the later deposits of rivers and in the higher layers of
earth and limestone cake which fill many caves to the depth of 30 or 40
ft. we find the remains of man's workmanship more abundantly than in
the older deposits.

We can broadly distinguish in the Palæolithic epoch three (perhaps
four) periods, separated by the occurrence of great extensions of the
northern or arctic ice cap of such a volume as to cover North Europe
and North America, and the simultaneous extension of the glaciers of
the mountains of Europe. This period of the alternating extension
and retreat of the great northern glaciers is known as the Glacial
period, or Ice Age. The _latest_ Palæolithic men are subsequent to
it–that is, post-Glacial. We can distinguish several successive ages
of these post-Glacial Palæolithic men, altogether distinct from and
anterior to the Neolithic men. In the earlier of these ages many of
the great animals of the Glacial period–now extinct or withdrawn to
other regions–still survived in Europe. The mammoth survived, but
was fast dying out in the south and centre of France, and we find
its outline scratched on ivory and on bone by the early post-Glacial
men. The lion still survived in Europe, also the hyena, the bear and
the rhinoceros. The reindeer seems to have been especially abundant,
and to have been associated with the men of this period. The horse
was very abundant, and was largely eaten by the earlier post-Glacial
people. From the first these men show extraordinary artistic skill, and
have left in their caves many carvings on ivory, bone and stone. In
the oldest deposits of the post-Glacial age the carvings are complete
all-round sculptures of small size or carvings in low relief, all
of rough primitive workmanship. Larger life-size sculptures in rock
are also found. In later deposits we find better sculpture and also
engraving on flat pieces of bone and ivory, and also on stone. This
art persisted, and attained its greatest perfection in the latest
deposits of all in which the work of Palæolithic man is found. The
reindeer persisted through this post-Glacial period (hence often called
"the reindeer period") until the gradual increase of temperature and
change of herbage and forest led to its migration northwards and to the
relative abundance of the red deer. It is to this latest period–the
Elapho-Tarandian of Piette–that the engraved antler figured here (Figs.
1 and 2) belongs.

At an earlier stage of the post-Glacial period men hunted the bison and
other large game in the north of Spain and made coloured drawings of
them on the roofs and walls of their caves, drawings which have been
copied and preserved: whilst the mammoth, the rhinoceros, the cave
lion and bear still inhabited south central France and are pictured on
the walls of caves in that region–as described in Chapter II. Later we
lose all trace of Palæolithic man and his wonderful artistic skill. He
seems either to have migrated or to have been absorbed in the immigrant
Neolithic race–a race singularly devoid of any tendency to artistic
sculpture or engraving.

The skeletons and skulls of the men of the Reindeer period, or
post-Glacial Palæolithic men, have been discovered here and there.
They indicate a fine, tall people with well-shaped skulls and jaws,
comparable to the nobler modern races. It is convenient to call them
Cromagnards, since good skulls of the race have been described from
Cromagnon, in France. There is evidence (from skulls) that another
race (the negroid so called "Aurignacians") preceded and coexisted to
some extent in Western Europe with them, but we have, at present, no
evidence as to whence or how the Neolithic race or the Cromagnard race
or any of their predecessors came upon the scene!

When we go farther back and reach the actual Glacial period we find
a very different state of things. The men who then existed in the
caverns are called the Neander men. They were a short, bandy-legged,
long-armed, low-browed people, great workers of flints. They had
the use of fire, and contended with hyenas and bears and lions for
the occupation of their caverns. In their day–the day of European
glaciation–the mammoth was in full occupation of the pine forests on
the edge of the glaciers. But the Neander men made no sculptures, or
carving, or engravings. The gap between them and the Cromagnon men
is much greater than that between an Australian black fellow and an
average Englishman; indeed, the difference is properly expressed by
regarding the Neander man as a distinct species–Homo neanderthalensis.

Passing again farther back over an immense period of time, we find
Europe warm again; the glaciers have (for a time) gone or retreated
far up the mountains but are found in extension again at a still
earlier date. An inter-Glacial set of animals is now found living in a
comparatively warm climate in Western Europe. Another elephant (Elephas
antiquus) is there (not the mammoth), and another rhinoceros (not
the woolly rhinoceros of the later Glacial period); the hippopotamus
flourished then in Europe and swam in the Thames and Severn, and there
too, at last is the sabre-toothed tiger, which did not exist at all at
a later period! Now was the time when a man, if he could, might have
"scribed" the image of a sabre-toothed tiger on a piece of bone, but,
so far as we know, he did not and could not. This was ages before other
succeeding men walked "on glittering ice fields," and they, in turn,
were ages earlier than the artistic Cromagnards of the Reindeer period.

The presence of men in the warm inter-Glacial times in Europe is proved
by the association of rough but undisputed flint implements with the
inter-Glacial animals and by the discovery of a most interesting human
jaw (chinless, like that of the Neander men) in what is held to be a
præ-Glacial deposit at Heidelberg. We have very little knowledge of
Glacial and præ-Glacial man except well characterized flint implements
and two skeletons, some detached limb bones, four or five jaws, and
as many skulls.[2] But of post-Glacial Palæolithic man we know the
skeletons of the Cromagnard race, their sepulture, their decorative
necklaces, and their bone and ivory carvings and engravings, and
the coloured rock paintings and other work of earlier races (the
Aurignacians, and others) belonging to successive epochs or eras,
which have been discovered in caves in France, Spain, Belgium, and
Austria. It was long after them that the Neolithic people appeared.

The preceding remarks will have made it clear that the engraved antler
here figured was carved by a man who was not really at all primitive,
although he lived probably between twenty and fifty thousand years ago.
It will also have been made clear that hundreds of such engravings,
more or less fragmentary, are known. Some are very skilful works
of art, others of a much inferior quality. Many, however, show an
astonishing familiarity with the animal drawn and a sureness of drawing
which is not surpassed by the work of modern artists (see Chapter III).
The interest of the particular engraved antler which I am describing
is that it is the only carving of its age as yet discovered which is
more than a drawing or sculpture of a single animal. It is a "picture"
in the sense of being a composition. It is not, it is true, painted–it
is engraved; but being a composition it is entitled to be called "the
earliest picture in the world." Let me describe it a little more fully
with the help of the illustrations.

The engraving has been made on a long cylindrical piece of the red
deer's antler. It can hardly be considered as decorative, since the
figures of the animals do not show as such on the cylindrical surface
(Figs. 1 and 2). Pieces of antler, bone, and ivory carved with
spiral scrolls and circles which are really decorative and effective
as decoration are found in these caves (Fig. 29). But often such
pieces as the present are met with. It has been discovered by French
archæologists that the true intent of such engravings may be rendered
evident by rolling the cylinder on a plastic substance (soft wax or
similar material), when the drawing is "printed off" or "developed"
as it is termed. A great number of such line engravings have been
thus printed off or developed, and plaster casts made from the flat
impressions are preserved in the museum of St. Germain, the engraved
lines being rendered obvious by letting them fill with printing ink.
They often give us in this way a "printed" drawing of remarkable
accuracy and artistic quality. The rolled-off print of our specimen is
shown in Fig. 4. The cylinder has been damaged by time, but the print
shows, more or less completely, a vigorous outline drawing of three red
deer, with six salmon-like fish placed in a decorative way above them
and between their legs. Two lozenge-shaped outlines (above the larger
stag) are held by good authorities to be the signature of the artist.
The group of deer is represented in movement. The largest stag is on
the right; his hindquarters are broken away by injury to the cylinder.
He is commencing to advance, and turns his head backwards to see what
is the thing which has alarmed him and his companions; at the same time
his mouth is open, and he is "blowing." The second stag is a younger
and smaller animal, and is retreating more rapidly. The cylinder is
damaged so that, although all the four legs of this second stag are
preserved, the head and neck are gone, though the points of the antlers
are preserved. The same damage has removed all but the hind legs of the
still younger animal who heads the group. The beauty of the drawing of
these hind legs and the extraordinary impression of graceful, rapid
movement given by their hanging pose, side by side, is not surpassed,
even if it be equalled, by the work of any modern draughtsman. It is
clear that the youngest and smallest member of the group is, as is
natural, the most timid, and that he has sprung off with a sudden bound
on the occurrence of the alarm from the rear, which is setting the
whole group into motion with increasing velocity as we pass from right
to left.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.–Rolled impression or "development" of the
engraving on the Lortet antler.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.–Restoration (or completion) of the engraving on
the Lortet antler, as now (1919) suggested by the writer (E. R. L.).]

The "printed-off," or "unrolled," or "developed" picture given in Fig.
3 is an exact reproduction of a copy of the cast made and preserved
in the Museum of National Antiquities at St. Germain, for which
I am indebted to my friend M. Salomon Reinach, the distinguished
archæologist who is the director of that museum. It is reproduced
here, a little larger than half the size of the original, as are the
representations of the carved cylinder itself (Figs. 1 and 2). In Fig.
4 we have my attempt to restore the damaged portions of the design and
to present it as it was when the Palæolithic man completed it some
20,000 years ago.

I will return to the question of the correctness of this restoration,
but before doing so I wish to mention some extremely interesting
points as to the probable use of the cylinder of stag's antler and
the purpose of the carving around its axis. In the first place, this
and a few other of the pieces of carving of the post-Glacial period
were certainly the work of highly gifted and practised artists. It is
obvious that this work is far superior both in conception and execution
to the more or less clever, often grotesque, carvings and paintings
made by modern savages or simple pastoral folk. There is no reason to
suppose that the Cromagnards, or men of the post-Glacial or Reindeer
period of West Europe, differed from modern races in being universally
gifted with artistic capacity. This engraving of three stags is almost
certainly the work of a man who belonged to a family or guild of
picture-makers who had cultivated such work for centuries and handed
it on from master to apprentice. This design is probably one which
had been perfected by many succeeding observers and draughtsmen. Its
sureness of line and vivacity of movement are not the outcome of the
sudden inspiration of an untutored savage, but are the result of the
growth, cultivation, and development of artistic perception and the
power of artistic execution in successive generations.

It seems in the highest degree improbable, if not impossible, that so
excellent a drawing as this should have been cut on the cylindrical
piece of antler by an engraver who never saw the flat or rolled-off
impress of his design. One is driven to the conclusion that he must,
as he worked on the bone, have taken an impress of the growing picture
from time to time, using probably animal fat and charcoal as an "ink"
and printing on to a piece of prepared skin or on to a birch-bark
cloth. How otherwise could he have made his engraving so truly that
when, ages afterwards, we print it off the cylinder, we are astonished
and delighted by its perfection of design and execution? If this be
once admitted–namely, that the artist tested and checked his work by
printing it off as he proceeded with it–we gain what appears to me
to be the probable solution of the question which has been largely
debated, "For what were these carved cylinders or rods used?" Those
which are simple cylindrical rods, such as the present one, must be
distinguished from others which have one or more circular holes bored
in them and others which are curiously bent at an angle. Such specimens
are often carved with small unimportant ornament, not requiring
development or printing. They as well as the present class have been
spoken of as "wands of authority" and "sceptres"; some are considered
to be arrow straighteners; others have been supposed to be "divining
rods" or "rods of witchcraft"; whilst one of those discovered by M.
Piette (others similar to it are known) has been regarded as a "lance
thrower" or "propulsor" (such as modern primitive races use), having
a notch at one end upon which the lance to be thrown is made to rest.
The latest suggestion as to these notch-and-hook-bearing rods, is that
they are large crochet hooks used in making nets. It has also been
suggested that some of these carved rods were used as "fasteners" of
the skins used as clothing.

I venture to suggest that the elaborately carved cylinder which we are
considering and others bearing similar carvings, which only show up
when a printing of them is taken, were used by the men who made them
for this very same "printing" as an end in itself. The picture could be
thus impressed on skins, birch bark, and other material. This race was
thoroughly familiar with the use of paint formed by mixing grease with
charcoal (to produce black), red ochre (to produce red), yellow ochre
(to produce yellow), and some preparation of limestone or chalk (to
produce white). Coloured pictures representing animals of the chase,
coloured with red, yellow, white, and black and outlined by engraving,
have been discovered on the rock walls of the caves used by them. Such
pictures are found of relatively early as well as of late date within
the post-Glacial Palæolithic period (see Chapter III). The rock picture
of a single animal is usually from two to five feet long. People who
could make those coloured designs and who could draw and compose so
admirably as the author of the "Three Red Deer" would have desired to
"roll off" and to possess printings of their favourite representations
of animal life, whilst we must admit that their skill and ingenuity was
assuredly equal to the task of so printing them. If this carving of the
"Three Red Deer" were never printed it could not have been executed in
the first place, nor seen and admired when completed. If even only half
a dozen or a dozen impressions were taken from it for ornamenting the
skins or other material used by a chief, or a wizard, or a woman, its
production becomes intelligible. It is true that there is nothing known
as to the use of such printing from a cylinder among existing primitive
people, but it is known in very early times (4500 B.C.), since
cylindrical seals were used by the Babylonians. Elaborately grooved
blocks used for printing on cloth are known from Fiji and Samoa, and
the mere practice of printing on to a flat surface is common enough
among savage races in regard to the human hand, impressions or prints
of which obtained by the use of a greasy pigment are found upon rocks
or stones. Sometimes prints of the hand or fingers are taken in clay.

We must not, however, forget that the primary purpose of savage and
primitive mankind in making images or engravings of animals is that
of influencing the animals by witchcraft or magic, as has been urged
by Reinach. From such magic-working drawings the art of savages has
gradually developed just as religious figures and designs have been the
initial motive of historic European art.

It seems in any case fairly certain that the artist who engraved our
picture of the three deer on to the stag's antler must have worked from
and copied a completed flat drawing, and probably printed it in some
way on to the prepared antler before engraving its lines thereon and
also checked the work, as he proceeded, by successive trial printings
or "proofs" on to a flat surface. It is possible though it does not
seem very probable, that the drawing was thus committed to perpetual
invisibility on a cylindrical rod–for the purpose of exercising "magic"
with that rod. It seems to me that the Cromagnard owner of the rod
would have wished to see "what the picture really looked like," and so
would have on some occasion and more than once have "printed it off" or
as we say "unrolled it."

Leaving that question aside I have a few words to say as to the present
attempted "completion" of the picture. My difficulty has been in
realizing the suggestion of a free, graceful "bounding" action given
by the pair of small hind legs which form all that remains of the
smallest of the three deer. I have tried various poses of the calf
indicated by these legs–bucking and jumping, and with fore legs closely
bent to the horizontal or in a more open position. The fact is there is
very little in existing drawings or photographs which can help us to a
decision of the problem, "How did the prehistoric artist complete that
exquisite little pair of hanging legs?" The problem is more obscure
even than that of the pose of the arms of the Venus of Melos. One feels
sure that the man who made this carving was an artist who must keep a
certain rhythm and flow in the action and form of the three successive
animals, and it is clear that he was a wonderful observer of the phases
of the limbs in movement. It is, perhaps, a presumptuous thing to
attempt on such a basis to recall the thought of a man who died twenty
thousand years ago, but I set out to do so with the belief that there
is a necessary figure determined by those hind legs.

Some years ago, as a step towards a solution of the problem, I
published a "restoration" or "completion" of this picture in the
"Field" (May 13th, 1911), and asked for criticisms and suggestions from
the readers of that journal. I had no difficulty as to the completion
of the biggest stag by drawing in his haunches and hind-legs, but
the completion of the head and antlers of the smaller stag–and still
more the calling into being of the entire calf as an inference from
his or her suspended hind-feet and hoofs alone–were not easy tasks.
I consulted many authorities and some instantaneous photographs, but
I was not satisfied with the pose I finally suggested for the calf
nor with the "points" assigned by my draughtsman to the antlers of
the smaller stag. Some interesting suggestions were made in reply
to my appeal by readers of the "Field." Those which seemed to me of
conclusive weight and value were offered by Mr. Walter Winans, who
combines the qualifications of a great observer of big game with those
of a great artist. In the restoration now given in Fig. 5 I have
profited by Mr. Walter Winans' criticism and have been especially
glad to make use of the spirited sketch made by him for my benefit,
and published in the "Field" of 1911, of a red-deer calf when hopping
along with all the feet together, a movement known as "buck-jumping."
"Of course," writes Mr. Winans, "this is quite different to the
bronco-pony's action when trying to get rid of a rider. In the case
of this kind she does not come down with a jar–but as she lands
bends her knees and hocks simultaneously and then straightens them,
also simultaneously, bounding in the air with bent back, tail curled
tight on back, head thrown back, and ears forward; she never puts
her fore-legs, either knee or fetlock, beyond her shoulder in this
action." These words of Mr. Winans and his outline sketch of the
buck-jumping calf precisely realize what the little hanging legs of
the rubbed-out calf had been, as it were, urging my tired brain to
recall and visualize. I am convinced that Mr. Winans' sketch gives the
completion of the picture as drawn by the artist of the Lortet cavern,
and satisfies the demand made by the gracefully suspended limbs shown
in the incompletely preserved original. And so I have used it in my
final restoration here given in Fig. 5.

The following letter by Mr. Winans, giving valuable comments on the
Lortet picture, was published in the "Field," and will assist others
in appreciating its significance: it enabled me to get the middle
stag's antlers correctly drawn. I have omitted a few lines referring to
defects in the original restoration–now corrected.

     "SIR,–As Sir Ray Lankester asks for criticism of this wonderful
     drawing of three deer, perhaps the following may be of interest.
     I have known deer all my life, and lived amongst them the last
     twelve years. I agree that the picture is wonderful–better than
     anything Landseer or Rosa Bonheur drew, because these latter were
     only artists: one can see by their pictures (full of faults as
     to attitudes and actions) that they knew nothing of deer. For
     instance, Landseer's stags were much too big in the body and
     their heads too small, and even the shape of their horns was

     "The Lorthet drawings enable one to know all details about the
     three deer (looking at the original mutilated 'development').
     First, the deer have 'got the wind' of an enemy, have come a long
     way, and are moving leisurely, the big stag, as usual, bringing up
     the rear and taking a last look round before the herd goes out of
     sight. The second is the younger stag who generally accompanies
     the big stag and acts as his sentinel when he is sleeping, a stag
     too small to give the big stag any jealousy as to his hinds. The
     third is undoubtedly a calf (Red deer are 'stags,' 'hinds,' and
     'calves,' not 'does' and 'fawns'; the latter terms apply to Fallow
     deer and Roe-deer).

     "The deer are typical Red deer, not Wapiti, except that the only
     tail showing (that of the middle deer) is the short Wapiti tail,
     not the longer tail of the Red deer, and the ears are shorter than
     those of any existing species of deer.

     "The horns of the big stag are those of typical park Red deer,
     exactly like the Warnham Park big stag: brow, bay, and tray, with
     a bunch on top, and the horns are short and straight for their

     "Now as to the short tail. I am trying, by crossing the Wapiti,
     Red deer, and Altai to get back to the original deer before the
     various species got separated, and my 'three-cross' deer show
     these very characteristics, as follows: Red deer or Warnham
     horns, short Wapiti tail, and the rather Roman nose which this
     'development' print shows. The only difference is the short ears.
     Is it not possible that, as the artist is able to draw the horns
     in perspective and show the anatomy and proportions so well, that
     the ears are meant to be drawn fore-shortened?

     "The stag's mouth is open because he is big and fat and is blowing
     (not roaring or bellowing). If it was the rutting season, when
     stags roar, the stag would be tucked up in the belly and have a
     tuft of hair hanging under the middle of it. He and the stag in
     front are moving in the real action (not the conventional action
     Rosa Bonheur and Landseer drew, but what the ancient Egyptians
     drew sometimes) of a slow, easy canter.... Now as to the middle
     stag's horns. I should give him, bearing in mind he is the small
     sentry stag, brow, tray, and three on top–a ten-pointer, the thin
     points showing in the original drawing indicating that he had thin
     horns–in fact, a three-year old.

     "In a Scotch forest a ten-pointer is a comparatively old stag, but
     at Warnham and my place, where the feeding is good (and in my case
     there is hand feeding all the year round), a spike stag gets six
     points and can almost be a royal the next year.

     "All this shows that the deer at the time this drawing was made
     must have had very good feeding and come to maturity quickly,
     like modern park deer. The big stag would never have allowed a
     ten-pointer in his herd if the latter had been an old stag.

     "As to the action of the leading hind. I think she is a hind-calf
     by her legs, and is jumping with all four legs together, the
     way young deer do when playing, and, being young, is paying no
     attention to the danger behind, but is full of life, like a horse
     playing about when he is fresh. One often sees the calves of a
     herd playing like this if the herd is moving along steadily....

     "From the position of the hind legs of the little calf I judge
     that she is jumping with all four legs together (the jump from
     which the expression 'buck jumping' comes); her tail would be
     curled up tight over her back like a pug dog carries it, only
     without the curl, and her ears pricked forward. The piece of horn
     broken off would show the rest of the hinds and calves, led by an
     old 'yeld' (_i.e._, barren) hind, who would be leading the herd
     up wind with her nose and ears forward to 'get the wind' of any
     danger ahead.

     "The day is a hot one in the middle of August, shown by the big
     stag blowing and his being with the hinds, instead of with other
     stags by themselves, and by his not having 'run' yet, though his
     horns are clear of velvet. He is most likely the stag on whose
     horn this is engraved. The length of the deer's feet shows that
     they live on ground which is soft and not many stones about to
     wear down their toes.

     "Maybe the fish indicate that the deer are crossing a shallow
     ford, and the salmon are getting frightened and jumping. The
     right-hand-most fish is just in the attitude of a hooked salmon
     trying to leap clear of the fly....

     "The picture was most likely first drawn on some flat flexible
     surface, skin or bark, in a sticky medium, and then transferred to
     the horn by rolling it round the horn and then rubbing it. This
     would give a transfer, which would guide the subsequent engraving,
     otherwise it would be very difficult to engrave direct on the
     horn, and mistakes could not easily be corrected.

                                        "WALTER WINANS


With regard to the six fishes in the picture of "The Three Red Deer," I
think that there can be little doubt that they are put in in the same
spirit of exuberance which induced early Italian masters to introduce
a cherub wherever a space for him could be found. The fish represented
are the same in each case, and are undeniably salmonids. Presumably
they are drawn on a larger scale than the deer. Their markings and the
form of the head are deserving of some criticism and comment by those
who are familiar with fish as seen by the fisherman. Probably the
artist's friends at Lourdes captured fish in those days by spearing
them with serrated bone-headed fish spears or harpoons (Fig. 3). No
fish hooks of bone have been found in the cave of Lortet or in others
of like age, although needles and whistles of bone and other useful
little instruments, as well as serrated spear heads and harpoons have
been obtained in several of them.

The tool used by the prehistoric man in engraving the cylinder of
stag's antler was undoubtedly a suitable chipped-out piece of flint–a
flint graving tool, in fact a "burin," such as are abundant in these

[Illustration: FIG. 6.–Fragment of a roughly-painted vase of the
Dipylon age (_circa_ 800 B.C.) from Tiryns, figured by Schliemann and
cited by Hörnes in his "History of Pictorial Art in Europe." Compare
the fish between the horse's legs with the fish in the Lortet picture
of the Three Deer; also note the lozenge-shaped designs (similar to the
pair above the big stag in the Lortet picture) near the fish and near
the man's head (_d_); and, further, the swastika (_s_).]

Attention has been drawn by Hörnes in his "History of Pictorial Art
in Europe" to the resemblance of the Lortet picture to a fragment of
a roughly painted vase of the Dipylon age (_circa_ 800 B.C.) found at
Tiryns and figured by Schliemann in his account of excavations made at
that ancient Mykenæan fortress of the Peloponese. The fragment (Fig.
6) shows very roughly drawn figures of a man and of a horse. Between
the fore and hind legs of the horse a large elaborately ornate fish
is represented, reminding us of the fishes between the deer's legs in
the Lortet picture. Two other similar fragments of pottery, showing
a fish in this position, are recorded by Schliemann. The drawing is
conventional and careless. It is of a debased decorative character, and
is very far removed from the careful nature-true work of the Lortet
cave-man. It is not possible to trace by any known line of transmission
a connection between the engraving executed 20,000 years ago in the
caves of the Pyrénées and the figures rapidly knocked off in black
paint on the Tiryns vase some 17,000 years later by the local dealers
in cheap pottery. Yet we cannot avoid the suggestion that there is
some connection between the two designs. For the Tiryns painting shows
not only the curious upright fish between the horse's legs, but also
diamond-shaped figures–one marked _d_ in Fig. 6, another near the
fish's tail, and another between the man's feet–closely resembling
the pair of diamond-shaped figures engraved above the neck of the big
stag in the Lortet picture (see Figs. 4 and 5). As we do not know what
these diamond-shaped figures or "lozenges" are intended to signify
in either case, we do not get, at present, beyond the bald fact of
their coincidence. The Tiryns painting also shows (at _s_ in Fig. 6)
a "swastika" (see Chapter XVII), and below the man's arm a carelessly
drawn bit of the ancient wave-fret or key-pattern. It is, of course,
possible that the tradition of an ancient design–even dating so far
back in origin as many thousands of years–may be preserved in the
use made in the Tiryns decoration of the fish and the diamond-shaped
lozenges, though associated with the swastika and the bit of wave-fret
which are probably of later origin and are not known in the decorative
work of the cave-men. The Mykenæan decorative assimilation of geese to
the ship's barnacle exercised its influence over three thousand years
and led to the mediæval belief in the hatching of young geese from
barnacles attached to floating timber, and even from the buds of trees
(see my "Diversions of a Naturalist": Methuen, 1915). Nevertheless it
must not be supposed that the connection of the Lortet engraving and
the vase-painting of Tiryns is probable or more than a very remote
possibility. The gap in time is too vast, and our present ignorance
of what took place in that interval too complete, to warrant us in
regarding the resemblance as more than a coincidence.


[1] "L'Age du Renne," a posthumous work, with one hundred coloured
quarto plates of objects in the Piette collection, is published by
Masson, of Paris, and gives the complete list of Piette's numerous
earlier papers, issued as his excavations proceeded.

[2] Seven years ago the ape-like lower jaw and thick walled brain-case
called "Eoanthropus" were discovered in a sparse gravel near Lewes in
Sussex. It is probably of older date than either the Neander men or
the Heidelberg men. See on this subject the chapters on "The Missing
Link" in my "Diversions of a Naturalist" (1915) and those on "The Most
Ancient Men" and "The Cave-men's Skulls" in "Science from an Easy
Chair. First Series" (1910).



Some fifty-five years ago pieces of reindeer's antler were discovered
in the cave known as "La Madeleine" in the Dordogne (a department of
France some eighty miles east of Bordeaux), upon which were engraved
the outlines of various animals such as reindeer and horses. They and
the bone spear-heads and needles, and the flint knives found with
them, were the first revelation to later man of the existence of the
prehistoric cave-men. Among the carvings was a piece of ivory which
excited the profoundest interest. Partly hidden by a confused mass
of scratches it showed the well-drawn outline of the great extinct
elephant, thus scratched or "engraved" on a bit of its own tusk (Fig.
7). The engraving was barely 5 in. long, and has been reproduced in
many books. The specimen is now in Paris, and was for long the only
known representation of the Mammoth by the ancient men who lived with
it in Western Europe.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.–Engraving of a mammoth drawn upon a piece of
mammoth's ivory, found in the cave of La Madeleine in the Dordogne,
in 1864. The specimen is in the Museum of Natural History, Paris. The
engraving is here represented of the actual size.]

During the last fifteen years, however, our knowledge of the works of
art executed by these ancient men has increased to an extraordinary
extent, chiefly owing to the energy and skill of the French explorers
of the caverns in the south central region of that country. As long
ago as 1879 a little girl, the daughter of Señor Sautuolo–a proud
woman she should be if alive to-day–when visiting the cavern of
Altamira, near Santander, in the north of Spain, with her father,
drew his attention to a number of "pictures of animals," painted on
the rocky vault or roof of the cave. At first no one believed that
these pictures were more than a few hundred years old, whilst some held
them to be modern and made with fraudulent purpose. In 1887 Piette,
the distinguished French investigator of the remains of human work in
the caverns of the French Pyrénées (whose great illustrated book of
carved and engraved portions of reindeer antler, ivory, and stones
discovered by his excavations, is a classic), declared that in his
opinion the pictures of the Altamira cave were of the same age as the
bone and ivory carvings of the Madeleine cave–that is to say, dated
from what "prehistorians" call the later Palæolithic age, an age when
the mammoth, the bison, the cave lion, and the reindeer still existed
in Western Europe, and when the British Isles were not yet separated by
sea from the Continent. The age indicated is probably from 25,000 to
50,000 years ago. Still, the opinion prevailed that the "wall-drawings"
and "roof-drawing" of the Altamira cave were either mediæval or modern
until the French explorers discovered wall-paintings in some of the
caves of the Dordogne. Then they proceeded to a careful investigation
of the Altamira cave, and discovered conclusive evidence of the great
age of the paintings by the removal of some of the undisturbed deposit
in the cave, in which were found flint implements and small engravings
on bone, proving the deposit to be of the late Palæolithic age. When
this deposit was removed, pictures of animals, partly engraved and
partly completed in colour (black, red, yellow, and white), were
found on the wall of the cave previously covered up by the deposit.
M. Cartailhac, who had been a leading opponent of the view that the
Altamira wall-pictures were very ancient, now renounced his former
position and became an enthusiastic investigator and exponent of these
pictures. M. Breuil, who had discovered wall-pictures, including those
of the mammoth, in French caves, and had been met by disbelief and
even suspicion, now received due recognition, and joined Cartailhac
in preparing a complete account of the wall and roof pictures of the
Altamira cave. The Prince of Monaco, who had carried out, with the
aid of French experts, an investigation of the caves on his property
at Mentone, on the Mediterranean "Riviera," undertook the expense
of producing a splendid volume, giving coloured reproductions of
the Altamira pictures. To him the world is indebted, not only for
most important discoveries of human skeletons and objects of human
workmanship in the caves of Mentone (there are no wall-pictures
there), but for the publication in illustrated form of the Mentone
discoveries and of those obtained in the Altamira cave. He has not
rested at this stage of accomplishment, but has produced at his own
expense large volumes by MM. Breuil, Capitan, and Peyrony, illustrating
and describing the discoveries made by them of wall-paintings and
engravings of animals in the cave known as the "Font de Gaume," in
the Dordogne. The Prince has also published a volume, by MM. Breuil,
de Rio, and Sierra, reproducing the drawings found in a whole series
of caves and rock-shelters in various parts of the Spanish peninsula,
where the rock-painting race seems to have persisted to a somewhat
later period and to have painted, more frequently, pictures of human
beings as well as of animals. These, whilst less artistic and truthful
than those of the North Spanish and South French area, yet have
surpassing interest, since they have special similarity to ancient
rock-paintings found in North Africa and to the rock-paintings of the
Bushmen of South Africa.

The Prince of Monaco has finally established the great study in which
he has played so valuable a part by founding in Paris an "Institute of
Human Palæontology"; that is, "of the study of prehistoric man," which
he has endowed with a magnificent building, comprising laboratories
and residences for professors, together with funds to pay for its
maintenance and the proper publication of results. This he has done in
addition to founding entirely at his own expense a similarly complete
Institute for the study of "oceanography"–the study of the living
contents and history of the great seas.

The illustrations in this chapter are (with the exception of Fig. 7)
copies, greatly reduced in size, of faithful representations of the
great hairy elephant or mammoth which still survived in southern France
in the days when the caves were occupied and decorated by men. I am
indebted to the valuable little book "Repertoire de l'Art Quatermaire,"
by M. Salomon Reinach, for these outlines carefully drawn by him from
various large illustrations by the use of a tracing and reducing
instrument. In the next chapter I have given examples from the same
source of similar drawings of other animals.

There are five kinds of artistic work of Palæolithic age found in the
caverns of France and Spain; namely (1) small solid carvings (complete
all round) in bone, ivory, or stone; (2) small engravings in sunk
outline on similar material, rarely with relief of the outlined figure;
(3) large stone statues, 2 ft. to 6 ft. across, in high relief, with
complete modelling of the visible surface; (4) rock engravings and
paintings on the walls and roofs of caverns or rock shelters, often
partly outlined by engraving and scraping of the surface, and then
completed in black or red paint or in several colours (black, red,
yellow, white); they are of large size, from 2 to 5 ft. in cross
measurement; (5) models in clay, one side only shown, the other resting
on rock; a few incomplete clay models of this nature representing the
bison of about 2 ft. in length, have recently been discovered in one
of the French caverns, and are the only examples of modelling in clay
by the Palæolithic men yet discovered.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.–Outline engravings of mammoths on the wall of
the cavern known as the "Font de Gaume," near Eyzies (Dordogne). Each
figure is about 2 ft. long.]

Our figures of the mammoth are (excepting Fig. 7) all of the
fourth class–namely, rock-paintings in one colour (black or red)
partly engraved and scraped. The originals are from 1½ ft. to 2½
ft. long. The mammoths given in Fig. 8 are carefully copied from
engravings discovered, reproduced, and described by M. Breuil and his
fellow-workers. They are on the walls of the cavern known as the "Font
de Gaume," in the commune of Tayac in the Dordogne. Those copied in
Fig. 9 and Fig. 10, A, were discovered on the walls of the cave of Les
Combarelles in the same district.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.–Similar engravings from the neighbouring cave of
Combarelles. The lower figure is an enlargement of the smaller of the
two above it.]

Fig. 10, B, is from a cave at Bernifal, near les Eyzies, in the
Dordogne, and shows a mammoth enclosed in a triangular design, which is
believed to represent a trap, or else a cage. Such triangular figures
with upright and also bent supports are found in various degrees of
elaboration on both small and large engravings of this period, and are
generally accepted as representing huts or enclosures supported by
wooden poles. They are called "tectiforms" by the French explorers.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.–_A_, similar engraving from the cave of
Combarelles. _B_, Mammoth enclosed by plank-like structure–supposed to
be either a cage or a trap. (Called tectiform structures, and often
seen in these wall engravings.) From the cave of Bernifal, five miles
from Eyzies.]

The bones and teeth of the mammoth are very common in the river
gravels and clays of Western Europe and England, and a complete skull,
with its tusks, dug up at Ilford, in the east of London, is in the
Natural History Museum. Frozen carcasses of this animal are found in
Northern Siberia, and two showing much of the skin and hair are in
the museum of Petrograd. There is no tradition or knowledge of the
mammoth among living races of men. The natives of Siberia, who have
from time immemorial done a large trade in the ivory, regard the tusks
as "horns," and have stories about the ghosts of the mammoth, but no
tradition of it as a living beast. The mammoth was closer to the Indian
elephant of to-day than to the African one. It had, as these drawings
show, a pelt of long hair. Indian elephants from upland regions often
have a good deal of hair all over the body: and the newborn young of
both the Indian and African elephant has a complete coat of hair. The
drawings here reproduced are not only of thrilling interest because
they are the work of remotely ancient men who lived with and observed
mammoths in the south of France, but also because they show an
extraordinary skill in "sketching"–in giving the essential lines of the
creature portrayed and in reproducing the artist's "impression." These
artists were "impressionists"–the earliest and most sincere–without
self-consciousness or other purpose than that of making line and colour
truly register and indicate their vivid impressions. It is interesting
to note that (as in other works of art showing true artistic gift)
actual error in drawing (for instance, in the size and shape of
the eye and the placing of the two tusks on the same side of the
trunk–possibly due to the unfinished state of the drawing) sometimes
accompanies the most penetrating observation and skilful delineation of
the characteristic form and pose of the animal. Probably mammoths were
getting rare in the south of France when these drawings were made, and
were not so familiar in all their details to the artist as were bison,
horse, and deer.



The works of art produced by the cave-men are, as we have already
seen, of five kinds or classes–(1) All-round small statuettes, or
"high-relief" carvings, in ivory, bone, or stone (examples of which are
shown in Figs. 14, 25, 26, 27, 28 of the present chapter); (2) small
engravings on bits of ivory, deer's antler, bone, or stone (examples
are shown in Figs. 15, 16, 20, and 24); (3) large statues, hewn in
rock, and left in place; (4) drawings of large size–two to five feet in
diameter (partly engraved and partly coloured) on the rocky walls and
vaults of limestone caverns (shown in Figs. 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23,
as well as in the figures of mammoths in the last chapter); (5) models
(high relief) worked in clay. I give reproductions in the present
chapter of several samples of this art, showing how skilfully these men
of 50,000 years ago could portray a variety of animals.

Who were these men, and why did they make these remarkable carvings
and drawings? First, as to their age. We now know of a long succession
of human inhabitants of this part of the world, namely, Western
Europe. The earliest reach back to an antiquity never dreamed of fifty
years ago. We cannot fix with any certainty the number of thousands,
or hundreds of thousands, of years which is represented by this
succession, but we can place the different periods in order, one later
than the other, each distinguished chiefly by the character of the
workmanship belonging to it, though in a few instances we have also
the actual limb-bones, skulls, and jaw-bones of the men themselves,
which differ in different periods. It is practically certain that these
prehistoric successive periods of humanity do not represent the steps
of growth and change of one single race belonging to this part of the
world, but that successive races have arrived on the scene of Western
Europe from other parts, and it is usually very difficult even to guess
where they came from and where they went to!

It is convenient to divide the human epoch, the time which has elapsed
since man definitely took shape as man–characterized by his large
brain, small teeth, upright carriage, and large opposable thumb and
still larger and more peculiar non-opposable great toe–into the
historic and the prehistoric sections. In this part of the world
(Europe) the first use of metals (first of all copper, then bronze,
and then iron), as the material for the fabrication of implements and
tools of all kinds, occurs just on the line between the historic and
the prehistoric sections; that is to say, between those times of which
we know something by tradition and writing, and those earlier times
of which we have no record and no tradition, but concerning which we
have to make out what we can by searching the refuse heaps and ruins
of man's dwelling-places and carefully collecting such of his "works"
as have not utterly perished, whilst noting which lie deeper in the
ground, which above and which below the others.

Practically the men of the prehistoric ages in Europe had not the use
of metals (though our quasi-historical records go back to a less remote
time in many parts of Europe than they do in Greece, Assyria, and
Egypt). The prehistoric peoples are spoken of as the men of the Stone
Age, because they used stone, chiefly flint, as many savage races do
to-day, as the material from which they fabricated by means of deftly
struck blows all sorts of implements. Undoubtedly they also, by aid of
stone knives, saws and planes, made weapons and other implements of
wood and of the horns, bones, and teeth of animals. But these latter
substances are perishable, and have only been preserved from decay
under special circumstances, such as their inclusion in the deposits on
the floors of caverns.

The Stone Age is itself readily and obviously divisible into two
periods. The latter is a comparatively very short and recent period,
when great skill in chipping flints and other stones was attained,
and the implements so shaped were often rubbed on large stones of
very hard material (siliceous grit), so as to polish their surfaces.
This is the "Neolithic," or later Stone, period, and extends back
in Europe certainly to 7000 B.C., and probably a few thousand years
further. Passing further back than this, we leave what are called
"recent" deposits, and come to those associated with great changes
of the earth's surface. We enter upon "geological" time, and vastly
changed climatic and geographical conditions. We are in the older Stone
period, called the "Palæolithic period." It is not really comparable
to the "Neolithic," since it comprises many successive ages of man,
and, although called the "Palæolithic" or "ancient Stone" period, has
no unity, but, whilst readily divisible into several sub-periods or
epochs of comparatively late date, stretches back into immense geologic
antiquity indicated by flint implements of special and diverse types,
which are found in definitely ascertained geologic horizons.

The Pleistocene strata–the latest of the geologists' list–are the
river gravels of existing river valleys, the deposits in many caves,
and the sands and clays piled up by ice action during the repeated
glacial extensions or epochs of glaciation which alternated with milder
climate for many thousands of years over north and middle Europe. It
is identical with the Palæolithic period, which, however, probably
extends beyond it into the Pliocene and even further back. In the
later deposits of the Pleistocene, which necessarily have been less
frequently disturbed and re-deposited than the older ones, we find
more numerous remains of man's handwork, and in less disturbed order
of succession, than in the older deposits. Lately we have obtained in
East Anglia beautifully-worked flint implements–the rostro-carinate, or
eagle's beaks–from below shelly marine deposits–the Red Crag of Suffolk
and the Norwich Crag–the oldest beds of the Pleistocene. They were made
by men who _lived_ in the Pliocene period, and carry the ancient Stone
period of man back to a much earlier period than was admitted nine
years ago.

The Pleistocene series or "system" of strata–also called the
"Quaternary" to mark its distinction from the underlying long series
of "Tertiary" strata–does not comprise the actual surface-deposits
in which the remains of Neolithic man are found. It is usual, though
perhaps not altogether logical, to separate these as "Recent" and
to begin the long enumeration of "geologic" strata after a certain
interval when the relative levels of land and sea and the depth of
river-valleys were not precisely what they are to-day, and the human
inhabitants of Western Europe were hunters using rough unpolished flint
implements–in fact, when the "Palæolithic" period of human culture had
not given place to the "Neolithic," which was after some ten thousand
years itself to be superseded by the age of metals. "Prehistorians,"
the students of prehistoric man–divide the Pleistocene series of
deposits with a view to a systematic conception of the successive
changes of man and his surroundings during the period occupied by
their deposition, into an upper, a middle and a lower group–and
further have distinguished certain successive "horizons" in these
groups–characterized by the remains of man and animals which they
contain. They are exhibited in the tabular statement here given in
the ascertained order of their succession, and are represented in the
southern part of Britain as well as in France.


     _A._ UPPER PLEISTOCENE (post-glacial; also called epoch of the

     1. _The Azilian:_ (Elapho-Tarandian of Piette) nearest to
           the Neolithic section of the Recent Period and more or less
           transitional to that period; named after the cavern of the
           Mas d'Azil in the department of the Ariège. The Reindeer had
           largely given place to the great Red Deer (Cervus elephus).

     2. _The Magdelenian:_ named after the cave of La Madeleine in the

     3. _The Solutrian:_ after Solutré near Macon.

     4. _The Aurignacian:_ after the grotto of Aurignac in the Haute

     _B._ MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE (period of the last great extension of

     1. _The Moustierian:_ so named after the cave of Le Moustier in
           Dordogne; the epoch of the Neander men. Also called the
           "epoch of the Mammoth," whilst the upper Pleistocene is
           called the epoch of the Reindeer, though the Mammoth still
           survived then in reduced numbers.

     _C._ LOWER PLEISTOCENE (inter-glacial and early glacial, also
           called period of the Hippopotamus and of Elephas antiquus
           and Rhinoceros Merckii).

     1. _The Chellian:_ named after Chelles on the upper Seine, river
           gravels and sands earlier than the Moustierian. Large
           tongue-shaped flint implements, flaked on both surfaces–the
           later and better-finished classed as "Acheulæan," after St.
           Acheul, near Amiens.

     2, 3, 4 ... various fluviatile and lacustrine gravels, sands and
           clays divisible into separate successive horizons, as well
           as marine deposits, some of glacial origin–including the
           mid-glacial gravel, the boulder clays and shelly Red Crag
           and Norwich Crag (but _not_ the underlying "Coralline" Crag,
           which must be classed with the Pliocene). The relations of
           the marine deposits to the older river-gravels and
           fresh-water deposits, and to the earlier periods of glacial
           extension indicated by the glacial moraines of central
           Europe, have not been, as yet, satisfactorily determined.

The amount of the sedimentary deposits of the earth's crust belonging
to the Pleistocene or Quaternary Period–about 250 feet in thickness–is
exceedingly small, and represents a surprisingly short space of time
as compared with that indicated by the vast thickness of underlying
deposits. It has nevertheless been possible to study and classify
the "horizons" of this latest very short period minutely because the
deposits are easily excavated, and having been more recently "laid
down" have not suffered so much subsequent breaking up and destruction
as have the older strata; and further, because they embed at certain
levels and in favourable situations an abundance of well-preserved
bones and teeth of animals and the implements and carvings in stone and
bone made by man. It is worth while to look at this matter a little
more exactly.

The total thickness of sedimentary deposits–that is, deposit laid down
by the action of water on the earth's surface, and now estimated by
the measurement of strata lying one over the other in various parts of
the globe–tilted and exposed to view so that we can trace out their
order of super-position–is about 130,000 feet. The lower half of this
huge deposit contains no fossilized remains of the living things
which were present in the waters which laid it down; they were soft,
probably shell-less and boneless, and so no fossilized trace of them
is preserved. Thus we divide the sedimentary crust into 65,000 feet of
"archaic" non-fossiliferous deposit, and an overlying 65,000 feet of
fossil-containing deposits.

The earliest remains of living things known are not very different
from marine creatures of to-day; they are the strange shrimp-like
Trilobites and the Lingula-shells found in the lower Cambrian rocks of
Wales. Over them lie 65,000 feet of sedimentary deposit teaming with
fossils–the petrified remains of animals and plants. The Trilobites
and the Lingulas must have had a long series of ancestors leading up to
them from the simplest beginnings of life–for they are highly organized
creatures. But no trace of those ancestors is preserved in the 65,000
feet of sedimentary rock underlying the earliest fossils.

This great basal mass of non-fossiliferous deposit is called "the
Archæan series." The 65,000 feet of deposit _above_ it are divided by
geologists into three very unequal series. The first and lowest is the
Primary or Palæozoic series, occupying the enormous thickness of 52,000
feet; above these we have the Secondary or Mesozoic series of 10,000
feet, and lastly, bringing us to recent time, we have the Tertiary or
Cainozoic of only 3000 feet. These three series amount in all to 65,000
feet. The Palæozoic series is more than five times as thick as the
Mesozoic, and these two taken together are twenty times the thickness
of the Tertiary. Each series is divided by geologists into a series
of systems, distinguished by the fossils they contain, which, on the
whole, indicate animals of a higher degree of evolution as we ascend
the series.

The Palæozoic series include the vast thicknesses of the Cambrian, the
Ordovician, the Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian systems.
The first "trilobite" is found in the lowest Cambrian rocks, and the
last or most recent existed in the Permian period–after 50,000 feet
of rock had been deposited. None are known of later age. The first
fossil remains of a vertebrate are found in the uppermost beds of
the Silurian–in "beds" (that is to say, stratified rocks) which are
just _half-way_ in position so far as the measurable thickness of the
deposits are concerned, between the earliest Cambrian fossils and the
sediments of the present day. To put it another way, 34,000 feet of
fossiliferous rock precede the stratum (upper Silurian) in which the
earliest remains of vertebrates are found. These first vertebrates to
appear (others soft and destructible preceded them) are fishes–a group
which, apart from this fact, are shown by their structure to present
the ancestral form of all the vertebrate classes. In later Palæozoic
beds we find the remains of four-legged creatures like our living newts
and salamanders. The Secondary or Mesozoic series is divided into the
Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous systems. It ends with the familiar
chalk deposit of this part of the world, and is often called the age
of Reptiles, because large reptiles abounded in this period. The
Tertiary or Cainozoic series are divided into the Eocene, Oligocene,
Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene systems. The huge reptiles disappear
and their place is taken by an endless variety of warm-blooded, hairy
animals–the Mammals–small at first, but in later beds often of great
size. As we pass upwards from the Eocene we can trace the ancestry of
our living Mammals such as the horse, rhinoceros, pig and elephant in
successive forms. Complete skeletons are preserved in the rocks and
show a gradual transition from the more primitive Eocene kinds–through
Miocene and Pliocene modifications–until in the Pleistocene strata
many of the species now inhabiting the earth's surface are found. A
number of horizons, characterized by the special mammalian and other
animal remains preserved in them, are distinguished by geologists in
each of the "systems" of sands, clays and harder beds known as Eocene,
Oligocene, Miocene and Pliocene. At last we arrive at the latest
or most recent 250 feet of deposit, consisting of sand, clay and
gravel. This is called "Pleistocene." It is only a very small fraction
(¹/₂₆₀th) of the thickness of the whole fossil-bearing sedimentary
crust of the earth–about the proportion of the thickness of a common
paving-stone to the whole height of Shakespeare's cliff at Dover. This
Pleistocene or post-glacial Tertiary–often now called Quaternary–has
been so carefully examined that we divide it as shown on page 39 into
upper, middle and lower, and each of these divisions into successive
horizons (only a few feet thick) characterized by the remains of
different species of animals and often by the differing implements and
carvings as well as the bones of successive races of men.

When we are concerned with written history, ancient Egypt seems to
be of vast and almost appalling antiquity; on the other hand, if we
study the cave-men, ancient Egypt becomes relatively modern, and the
first cold period and extension of glaciers, which 500,000 years ago
marked the passage from Pliocene to Pleistocene, becomes our familiar
example of something belonging to the remote past–beyond or below
which we rarely let our thoughts wander. That is a natural result of
concentration on a special study. But it has had the curious result,
in many cases, of making students of ancient man unwilling to admit
the discovery of evidences of the existence of man at an earlier date
than that which belongs to the deposits and remains to which their
life-long studies have been confined and upon which their thought is
concentrated. The last 500,000 years of the earth's vicissitudes, which
resulted in the 250 feet of "Pleistocene" deposit and the marvellous
treasures of early humanity embedded in them, form but a trivial
postscript to the great geological record which precedes it.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.–Horse (wall engraving), cave of Marsoulas,
Haute Garonne. The drawing suggests the Southern less heavy breed as
compared with Figs. 12 and 13.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.–Horse (wall engraving) outlined in black, cave
of Niaux (Ariège).]

[Illustration: FIG. 13.–Horses: _A_, wall engraving (cave of Hornos de
la Péna). _B_, wall engraving from cavern of Combarelles. _C_, engraved
on reindeer antler (Mas d'Azil). Note the halter in _A_ and in _C_;
also note the heavy head and face of _B_ like that of Prejalvski's

No estimate can be made of the time represented by the 65,000 feet
of fossiliferous strata known to us and the same thickness of
non-fossiliferous deposit which precedes them. There are no facts known
upon which a calculation of the related lapse of time can be based.
But most geologists would agree that whilst we have good ground for
assigning half a million years to the formation of the Pleistocene
strata, it is not an unreasonable supposition that the period required
for the formation of the fossiliferous rocks which precede them in
time, is not less and probably more than five hundred million years.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.–Drawing (of the actual size of the original)
of a flat carving in shoulder-bone of a horse's head, showing twisted
rope-bridle and trappings. _a_ appears to represent a flat ornamented
band of wood or skin connecting the muzzling rope _b_ with other pieces
_c_ and _d_. This specimen is from the cave of St. Michel d'Arudy, and
is of the Reindeer period. This, and others like it are in the same
museum of St. Germain.]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.–Drawing (of the actual size of the original) of
a fully rounded carving in reindeer's antler of the head of a neighing
horse. The head resembles that of the Mongolian horse. This is one of
the most artistic of the cave-men's carvings yet discovered. It is of
the Palæolithic age (early Reindeer period), probably not less than
50,000 years old. It was found in the cavern of Mas d'Azil, Ariège,
France, and is now in the museum of St. Germain.]

The pictures and carvings with which we are for the moment concerned
all belong to the _later_ Pleistocene or Reindeer epoch. None have been
found in the middle and earlier Pleistocene, though finely-chipped
flints of several successive types are found in those earlier beds.
So that it is clear that many successive ages of man had elapsed
in Western Europe before these pictures–immensely ancient as they
are–were executed. The men who made these works of art had ages of
humanity, tradition, and culture (of a kind) behind them. Yet they
were themselves tens of thousands of years earlier than the ancient

[Illustration: FIG. 16.–Reindeer engraving on schist, small size
(cavern of Laugerie basse).]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.–Rhinoceros in red outline (2½ feet long),
drawn on the wall of the cavern of Font de Gaume.]

Our illustrations show a variety of drawings and carvings. It appears
probable that the primitive intention of ancient man in depicting
animals was "to work magic" on those which he hunted. This is the case
at the present day among many "savage" races. The drawings of bisons
in Fig. 19 are from the walls of the cavern of Font de Gaume, in the
Dordogne, and are about 5 ft. long, partly engraved and scraped, partly
outlined in black, and coloured. The body is often coloured in red,
white and black, so as to give a true representation of the masses
of hair and surface contours. A specially well preserved painting of
this kind–from the cavern of Altamira–is shown in Fig. 18, where the
colours of the original–black, red, and brown, and white are indicated
by the varied shading. These drawings, like those of the mammoths
figured in the last chapter, are found in the recesses of caverns where
no daylight reaches them, and must have been executed and viewed by
aid of torch or lamp-light. They probably were exhibited as part of a
ceremony connected with witchcraft and magic. These, like the mammoths
and all the specimens figured here, were executed in the Reindeer,
or later Pleistocene period. The exact "horizon" of each is, as a
rule, well ascertained, but there is uncertainty as to whether some
specimens should be attributed to the Aurignacian or to the Magdalenian
horizon–and as to whether work by men of the Magdalenian race is not
in some cases associated in the cave deposits with that by the earlier
negroid Aurignacians.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.–Bison from the roof of the cavern of Altamira:
engraved, and also painted in three colours (5 feet long).]

[Illustration: FIG. 19.–Bison: wall engravings (5 feet long) filled in
with colour (Font de Gaume).]

[Illustration: FIG. 20.–Bear: engraved on stalagmite, from the cave of
Teyjat near Eyzies. (Small size.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 21.–Bear, engraved on stone, Massol (Ariège).]

[Illustration: FIG. 22.–Wolf, engraved on wall of the cave of

[Illustration: FIG. 23.–Wall engraving of a Cave Lion (Combarelles).]

The horses shown are from various caves. Fig. 12 is drawn in black on
the wall of a cave at Niaux (Ariège), and Fig. 11 is a similar drawing
from a cave in the Haute Garonne. Both are remarkable for the exact
representation of natural poses of the horse. Figs. 13, A and B, are
also from the walls of caves. The latter is remarkable for the large
head, short mane, and thick muzzle, which closely correspond with the
same parts in the existing wild horse of the Gobi desert in Tartary (to
be seen alive in the Zoological Gardens in London). The horse drawn in
Fig. 11 seems to belong to a distinct race, suggesting the Southern
"Arab" horse rather than the heavier and more clumsy horse of the Gobi
desert. Fig. 13, C, is engraved of the size here given, on a piece of
reindeer's antler. It is remarkable for the halter-like ring around the
muzzle. A similar cord or rope is seen in Fig. 12 and in Fig. 13, A.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.–Goose: small engraving on reindeer antler

The most remarkable horses' heads obtained are those drawn (of the
actual size of the carvings) in Figs. 14 and 15. Fig. 14 is from the
cave of St. Michael d'Arudy, engraved on a flat piece of shoulder-bone.
It shows what can only be interpreted as some kind of "halter," made
apparently of twisted rope (_b_, _c_, _d_), disposed about the animal's
head, whilst a broad, flat piece ornamented with angular marks is
attached at the regions marked "_a_." This and other drawings similar
to Fig. 13, C (of which there are many), go far to prove that these
early men had mastered the horse and put a kind of bridle on his head.
Fig. 15 is a solid all-round carving in reindeer's antler from the
cave of Mas d'Azil, Ariège (France). The original is of this size, and
is supposed to be one of the oldest and yet is the most artistic yet
discovered, and worthy to compare with the horses of the Parthenon.

In Fig. 20 we have a wonderful outline of a bear engraved on a piece
of stone, from the cave of Teyjat, in the Dordogne; Fig. 22, the head
of a wolf on the wall of the cave of Combarelles, Dordogne; Fig.
23, lion (mane-less), engraved on the wall of the same cave; Fig.
21, small bear, engraved on a pebble; Fig. 24, a duck engraved on a
piece of reindeer's antler (Gourdan, Haute Garonne); Fig. 17, the
square-mouthed, two-horned rhinoceros, drawn in red (ochre) outline on
the wall of the cavern of the Font de Gaume. This drawing is 2½ ft.
long. In successful characterization the bear (Fig. 20), the wolf (Fig.
22), and the feline (Fig. 23) far surpass any of the attempts at animal
drawing made by modern savages, such as the Bushmen of South Africa,
Californian Indians, and Australian black fellows.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.–Female figure carved in oolitic limestone from
Willendorf near Krems, Lower Austria (1908). Half the size (linear) of
the original.]

Fig. 27 is an outline sketch of a rock-carved statue, 18 in. high,
proved by the kind of flint implements found with it to be of
Aurignacian age. It was discovered on a rubble-covered face of a
rock-cliff at Laussel, in the Dordogne, by M. Lalanne. The woman
holds a bovine horn in her right hand. The face is obliterated by
"weathering." Four other human statues were found in the same place,
one a male, much broken, but obviously standing in the position taken
by (Fig. 28) a man throwing a spear or drawing a bow.[3] Near these
were found a frieze of life-sized horses carved in high relief on the
rock. These are the only statues of any size, executed by the Reindeer
men, yet discovered.

The representations of men are rare among these earliest works of art,
and less successfully carried out than those of animals. But several
small statuettes of women in bone, ivory, and stone of the early
Aurignacian horizon are known. They suggest, by their form of body,
affinity with the Bushmen race of to-day (Fig. 25). The all-round
carving of a female head (Fig. 26) also suggests Ethiopian affinities
in the dressing of the hair. Some regard this hair-like head-dress as
a cap. Here and there badly executed outline engravings of men, some
apparently wearing masks, have been discovered.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.–Drawing (of the actual size of the original)
of an ivory carving (fully rounded) of a female head. The specimen
was found in the cavern of Brassempouy, in the Landes. It is of the
earliest Reindeer period, and the arrangement of the hair or cap is

The fact that the "Reindeer men" were skilful in devising decorative
design–not representing actual natural objects–is shown by the carving
drawn in Fig. 29 and in many others like it.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.–Seated figure of a woman holding a bovine horn
in the right hand; high relief carved on a limestone rock; about 18
inches high. Discovered at Laussel (Dordogne) in a rock-shelter in
1911, by M. Lalanne.]

[Illustration: FIG. 28.–Male figure represented in the act of drawing
a bow or throwing a spear. Carved on limestone rock; about 16 inches
high. Discovered by M. Lalanne with that drawn in Fig. 27.]

The later horizons of the Reindeer period or Upper Pleistocene yield
some beautiful outline engravings of red deer and reindeer (Fig. 16)
on antler-bone, as well as of other animals. One celebrated carving I
have described in the first chapter of this book. It is now regarded
as probable that whilst the art of the Aurignacians persisted and
developed in the South of France and North-West of Spain until and
during the time of the Magdalenian horizon, yet a distinct race,
with a different style of art, spread through South-East Spain
and also from Italy into that region, and affected injuriously the
"naturalistic" Aurignacian art, and superseded it in Azilian and
Neolithic times. We find late drawings (Azilian age?) in some of the
east Spanish caves of a very much simplified character, small human
figures armed with bow and arrow, and others reduced to geometric or
mere symbolic lines derived from human and animal form (see Fig. 52, p.
206). The latest studies of Breuil on this subject tend to throw light
by aid of these simplified inartistic and symbolic drawings on the
migrations of very early races in the south and south-east of Europe,
and to connect them perhaps with North African contemporary races. The
subject is as difficult as it is fascinating. Those who wish to get to
the original sources of information should consult the last ten years'
issues of the invaluable French periodical called "L'Anthropologie,"
edited by Professor Marcelin Boule.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.–A piece of mammoth ivory carved with spirals
and scrolls from the cave of Arudy (Hautes Pyrénées). Same size as the


[3] M. Reinach relates ("Repertoire de l'Art Quatermaire") that two of
these statues were in 1912 deliberately stolen by the German Verworn
professor of Physiology in Bonn, who repaid the hospitality of M.
Lalanne by bribing his workman and secretly carrying off these valuable
specimens to Germany, where (it is stated) they were sold to the museum
of Berlin for a large sum.



At intervals of ten to twenty years the best-known volcano in the
world–Vesuvius, on the Bay of Naples–has in the last two centuries
burst into eruption, and the probability of the recurrence of this
violent state of activity, at no distant date, render some account of
my own acquaintance with that great and wonderful thing seasonable.
We inhabitants of the West of Europe have little personal experience
of earthquakes, and still less of volcanoes, for there is not in the
British Islands even an "extinct" volcanic cone to remind us of the
terrible forces held down beneath our feet by the crust of the earth.
In regions as near as the Auvergne of Central France and the Eiffel,
close to the junction of the Moselle with the Rhine, there are complete
volcanic craters whose fiery origin is recognized even by the local
peasantry. They are, however, regarded by these optimist folk as the
products of ancient fires long since burnt out. The natives have as
little apprehension of a renewed activity of their volcanoes as we have
of the outburst of molten lava and devastating clouds of ashes and
poisonous vapour from the top of Primrose Hill. Nevertheless, the hot
springs and gas issuing from fissures in the Auvergne show that the
subterranean fires are not yet closed down, and may at any day burst
again into violent activity.

Such also was the happy indifference with which from time immemorial
the Greek colonists and other earlier and later inhabitants of the
rich and beautiful shores of the Neapolitan bay before the fateful year
A.D. 79, had regarded the low crater-topped mountain called Vesuvius
or Vesbius, as well as the great circular forest-grown or lake-holding
cups near Cumæ and the Cape Misenum, at the northern end of the
bay–known to-day as the Solfatara, Astroni, Monti Grillo, Barbaro, and
Cigliano–and the lakes Lucrino, Averno, and Agnano. These together with
the Monte Nuovo–which suddenly rose from the sea near Baiæ in 1538 and
as suddenly disappeared–constitute "the Phlegræan fields." Vesuvius was
loftier than any one of the Phlegræan craters, and the gentle slope
by which it rose from the sea level to a height of nearly 3700 ft.
had, as now, a circumference of ten miles. It did not terminate in a
"cone," as in later ages, but in a depressed, circular, forest-covered
area measuring a mile across, which was the ancient crater. A drawing
showing the shape of the mountain at this period is the work of the
late Prof. Phillips of Oxford (Fig. 30). The soil formed around and
upon the ancient lava-streams of Vesuvius appears to have been always
especially fertile, so that flourishing towns and villages occupied
its slopes, and the ports of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiæ were
the seats of a busy and long-established population. The existence of
active volcanoes at no great distance from Vesuvius was, however, well
known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The great Sicilian mountain,
Etna–more than 10,000 ft. in height, rising from a base of ninety
miles in circumference–and the Lipari Islands, such as Stromboli and
Volcano, were for many centuries in intermittent activity before the
first recorded eruption of Vesuvius–that of A.D. 79–and great eruptions
are recorded as having occurred in the mountain mass of the island of
Ischia, close to the Bay of Naples, in the fifth, third, and first
centuries B.C.

[Illustration: FIG. 30.–Vesuvius as it appeared before the eruption of
August 24, A.D. 79. From a sketch by Prof. Phillips, F.R.S.]

Nevertheless, the outburst of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 and its re-entrance
into a state of activity came upon the unfortunate population around it
as an absolutely unexpected thing. At least a thousand years–probably
several thousand years–had passed since Vesuvius had become "extinct."
All tradition of its prehistoric activity had disappeared, though
the learned Greek traveller Strabo had pointed out the indications
it presented of having been once a seat of consuming fire. From
A.D. 63 there were during sixteen years frequent earthquakes in its
neighbourhood, which, as we know by records and inscriptions, caused
serious damage to the towns around it, and then suddenly, on the night
of Aug. 24, A.D. 79, vast explosions burst from its summit. A huge
black cloud of fine dust and cinders, lasting for three days, spread
from it for twenty miles around, streams of boiling mud poured down
its sides, and in a few hours covered the city of Herculaneum, whilst
a dense shower of hot volcanic dust completely buried the gay little
seaside resort known as Pompeii. Many thousand persons perished,
choked by the vapours or overwhelmed by the hot cinders or engulfed in
the boiling mud.

The great naturalist Pliny was in command of the fleet at Cape Misenum,
and went by ship across the bay to render assistance to the inhabitants
of the towns at the foot of Vesuvius. Pliny's nephew wrote two letters
to the historian Tacitus, giving an account of these events and of
the remarkable courage and coolness of his uncle, who, after sleeping
the night at Stabiæ, was suffocated by the sulphurous vapours as he
advanced into the open country near the volcano. The friends who were
with him left him to his fate and made their escape. The younger Pliny
had prudently remained, out of danger, with his mother at Misenum.

The alternating periods of activity and of rest exhibited by volcanoes
seem to us capricious, and even at the present day are not sufficiently
well understood to enable us to discern any order or regularity in
their succession. Vesuvius is a thousand centuries old, and we have
only known it for thirty. We cannot expect to get the time-table of its
activities on so brief an acquaintance. Strangely enough, Vesuvius,
having, after immemorial silence, spasmodically burst into eruption
and spread devastation around it, resumed its slumber for many years.
There is no mention of its activity for 130 years after A.D. 79. Then
it growled and sent forth steam and cinder-dust to an extent sufficient
to attract attention again; its efforts were thereafter recorded once
or so in a century, though little, if any, harm was done by it. In A.D.
1139 there was a great throwing-up of dust and stones, with steam,
which reflected the light of molten lava within the crater, and looked
like flames. And then for close on 500 years there was little, if any,
sign of activity. The "eruptions" between that of A.D. 79 and that of
A.D. 1139 had been ejections of steam and cinders, unaccompanied by
any flow or stream of lava. Then suddenly the whole business shut up
for 500 years, and after that–also quite suddenly–in 1631, a really big
eruption took place, exceeding in volume the catastrophe of Pliny's
date. Not only were columns of dust and vapour ejected to a height of
many miles, but several streams of white-hot lava overflowed the edge
of the crater and reached the seacoast, destroying towns and villages
on the way. Some of these lava-streams were five miles broad, and can
be studied at the present day. As many as 18,000 persons were killed.

There were three more eruptions in the seventeenth century, and from
that date there set in a period of far more frequent outbursts, which
have continued to our own times. In the eighteenth century there were
twenty-three distinct eruptions, lasting each from a few hours to two
or three days, and of varying degrees of violence–a vast steam-jet
forcing up cinders and stones from the crater into the air, usually
accompanied by the outflow of lava, from cracks in sides of the crater,
in greater or less quantity. In the nineteenth century there were
twenty-five distinct eruptions, the most formidable of which were those
of 1822, 1834, and 1872. All of the eruptions of Vesuvius in the last
280 years have been carefully described, and most of them recorded
in coloured pictures (a favourite industry of the Neapolitans),
showing the appearance of the active volcano both by day and night and
its change of shape in successive years. Sir William Hamilton, the
British Ambassador at the Court of Naples at the end of the eighteenth
century (of whose great folio volumes I am the fortunate possessor),
largely occupied himself in the study and description of Vesuvius,
and published illustrations of the kind mentioned above, showing the
appearance of the mountain at various epochs. Since his day there has
been no lack of descriptions of every succeeding eruption, and now we
have the records of photography.

The crater or basin formed by a volcano starts with the opening
of a fissure in the earth's surface communicating by a pipe-like
passage with very deeply-seated molten matter and steam. Whether the
molten matter thus naturally "tapped" is only a local, though vast,
accumulation, or is universally distributed at a given depth below the
earth's crust, and at how many miles from the surface, is not known.
It seems to be certain that the great pressure of the crust of the
earth (from five to twenty-five miles thick) must prevent the heated
matter below it from becoming either liquid or gaseous, whether the
heat of that mass be due to the cracking of the earth's crust and the
friction of the moving surfaces as the crust cools and shrinks, or is
to be accounted for by the original high temperature of the entire mass
of the terrestrial globe. It is only when the gigantic pressure is
relieved by the cracking or fissuring of the closed case called "the
crust of the earth" that the enclosed deep-lying matter of immensely
high temperature liquefies, or even vaporizes, and rushes into the
up-leading fissure. Steam and gas thus "set free" drive everything
before them, carrying solid masses along with them, tearing, rending,
shaking "the foundations of the hills," and issuing in terrific
jets from the earth's surface, as through a safety valve, into the
astonished world above. Often in a few hours they choke their own path
by the destruction they produce and the falling in of the walls of
their briefly-opened channels. Then there is a lull of hours, days,
or even centuries, and after that again, a movement of the crust, a
"giving" of the blockage of the deep, vertical pipe, and a renewed rush
and jet of expanding gas and liquefying rock.

The general scheme of this process and its relations to the structure
and properties of the outer crust and inner mass of the globe is
still a matter of discussion, theory and verification; but whatever
conclusions geologists may reach on these matters, the main fact of
importance is that steam and gases issue from these fissures with
enormous velocity and pressure, and that "a vent" of this kind,
once established, continues, as a rule, to serve intermittently for
centuries, and, indeed, for vast periods to which we can assign no
definite limits. The solid matter ejected becomes piled up around
the vent as a mound, its outline taking the graceful catenary curves
of rest and adjustment to which are due the great beauty of volcanic
cones. The apex of the cone is blown away at intervals by the violent
blasts issuing from the vent, and thus we have formed the "crater,"
varying in the area enclosed by its margin and in the depth and
appearance of the cup so produced. At a rate depending on the amount
of solid matter ejected by the crater, the mound will grow in the
course of time to be a mountain, and often secondary craters or
temporary openings, connected at some depth with the main passage
leading to the central vent, will form on the sides of the mound or
mountain. Sometimes the old crater will cease to grow in consequence
of the blocking of its central vent and the formation of one or more
subsidiary vents, the activity of which may blast away or smother the
cup-like edge of the first crater.

[Illustration: FIG. 31.–Five successive stages in the change of form
of Vesuvius (after Phillips' "Vesuvius," Oxford, 1869). In the oldest
(lowest figure) we see the mountain with its still earlier outline
completed by the cone drawn in dotted line. Within the period of
historic record that cone had not been seen. The mountain had, so far
as men knew, always been truncated as shown here and in Fig. 30. The
next figure above shows the further lowering of the mountain by the
first eruption on record–that which destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79. The
commencing formation of a new ash-cone is indicated by a dotted line.
In the three upper figures we trace the gradual growth of the new cone
from 1631 to 1868. In 1872 the top of the new ash-cone was blown away,
and the mountain reverted to the shape of 1822. Now (1920) the cone has
accumulated once more and is higher than it was in 1868.]

Such a history has been that of Vesuvius shown in outline in Fig. 31.
In geologic ages–perhaps some thousands of centuries ago–Vesuvius was
probably a perfect cone (its outline is shown at the bottom of p. 62)
some 7000 ft. high, rising by a characteristically accelerated upgrowth
from a circle of ten miles or more in diameter to its delicate central
peak, hollowed out at the summit by a small crater a couple of hundred
yards across. Its eruptions at that time were neither excessive nor
violent. Then came a period of greatly increased energy–the steam-jet
blew with such violence that it shattered and dispersed the cone,
lowering the mountain to 3700 ft. in height, truncating it and leaving
a proportionately widened crater of a mile and a half in diameter.
And then the mountain reposed for long centuries. We do not know how
long this period of extinction was, for we do not know when it began,
but we know that this was the state of the mountain when in A.D. 79
it once more burst into life. In recent years–that is, since the
seventeenth century A.D., a curious change took place in the mountain:
the vent or orifice of the conducting channel by which eruptive
matters were brought to the surface ceased to be in the centre of the
wide broken-down crater of Pliny's time, and a vent was formed a few
hundred yards to the south of the centre of the old crater, nearer to
the south side of the old crater's wall. From this ashes or cinders
issued, and were piled up to form a new cone, which soon added 600 ft.
to the height of the mountain and covered in the southern half of the
old crater's lip, whilst leaving the northern half or semicircle free.
This latter uncovered part was called by the Italians "Monte Somma,"
and the new cone low down in the southern side of which the rest of
the old crater-lip could be traced, was henceforth spoken of as "the
ash-cone" and sometimes misleadingly as "the true" Vesuvius. Clearly
it was not "the true Vesuvius" since it was a new growth. The original
old Vesuvius was crowned by a crater formed by the cliffs of Monte
Somma and their continuation round to the south side, now more or less
completely concealed by the new ash-cone.

In the course of various eruptions during the last two centuries the
new ash-cone thus formed was blown away more or less completely, and
gradually grew up again. During the nineteenth century it was a
permanent feature of the mountain, though a good deal cut down in 1822,
and later grew so high as to give a total elevation from the sea-level
of 4300 ft. The crater at the top of the ash-cone has varied during
the past century in width and depth, according to its building up or
blowing away by the central steam jet. In 1822 it is reported to have
been funnel-like and 2000 ft. deep, tapering downwards to the narrow
fissures which are the actual vent. At other times it has been largely
filled by débris, and only 200 ft. deep. Molten lava has often issued
from fissures in the sides of the ash-cone, and even lower down on the
sides of the mountain, and a very small secondary crater has sometimes
appeared on the side of the ash-cone 100 ft. or 200 ft. from the
terminal crater which "finishes off" the cone.

Such was the condition of the mountain when I first saw it in the
autumn of 1871. Six months later I witnessed the most violent eruption
of the nineteenth century. Vesuvius kept up a continuous roar like that
of a railway engine letting off steam when at rest in a covered station
only a thousandfold bigger. Its vibrations shook with a deep musical
note, for twenty-four hours, the house nine miles distant in Naples in
which I was staying. My windows commanded a view of the mountain, and
when the noise ceased and the huge steam-cloud cleared away, I saw a
different Vesuvius, the higher part of the ash-cone was gone, and a
huge gap in it had been formed by the blowing away of its northern side.

In October 1871, when I joined my friend Anton Dohrn at Naples in order
to study the marine creatures of the beautiful bay, Vesuvius was in the
proud possession of a splendid cone, completing its graceful outline.
A little steam-cloud hung about one side of the cone during the day,
and as night came on Vesuvius used, as we said, to "light his cigar."
In fact, a very small quantity of molten lava was at that time flowing
from the side of the ash-cone, about 100 ft. from its summit, and this
gave a most picturesque effect as we watched it from our balcony high
up on Pausilippo, when the sun set. It was a friendly sort of beacon,
far away on the commanding mountain's top, which was answered by the
lighting up of a thousand lamps along the coast, and by innumerable
flaming faggots in the fishermen's boats moving across the bay, drawing
to their light strange fishes, to be impaled by the long tridents of
the skilful spearmen. That little beacon light on Vesuvius increased
in volume in the course of three weeks, and was supplemented by other
flaming streams and by showers of red-hot stones from the crater. This
small "eruption" was the precursor by six months of the great eruption
of the end of April 1872, and I spent a night on Vesuvius during its
progress, and looked into the crater from which the glowing masses of
rock were being belched forth.

Not long before I went, in 1871, to Naples I had spent some weeks in
visiting the extinct volcanoes of the Auvergne and of the Eiffel, and
I was eager to examine the still living Vesuvius. In the first week
of October I made an excursion to the crater of Vesuvius in company
with the son of a Russian admiral, whose name, "Popoff," was under the
circumstances unpleasantly suggestive. We examined some black slaglike
masses of old lava-streams, and struggled up the loose sandy ash-cone
(there was no "funicular" in those days), and prodded with our sticks
the few yards of molten lava which emerged from the side of the cone
about 100 ft. from the summit. On Nov. 1 my friend Anton Dohrn (who was
then negotiating with the Naples Municipality for a site in the Villa
Nazionale on which to erect the great Zoological Station and Aquarium,
now so well known) was with me and some Neapolitan acquaintances
looking at Vesuvius across the bay from Pausilippo, where we had
established ourselves, when we noticed that a long line of steam was
rising from the lower part of the ash-cone and that puffs of steam were
issuing at intervals from the crater. "Dio mio! Dio di Dio!" cried the
Neapolitans in terror, and expressed their intention of leaving Naples
without an hour's delay. As night fell a new glowing line of fire
appeared far down near the base of the ash-cone, whilst what looked
in the distance like sparks from a furnace, but were really red-hot
stones–each as big as a Gladstone bag–were thrown every two or three
minutes from the crater.

We hired a carriage, drove to Resina (built above buried Herculaneum),
and walked up towards the Observatory in order to spend the night
on the burning mountain. We found that two white-hot streams, each
about twenty yards broad at the free end, were issuing from the base
of the cone. The glowing stones thrown up by the crater were now
separately visible; a loud roar accompanied each spasmodic ejection.
The night was very clear, and a white firmly-cut cloud, due to the
steam ejected by the crater, hung above it. At intervals we heard a
milder detonation–that of thunder which accompanied the lightning which
played in the cloud, giving it a greenish illumination by contrast with
the red flame colour reflected on to it by red-hot material within
the crater. The flames attributed to volcanoes are generally of this
nature, but actual flames do sometimes occur in volcanic eruptions by
the ignition of combustible gases. The puffs of steam from the crater
were separated by intervals of about three minutes. When an eruption
becomes violent they succeed one another at the rate of many in a
second, and the force of the steam jet is gigantic, driving a column
of transparent super-heated steam with such vigour that as it cools
into the condition of "cloud" an appearance like that of a gigantic
pine-tree seven miles high (in the case of Vesuvius) is produced.

We made our way to the advancing end of one of the lava-streams (like
the "snout" of a glacier), which was 20 ft. high, and moved forwards
but slowly, in successive jerks. Two hundred yards farther up, where it
issued from the sandy ashes, the lava was white-hot and running like
water, but it was not in very great quantity and rapidly cooled on the
surface and became "sticky." A cooled skin of slag was formed in this
way, which arrested the advancing stream of lava. At intervals of a
few minutes this cooled crust was broken into innumerable clinkers by
the pressure of the stream, and there was a noise like the smashing
of a gigantic store of crockery ware as the pieces or "clinkers" fell
over one another down the nearly vertical "snout" of the lava-stream,
whilst the red-hot molten material burst forward for a few feet, but
immediately became again "crusted over" and stopped in its progress.
We watched the coming together and fusion of the two streams and the
overwhelming and burning up of several trees by the steadily, though
slowly, advancing river of fire. Then we climbed up the ash-cone,
getting nearer and nearer to the rim of the crater, from which showers
of glowing stones were being shot. The deep roar of the mountain at
each effort was echoed from the cliffs of the ancient mother-crater,
Monte Somma, and the ground shook under our feet as does a ship at
sea when struck by a wave. The night was very still in the intervals.
The moon was shining, and a weird melancholy "ritornelle" sung by
peasants far off in some village below us came to our ears with strange
distinctness. It might have been the chorus of the imprisoned giants of
Vulcan's forge as they blew the sparks with their bellows and shook the
mountains with the heavy blows of their hammers.

As we ascended the upper part of the cone the red-hot stones were
falling to our left, and we determined to risk a rapid climb to the
edge of the crater on the right or southern side, and to look into it.
We did so, and as we peered into the great steaming pit a terrific
roar, accompanied by a shuddering of the whole mountain, burst from it.
Hundreds of red-hot stones rose in the air to a height of 400 ft., and
fell, happily in accordance with our expectation, to our left. We ran
quickly down the sandy side of the cone to a safe position, about 300
ft. below the crater's lip, and having lit our pipes from one of the
red-hot "bombs," rested for a while at a safe distance and waited for
the sunrise. A vast horizontal layer of cloud had now formed below us,
and Vesuvius and the hills around Naples appeared as islands emerging
from a sea. The brilliant sunlight was reassuring after this night
of strange experiences. The fields and lanes were deserted in the
early morning as we descended to the sea-level. On our way we met a
procession of weird figures clad in long white robes, enveloping the
head closely but leaving apertures for the eyes. They were a party of
the lay-brothers of the Misericordia carrying a dead man to his grave.
Then we found our carriage, and drove quickly back to Naples and sleep!

In the following March I acted as guide to my friend Professor Huxley
in expeditions up Vesuvius, now quiescent, and to the Solfatara. Then
suddenly, in April, the great eruption of 1872 burst upon us. On the
first day of the outbreak some imprudent visitors were killed by steam
and gas ejected by the lava-stream. By the next day the violence of
the eruption was too great for any one to venture near it. The crater
sent forth no intermittent "puffs" as in the preceding November, but
a continuously throbbing jet which produced a cloud five miles high,
like an enormous cauliflower in shape, suspended above the mountain
and making it look by comparison like a mole-hill. Showers of fine
ashes, as in the days of Pompeii, fell thickly around, accumulating to
the depth of an inch in a few hours even at my house in Pausilippo,
nine miles distant across the bay. I was recovering at the time from an
attack of typhoid fever, and lay in bed, listening to the deep humming
sound and wondering at the darkness until my doctor came and told me
of the eruption. I was able to get up and see from the window the
great cauliflower-like cloud and the vacant place where the ash-cone
was, but whence it had how been scattered into the sky. (It has been
gradually re-formed by later eruptions, of which the last of any size
was in 1906.) I could also see steam rising like smoke from a long line
reaching six miles down the mountain into the flat country below. It
was the great lava-stream which had destroyed two prosperous villages
in its course.

After ten days I was able to get about, and drove over to one of these
villages and along its main street, which was closely blocked at the
end by what looked like a railway embankment some 40 ft. high. This
was the side of the great lava-stream now cooled and hardened on the
surface. It had sharply cut the houses, on each side of the street,
in half without setting them on fire, so that the various rooms were
exposed in section–pictures hanging on the walls, and even chairs and
other furniture remaining in place on the unbroken portion of the
floor. The villagers had provided ladders by which I ascended the steep
side of the embankment-like mass at the end of the street, and there a
wonderful sight revealed itself. One looked out on a great river seven
miles long, narrow where it started from the broken-down crater, but
widening to three miles where I stood, and wider still farther on as
it descended. This river, with all its waves and ripples, was turned
to stone, and greatly resembled a Swiss glacier in appearance. A foot
below the surface it was still red-hot, and a stick pushed into a
crevice caught fire. It was not safe to venture far on to the pie-crust
surface. A couple of miles away the campanile of the church of a
village called Massa di Somma stood out, leaning like that of Pisa,
from the petrified mass, whilst the rest of the village was overwhelmed
and covered in by the great stream.

The curious resemblance of the lava-stream to a glacier arose from
the fact that it was almost completely covered by a white snow-like
powder. This snow-like powder, which often appears on freshly-run
lava, is salt–common sea salt and other mineral salts dissolved in
the water ejected as steam mixed with the lava. The steam condenses,
as the lava cools, into water and evaporates slowly, leaving the salt
as crystals. Often these are not white, but contain iron salt, mixed
with the white sodium, potassium, and ammonium chlorides, which gives
them a yellow or orange colour. Salts coloured in this way have the
appearance of sulphur, and are often mistaken for it. The whole of the
interior of the crater of Vesuvius when I revisited it in 1875 was thus
coloured yellow, and I have a water-colour sketch of the scene made
by a friend who came with me for the purpose. As a matter of fact,
though small quantities of the choking gas called "sulphurous acid"
are among the vapours given off by Vesuvius, there is no deposit of
sulphur there. Some large volcanoes (in Mexico and Japan) have made
deposits of sulphur, which are dug for commercial purposes; but the
sulphur of Sicily is not, and has not been, thrown out or volatilized
by Etna. It occurs in rough masses and in splendid crystals in a
tertiary calcareous marine deposit, and its deposition was probably due
to a chemical decomposition of constituents of the sea water brought
about by minute plants, known as "sulphur bacteria." Whether the
neighbouring great volcano had any share in the process seems to be

It is generally supposed that sea-water makes its way in large quantity
through fissures connected with volcanic channels, and is one of the
agents of the explosions caused by the subterranean molten matter.
Gaseous water, hydrochloric acid, carbonic acid, hydrofluoric acid, and
even pure hydrogen and oxygen and argon are among the gases ejected by

The molten matter forced up from the bowels of the earth and poured
out by volcanoes is made up of various chemical substances, differing
in different localities, and even in different eruptions of the same
volcano. It consists largely of silicates of iron, lime, magnesium,
aluminium, and the alkali metals, with possible admixture of nearly
every other element. Some volcanoes eject "pitch" or "bitumen." When
the molten matter cools, interesting crystals of various "species"
(_i.e._, of various chemical composition) usually form in the deeper
part of the mass. The lavas of Vesuvius frequently contain beautiful
opaque-white twelve-sided crystals of a siliceous mineral called
"leucite." I have collected in the lava of Niedermendig, on the Rhine,
specimens embedding bright blue transparent crystals (a mineral called
Haüynite) scattered in the grey porous rock. The lava-streams, and
even the "roots," of extinct volcanoes which are of great geologic
age, sometimes become exposed by the change of the earth's surface,
and extensive sheets of volcanic rock of various kinds are thus laid
bare. Basalt is one of these rocks, and it not unfrequently presents
itself as a mass of perpendicular six-sided columns, each column 10
ft. or more high, and often a foot or more in diameter. The "Giant's
Causeway," in the North of Ireland, and the "Pavée des Géants," in
the Ardêche of Southern France, are examples both of which I have
visited. It is not easy to explain how the molten basalt has come to
take this columnar structure on cooling. It has nothing to do with
"crystallization," but is similar to the columnar formation shown by
commercial "starch" and occasionally by "tabular flint". A theoretical
explanation of its formation has been given by Prof. J. Thompson,
brother of the late Lord Kelvin.

The varieties of volcanoes and their products make up a long story–too
long to be told here. There are from 300 to 400 active craters in
Existence to-day–mostly not isolated, but grouped along certain great
lines, as, for instance, along the Andean chain, or in more irregular
tracks. If we add to the list craters no longer active, but still
recognizable, we must multiply it by ten. Vesuvius is the only active
volcano on the mainland of Europe–Hecla, Etna, Stromboli, Volcano,
and the volcanoes of the Santorin group are on islands. The biggest
volcanoes are in South America, Mexico, Java, and Japan. Volcanoes and
the related "earthquakes" have been most carefully studied with a view
to the safety of the population in Japan. The graceful and well-beloved
volcano, Fujiyama, is more than 12,000 ft. high, but, unlike others in
those islands, it has been quiescent now for just 200 years. The most
violent volcanic eruptions of recent times, with the largest "output"
of solid matter, are those of the Soufrière of St. Vincent in 1812,
of the Mont Pelée of Martinique in 1902, and of Krakatoa in 1883. A
single moderate eruption of the great volcano Mauna Loa, in Hawaii,
nearly 14,000 feet high, throws out a greater quantity of solid matter
than Vesuvius has ejected in all the years which have elapsed since the
destruction of Pompeii. Many hundred millions of tons of solid matter
were ejected by Mont Pelée in 1902, when also a peculiar heavy cloud
descended from the mountain, hot and acrid, charged with incandescent
sand, and rolling along like a liquid rather than a vapour. It burnt
up the town of St. Pierre and its inhabitants and the shipping in the
harbour. In the eruption of the volcano of St. Vincent in 1812 three
million tons of ashes were projected on to the Bahamas Islands, 100
miles distant, besides a larger quantity which fell elsewhere. The
great explosion at Krakatoa, lasting two days, blew an island of 1400
ft. high, into the air. A good deal of it was projected as excessively
fine needlelike particles of pumice with such force as to carry it up
thirty miles into the upper regions of the atmosphere, where it was
carried by air currents all over the world, causing the "red sunsets"
of the following year. The sky over Batavia, 100 miles distant, was
darkened at midday so completely that lamps had to be used–as I heard
from my brother who was there at the time. The explosions were heard
in Mauritius, 3000 miles away. A sea wave 50 ft. high was set going by
the submarine disturbance, and reaching Java and neighbouring islands
inundated the land and destroyed 36,000 persons. This wave travelled
in reduced size over a vast tract of the ocean, and was observed and
recorded at Cape Horn, 7800 miles distant from its seat of origin.



Most people know and admire the splendid expanse of blue colour offered
by the clear sea water on many parts of our coasts, and by that of
lakes at home and abroad. I find that there is still a sort of a fixed
determination not to believe that this colour is due (as it is) to the
actual blue colour of pure water. Pure, transparent water is blue.
Those who think they know better will point to a glass of pure water,
hold it up to the light, and affirm that it is colourless. But this
apparent colourlessness is due to the small breadth of water in the
glass through which the light passes. It is definitely ascertained that
if water as pure and as free from either dissolved or suspended matter
as it is possible to make it (by distillation and the use of vessels
not acted upon by water) be made to fill an opaque tube 15 ft. long,
closed at each end by a transparent plate, and then a beam of light be
made to traverse the length of the tube, so that the eye receives the
light after it has passed through this length of 15 ft. of water, the
colour of the light is a strong blue. Water is blue in virtue of its
own molecular character, just as sulphate of copper is. Liquid oxygen,
prepared by the use of intense cold, is also transparent blue, and the
peculiar condensed form of oxygen known as "ozone" is, when liquefied,
of a darker or stronger blue than oxygen.

At one time (some thirty years ago) there was still some doubt as to
whether water was self-coloured blue, or whether its blue colour was
due to the action on light of excessively minute solid white particles
of chalk suspended in the water. Such fine suspended particles in some
cases act on the light which falls on to them so as to reflect the
blue rays. This occurs in certain natural objects which have a blue
colour. But these can be distinguished from transparent self-coloured
blue substances by the fact that whilst the light reflected from their
surface is blue, the light which is made to traverse them (when they
are held up to the light so that they come between one's eye and the
sun's rays) is brown. This is the case with very hot smoke, and can be
well seen when a cigar is smoked in the sunlight. The smoke which comes
off from the lighted end of the cigar is very hot, and its particles
are more minute than those of cooler smoke. The hot smoke shows a
bright blue colour when the sunlight falls on it and is reflected,
but when you look through the smoke-cloud at a surface reflecting the
sunlight, the cloud has a reddish-brown tint. As the smoke cools its
particles adhere to one another and form larger particles, and the
light reflected from the cloud is no longer blue but grey, and even
white. Thus the smoke which the smoker keeps for half a minute in his
mouth is cooled and condensed, and reflects white light–is, in fact, a
white cloud–when he puffs it out, and contrasts strongly with the blue
cloud coming off from the burning tobacco at the lighted end of the
cigar. The blue colour of the sky is held by many physicists (though
other views have been of late advanced) to be due to the same action
on the part of the very finest particles of watery vapour, which are
diffused through vast regions of our atmosphere above the condensed
white-looking clouds consisting of larger floating particles of water.

Vapours are given off by many liquids, and even by some solids, varying
in their production according to the heat applied in different cases.
They are gases, and quite transparent and invisible at the proper
temperature, like the atmospheric air. Thus water is always giving
off "water-vapour," which is quite invisible. When water is heated to
the boiling point it is rapidly converted into transparent invisible
vapour. Steam, as this vapour is called, is invisible, and we all
habitually make a misleading use of the word "steam" when we apply it
both to this and to the slightly cooled and condensed cloud which we
can see issuing from the spout of a kettle or from a railway engine.
It seems that the fault lies with the scientific writers, who have
applied the word "steam" to the invisible water vapour or gas before it
has condensed to form a cloud. The old English word "steam" certainly
means a visible cloudy emanation, and not a transparent invisible
gas. A cloud is not a vapour, but is produced by the coming together
or condensation of the minute invisible particles of a vapour to form
larger particles, which float and hang together, and reflect the light,
and thus are visible.

By the examination of other vapours or gases than that which is gaseous
water, namely, the vapours of bodies like chloroform and ether, it has
been shown that "cloud" forms in a vapour not merely in consequence of
the cooling of the vapour, but in consequence of the presence in the
air (or in the tube in which the vapour is enclosed for observation) of
very fine floating dust particles. They act as centres of attraction
and condensation for the vapour particles. When there are no dust
particles present clouds do not form readily in cooling vapours, or
only at lower temperatures, and in larger mass. Tyndall made some
beautiful experiments on this subject, obtaining clouds of great
tenuity in vapours enclosed in tubes, which reflected the most vivid
blue tints when illuminated by the electric arc-lamp. Later Aitken,
of Edinburgh, showed that the "fog" which forms in smoke-ridden towns
is due to the condensation of previously invisible watery vapour as
"cloud" around the solid floating particles of carbon of the smoke.
Aitken further used this property of solid floating particles, namely,
that they cause the formation of fog and cloud in vapours–to test the
question as to whether the excessively minute odoriferous particles
which affect our noses as "smell" are distinct solid floating particles
as often supposed, or are of the nature of gas and vapour. He admitted
strong perfumes such as musk into tubes containing watery vapour, at
such a temperature that the vapour was in a "critical" state–just ready
to condense and precipitate as "cloud." If he had admitted fine solid
particles such as a minute whiff of smoke, or some "dusty" air–the
cloud would have formed. But the admission of the perfume had no such
effect Therefore, he concluded that the odoriferous emanations used by
him are not distinct particles like those of smoke or dust, but are

The beautiful blue tint of the semi-transparent "white" of a boiled
plover's egg is due to a fine-particled cloud dispersed in the clear
albumen. London milk used to be "sky-blue" for a similar reason,
before the recent legislation against the adulteration of food. The
blue eyes of our fair-haired race and of young foxes are not due to
any "pigment"–that is to say, a separable self-coloured substance–but
to a fine cloud floating in a transparent medium which reflects blue
rays of light as blue smoke does. The iris of the eye can and often
does develop a pigment, but it is a brown one. When present in small
quantity it produces a green-coloured iris, the pale yellow-brown
being added to the blue cloud-caused colouring. When present in larger
quantity the same pigment gives us brown and so-called "black"
eyes. The blue colours in birds' feathers and insects' wings are
produced without blue pigment by special effects of reflection, and
where green is the colour it is often due to the addition of a small
quantity of yellow pigment to what would otherwise look blue: though
some caterpillars and grasshoppers have a real green pigment in their
skin. Flowers, on the other hand, have true soluble blue "pigments,"
and green ones too, notably that called leaf-green or chlorophyll.
The little green tree frog has no blue or green pigment in its skin;
only a yellow pigment. Sometimes rare specimens are found in which
the yellow pigment is absent altogether, and then the little frog is
turquoise-blue in colour. But there is no blue pigment in the skin;
only a finely-clouded translucent film overlying a dead-black deep
layer of the skin, and the result is that the frog is of a wonderful
pure blue. Sometimes the commoner large edible frog is found with a
similar absence of yellow pigment (I found some in a garden near Geneva
six years ago), and then all the parts of its skin which usually are
green show as brilliant blue.

It is at first difficult to believe that such fine, smoothly-spread
turquoise blue as that of the blue frog is due merely to a "reflection
effect," and that there is no blue pigment present which would show
as blue if light were transmitted through it, or could be separated
and dissolved in some medium. Yet this is undoubtedly the case. The
nearest experimental production of such a blue surface without blue
pigment is obtained by first varnishing a black board, and when the
varnish is nearly dry passing a sponge wetted with water over it.
Some of the varnish is precipitated from its solution in the spirit
(or it may be turpentine) as a fine cloud, and until the water has
evaporated it looks like blue paint, as the poet Goethe found when
cleaning a picture. It would be interesting to know more precisely the
precautions to be taken in order to get the blue colour in this way in
fullest degree.

It appears that when light is reflected from a cloud of fine colourless
particles so as to give a predominant blue colour, the light so
reflected is affected in that special way which physicists describe
as being "polarized." It is possible by the use of certain apparatus
(the polariscope) to distinguish polarized from non-polarized light,
so that it should be possible to decide (or at any rate to gain
evidence) whether blue water–a sheet of blue water–owes its colour to
fine particles suspended in it or to the self-colour of the water. An
admirable case for making this simple experiment is presented by the
great tanks–some 20 ft. cube–which are used by the water companies
which draw their water supply from the chalk, for the purpose of
precipitating the dissolved chalk–"Clarking" the water, as it is
called, after the inventor of the process–and so getting rid of its
excessive "hardness." Such tanks are to be seen by the side of the
railway near Caterham. The water in these tanks is of such a brilliant
turquoise blue that many people suppose that copper has been added
to the water to free it from microbes! Such, at any rate, was the
conviction expressed by a friend in conversation with me only a few
weeks ago. The water in these tanks, when seen from the railway, looks
like a magnificent blue dye, and a very important point for those (not
a few) who believe that the blue colour of seas and lakes is due to the
reflection of the blue colour of the sky overhead is that the water
in the tanks looks just as blue when the sky is overcast with cloud
as when there is blue sky. The blue colour of water has, as a rule,
nothing to do with the reflection of the sky, though it is the fact
that a shallow film of water may at a certain angle reflect the sky to
our eyes, just as a mirror may. The effect is quite unlike that due to
light passing through deep water when reflected from below it. If we
examine the tanks in question we find that they have been filled with
water pumped from the chalk, and that then lime has been added to the
water in order to combine with the carbonic acid dissolved in it and
form chalk or carbonate of lime–which is insoluble in pure water and
falls as an excessively fine white powder to the bottom of the tank.
But the important fact is that water having carbonic acid dissolved
in it can dissolve carbonate of lime or chalk to a certain amount:
and this water pumped from the chalk, having carbonic acid naturally
dissolved in it, has consequently also dissolved a quantity of chalk.
It is this which gives the chalk-spring water the objectionable
quality of "hardness." When lime is added to the chalk-spring water
as pumped into the tanks, the carbonic acid in it is taken up by the
lime, and the chalk previously dissolved by the carbonic-acid-holding
water is, so to speak, "undissolved," and thrown down as a very fine
white powder, together with the chalk newly formed by the union of the
lime and the carbonic acid. These large tanks are used to allow the
fine powder of chalk to settle down and leave the water clear. The
brilliantly white chalk sediment accumulates not only on the floor
of the tank, but on its sides. Any light which falls on the tank is
refracted and reflected from side to floor and from floor to side, and
eventually emerges from the tank, a great deal of it having traversed
the 20 ft. breadth and depth many times. Most of its red, yellow, and
green rays are quenched by the many feet of blue water through which
it has passed, and it issues as predominantly blue. This is largely
due to the fine reflecting surface furnished by the "white-washed"
or chalk-coated floor and sides and the great purity of the white
reflecting material–no yellow or brown matter being present to give a
greenish tinge to the result I remember being taken to see "Clark's
process" in use, and the splendid blue colour of the water in the
"softening" tanks at Plumstead, when the process was first used by the
North Kent Water Company, sixty-four years ago.

It is, I think, still a possible question as to whether the fine
floating particles of precipitating chalk act in any way as a
"cloud"–in short, as the blue clouds of smoke, egg-white, milk, and
varnish. There is no evidence that they do, but no one, so far as I
know, has ever taken the trouble to settle the question. It could be
done by examining the blue light from the tanks with a polariscope,
and also by sinking a black tarpaulin into the tank to cover the white
floor and hanging others at the sides. Then if the blue colour were due
to light reflected from the white floor and sides traversing repeatedly
the clear self-coloured blue water, the blue colour should no longer
be visible, for the reflecting surfaces would be covered by the black
tarpaulin and little light sent up through the water. But if it were
due to a cloud of greatest delicacy in the water–like fine smoke
reflecting the blue light rather than the other rays–then the colour
should be as intense or more intense when the black background is
introduced. I am surprised that some inquirer, younger and more active
than I am, does not put the matter to the test of experiment.

On the whole, practically all the facts which we know about "blue
water" are consistent with the blue self-colour of water, and not with
that of a "blue cloud" in the water. Now that we have porcelain baths
of the purest white and of large size, one may often see the strong
blue colour of water of great purity in the bath, especially where
waves or ripples send to our eyes those rays of light which have taken
a more or less horizontal course from side to side of the bath, and
have thus been through a large thickness of the pale-coloured fluid.
Great masses of clear ice, such as one may study in glaciers, are
blue; the "crevasses" which transmit light which has passed through
a considerable thickness of ice (as, for instance, in an ice cave),
are deep blue; there is no question of a reflection from suspended
particles. The green colour which some glaciers show at a little
distance is due to the yellow rust–iron oxide–blown on to the surface
of the ice and dissolved. Many glaciers or parts of glaciers are quite
free from it, and of a splendid indigo blue in their deeper fissures.
So, too, as to the sea and lakes. The Blue Grotto or Cavern of the
island of Capri, near Naples, is a case in point. All the light which
enters it comes through the sea-water and is blue. I was taken to it
in a boat rowed by two men. As the boat enters the low mouth of the
cavern you have to bend down to avoid knocking your head against the
rock. Then you find yourself floating in a vast and lofty chamber the
white rocky floor of which is some twenty feet below the surface of the
clear water. No light enters the cavern by the low part of the entrance
above water. Below the surface it widens and the strong Southern sun
shines through the clear water and its light is reflected up into the
cave from the bottom. It is blue, and everything in the cave above as
well as below the water is suffused with a blue glow–a truly wonderful
and fascinating spectacle. In order to get the best effect you must
choose an hour when the sun is in a favourable position. Where there
is a white bottom at a depth of fifty or a hundred feet, the sea has
a fine ultra-marine colour, so long as it is clear. It is often made
green by yellow-coloured impurities, either fine iron-stained sediment
or by minute living things in the water. The colour of the water of
either sea or lakes, when it is clear and overlying great depths (200
fathoms and more), tends to be dark indigo owing to the deficiency of
reflected light. But there are enough white particles as a rule to send
some of the light, which penetrates the water, upwards again. Even the
great ocean has a dark purplish-blue colour, but never the bright blue
of clear water in shallow seas with light-coloured or white bottom.

One of the most beautiful exhibitions of the colour of clear water in
various thicknesses which I know, is at the entrance of the Rhone into
the Lake of Geneva. The thick pale-coloured brownish-white sediment
of the river shoots out for a quarter of a mile or more into the dark
blue waters of the deep lake, and on a bright sunny day as it subsides
reflects the light upwards from different depths through the clear
water. Where it has sunk but little the colour is green, owing to the
influence of the yellow mud. Farther on it is ultra-marine blue, and
then, where it has sunk deeper, we get full indigo tints. The movement
of the water and its churning up by the steamers' paddles add to the
variety of effects, since the foam of air-bubbles submerged throws
up the light through the water. It is not possible to doubt as one
watches the admixture of the river and the lake, and the eddies and
hanging walls of sediment, that one is floating over a vast depth
of magnificent blue self-coloured fluid which is traversed by the
sunlight in ways and degrees varying according to its depth and the
volume of the pale mud of the in-rushing Rhone and the abundance of
fine air-bubbles "churned" into the water by the paddle-wheels of the



There is a prevalent notion, encouraged by the fanciful exaggerations
of newspaper gossips, that the animals of past ages, whose bones are
from time to time dug out of rocks and sand quarries, were many of
them much bigger than any at present existing, and that we are living
in an age of degeneracy. It is true that the mammoth and the mastodon
were enormous creatures, but they were _not_ bigger than their living
representatives, the great elephants of Africa and India. The African
elephant often stands 11 ft. high at the shoulder, and occasionally
attains 12 ft.

Some eighty years ago Dr. Gideon Mantell became celebrated by his
discovery of the bones of huge reptiles–far bigger than any existing
crocodile or lizard–nearly as big as elephants, in the Wealden rocks of
Tilgate Forest in Sussex. He and Sir Richard Owen distinguished several
kinds–the Iguanodon, the Megalosaurus, the Hylæosaurus, and others.
Models of these creatures as they appeared when clothed in flesh and
hide were carefully made, and placed picturesquely among the ponds and
islands of the gardens of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham when it was
first opened to an enchanted public in the fifties. As a small boy I,
at that time, fell under their spell.

The passing years have brought to us more complete knowledge of these
strange beasts–now classed as the "Dinosauria"–and new kinds and
complete skeletons of those already known have been discovered in the
United States and in Belgium. The leg bones and vertebræ of one of
the biggest were found near Oxford, and are in the Oxford Museum; it
received the name Cetiosaurus. Only a few years ago a very complete
skeleton of a creature closely allied to Cetiosaurus was with great
labour and skill dug out of the Jurassic rocks of Wyoming, U.S.A., by
Dr. Holland, at the charges of Mr. Andrew Carnegie. It was known as
Diplodocus (referring to certain bones in its tail), and a wonderful
cast of the completely reconstructed skeleton was presented to the
Natural History Museum in London, when I was Director, by Mr. Carnegie.
The skeleton is 84 ft. long; but we must not be mis-led as to the
animal's actual bulk by this measurement, for the tail is 46 ft. long
and whip-like, whilst the neck is 23 ft. long and carries a small head
not bigger than that of a cart-horse. The jaws were provided with
small peg-like teeth, showing that the beast fed on soft vegetable
matter. The body, apart from neck and tail, was really only a little
bigger than that of a large elephant, and the limb-bones longer in
the proportion of about six to five. Another reptile very similar to
these and also found in the mesozoic rocks of the U.S. America is

The fact is that, if we wish to make an intelligent comparison of
the sizes of different animals, we have carefully to ascertain not
merely the length measurements, but the _proportions_ of the various
parts, and the actual bulk and probable weight of the beasts under
consideration. Also (and this is a very important and decisive matter)
we must know whether the beasts were terrestrial in habit, walking with
their bodies raised high on their legs, or whether they were aquatic
and swam in the lakes or seas, their bodies buoyed up and supported by
the water. By far the biggest animals of which we have any knowledge
are the various kinds of whales still flourishing in the sea. A
mechanical limit is set to the size of land-walking animals, and that
limit has been reached by the elephant "Flesh and blood," and we may
add "bone," cannot carry on dry land a greater bulk than his. He is
always in danger of sinking by his own weight into soft earth and bog.
His legs have to be much thicker in proportion than those of smaller
animals–made of the same material–or they would bend and snap. His feet
have to be padded with huge discs of fat and fibre to ease the local
pressure, and his legs are kept straight not bent at the joints, when
he stands (a fact to which Shakespeare makes Ulysses refer), so that
the vast weight of his body shall be supported by the stiff column
formed by the upper and lower half of the limb-bones kept upright in
one straight line. A well-grown elephant weighs five tons. Compare his
weight and shape with that of a big whale-bone whale! No extinct animal
known approaches the existing whale in bulk and weight. He is 80 to
90 ft. long, and has no neck nor any length of tail. His outline is
egg-like, narrower at the hinder end. He weighs 200 tons–forty times as
much as a big elephant–and is perfectly supported without any strain on
his structure by the water in which he floats. There is no such limit
to his possible size as there is in the case of land-walking animals.
But it seems probable that he too is limited in size by mechanical
conditions of another kind. Probably he cannot exceed some 90 ft. in
length and 200 tons of bulk on account of the relatively great increase
of proportionate size and power in the heart required in order to
propel the blood through such a vast mass of living tissue and keep
him "going" as a warm-blooded mammal. The original pattern–the small
dog-like ancestor of the whale–cannot be indefinitely expanded as an
efficient working machine, though its limit of growth is not determined
by the same mechanical causes as those which limit the bulk of the
terrestrial quadruped.

These considerations make it clear that we should compare as to
"bigness" terrestrial animals with other terrestrial animals, and
aquatic animals with aquatic ones. It seems probable that Diplodocus
was an aquatic reptile, and never raised himself on to his four legs
on dry land as the Carnegie skeleton at the Natural History Museum is
doing. His legs and feet are quite unfitted to support his weight on a
land surface; on land he would have rested on his belly, as a crocodile
does, with much bent legs on each side. But submerged in 20 ft.
depth of water, he could have trotted along, half-floating, with his
feet touching the bottom and his head raised on its long neck to the
surface, slowly sucking the floating vegetation into his moderate-sized
mouth. (See drawing on p. 91.)

Diplodocus and Cetiosaurus have huge thigh-bones and upper-arm
bones–respectively 5 ft. 9 in. and 3 ft. 2 in. in length–until lately
the biggest known _limb_-bones, although the lower jaw-bone of a Right
Whale grows to be 18 ft. in length. But a thigh-bone (femur) of a
reptile similar to Diplodocus has been found in Wyoming, 6 ft. 2 in.
in length. This reptile was named Atlantosaurus, and a cast of the
huge bone–the biggest known when it was placed there–stands in our
museum gallery. However, its glory has departed, for we now know "than
this biggest bone, a bigger still." The bones of several individuals
of a huge reptile similar to Diplodocus, but actually twice as big in
linear dimensions, were found by Dr. Fraas at Tendagoroo, fifty miles
from the coast in German East Africa, and brought safely to Berlin in
1912, though they have not yet been mounted as a complete specimen.
They were lying in a sandy deposit of the same geologic age as our
Sussex Wealden. A special expedition of 500 negroes was sent–not by
the Government, but by the Berlin "Society of the Friends of Natural
History" (we need such a society in England), at a cost of £10,000,
to fetch the bones. They were of many individuals, and had to be
skilfully dug out and packed. Dr. Fraas calls this biggest of all
quadrupeds "Gigantosaurus." A cast of the humerus, or upper-arm bone,
is now exhibited in the Natural History Museum. It is over 7 ft. in
length. The femur, or thigh-bone, was still bigger–it was over 10 ft.
in length. Alas for the glory of Atlantosaurus! This enormous creature
was, of course, like Diplodocus, aquatic. Its bulk was much less than
that of a big whale, but extinct aquatic reptiles may yet be found of
greater size. Ichthyosaurus, the extinct whale-like reptile, does not
exceed 30 ft. in length. Our engraving (Fig. 32) shows the relative
size of the humerus of man, the elephant,[4] and the Gigantosaurus. How
puny is that human arm-bone! And yet...!

When stretched on the shore, resting on the belly, the body of the
great lizard of Tendagoroo bulked like a breakwater 12 ft. high, and
his tail like a huge serpent extended 80 ft. beyond it; whilst his head
and neck reached 40 ft. along the mud in front.

[Illustration: FIG. 32.–The upper-arm bone or humerus of the great
reptile (Gigantosaurus) of Tendagoroo–compared with that of man and of
an Indian elephant.]

An important limitation to great size in an animal is, it must be
remembered, often imposed by the nature of the animal's food. Ten
individuals each weighing a hundredweight will more easily pick up
and swallow the amount of food required to nourish ten hundredweight
of the species than will one individual responsible for the whole
bulk, provided that the food is scattered and not ready to the mouth
in unlimited quantity. A creature which has unlimited forest or grass
or seaweed as its food will be at no disadvantage owing to its size.
But a carnivor or a fish-eater or one depending on special fruits and
roots not offered to him by nature in mass has to search for, and
sometimes to hunt, or at any rate to compete with others, for the
scattered and elusive "bits" of food. So it is that we find that the
fruit-eating apes are not very big, and that terrestrial carnivors are
small, though powerful and swift, as compared with cattle, deer, and
vegetarian beasts. Ten carnivors weighing each ten stone will with
their ten mouths "pick up" more prey than one carnivor weighing a
hundred stone and having only one mouth. Even the carnivorous Dinosaurs
such as Megalosaurus and Tyrannosaurus were much smaller than the
vegetarian Iguanodon, Diplodocus, Brontosaurus and Triceratops on
which (or on the like of which) they preyed–just as a tiger is smaller
than a buffalo, and a wolf smaller than a horse. It is owing to causes
of this nature that the life of some animals, and consequently their
growth, is limited in duration. Occasionally the common lobster lives
to a great age, and grows to be more than 2 ft. long. But he is doomed
by his size; the smaller lobsters "go quickly around" and get all
the food (carrion of the sea), and the big fellow has to starve. The
whale-bone whales, it is true, take animal food; but it occurs in the
form of minute sea-slugs and shrimps, which fill the surface waters in
countless millions over hundreds of miles of ocean. Hence the whales of
this kind have only to swim along with their mouths open through an
unlimited supply of luscious food. The size of terrestrial animals is
also, it appears, definitely related to the natural water-supply. There
are very few small quadrupeds in the interior of Africa. On account of
frequent "drought," the mammals have often to run a hundred miles or
more in search of water. Only animals as big as the larger antelopes
and the zebra can cover the ground. The smaller kinds die (and have, in
fact, died out in past ages) in these regions of sudden drought.

[Illustration: The gigantic reptile Diplodocus on land.]


[4] The elephant, the thigh-bone of which, measuring nearly 3 ft. in
length, is drawn in Fig. 32, is a large Indian one. This species is
exceeded in size by the African. See "Science from an Easy Chair,"
Second series, p. 123.–The largest elephant the bones of which are
known is the Elephas antiquus of the Pleistocene, bigger than either of
the living species and bigger than the mammoth, Elephas primigenius.
The arm-bone (humerus) of one of this species (Elephas antiquus) lately
dug up near Chatham and now in the Natural History Museum, is 4 ft. 3
in. in length.



Those who take an interest in natural history must find it necessary
to know what the naturalist means by "a species" of animal or plant.
What does he mean when he says: "This is not the same species as
that," or "This is a species closely allied to this other species,"
or "This is a new species"? What are the "species" concerning the
origin of which Darwin propounded his great theory? There is really no
English word which can be exactly used in place of the word "species."
I often have to use the word when writing about plants or animals,
and should like once for all to say what is meant by it. One might
suppose that a "kind" is the same thing as a species. And so it often
is; but, on the other hand, by the word "kind" we often mean a group
including several species. For instance, we say the "cat-kind" or
the "daisy-kind," meaning the "cat-like" animals or the "daisy-like"
plants. The expression "the cat-kind" includes the common cat and the
wild cat, and even leopards, lions, and tigers, each of which is a
species of cat. And by the "daisy-kind" we understand a group including
several species of daisies, such as the common daisy, the ox-eye daisy,
the camomile daisy, the michaelmas daisy, and others. Hence we cannot
translate species simply by the word "kind." "Kind" is the same word
as "kin"–"a little more than kin and less than kind," runs Hamlet's
bitter pun. "Kind" means a group held together by kinship, and it may
be a larger or a smaller group held together by a close kinship or
by a more distant one. "Sort," again, will not serve our purpose as
an English translation of "species." For, although "a sort" implies
a certain selection and similarity of the things included in the
"sort," the amount of similarity implied may be very great or it may be
indefinitely vague and remote. Hence naturalists have to stick to the
word "species," and to use it with a clear definition of what they mean
by it.

Suppose we get together a large unsorted collection–many hundred
"specimens" or individuals–of the common butterflies of England. Then,
if we look them over, we shall find that we can pick out and arrange
the specimens into definite groups, according to their colour-pattern.
We find that the kinds which we readily distinguish are called in
English the swallow-tails, the whites, the sulphurs, the clouded
yellows, the tortoise-shells, the peacocks, the red admirals, the
painted ladies, the gatekeepers, the meadow browns, the heaths, the
coppers, and the blues. There might be others in such a collection, but
that is enough for our purpose. On examining the specimens closely, we
find that the colour-markings and "venation" or network by which the
wings are marked and the shape of the wings, body, and legs of all the
specimens of the swallow-tails are almost exactly alike, and unlike
those of any of the others. We shall find if we have a dozen or two
specimens that there is a slight difference in the pattern, size, and
colour of wing of some of the swallow-tails, dividing them into two
groups, which we soon ascertain to be the males and females; but this
is so small a difference that we may ignore it. The swallow-tail is
obviously and at once distinguished from any of the other butterflies
in the collection by its colour-pattern and shape. So also with the
others, there will be many specimens in each case agreeing in colour
and pattern, and recognizable and distinguishable from the rest by
the colour-pattern and by the "venation" or "nervures" of the wings.
If we collect butterflies again in other years and in other parts of
the country, we find the same set of shapes and patterns exactly,
corresponding to what we have learnt to call swallow-tails, whites,
sulphurs, clouded yellows, tortoise-shells, etc. There are, we thus
learn, several distinct, unchanging kinds of butterfly, which are
common in this country, and appear every year. Similarly we may go into
a meadow in spring, and gather a number of flowers, and a naturalist
will roughly arrange our bouquet into "kinds"; there will be the
buttercups, the daisies, the clovers, the dead nettles, the poppies,
the roses, the orchids, etc.

If, now, we look more carefully at our collection of butterflies,
sorted out roughly into kinds or species, we shall find that the
"whites," although holding together by a close similarity in
having merely white wings edged and spotted with black, yet differ
amongst themselves, so that we distinguish a larger kind, the large
garden-white, and a smaller, commoner kind, the smaller garden-white,
and we distinguish also the green-veined white, and possibly the
rare Bath white, each of them differing a little in their spots as
well as their size. These different sorts of "whites" can, once our
attention is drawn to the matter, be readily distinguished from one
another, and constantly are found in our collections. We thus arrive
at the conclusion that, though the whites are much alike, and are a
kind distinct from the other kinds of butterflies, yet the "whites"
themselves can be divided into and arranged as several kinds distinct
from one another. In fact, we discover (and an illustrated book on
butterflies confirms us in the conclusion) that there are several
ultimate kinds of whites which cannot be further separated into
groups. These are what are called "species." The whites are therefore
not a single species, as are our British swallow-tails, but a group of
species, closely related to one another. We find the same thing to be
true with regard to the blues. Though they are much alike, agreeing in
a variety of details of spotting and colour, yet we can distinguish the
chalk-hill blue, the common blue, the azure-blue, the Adonis blue, and
others, as distinct "species" of blues. Then, again, when we carefully
examine our English specimens of tortoise-shells, we find that there
are two distinct "species"–the greater and the smaller–differing not
only in size, but in pattern; and when we compare with these the
painted lady and the peacock and the red admiral, we find that there
is a certain agreement of wing-pattern (venation and outline) and
details of shape among them all, although their tints and the shape of
the spots and bands of colour differ. These different species "hold
together" just as the whites do and just as the blues do. Naturalists
have met the need for expressing this similarity of a number of
distinct species to one another by introducing the term "genus" for
such a group. In fact we arrange several species into a "genus."
The "genus" is a "kind," but a more comprehensive "kind," than is a
species. The species is an assemblage of _individuals_ closely alike to
one another; the genus is a group of _species_ which are more like to
one another than any of them are to other species.

Naturalists give to every genus a name, and also a name to each species
in the genus. Since we naturalists want to know what butterflies or
other species of animals and plants are found in other countries, and
to be sure that we all (whatever our native language may be) mean the
same thing by a name, Latin names are given to the genera and the
species, and are necessarily used when one wishes to be sure that
one is understood. The greatest trouble is taken to make certain
that the name used is applied only to the original species and the
original genus to which it was applied, for only so can one be sure
that a writer in America or one in Italy or France means the same
thing by a name as we do here in England. This is rendered possible
and is actually brought about by the preparation of catalogues in
which the species are described and figured, especially with regard to
obvious points of detail which are constant, and are called "specific
characters." These are chosen for special description, not haphazard,
but with a view to their being recognized with certainty by those
who study other specimens. Another extremely important proceeding
in connection with this purpose of uniform naming, which involves
vast labour and expense, is the maintenance of great collections of
preserved animals and plants by the State in all civilized countries.
In these collections either the original specimens to which names were
given by recognized describers (called "type-specimens" or "the type")
are preserved, or else specimens which have been compared with those
original described specimens, and authoritatively ascertained to be the
same as the "type." The maintenance of accuracy and agreement in regard
to the names of all the "species" of plants and animals is a big task.
It is now carried out by international councils, in which the skilled
naturalists of the world are represented. Certain principles have been
agreed upon as to the method of determining the priority of one name
over others which have been employed for one and the same species
by naturalists of different countries and at different times, and a
general agreement as to what names are to be used has been arrived
at. It is a matter which has involved a great deal of uncertainty
and dispute, and still causes difficulty. By the exercise of good
sense, and in consequence of the existence of an urgent desire really
to understand one another, there is now every year an increasing
uniformity and agreement among naturalists about the exact name to be
applied to every species of living thing.

Returning to our collections of butterflies and meadow flowers, we
may take the names of some of the species and genera as an example
of the system of naming in use by scientific naturalists. The common
swallow-tail is assigned to the genus Papilio. Its "specific name" is
"Machaon," given to it by Linnæus, hence it is spoken of as Papilio
Machaon. It is found in various parts of Europe as well as in England.
But in Central Europe (often seen in Switzerland) there is also
another species of swallow-tail, which only occurs as a rare accident
in England. This is the pale swallow-tail, differing, not only by its
paler colour but by definite spots and markings of the wings, from the
English species. Its species name, or "specific name," is "Podalirius,"
and so it is known as Papilio Podalirius. Species of Papilio are found
all over the world; more than 500 are known. Our two commonest whites
belong to the genus Pieris–they are called respectively Pieris brassicæ
(the larger) and Pieris rapæ (the smaller). The green-veined white is
Pieris napi. Each of these three is called after the plant, cabbage,
rape, or turnip, on which its caterpillar feeds. The rare Bath white is
Pieris daplidice. Its caterpillar feeds on mignonette. There are dozens
of species in other parts of the world allied to our "whites," which
naturalists have carefully distinguished and characterized by their

Several of our most beautiful species of English butterflies which are
much alike have been enrolled in one genus–the genus Vanessa. This
genus includes the great tortoise-shell, called Vanessa polychloros;
the smaller tortoise-shell, Vanessa urticæ; the peacock, Vanessa Io;
the painted lady, Vanessa cardui; the red admiral, Vanessa Atalanta;
and the comma butterfly, Vanessa C-album. There are other European,
Asiatic, and American species of Vanessa.

In the same way we find with our meadow plants that what we at
first thought was a single kind, "_the_" buttercup really bears a
name applicable to a genus in which are several common species. The
genus is called Ranunculus, and there are several common English
species with yellow flowers, but distinguished from one another by
definite characters. They are Ranunculus acris, Ranunculus flammula,
Ranunculus bulbosus, Ranunculus arvensis, Ranunculus ficaria (the
lesser celandine). And then there is the white-flowered Ranunculus
aquatilis–a common pond plant. Clover, again, is by no means the name
for a single species. The clovers form the genus Trifolium, and in any
English meadow we may come across the white clover, Trifolium repens;
the red clover, Trifolium pratense; the hop clover, Trifolium agrarium:
the strawberry clover, Trifolium fragiferum; the haresfoot clover,
Trifolium arvense. So it is with the plants which at first sight we
distinguish merely as "daisies." There are several distinct genera of
daisies–Aster, Bellis, Chrysanthemum (ox-eye), Anthemis (camomile), and
others, with several distinct species in each genus.

Enough has been said to show the reader that the mere notion of "kinds"
does not carry the same meaning as "species," but that there are a
number of regularly occurring definite forms of both animals and plants
which can be arranged in groups consisting only of individuals which
are very nearly identical with one another. A group of living things of
this degree of likeness is called "a species," and receives a name. A
less degree of likeness holds together a number of species to form what
we call a genus, and the name of the genus is cited together with the
name of the species when we wish to speak of the species with clearness
and certainty. This system of double names we owe to the great Swedish
naturalist of the eighteenth century, Linnæus. He proposed also that
the relationships of living things to one another should be further
expressed by grouping like genera into "families," then like families
into "orders," and like orders into "classes." And since his day we go
further and group classes into "phyla" or great stems of the animal
pedigree. In this way a complete hierarchy or system of less and more
comprehensive groups has been established, and is the means by which
we indicate the natural groups of the family-trees of plants and of
animals, what, in fact, is called the "classification" of each of these
great series of living things. Linnæus compared his system of groups to
the subdivisions of two armies. Thus, the one army represents the whole
animal series, the other the whole vegetable series. An army is divided
into (1) "legions," these into (2) "divisions," "divisions" into (3)
"regiments," regiments into (4) battalions, and battalions consist of
(5) companies, consisting of individual soldiers. According to Linnæus,
we may compare the legions to classes, which are divided into orders,
comparable to divisions; these into families, comparable to regiments;
these into genera, comparable to battalions; and these into species,
comparable to companies, or ultimate groups of individual units or

Just as the legions, divisions, regiments, battalions and companies
of an army have each their own name or at any rate a distinctive
numeral assigned to them in order that they may be cited and
directed, so are names given to each class, order, family, genus and
species of the classification or enumeration of the kinds of animals
and plants. Here, for instance, are the names of the greater and
smaller groups in which our common "white" finds itself enrolled.
_Class_–Insects. _Order_–Lepidoptera. _Family_–Pieridæ. _Genus_–Pieris.



I wrote in the last chapter of the recognition of that degree of
"likeness" or kinship in animals and plants which we point to by the
word "species," and of the grouping of several similar species to
form a "genus," and of several genera to form a family, of families
to form orders, and of orders to form classes–and of the giving of
names to all these groups. Whilst the making of this or that lot of
species into a distinct _genus_, and giving it a new name is a mere
matter of convenience for the indication of more or less important
agreements and divergences, and is to a large extent arbitrary or an
expression of opinion–it has always been recognized among naturalists
that the group called "a species" is not a mere convention, but has
a real natural limitation. It is true that the actual things which
we see in studying natural history are so many units or individuals.
But the possibility of arranging these by pattern, colour and shape
into ultimate companies of which all the units are alike and differ
from all the units of another company, has been regarded as a natural
fact of primary importance and not a mere convention or convenience.
The conception of the "naturalness" of a species depends really upon
a further qualification of great importance as to what we naturalists
understand by it.

We find by rearing plants from seed and by causing animals to breed
under actual observation that the individuals of a species pair
with one another, and not with individuals of other species, and
further, that the young which they produce are like the parents–show
themselves, in fact, to be of the same "species." The species
continually year after year reproduces itself with little variation,
though some variation does occur. The faculty of pairing only within
the group, of never naturally breeding with members of other groups,
has accordingly been adopted as a test of species. Hybrids between
two species do not occur, except in very rare cases, in the state of
nature. It is not always the case that the members of two species
cannot possibly pair together, but it is the fact that they do not do
so. Man sometimes brings about such crossing or hybridization, and
it is a curious fact that the hybrids are often infertile or give
rise only to weakly offspring, which could not survive in the natural
struggle for existence. Sometimes, however, when the two hybridized
species happen to come from regions of the world remote from one
another, the resulting hybrids establish a vigorous race. There are
real obstacles (of which I will say more below) in natural conditions
to hybrid-breeding between any two species which occur naturally in
the same territory. Thus the idea of a species is expanded so as to
be not merely "a group of individuals of constant likeness in form
and characteristics," but we add to that definition a living or
constitutional quality expressed by the words, "which produce fertile
offspring by pairing with one another, but do not pair with the members
of other species."

This enables us to distinguish the conception of a "species" from that
of a "variety" or a "race." We find occasionally peculiarly-marked
examples of a species of plant or animal, or even local races of
peculiar form; but we do not regard them as "distinct species" if
we find that they breed as a rule with the ordinary members of the
species. The decisive test is the breeding. If the variety is found
not to breed with the regular species, but to keep apart and breed
only with other individuals like itself, then we say, "This is no mere
variety! It is a distinct species!" Unfortunately we have vast series
of animals, insects, and others, from all parts of the world, collected
and preserved in our museums, of which we know only the dead preserved
specimens. So that we cannot be sure in doubtful cases whether a series
of forms differing a little from the ordinary members of a species
indicate distinct species, as defined and tested by breeding. We have
in such a case to note the difference, and record it either as a
variety or as a species by a guess at the probabilities one way or the
other. Naturalists really _intend_ by the word "species" to designate
a form represented by numerous like individuals, which, in the
present natural conditions of the region they inhabit, have attained
a certain "stability" of distinctive form and character (not without
some variability within definite limits) and constitute a more or less
widely distributed population, the members of which inter-breed but do
not produce offspring with other allied species.

A good case by which to exhibit further our conception of a species is
that afforded by the species which are united in the genus Equus–the
horse-genus. There are living at the present day several wild kinds
of Equus–namely, the wild horse, or Tarpan, of the Gobi desert of
Mongolia, called after the Russian explorer Przewalski; two kinds of
Asiatic wild ass, called the Kiang and the Onegar; the African wild
ass, and two or three kinds of zebra. There are, besides, many kinds
of domesticated horses, ranging from the Shetland pony to the Flemish
dray horse, and from the Shire horse to the Arab. Then there are many
kinds of fossil extinct horses known, some of which clearly must be
placed in the genus Equus with the living kinds; others which have to
be separated into special genera (Hippidium, Onohippidium, etc.). Now,
as to the living forms or form-kinds of the genus Equus–which are we
to regard as true species, and which are only varieties and races of
lower significance than species? The answer is clear enough in regard
to several of them. The wild Mongolian horse and all the domesticated
horses are varieties, races, or breeds of one species, judged not only
by such marks as the possession of callosities on both the hind and
the fore legs, but also by the test of breeding. They breed together
and produce persisting races. But the asses and the zebras, though
they will form mules with the horse, do not in a state of nature
freely breed with it. When an ass or zebra is mated by man with the
horse it will produce hybrids, called "Mules," but will not in "a
state of nature" _establish_ a hybrid race. The asses and the zebras
are distinct from the horse, not only in markings and certain details
of shape and hair, but in the fact that they cannot be fused into one
race with him. There are no sufficient experiments on the aloofness
of zebras and asses from one another in regard to breeding, although
it seems that they cannot establish a mixed race, and are, therefore,
distinct species judged by that test as well as by their form and
marking. It is not known whether the so-called species of wild ass–the
Asiatic and the African–would prove to produce fertile or infertile
mules if intercrossed, nor has the test been applied to the very
differently-marked local races of the African zebras–Grevy's zebra,
Burchell's zebra, and the mountain zebra. It is likely enough that the
three or more "species" distinguished among zebras on account of their
being differently striped, and existing in different localities, would
be found to breed freely together, and prove themselves thus to be
entitled to be regarded as local "varieties" or "races," but not as
fully-separated true species.

Thus one sees how difficult it is to have knowledge of the breeding
test, even in regard to large animals. It is obvious that the
difficulty of obtaining it in regard to the thousands of kinds of
minute creatures is much greater. Yet when they say, "This is a
distinct species," naturalists do mean that it is not only marked
off from other animals or plants most like to it by a certain shape,
colour, or other quality or qualities, but that it breeds apart with
its own kind and does not naturally hybridize with those other forms
most like to it.

Although the kind of naturalist called a "systematist" who makes
it his business to accurately describe and record and distinguish
from one another all the existing species of some one group–say, of
antelopes, of mice, of flowering plants, of fishes, or of fleas–has
only a knowledge in a few instances of the breeding of the organisms
which he describes as "distinct species," he yet does know, in regard
to some one or more of his species in most groups, the facts of pairing
and reproduction, and what are the limits of variation in the markings
and other characteristics of at least one or two species definitely
submitted to the "breeding test," that is to say, ascertained to be
"true physiological species," kept apart by deep-seated chemical
differences in their blood and tissues. Hence it is legitimate for
him, by careful balancing and consideration of all the facts, to
determine–not absolutely, but by analogy–the value to be assigned
(whether as indicating true species or merely varieties capable
of pairing with the main stock) to points of difference among the
specimens of a dead collection brought from some distant land or from
some position in which it would be impossible to make observations
with regard to "pairing" and "breeding true."

Some 400 species of fleas have been described, and we are certain as
to the value of the characters relied on to distinguish those species,
owing to what we know of the breeding of some common species of fleas.
The flea of the domestic fowl, that of the domestic pigeon, that from
the house-martin, and that from the sand-martin–used to be considered
as one species until they were carefully examined twenty years ago. In
reality each of them has its own peculiar "marks," and they do not mix
with one another. The nests of the sand-martin yield only one species
of flea, namely that peculiar to the sand-martin. The hen-house,
the dove-cote, and the nests of the house-martin yield each their
flea maggots, which can be reared and become in each case a distinct
species with definite recognizable "characters." On the other hand,
the flea of the rabbit gives an opportunity of studying the limits of
variation in a "good" species. Rabbit warrens swarm with the rabbit
flea, and often a great number are found on one rabbit, the individual
fleas "varying"–"differing" from one another to a slight extent. The
"systematist" thus gets to know what organs are variable within the
limits of an undoubted physiological species of flea, and what are
comparatively constant–so that he can form a reasonable opinion about
the claim of other specimens which he may receive without full history
of their habits, to be regarded as true distinct species.

The fact that most important chemical differences of the blood and
digestive juices often accompany the small external differences
which enable us to distinguish one species of animal or plant from
another, makes it obvious that the knowledge of species is a very
valuable and necessary thing. One species of flea, the Pulex Cheopis,
habitually carries the plague bacillus from animals to man, and is
a cause of death; other species, extremely like it in appearance,
but distinguishable by a trained observer, do not carry the plague
bacillus, but if they swallow it, destroy it by digestion. One species
of gnat, the common grey gnat, digests and destroys malaria germs when
it sucks them up with blood; in an allied species, the spot-winged gnat
or Anopheles, the chemical juices of the gut allow the germ to live in
it and multiply, and so to be carried to men by the gnat's bite. So
with many other flies and parasites the recognition of the dangerous
species is of vital importance, and that recognition often depends on
minute features of form and colour not at once obvious to an ordinary

But this recognition of distinct species is, from the point of view of
the study of Nature, only a preliminary to the question, "How did these
species come about? How is it that there are so many species, some very
like one another, forming genera, and these genera grouped into related
families, these into larger groups, and so on, like the branches of
a family tree?" The answer to these questions given by Linnæus was:
"There are just so many species as the Infinite Being created at the
beginning of things, and they have continued to propagate themselves
unchanged ever since." The answer which we give to-day is that the
appearance of a huge family tree which our classification of animals
takes is due to the simple fact that it really is neither more nor less
than a family tree or pedigree–the "tree of life," of which the green
leaves and buds are the existing species. Further, we hold that the
existing species of a genus have "come into existence" by natural birth
from one ancestral species, its offspring having slightly varied (we
are all familiar with this individual variation in our own species, in
dogs, cats, trees, and shrubs), and that the varieties have wandered
apart and become continuously emphasized and selected for survival by
their fitness or suitability to the changed conditions around each of
them. Meanwhile a natural destruction, or failure of intermediate forms
to survive, has gone on.



A series of important conceptions are implied in the word "species," as
used by naturalists. Some of these we have noted in the last chapter.
There is first, as a starting-point, the conception that a species
is a number or company of individuals, all closely and clearly alike
(though presenting some minor individual variations), and capable of
sharp separation by certain "characters" from other similar groups or
companies. Then follows the addition (2) that the species is constant
if the conditions of life are not changed, or but little changed, and
that year after year it reproduces itself without change. It has a
certain stability (but not permanent immutability) greater in some
species than in others. Next we find (3) that the species constitutes
a group of individuals which have descended by natural breeding from
common parents, not differing greatly from the present individuals.
They are, in fact, one "stock." Then (4) that the species is a group,
the individuals of which pair with one another in breeding, but do not
pair with the individuals of another species, and that this is due to
various peculiar and inherent chemical, physiological and (in higher
animals) psychological characteristics of the species.

We have now further to note that species have their special
geographical _centres of origin_ from which most spread only a small
distance, whilst others have a wonderful power of dispersal, and
have become cosmopolitan. Moreover, we find that some species are
numerically very abundant, others very rare; that rare and abundant
species have often invaded each other's territory, and exist side by

Whilst we often find a number of species, fifty or more, so much alike
that we unite them in a single genus (as, for instance, in the case
of the cats, lions, tigers, leopards, which form the genus "Felis,"
and the hundred or more species of the hedge brambles or blackberries,
which form the genus "Rubus"), there are many species which to-day
have, as it were, lost all their relatives and stand alone, the
solitary species in a well-marked genus, or have perhaps only one
other living co-species. And sometimes (curiously enough) that one
co-species is an inhabitant of a region very remote from that inhabited
by the other. Thus the two living mammals called tapirs (genus Tapirus)
inhabit, the one the Malay region, and the other Central America. This
is explained by the fact that tapirs formerly existed all over the
land-surfaces of North Europe, North Asia, and North America, which
connect these widely-separate spots. We find the bones and teeth of
the extinct tapirs embedded in the Tertiary deposits of the connecting

Once we have gained the fundamental conceptions as to what is meant by
a "species," we are able intelligently to consider innumerable facts
of the most diverse kind as to their peculiar structure and colours,
their number, localities, their interaction and dependence on other
living things, their modifications for special modes of life, their
isolation or their ubiquity. We can discuss their genetic relations
to one another, and to extinct fossil species, which have all been to
a very large extent "accounted for" or "explained" by Mr. Darwin's
theory of the origin of species by the natural selection of favoured
races in the struggle for existence. But there is always more to be
made out–difficulties to be removed, new instances to be studied. The
classification of the genera of plants and animals, with their included
species into larger groups, helps us to state and to remember their
actual build and structure, and to survey, as it were, the living
world, from the animalcule to the man, or from the microbe to the
magnolia tree. Every one interested in natural history should carry
in his mind as complete a scheme of the classification of animals and
plants as possible.

The older naturalists held that species were suddenly "created" as
they exist, and have propagated their like ever since. Darwin has
taught us that the present "species" have developed by a slow process
of transformation from preceding species, and these from other
predecessors, and so on to the remotest geologic ages and the dawn
of life. The agents at work have been "variation"–that is to say,
the response to the never-ceasing variation of the surrounding world
or environment–and the survival in the struggle for existence of the
fittest varieties so produced.

There is nothing surprising or extraordinary in the existence of
variation. The conditions of life and growth are never absolutely
identical in two individuals, and the wonder is not that species vary,
but that they vary so little. The living substance of animals and
plants is an extremely complex chemical substance, ever decomposing and
ever being renewed. It is the most "labile" as it is by far the most
elaborately built-up chemical body which chemists have ever ventured to
imagine. It differs, chemically, not only in every species but in every
individual and is incessantly acted upon–influenced as we may say–by
the ever-changing physical and chemical conditions around it. At the
same time it has, subject to the permanence of essential conditions,
a definite stability and limitation to its change or variation in
response to variations of its environment. That part of the living
substance which in all but the lowest plants and animals is set aside
during growth to form the eggs and sperms by which they multiply or
"reproduce" themselves, is called the "germ-plasm," and is peculiarly
sensitive to variations in (that is a _change_ in) the environment of
the plant or animal.

New conditions of life (locality and climate)–unusual food or
reproductive activity–act often in a powerful way upon the germ-plasm
and cause it to vary–that is to say, they alter some of its qualities,
though not necessarily disturbing in any way the general living
substance of the organism so far as to produce any important change
perceptible to the human eye. In consequence, the young produced after
such disturbance of the germ-plasm are found to differ more from their
parents than in cases where no such disturbance has been set up by the
natural never-ceasing variation of the surrounding world. This fact
is well known to horticulturists and breeders, and is made use of by
them. When a gardener wishes to obtain variations of a plant from which
to select and establish a new breed, he deliberately sets to work to
disturb–to shake up, to act upon in a tentative, experimental way–the
germ-plasm of one or more parent plants by change of soil, climate,
food and often by cross-fertilizing them with another breed or variety.
In this way he to some extent "breaks" the constitutional stability of
the germ-plasm of the plant and obtains abundant "variations" in the
offspring. These are not precisely foreseen, and show themselves in all
parts of the new generation. But some of them are what the gardener
wants, and are "selected" by him for retention, rearing and breeding.

The response of the germ-plasm of organisms to the stimulus of new
environmental conditions has been compared to that of the well-known
pattern-producing toy–the kaleidoscope. The bits of glass, beads and
silk which you see in a kaleidoscope, forming by reflection in its
mirrors a beautiful and definite pattern, are changed by a simple
vibration caused by tapping the instrument into a very different
pattern, the coloured fragments being displaced and rearranged. The
apparent change or variation is very great though produced by slight
mechanical disturbance, and the new pattern is altogether without any
special significance–the fortuitous outcome of a small displacement
of the constituent coloured fragments. We can imagine that similarly
slight disturbances of the organic molecules of the germ-plasm may
produce considerable and important variations in it and the new growth
to which it gives rise: and, further, that these variations may prove
to be either (1) injurious, or (2) of life-saving value, or often
enough (3) of no consequence whatever although bulking largely in our
human eyes and thereby misleading our judgment of them.

There is no reason to doubt that the same sequence of events occurs
in nature apart from man's interference. Changes occur in the earth's
surface, or the organism is transported by currents of water or
air into new conditions. The germ-plasm is "disturbed," "shaken"
or "shocked" by those new conditions, and a variation, in several
structures and qualities of the offspring subsequently produced,
follows. Then also follows the selection of one of the new varieties by
survival of the fitter to the new conditions into which the organism
has been transported or have developed in the region where it was
previously established.

This process of germ-variation is obviously as necessary and constant
a feature of the living organism as is the variation in the contour
of land and sea and in the extent of the polar ice-cap–a necessary
feature of the physical conditions of the terrestrial globe. But it
is the fashion with a certain school of writers nowadays to declare
that "variation" in organisms is a "mystery" unsolved. Another very
common and almost universal error is to overlook the fact that
variation is constitutional and affects whole systems of organs and
their deeply related parts, and is _not_, as it is so frequently and
erroneously assumed to be, a mere local affair of patches and scraps
visible on this or that part of the surface of an animal or plant.
These superficial "marks," readily seen and noted by the collector,
are rarely of any life-saving importance: they are but the outward and
visible signs of deep-lying physiological or constitutional change or
variation. The varying organism has, like Hamlet, "that within which
passeth show" and the superficial variations (like his "inky cloak"
and other customary features of mourning) are but "the trappings and
the suits" of a deep-lying change. Variation is not an inexplicable
mystery, nor, on the other hand, are "varieties" sufficiently dealt
with and their nature appreciated when one or two surface peculiarities
are enumerated by which the collector can recognize them. A deeper
study of the varying organism is both possible and needed.

If the gradual formation of new species from ancestral species is a
true account of the matter, we must expect to find, at any rate here
and there, if not frequently, traces of the process–for instance,
gradations, or series of intermediate forms, connecting new,
well-established species with the ancestral form or with one another.
We do find such gradations–sometimes more, sometimes less, completely
persisting over a wide tract of country, or discoverable in the
fossiliferous deposits containing the remains of extinct animals.

For instance, when we look at the butterflies of a much larger region
than our little island–namely, at those of a great continent like
Africa or South America–we find that there are species which show
gradations. Thus at a series of points, A, B, C, D, separated by some
hundreds of miles from each other, we find a corresponding series of
butterflies which are apparently closely similar species of one genus,
differing by a few spots of colour, or darker and lighter tint, much
as our Large White, Garden White, and Green-veined White differ. But
when the butterflies are caught which occur at points intermediate
between A and B, B and C, C and D, we find intermediate varieties, and,
in fact, if we get a very large number from intermediate regions, we
can, in some instances, arrange them in line so that they constitute
a graduated series of forms, each being scarcely distinguishable from
the one before or the one behind it, yet differing clearly from one a
dozen places away. In such cases there is often evidence to show that
the variety found at A breeds with that found at B, that of B with that
of C, of C with D, so that they form an inter-breeding group, though
perhaps the varieties at D will not pair with those at A, or even
with those at B. Then sometimes we find in such a series, otherwise
complete, a gap. Let us suppose it is between the butterflies of B and
C. We find the series of gradations nearly complete, but some natural
condition–such as the encroachment of the sea, or the slow elevation
of a mountain range, or the climatic destruction of the necessary
food-plant–has "wiped out" a few forms somewhere between those of B
and C. They no longer exist. The series is no longer connected by
inter-breeding forms; those occurring from A to B and some distance
beyond are one "species" varying in the direction of the series C
to D, but abruptly broken off from the latter. The series C to D is
also a "species" with graduated varieties, but distinct; it is cut
off from the lot once in continuity with it by the destruction of
the intermediate forms inhabiting an intermediate area. Thus the one
species becomes two, and these may again break up, and, having become
thus disconnected and stabilized, they may spread over one another's
territory–fly side by side and yet remain distinct forms which do not
pair together–although originally they were varieties spreading from a
common centre, where the ancestral species lived and multiplied.

Other similar gradational series of an interesting character have
been noticed in the case of fresh-water fossil snail-shells. In the
layers of clay and marl exposed by digging a railway cutting or a
pit we may find that the successive layers represent a continuous
deposit of 100,000 years or more, and we find sometimes that a form of
snail-shell (not a species living to-day) occurs in the lowest stratum
very different from that occurring in the highest stratum–the lowest
being short and spherical, the highest elongated and of differing
texture. In the intermediate layers, each 6 or 12 ins. thick and
occupying perhaps altogether 30 ft. of vertical thickness, we find a
graduated series of snail-shells leading almost imperceptibly from
the oldest lowest form to the latest uppermost form. Such cases are
known. But it is an exceptional thing to find these graduated series
either spread over an area of the earth's surface, or following one
another in successive strata. When they came into existence they were
rapidly superseded and destroyed as a rule, and have left only one
or two widely-separated examples of the intermediate forms. This we
should naturally expect by analogy from what we know of the successive
traces of human manufactures in the deposits on the site of some of the
great cities of the ancient world which have been carefully excavated
layer by layer. But still we have the important fact that here and
there such gradational series have been found, and we are justified
in considering a few isolated intermediate forms (which often occur
connecting two greatly-differing species) as survivors of a former
complete graduated series of intermediate forms, which came into
existence by slow modification of an ancestral stock, and may, when
the stock was widely spread over a continental area, not merely have
succeeded one another in time, but actually coexisted in neighbouring

There are many remarkable facts bearing upon the origin of "species,"
the description of which fills volumes written by such men as Darwin,
Wallace, Poulton, and others, and become interesting to every one who
has gained a correct notion of what naturalists mean by a "species." I
will cite one in order to illustrate this. The bird which we call the
red grouse, or nowadays simply "grouse" (the old Scotch name for it
was "muir-fowl"), is one of twenty-four birds (among the 400 species
of birds which live in the British Islands), including several kinds
of titmouse, the goldfinch, bullfinch, song-thrush, stonechat, jay,
dipper, and others which are very closely similar to species of birds
living in Continental Europe, yet show some definite and constant
marks, such as small differences in the colour of a group of feathers,
enabling us to distinguish the British from the Continental forms. Are
these twenty-four British forms to be regarded as distinct species?

The red grouse is placed in a genus called "Lagopus," of which there
are several species in the northern hemisphere. In Scotland the red
grouse, which is distinguished as Lagopus Scoticus, is accompanied by
a rarer species of Lagopus, which lives in high, bare regions. This is
the bird called by the Celtic name "ptarmigan"; it differs in several
points from the red grouse, and acquires white plumage in the winter,
which the latter bird does not; it is called Lagopus mutus. Now in
Norway we find also two species of grouse or Lagopus, called "rypé"
(pronounced "reeper") by the Norwegians. One is the same bird in every
respect as the Scotch ptarmigan, and is known as "the mountain rypé."
The other is very close to our red grouse, and is called "the common
or bush rypé," and by English naturalists the "willow grouse," and
by ornithologists "Lagopus salicetus." It agrees in habits, voice,
eggs, and anatomical detail with our red grouse, but the back of the
cock-bird of the red grouse and the whole plumage of the hen-bird
have a darker colour. Moreover, the willow grouse, like the ptarmigan
or mountain rypé, turns white–acquires a white plumage–in the winter
which the red grouse does not. Are the red grouse and the willow grouse
to be regarded as distinct species? Our British red grouse lives on
heather-grown moors; the willow grouse prefers the shrubby growths of
berry-bearing plants interspersed with willows, whence its name. Their
food differs accordingly. Formerly the red grouse lived on the moors
of the South of England, and when in Pleistocene times England was a
part of the Continent of Europe the willow grouse and the red grouse
were one undivided species inhabiting all the north-west of Europe. It
is probable, though the experiment would be almost impossible to carry
out, that were the eggs of a number of willow grouse now brought to
Scotland and hatched on the moors, they would tend to keep apart from
the native red grouse, and not inter-breed with them, in which case we
should say that the Scotch form is a "species on the make," or, even,
a completed and distinct species. On the other hand, it is possible
that the two forms would freely pair with another, and that the colour
and winter coat of the one (probably that of the Scotch form if the
experiment were tried in Scotland) would predominate, and after some
generations no trace of the other strain would be observable.



An interesting case, showing that qualities which are life-preserving
under certain severe conditions exist in some varieties of a species
and not in others, was recorded some eight years ago. After a very
severe "blizzard" 136 common sparrows were found benumbed on the ground
by Professor Bumpus at Providence, United States. They were brought
into a warm room and laid on the floor. After a short time seventy-two
revived and sixty-four perished. They were compared to see if the
survivors were distinguished by any measurable character from those
which died. It was found that the survivors were smaller birds (the
sexes and young birds being separately compared) than those which died,
and were lighter in weight by one-twenty-fifth than the latter. Also,
the birds which survived had a decidedly longer breastbone than those
which died.

Similarly, the late Professor Weldon found that in the young of the
common shore-crab, taken in certain parts of Plymouth harbour, those
with a little peculiarity in the shape of the front of the shell
survived when those without this peculiarity died. Many thousands were
collected and measured in this experiment. It is not necessary to
suppose that the distinguishing mark of the survivors in such cases
is "the cause" of their survival. Such marks as the breadth of the
front part of the crab's shell and the length of a bird's breastbone
very probably are but "the outward and visible signs of an inward and
(physiological) grace."

The marks, little peculiarities of colour and proportionate size,
or some peculiar knob or horn, by which the student of species
distinguishes one constant form from another, can rarely, if ever, be
shown to have in themselves an active value in aiding or saving the
life of the species of plant or animal. The mark or "character" is an
accompaniment of a chemical, nutritional, physiological condition,
and is in itself of no account. It is what is called "a correlated
character." Such, for instance, is the black colour of the skin
of pigs which in Virginia, U.S., are found, as stated by Darwin,
not to be poisoned by a marsh plant ("the paint-root," Lachnanthes
tinctoria), whilst all other coloured and colourless pigs are. The pigs
which are not black develop a disease of their hoofs which rot and
fall off, causing their death when they eat this special plant "the
paint-root." The colour does not save the pig–it cannot correctly be
called the _cause_ of the pig's survival–but is an accompaniment of the
physiological quality which enables the pig to resist the poisonous
herb. So, too, with white-spotted animals. They are known to breeders
as being liable to diseases from which others are free. Fantail pigeons
have extra vertebræ in their tails, and pouter pigeons have their
vertebræ increased in number and size. But the vertebræ were never
thought of and "selected" by the breeders. They only wanted a fanlike
set of tail feathers in the one case, and a longer body in the other.
Some varieties of feathering maintained by pigeon breeders lead to the
growth of abundant feathers on the legs (as in Cochin-China fowls), and
it is found that these feather-legged pigeons always have the two outer
toes connected by a web of skin. If it were a stabilized wild form we
should separate it as a species on account of its webbed toes, yet the
real selection and survival in the hands of the breeder had nothing to
do with the toes or their web, but was simply "caused" by these pigeons
having feathers of "survival or selection value" in his judgment. Male
white cats with blue eyes are deaf. If deafness were ever an advantage
(a difficult thing to imagine), you would get a species of cat with
white hair and blue eyes, and be led to distinguish the species by
those characters, not by the real cause of survival, namely, deafness.
Not enough is yet known of this curious and very important subject
of correlation, but its bearing on the significance of "specific
characters" is sufficiently indicated by what I have said.

An interesting group of species, three of which are to be purchased
alive through London fishmongers, are the European crayfishes, not to
be confused with the rock-lobster or Langouste (Palinurus), sometimes
called "crawfish" in London, nor with the Dublin prawn (Nephrops).
The little river crayfishes are like small lobsters, and were placed
by older naturalists in one genus with the lobsters. Now we keep the
European species of crayfishes as the genus Astacus, and the common
lobster and the American lobster have been put (by H. Milne-Edwards)
into a separate genus (Homarus). You can buy in London the "écrevisses
à pattes rouges" of French and German rivers, which is called Astacus
fluviatilis, and differs from that of the Thames and other English and
European rivers (which you can also buy) called A. pallipes ("pattes
blanches" of the French), by the bright orange-red tips of its legs,
and by having the side teeth of the horn or beak at the front of the
head larger and more distinct. The English crayfish grows to be nearly
as large as the "pattes rouges" in the Avon at Salisbury, though it has
nearly disappeared about Oxford. You can also sometimes buy in London
the big, long-clawed Astacus leptodactylus of East Europe. There are
two or three other species, named and distinguished, which do not come
into the London market.

Crayfishes, lobsters and the like have groups of plume-like gills
(corresponding in the most ancient forms to the number of the legs
and jaw-legs) overhung and hidden by the sides of the great shield or
"head" of the animal. The common lobsters and crayfishes retain most
of these in full size and activity, but have lost in the course of
geologic ages the original complete number. These plume-like gills–each
half an inch or so in length–are attached, some to the bases of the
legs and some to the sides of the body above the legs. In the ancestral
form there were thirty-two plumes on each side, twenty-four attached
to the bases of the legs, and eight placed each at some distance above
the connection of one of the eight legs with the side of the body. It
is those on the side of the body which have suffered most diminution
in the course of the development of modern crayfishes (and lobsters)
from the ancestral form provided with the full equipment of thirty-two
gill-plumes on each side. In fact, only one _well-grown_ gill-plume,
out of the eight which should exist on each side of the body-wall,
is to be found–and that is the one placed above the insertion of the
hindermost or eighth of the eight legs (eight when we reckon the
three jaw-legs as "legs" as well as the five walking-legs). In front
of this the side or wall of the body is bare of gill-plumes though
they are present in full size on the basal part of most of the legs.
Nevertheless, when one examines carefully with a lens the bare side
of the body overhung by the head-shield or "carapace," one finds in a
specimen of the common English "pale-footed crayfish" a very minute
gill-plume high above the articulation of the seventh leg and another
above the articulation of the sixth leg. They are small dwindled
things, as though on the way to extinction, and are the mere vestiges
of what were once well-grown gill-plumes, and still are so in the rock
lobster and some prawns. In the red-footed crayfish of the Continent
(Astacus fluviatilis) yet another minute vestige of a gill-plume is
found, farther in front, on the body-wall above the fifth leg on
each side of the animal. This furnishes a definite mark or character
by which we can distinguish the red-footed crayfish from the common
English pale-footed one. But these three rudimentary gill-plumes in the
red-foot species, and two in the pale-foot species are all that until
lately were recorded. The region of the body-wall above the fourth,
third, second, and first of the legs was declared to be devoid even of
a vestige of the branchial plumes which were there in ancestral forms,
and have been retained more or less in some exceptional prawn-like
creatures allied to the crayfish.

Zoologists take a special interest in the crayfish because it is found
to be a most convenient type for the purpose of teaching the principles
of zoology to young students, and with that end in view was made the
subject of a very beautiful little book by the great teacher Huxley.
The conclusions above stated in regard to the gills are set forth in
that book with admirable illustrative drawings, and the striking fact
of the dwindling and suppression of the various gill-plumes is clearly

[Illustration: FIG. 33.–The rudimentary gill-plume of a crayfish
from that part of the body-wall to which the first pair of jaw-legs
(maxillipedes) is articulated. Found in the red-footed crayfish
(Astacus fluviatilis) but in no other species of Astacus. It is
one-fifteenth of an inch long. Drawn by Miss Margery Moseley in 1904.
("Quart. Journal of Microscopical Science," vol. 26 (1904-5).)]

And now we come to an interesting discovery in this matter of the
gill-plumes of crayfishes. Some fifteen years ago the daughter of my
friend and colleague–Professor Moseley–was a member of the class of
Elementary Biology at Oxford. She had to examine and identify these
and other points in the structure of the crayfish. The class was
supplied with specimens of the French red-footed crayfish "Astacus
fluviatilis," as it is more readily obtained from fishmongers than
our own "pale-foot" or "Astacus pallipes." She found in her specimen
far forward on each side of the "head" a very minute gill far away
from the others and previously unknown. The demonstrator in charge of
the class refused even to look at her discovery. So she confirmed it
by examining three other specimens–made drawings of the tiny branched
gill (as shown in Fig. 33) and their position, and sent them to me
in London. It was at once clear that she had discovered in this much
studied little animal a very interesting pair of gills (right and
left)–unknown to Huxley and the rest of the zoological world. She
proceeded to examine specimens of A. fluviatilis from various rivers of
Germany and France and always found the new gill-plume. She also showed
(I supplied her with specimens at the Natural History Museum) that it
was, on the other hand, absent from A. leptodactylus, A. pallipes,
and all the foreign species (some from Asia) which are known, and she
published an illustrated account of it in the "Quarterly Journal of
Microscopical Science." This tiny gill-plume is placed very far forward
on each side of the body, the farthest point forward at which any
gill-plume is found in any kind of prawn, shrimp or lobster, namely
in the region where the first pair of jaw-legs is attached, so that
there are three empty spaces between it and the rudimentary gill over
the fifth pair of legs, already known in the red-footed crayfish. It
is only two millimetres long–about one-fifteenth of an inch! But its
presence serves very distinctly to separate the red-footed crayfish,
Astacus fluviatilis of French and German rivers, thus discovered
to have four pairs of rudimentary gill-plumes, from the Astacus
leptodactylus of the Danube basin and East Europe, which has only three
pairs, and still more to emphasize the difference between it and our
British species, the "white-foot" or Astacus pallipes, which has only

This little history is noteworthy, firstly, because it shows that a
young student may, to use an appropriate term, "wipe the eye" of an
expert observer and rightly venerated teacher (who would have delighted
in the little discovery had he been alive), as well as the eyes of
tens of thousands of students and teachers (including myself) who have
studied the red-foot crayfish year after year, and missed the little
gill. It is also interesting as showing us a good sample of a specific
mark or character which has no survival value; that is, could not
advantage the crayfish in the struggle for life. The fact is, that this
one particular very minute forward pair of gill-plumes is like the
other rudimentary gills–a survival in a reduced condition of a pair of
gill-plumes which were well-grown, useful plumes aerating the blood,
in the prawn-like ancestors of all crayfishes, lobsters, shrimps, and
prawns, and is, owing to circumstances of nutrition and growth which we
know nothing about but can vaguely imagine, retained by the red-foot
species of crayfish, but lost by all other crayfishes, lobsters,
common prawns and shrimps, and, in fact, only retained besides by a
very few out-of-the-way kinds of marine prawns. That is the sort of
thing which frequently has to serve as "a specific character" or mark,
distinguishing one "species" from another.

A more ample discussion of the origin of species is not within the
scope of this book. But I may say that until recently the conception
that _every_ organ, part and feature of a plant and animal _must_
be explained, and can _only_ be explained, as being of life-saving
value to its possessor, and accordingly "selected" and preserved in
the struggle for existence, was held by many "Darwinians" in too
uncompromising a spirit. This conception was, really from the first,
qualified by the admission that the life-saving value and consequent
preservation of a structure must undoubtedly in some cases have been
in operation in ancestors of the existing species, and is no longer
operative in their descendants although they inherit the structure
which has now become useless. Moreover, the operation of those subtle
laws of nutrition and of form which are spoken of as the "correlation
of parts in growth and in variation" (mentioned on p. 119) was pointed
out by Darwin himself as probably accounting for many remarkable
growths, structures and colour-marks which we cannot imagine to be
now, or ever to have been in past ancestry, of a life-saving value.
Nevertheless, the old "teleology," according to which, in pre-Darwinian
days, it was held that every part and feature of an animal or plant has
been specially created to fulfil a definite pre-ordained function or
useful purpose, still influenced the minds of many naturalists. Natural
selection and survival of the fittest were reconciled with the old
teleological scheme, and it was held that we must as good Darwinians
account for every structure and distinctive feature in every animal and
plant as due to its life-saving value. Herbert Spencer's term, "the
survival of the _fittest_," conduced to the diffusion of this extreme
view: Darwin's equivalent term, "the preservation of _favoured_ races,"
did not raise the question of greater or less fitness.

The extreme view is now, however, giving place to the recognition
of the fact that the actual tendencies to variation–accumulated in
the living substance of the various stocks or lines of descent and
handed on during an immense succession of ages of change by hereditary
transmission–counts for more in the production of new species and
strange, divergent, even grotesque forms of both animals and plants
than had been supposed.

Undoubtedly selection or survival of the fittest mainly accounts for
the colouring and adaptive shaping of living things, and so for those
several great types of modelling which arrest the eye and have excited
the interest of inquisitive man. But there seems to be no justification
for the assumption that in all cases a variation–that is to say, an
increase or a diminution of the volume of some existing structure in
proportion to other coexisting structures in the body of a living plant
or animal–must be _either_ favourable, that is, conducive to survival,
_or_ injurious, that is, tending to the defeat and destruction of its
possessors or their race. On the contrary, it is the fact that there
are vast areas and conditions related to countless myriads of living
creatures in which variations of those creatures of large and imposing
kind and degree are neither advantageous nor disadvantageous, but
matters of _absolute indifference_, that is to say, without any effect
upon the preservation or survival of their race or stock. Nature is
far more tolerant than some of us were inclined to assume. In certain
restricted conditions of competition and in regard to some special
structures and components which are often so minute and obscure as
to be not yet detected by that recent arrival, the investigating
biologist–though sometimes, fortunately for him, large enough to
jump to his eyes–it is undeniable that there must be a "survival" or
"favouring" of individuals presenting a variation in increase, or it
may be decreased, of this or that special feature of its "make-up" or
structural components. But it is a more correct statement of the case
to say that natural selection or survival preserves _not the fittest_,
but _the least fit possible_ under the circumstances–namely, all those
which, however great their divagations and eccentricities of variation
in other respects, yet at the same time attain to a minimum standard
of qualification in those structures (or inner chemical qualities)
essential for success in the competition for safety, food and mating
determined by the particular conditions in which the competition is
taking place. Consequently forms which are meaningless so far as
standards of utility or "life-saving" are concerned, and are rightly
described as grotesque, monstrous, gigantic or dwarfed–excessive (as
compared with more familiar kinds) in hypertrophy or atrophy of their
colouring and clothing, or of out-growths such as leaves of plants and
limbs, jaws or other regions of the body of animals–are found existing
in various degrees of eccentricity in every class of both plants and
animals. Among animals such tolerated "exuberances of non-significant
growth" are more striking than in plants. The group of fishes seems
to be especially privileged in this way. They are freely variable in
the position of the fins, the suppression or exaggeration of them, as
well as of the scales on the surface of the body (_e.g._ leather carp
and mirror carp). Take, for example, the mackerel and the salmon as
standards of utilitarian adaptation of the body to an active life in
sea or river, and then compare with theirs the astounding proportions
of the sun-fish (Orthagoriscus) like a cherub "all head and no body,"
or the almost incredible Pteraclis–with its little body framed
immovably between a huge dorsal and a huge ventral fin (see figures
on p. 130). The fin-like crest of enormous size on the back of the
great extinct lizard Dimetrodon of the Permian age supported by long
bony spines is a similarly excessive and useless outgrowth. (This
astonishing creature is shown in our Frontispiece.) Such exuberant
products may be ascribed to an unrestrained "momentum" of growth
which once set going by fortuitous variation has been _tolerated_
but not _favoured_ by natural selection. Or (as supposed by some)
their excessive development may be due to the _persistence_ of some
nutritional condition which at first resulted in a moderate growth of
the fin-like crests in question as a serviceable structure, but has
persisted and increased long after the fin or crest has attained a
sufficient size–simply because its increase though of no life-saving
value–yet was not harmful and so did not bring its owner under the
guillotine of natural selection. Such disproportionate exuberance of
growth due to innate variability, tolerated but not specially favoured
by natural selection, will account for many strange and grotesque forms
of living things. From time to time in the long process of change, such
exuberances may suddenly become of service and be, so to speak, taken
in hand by natural selection, or they may become dangerous and lead
to the extermination of the stock in which they have been previously

Before my reader turns–as I hope he or she will do–to some handbook of
zoology in which the genealogical tree or classification of the species
of animals and of plants is treated at length, I will endeavour to
give some estimate of the immense numbers of "species" which exist. As
to mere individuals, it is impossible to form any estimate, but when
we reckon up the teaming population of a meadow or forest in England,
the hundreds of thousands of plants, including the smallest mosses and
grasses, as well as the larger flowers, shrubs, and trees, the still
greater number of insects, spiders, snails, and larger animals and
birds, feeding on and hiding among them, and when we remember that in
the ever-warm tropical regions of the earth life is ten or twenty
times more exuberant than with us,–then the immensity of the living
population of the land and water of the globe becomes as difficult to
realize as are the figures in which the astronomer tells of the number
and distances of the stars. On the other hand, some idea of the number
of distinct species of animals and plants which have up to this date
been recognized and described by naturalists as at present existing,
may be formed by a statement of those which have been described in
some of the more familiar groups. About 10,000 species of mammals have
been described; about 14,000 of birds; 7000 of reptiles; 15,000 of
fishes; 500,000 of six-legged insects; 14,000 of crustacea (shrimps,
lobsters, crabs); 62,000 of molluscs (snails, mussels, etc.); 15,000
of star-fishes and sea-urchins; 5000 of corals and polyps; 3000 of
sponges; and 6000 of microscopic protozoa. In all about 800,000 species
of animals have been recorded, and probably as many more remain yet to
be recognized and described.

The total number of described species of plants has never been
estimated, but some idea of it may be formed from the fact that 1860
species of flowering plants alone have been distinguished in Britain,
17,000 in British India, and 22,000 in Brazil, not to mention those of
Africa and Australia! These figures do not include the vast numbers of
flowerless plants, the ferns, mosses, sea-weeds, mushrooms, moulds,
lichens, and microscopic plants.

And then we have to add to these enumerations of living species the
extinct species of successive geological ages, the remains of which are
sufficiently well preserved to admit of identification. Those which are
known are only a few thousands in number, and a mere fragment of the
vast series of species which _have_ existed in successive past ages of
the earth. They are a few samples of the predecessors of the existing
species, and some of them were the actual ancestors of those existing
to-day. The larger number of them have left no direct issue, but
represent side branches of the "tree of life" which have died out ages

[Illustration: STRANGELY-SHAPED FISHES.–1. The Coffer-fish (Ostracion);
2. Pteraclis, an oceanic fish allied to the so-called Dolphins; 3. The
Sun-fish (Orthagoriscus); 4. An Australian Blenny Patæcus.]



The subject treated in this and the next chapter is one of the most
interesting to mankind, and is surrounded by extraordinary prejudice,
sentiment, and ignorance. It is one upon which really trustworthy
information is to a very large extent absent–and difficult to obtain.
I cannot profess to supply this deficiency, but I can put the matter
before the reader.

It is a well-established fact that the various "kinds" of animals and
of plants do not breed promiscuously with one another. The individuals
of a "species" only breed with other individuals of that "species."
They do not even, as a habit, breed with the individuals of an allied
species. So nearly universal is this rule that it was for a long time
held by naturalists to be an absolute definition of "a species," that
it is a group of individuals capable of producing fertile young by
breeding with one another and incapable of producing fertile young by
mating with individuals of another such group, which were, therefore,
held to constitute a distinct species. The practical importance of this
definition was that it could, in a large number of instances among
animals, and still more amongst plants, be made use of as a test and
decided by experiment.

It is a curious fact that popular belief amongst country-folk and
those who have opportunities of coming to a conclusion on so simple
and direct a question has never accepted this law of the limitation
of species in breeding as more than a general rule to which it has
always been supposed that frequent exceptions occur. I mention this
not in order to add that "there is always some basis of truth in
these popular beliefs," but on the contrary to point out that popular
beliefs on such matters are very frequently altogether erroneous, and
though their origin can sometimes be explained, it is rare to find
that they are due, in however small a degree, to true observation and
inference. Where the subject under consideration has the obscurity
and strong fascination for the natural man which all that relates to
the processes of life, growth, and reproduction possess, we find that
traditional fancies of the most unwarrantable kind are current, and
hold their ground with tenacity even at the present day. Some 250 years
ago, and earlier–in fact, before the commencement of that definite
epoch of "the New Philosophy" marked by the foundation of the Royal
Society of London–any queer-looking animal brought from remote lands,
and any misshapen monstrosity born of cattle, sheep, dogs, or men, was
"explained," and confidently regarded as a "hybrid," the result of a
"cross" or irregular coupling of two distinct species of animals to
which the "monster" presented some fanciful resemblance. Whole books
were devoted to the description and picturing of such supposed examples
of mis-begotten progeny.

The belief in the existence of such extraordinary hybrids is still
common among so-called "well-educated" people. I have with difficulty
avoided causing annoyance and offence to a friend, a celebrated
painter, by refusing to admit that a deformed cat, of which he gave me
an account, was a hybrid between a cat and a rabbit. A very eminent
person whom I was conducting some years ago round the galleries of the
Natural History Museum, declared, as we stood in front of the specimen
of the Okapi of the Congo Forest, that it was clearly a hybrid between
the giraffe and the zebra. He insisted that it was obvious that such
was its explanation, and pointed to its striped haunches and legs, and
its cloven hoofs and giraffe-like head. I failed to change his opinion.

It is the fact–ascertained by careful observation of natural
occurrences and by experiment–that, in spite of the almost absolute
law or general truth to the effect that the members of a species
(whether of plant or animal) only produce fertile offspring by mating
with members of that same species, yet there are rare instances
known in which individuals of two distinct but allied species have
mated and produced fertile offspring. The cases in which such unions
have resulted in the production of offspring, but in which the
offspring so produced prove to be infertile–that is, incapable of
producing offspring in their turn–are much more numerous. An important
distinction has also to be made between cases of either fertile or
infertile hybrid-production which occur spontaneously in nature, and
those in which man by separating the parent animals or plants from
their natural conditions of life, or by bringing about impregnation (as
in "pollinating" one flower with the pollen-dust of another) succeeds
in obtaining a "cross" or "hybrid," whether fertile or infertile, not
known to occur in "wild" (that is, not humanly controlled) nature.
The rarest case would be that of the production of fertile hybrids
in uncontrolled natural conditions. Such possibly occur in the case
of some fishes in which the fertilization of the eggs takes place in
water, the fertilizing microscopic sperms passing from the males like
dust into the water and thus reaching the eggs laid by the females.
Occasionally hybrids are thus produced between some common fresh-water
fishes–species of the same genus–and between species of flat-fish,
such as the turbot and the brill, though it is difficult to be sure
that the rare hybrids so produced are fertile even if they attain
to maturity. The same is true as to certain small flowering plants
having distinct regions of natural distribution and occurrence.
At the confines of the regions proper to two such allied species,
insects passing from one to the other do sometimes effect a reciprocal
fertilization of the two species, and a natural hybrid is the result.
Here, again, it is difficult to follow the subsequent history of the
hybrids, but it is believed that in some instances they are fertile,
and that the hybrid race is only gradually merged by subsequent
crossing into one or other of the parent species. Not a single instance
is on record of the production of a "natural" hybrid (that is to say,
one produced in natural conditions without man's interference), whether
fertile or infertile, between two species of the larger animals (such
as between horse and ass or zebra and ass, or between lion and tiger
or any of the species of cats, or between species of bears) or birds
(such as pheasants of various species, including the jungle cock, the
wild original of our domestic fowl, or between various species of
ducks, various species of geese, or between various species of the

Nevertheless, in conditions brought about by man–that is to say,
confinement in cages or paddocks, or at any rate removal from their
native climate and home–all the groups of species just cited commonly
and frequently produce hybrids _inter se_, that is, one or more species
of the horse group thus inter-breed with one another, so will certain
species of cats, certain species of bears, many species of pheasants,
also of ducks, of geese, and of grouse. In nearly every case the
hybrids so produced are infertile; they will not mate with a similar
hybrid, and even when mated with one of the parent species rarely
produce offspring, though they sometimes do so. The best cases of the
production of fertile hybrids are between species of flowering plants
brought to this country from widely separated regions. The surprising
and instructive result has been obtained that a cross between two
allied species (that is, of one and the same "genus") which will fail
altogether or "come to nothing" as infertile hybrids–if the two species
crossed are from the same or contiguous regions–yet will yield readily
vigorous fertile hybrid offspring when the two species (always, of
course, of one and the same genus) have their native homes in widely
separate parts of the world–as, for instance, the Indian Himalaya range
and the South American Andean range.

This has been found in crossing species of rhododendrons, of orchids,
and of many other plants with which horticulturists occupy themselves
for commercial purposes. It is in some ways the reverse of what one
might expect. It would be reasonable to suppose that allied species
from the same climate and geographical region would have more affinity
and be more readily hybridized than species from widely remote and
physically differing regions. But the reverse is the case, many
thriving hybrid stocks which duly fertilize and set their seed are now
in cultivation, having been produced by the union of parent species
from "the opposite ends of the earth."

The consideration of this case throws some light on the significance
of the non-occurrence of natural hybrids and of the very remarkable
and curious fact that hybrids are so usually sterile. When we come
to think of it, the natural preliminary assumption should be (as is
that of unsophisticated humanity) that any animal or plant might, so
far as possibilities go, breed with any other; and the questions to
be answered are: (1) What advantage to a species is it not to be able
to hybridize with other species, and (2) how–that is to say, by what
structure or by what subtle chemical differences or other features in
their make-up and habit–are they prevented from so hybridizing? Then we
come on further to the question, Why should a hybrid, once produced,
fail to bear healthy eggs or sperms according to its sex, although it
grows up to full size and is to all appearances mature? And why should
hybrids between parents of origin locally remote from one another not
show this failure, but behave like ordinary healthy organisms?

In the full solution of these inquiries we should get very near to some
of the most important secrets of the living body which have still to
be searched out. But a reply to these questions which is probably in
large measure true, and serves to help us in the further collection
and examination of facts, is as follows: First, the production and
maintenance of "species" of plants and of animals by survival of
favourable variations in the struggle for existence (Darwin and
Wallace's theory of the origin of species) requires the maintenance of
the purity of the favourable stock which survives in the struggle. If
it were continually liable to hybridization by other species it would
never establish its own distinctive features. It would deteriorate
by departing from those characteristics which have been "naturally
selected" and have rendered it a successful "species." Thus the
breeder, when he has selected a stock for propagation which approaches
the standard at which he is aiming, keeps it apart, and does not allow
it to be "crossed" by other stock. One of the qualities "naturally
selected" in "the wild" is the power of resistance to fertilization by
neighbouring species.

This power of resistance or immunity to fertilization by other species
may be attained by several different methods. Amongst these are (1)
a difference in the season of breeding or sexual ripening; (2) the
production of secretions (whether by plant or by animal) which poison
or paralyse the fertilizing sperms of allied and locally associated
species, but are harmless to those of the secreting species; (3) the
mechanical differences of size, etc., which prevent the fertilizing
material of a strange species from gaining access to the egg-cells;
(4) psychical activities (antipathies) in the case of animals or mere
attraction and repulsion by odoriferous substances, which serve to
repel a strange species, but are attractive to individuals of the same
species; (5) finally, a chemical and physiological incompatibility
between the sperms of one species and the germs of another (as distinct
from the attraction or repulsion of the entire living individual),
which, even when all other difficulties are absent or have been
overcome, may be, and frequently is, present, so that the spermatozoon
cannot penetrate the egg-cell even when resting upon it, but may be
paralysed or repelled, and in any case is not guided and drawn into the
aperture of the egg-covering, called the micropyle, or "little entry,"
so as to fuse with and fertilize the egg.

The operation of these hindrances to hybrid fertilization and breeding
have been ascertained in several different instances. It is not always
possible, and certainly not easy to ascertain, which is at work in
any and every case. But we can well conceive that one or other of
these agencies have been developed and accentuated by survival of
the fittest, so as to protect a species against fertilization by a
neighbouring species, and thus to enable it to maintain its own "bundle
of characteristics" free from the swamping effects of "mixture" (that
is, "hybridization") with another species. It is also thus intelligible
that an allied species from a distant land against which our native
species and its closer ancestry–struggling for purity of race–have had
no occasion or opportunity to develop a repelling protection–will have
no such difficulty in effecting the fertilization of the native species
as have those adjacent species against whose intrusions the latter is
specifically moulded and selected by long generations of severe natural

The failure of hybrids generally to ripen their ova and sperm so as to
reproduce themselves is a subject upon which, considering its enormous
importance and significance, singularly little has been done in the
way of investigation. Fifty years ago it was usually taught that the
mule, between the horse and the ass, so largely produced under human
superintendence for transport service, was unable to breed owing to
some deformity in the reproductive passages. Even now no adequate study
of the subject has been made, but it appears that whilst a female mule
can be, and sometimes is, successfully mated to a horse or an ass,
giving birth to a foal, the male mule does not produce fully-formed
spermatozoa. What precisely is the nature of this failure, what the
ultimate microscopic condition of the sperm cells in infertile male
mules, or in any other infertile male hybrids, has not yet been
properly worked out by modern cytological methods. It would be a matter
of vast interest to determine what is the difference in the structure
of the sperm-cells of a fertile and of an infertile male hybrid. At
present, so far as I know, this has not been done.

So far what I have written applies to hybridization–the inter-breeding
of distinct species. A similar but by no means identical subject is
that of the inter-breeding of distinct races or varieties of one
species, and the production of "mongrels." "Mongrels" are to races what
"hybrids" are to species. To this branch of the subject belongs the
study of the effects of intermarriage between distinct races of men.



We have seen that there is no simple rule as to the "mating" of
individuals of a species with individuals of another closely allied
but distinct species. Such mating very rarely comes about in natural
conditions, but man by his interference sometimes succeeds in procuring
"hybrids" between allied species. Hybrids between species belonging to
groups so different as to be distinguished by zoologists as distinct
"families" or "orders" are quite unknown under any circumstances.
Such remoteness of natural character and structure as is indicated by
the two great divisions of hoofed mammals–the even-toed (including
sheep, cattle, deer, antelopes, giraffes, pigs and camels), and the
odd-toed (including tapirs, rhinoceroses, horses, asses and zebras)
is an absolute bar to inter-breeding. So, too, the carnivora (cats,
dogs, bears and seals, and smaller kinds) are so remote in their nature
from the rabbits, hares and rats–called "the rodents"–that no mating
between members of the one and the other of these groups has ever been
observed, either in nature or under artificial conditions.

Even when individuals of closely allied species mate with one another
it is a very rare occurrence that the hybrids so produced ripen their
ova and sperms so as to be capable of carrying on the hybrid race,
though sometimes they do ripen them and breed. The great naturalist
Alfred Wallace, in his most valuable and readable book called
"Darwinism," expressed the opinion that the apparent failure of hybrid
races to perpetuate themselves by breeding was to a large extent due
to the small number of individuals used in experiments on this matter,
and the in-and-in breeding which was the consequence. One of the great
generalizations established by Darwin is that in-and-in breeding is,
as a rule, resisted in all animals and plants, and leads when it
occurs to a dying-out of the inbred race by resulting feebleness and
infertility. A large part of Darwin's work consisted in demonstrating
the devices existing in the natural structure and qualities of plants
and animals for securing cross-fertilization among individuals of the
same species but of different stock. Both extremes seem to be barred
in nature–namely, the inter-breeding of stocks so diverse in structure
and quality as to be what we call "distinct species," and again the
inter-breeding of individuals of the same immediate parentage or near
cousinship. What seems to be favoured by the natural structure and
qualities of the plant or the animal is that it shall only breed within
a certain group–the species–and shall within that group avoid constant
self-fertilization or fertilization by near cousins. Thus we find
numerous cases in which, though the same flower has both pollen and
ovules, and might fertilize itself, the visits of insects (specially
made use of by mechanisms in the flower) carry the pollen of one flower
to the ovules of another and to flowers on separate plants growing
at a distance. It is necessary to note that there are, nevertheless,
self-fertilizing flowers, and also self-fertilizing lower animals,
the special conditions of which require and have received careful
examination and consideration, upon which I cannot now enter.

In relation to the question of the possibility of establishing hybrids
between various species experimentally, I must (before going on to the
cognate question of "mongrels") tell of an interesting suggestion made
to me by my friend Professor Alphonse Milne-Edwards not long before he
died, and never published by him. He was director of the Jardin des
Plantes in Paris, where there is a menagerie of living beasts as well
as a botanic garden and great museum collections and laboratories.
He held it to be probable, as many physiologists would agree, that
the fertilization of the egg of one species by the sperm of another,
even a remotely related one, is ultimately prevented by a chemical
incompatibility–chemical in the sense that the highly complex molecular
constitution of such bodies as the anti-toxins and serums with which
physiologists are beginning to deal is "chemical"–and that all the
other and secondary obstacles to fertilization can be overcome or
evaded in the course of experiment. He proposed to inject one species
by "serums" extracted from the other, in such a way as seemed most
likely to bring the chemical state of their reproductive elements into
harmony, that is to say, into a condition in which they should not
be actively antagonistic but admit of fusion and union. He proposed,
by the exchange of living or highly organized fluids (by means of
injection or transfusion) between a male and female of separate
species, to assimilate the chemical constitution of one to that of the
other, and thus possibly so to affect their reproductive elements that
the one could tolerate and fertilize the other. The suggestion is not
unreasonable, but would require a long series of experiments in which
the possibility of producing such "assimilation," even to a small
extent and in respect of less complex processes than those ultimately
aimed at, would have to be, first of all, established. My friend did
not live to commence this investigation, but it is possible that some
day we may see the obstacle to the union of ovum and sperm of species,
which are to some extent allied, removed in this way by transfusion or
injection of important fluids from the one into the other.

We must not lose sight of the fact, in the midst of these various
and diverging observations about the fertilization of the ova of one
species by sperms of another species, that there is such a thing as
"parthenogenesis," or virgin-birth. In some of the insects and lower
forms of animals the egg-cell habitually and regularly develops and
gives rise to a new individual without being fertilized at all. And in
other cases by special treatment, such as rubbing with a brush, or in
the case of marine animals by addition of certain salts to the water
in which the eggs are floating–or, again, in the case of the eggs of
the common frog by gently scratching them with a needle–the eggs which
usually and regularly require to be penetrated by and fused with a
spermatozoon or sperm-filament before they will develop, proceed to
develop into complete new individuals without the action upon them
of any spermatozoon. In such marine animals as the sea-urchins or
sea-eggs it has been found that the eggs deposited in pure sea-water,
though they would die and decompose if left there alone, can be made to
develop and proceed on their growth by the addition to the sea-water of
the sperm filaments of a star-fish (the feather star or comatula). The
spermatozoa or sperm-filaments do not, however, in this case fuse with
the egg-cells. They mechanically pierce the egg-coat, but contribute no
substance to the embryo into which the egg develops. They have merely
served, like the scratch of a needle on the frog's egg and the brushing
of insects' eggs, to start the egg on its growth, to "stimulate" it and
set changes going. It appears thus that the fertilizing sperm-filaments
of organisms generally have two separate and very important influences
upon the egg-cells with which they fuse. The one is to stimulate
the egg and start the changes of embryonic growth; the other is
to contribute some living material from the male parent to the new
individual arising from the growth and shaping of the egg-cell. The
first influence can be exercised without the second, as is seen in
the case of the eggs of some sea-urchins stimulated to growth by the
spermatozoa of some star-fishes. It happens that these marine animals
are convenient for study and experiment because their eggs are small
and transparent and that they and the spermatozoa are freely passed
into the sea-water at the breeding season, in which the fertilization
of the eggs takes place.

When these facts are considered we have to admit that in the mating
of two species which will not regularly and naturally breed together,
there may be a limited action of the spermatic element which may
stimulate the egg to development without contributing by fusion in
the regular way to the actual substance of the young so produced,
or only contributing an amount insufficient to produce a full and
normal development of the hybrid young. Such cases not improbably
sometimes occur in higher animals, though they have not been, as yet,
shown to exist except in the experiments with sea-urchins' eggs and
feather-star's sperm.

In all animals and plants, but especially in domesticated and
cultivated stocks or strains, varieties arise which, by natural or
artificial separation, breed apart, and give rise to what are called
"races." Such races in natural conditions may become species. Species
are races or groups of individuals, which, by long estrangement (not
necessarily local isolation) from the parent stock and by adaptation
to special conditions of life, have become more or less "stable"–that
is, permanent and unchanging in the conditions to which they have
become adapted. They acquire by one device or another the habit of
not breeding with the stock from which they originally diverged–a
repugnance which may be overcome by human contrivance or by natural
accident, but is, nevertheless, an effective and real quality.
Distinct forms, which have not arrived at the stability and separation
characteristic of species, are spoken of as "races," or "varieties."
It is very generally the case that the "races" of one species can
inter-breed freely with one another, and with the original stock, when
it still exists. Comparatively little is known as to the behaviour
of wild or naturally-produced "races." Practically all our views on
the subject of "races" and their inter-breeding are derived from our
observation of the immense number and range of "races" and "breeds"
produced by man–as farmer, fancier, and horticulturist. It has been
generally received as a rule, that the various races produced in the
farm or garden by breeding from a species, will inter-breed freely, and
produce offspring which are fertile. A special and important series of
races, in which human purpose and voluntary selection necessarily have
a leading part, are the races of man.

The offspring of parents of two different races is called a mongrel,
whilst the term "hybrid" has been of late limited, for the sake of
convenience, to the offspring of parents of two different species.
Mongrels, it has been generally held, are fertile–often more fertile
than pure-bred individuals whose parents are both of the same race,
whilst "hybrids" are contrasted with them, in being infertile. We have
seen that infertility is not an absolute rule in the case of hybrids,
and it appears that there is also a source of error in the observations
which lead to the notion that "mongrels" are always fertile. The fact
is that observations on this matter have nearly always been made with
domesticated animals and plants which are, of course, selected and
bred by man on account of their fertility, and thus are exceptionally
characterized by fertility, which is transmitted in an exceptional
degree to the races or varieties which are experimentally inter-bred,
and, consequently, may be expected to produce fertile mongrels. Alfred
Russel Wallace insisted upon this fact, and pointed out that in a few
cases colour varieties of a given species of plant have been found to
be incapable of inter-breeding, or only produce very few "mongrels."
This has been established in the case of two dissimilarly-coloured
varieties of mullein. Also the red and the blue pimpernel (the poor
man's weather-glass, Anagallis), which are classed by botanists as two
varieties of one species, have been found after repeated trials to
be definitely incapable of inter-breeding. Wallace insists in regard
to crossing, that some degree of difference favours fertility, but a
little more tends to infertility. We must remember that the fertility
of both plants and animals is very easily upset. Changed conditions of
life–such as domestication–may lead (we do not know why) to complete
or nearly complete infertility; and, again, "change of air," or of
locality, has an extraordinary and not-as-yet-explained effect on

    "Oh, the little more and how much it is!
    And the little less, and what worlds away!"

Infertile horses sent from their native home to a different climate
(as, for instance, from Scotland to Newmarket) become fertile. A
judicious crossing of varieties or races threatened with infertility
will often lead to increased vigour and fertility in the new
generation, just as change of locality will produce such a result.
Physiological processes which are not obvious and cannot be exactly
estimated or measured are then, we must conclude, largely connected
with the question of sterility and fertility. Mr. Darwin has collected
facts which go far to prove that colour (as in the case of the black
pigs of Virginia, which I cited in Chapter X.), instead of being
a trifling and unimportant character, as was supposed by the older
naturalists, is really one of great significance, often correlated
with important constitutional differences. It is pointed out by Alfred
Wallace that in all the recorded cases in which a decided infertility
occurs between varieties (or races) of the same species of plants (such
as those just cited), those varieties are distinguished by a difference
of colour. He gives reasons for thinking that the correlation of colour
with infertility which has been detected in several cases in plants may
also extend to animals in a state of nature. The constant preference
of animals–even mere varieties of dog, sheep, horses, and pigeons–for
their like, has been well established by observation. Colour is one of
the readiest appeals to the eye in guiding animals in such selection
and association, and is connected with deep-seated constitutional
qualities. "Birds of a feather flock together" is a popular statement
confirmed by the careful observation of naturalists. Thus we arrive at
some indication of features which may determine the inter-breeding, or
the abstention from inter-breeding, of diverse races sprung from one
original stock. The "colour bar" is not merely the invention of human
prejudice, but already exists in wild plants and animals.

We now come to the questions, the assertions, the beliefs, and the acts
concerning the inter-breeding of human races, to the consideration of
which I have been preparing the way. The dog-fancier has generally a
great contempt for "mongrels." Breeders generally dislike accidental
crosses, because they interfere with the purpose which the breeder
has in view of producing animals or plants of a quality, form, and
character which he has determined on before-hand. This interference
with his purpose seems to be the explanation of beliefs and statements,
to the prejudice of "mongrels." Really, as is well known to great
breeders and horticulturists, a determined and selective crossing of
breeds is the very foundation of the breeder's art, and there is no
reason to suppose that a "mongrel" is necessarily, or even probably,
inferior in vigour or in qualities which are advantageous in the
struggle for life in "natural"–that is to say, "larger"–conditions
of an animal's or plant's life; not those limited conditions for
which the breeder intends his products. Indeed, the very opposite
is the case. In nature, as Mr. Darwin showed, there are innumerable
contrivances to ensure the cross-breeding of allied but distinct
strains. Dog-owners who are not exclusively bent upon possessing a
dog which shows in a perfect way the "points" of a breed favoured by
the fashion of the moment, or fitting it for some special employment,
know very well that a "mongrel" may often exhibit finer qualities
of intelligence, or endurance, than those exhibited by a dog of
pure-bred "race." And the very "races" which are spoken of to-day as
"pure-bred," or "thoroughbred," have (as is well known) been produced
as "mongrels"–that is to say, by crossing or mating individuals of
previously-existing distinct and pure breeds. The history of many such
"mongrel breeds," now spoken of as "thoroughbred," is well known.
The English racehorse was gradually produced by the "mongrelizing,"
or cross-breeding, of several breeds or races–the English warhorse,
the Arab, the Barb. A very fine mongrel stock having at last been
obtained, it was found, or, at any rate, was considered to be
demonstrated, that no further improvement (for the purposes aimed
at, namely, flat-racing) could be effected by introducing the blood
of other stock. The offspring of the "mongrels" Herod, Matchem, and
Eclipse accordingly became established as "the" English racehorse, and
thenceforward was mated only within its own race or stock, and was kept
pure or "thoroughbred." Another well-known mongrel breed which is now
kept pure, or nearly so, is that of the St. Bernard's dog, a blend of
Newfoundland, Bloodhound, and English Mastiff.

Often the word "mongrel" is limited in its use to signify an
undesired or undesirable result of the cross-breeding of individuals
of established races. But this is not quite fair to mongrels in
general, since, as we have seen, the name really refers only to the
fact they are crosses between two breeds. When they happen to suit
some artificial and arbitrary requirement they are favoured, and made
the starting-point of a new breed, and kept pure in their own line;
but when they do not fit some capricious demand of the breeder they
are sneered at and condemned, although they may be fine and capable
animals. No doubt some mongrels between races differing greatly from
one another, or having some peculiar mixture of incompatible qualities
the exact nature of which we have not ascertained, are wanting in
vigour, and cannot be readily established as a new breed. In nature
the success of the mongrel depends on whether or not its mixture of
qualities makes it fitter than others to the actual conditions of its
life, and able to survive in the competition for food and place. In
man's breeding operations with varieties of domesticated animals and
"cultivated" plants, the survival of the mongrel depends upon its
fitting some arbitrary standard applied by man, who destroys those
which do not suit his fancy, and selects for survival and continued
breeding those which do.

What is called "miscegenation," or the inter-breeding of human races,
must be looked at from both these points of view. We require to know
how far, if at all, the mixed or mongrel offspring of a human race A
with a human race B is really inferior to either of the original stocks
A and B, judged by general capacity and life-preserving qualities in
the varied conditions of the great area of the habitable globe. And
how far an arbitrary or fanciful standard is set up by human races,
similar to that set up by the "fancier" or cultivator of breeds of
domestic animals. The matter is complicated by the fact that what we
loosely speak of as "races" of man are of very various degrees of
consanguinity or nearness to one another in blood, that is, in stock or
in ultimate ancestry. It is also complicated by the fact that we cannot
place any reliance upon the antipathies or preferences shown by the
general sentiment of a race in this (or other matters) as necessarily
indicating what is beneficial for humanity in general or for the
immediate future of any section of it. Nor have we any assurance that
what is called "sexual selection"–the preference or taste in the matter
of choosing a mate–is among human beings necessarily anything of
greater importance–so far as the prosperity of a race or of humanity in
general is concerned–than a mere caprice or a meaningless persistence
of the human mind in favouring a choice which is habitual and
traditional. I have referred to this point again in the last paragraph
of this chapter.

In regard to marriage between individuals of different European
nationalities, a certain amount of unwillingness exists on the part of
both men and women which cannot be ascribed to any deep-seated inborn
antipathy, but is due to a mistrust of the unknown "foreigner," which
very readily disappears on acquaintance, or may arise from dislike
of the laws and customs of a foreign people. English, French, Dutch,
Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, Greeks, Italians and Spaniards have
no deep-rooted prejudices on the subject, and readily intermarry when
circumstances bring them into association. Though the Jews by their
present traditional practice are opposed to marriage with those not
of their faith, there is no effective aversion of a racial kind to
such unions, and in early times they have been very frequent. During
the "captivity" in Babylon and again after the "dispersal" by the
Romans, the original Jewish race was practically swamped by mixture
with cognate Oriental races who adopted the Jewish faith. So far from
there being inborn prejudice against intermarriage of the peoples above
cited, it is very generally admitted that such "miscegenation" leads
frequently to the foundation of families of fine quality. The blend is
successful, as may be seen in the number of prominent Englishmen who
have Huguenot, German, Dutch, or Jewish blood in their veins.

But when we come to the intermarriage of members of the white race of
Europe with members of either the negroid (black) race or of the yellow
and red mongoloid race, a much greater and more deeply-rooted aversion
is found, and this is extended even to members of the Caucasian race
who, possibly by prehistoric mixture with negro-like races, are very
dark-skinned, as is the case with the Aryan population in India and
Polynesia. It is a very difficult matter; in fact, it seems to me not
possible in our present knowledge of the facts, to decide whether
there is a natural inborn or congenital disinclination to the marriage
of the white race, especially of the Anglo-Saxon branch of it, with
"coloured" people, or whether the whole attitude (as I am inclined to
think) is one of "pride of race," an attitude which can be defended
on the highest grounds, though it may lead to erroneous beliefs as to
the immediate evil results of such unions, and to an unreasonable and
cruel treatment both of the individuals so intermarrying and of their
offspring. There is little or no evidence of objection to mixed unions
on the part of the coloured people with whites, no evidence of physical
dislike to the white man or white woman, but, on the contrary, ready

A curious aversion to marriages with whites on the part both of North
American Indians and of negroes is, however, recorded from time to
time in the official reports of the United States Government.

Two beliefs about such unions are more or less prevalent among white
men in the regions where they not infrequently occur. Neither of these
beliefs is supported by anything like conclusive evidence. The one
is that such unions lead to the production of relatively infertile
offspring; the mixed breed or stock is said to die out after a few
(some seven or eight) generations. It is, however, the fact that the
circumstances under which this occurs suggest that it is not due to
a natural and necessary infertility. The other assertion is that the
offspring of parents–one of white race and the other of black, yellow
or brown–tend by some strange fatality to inherit the bad qualities of
both races and the good qualities of neither. This is a case to which
must be applied the saying, "Give a dog a bad name and hang him."
The white man in North America, in India, and in New Zealand desires
the increase and prosperity of his own race. Like the fancier set on
the production of certain breeds of domesticated animals, he has no
toleration for a "mongrel." In so far as it is true that miscegenation
(marriage of white and coloured race) produces a stock which rapidly
dies out–this is due to the adverse conditions, the opposition and
hostility to which the mixed race is exposed by the attitude of the
dominant white race. To the same cause is due the development of
ignoble and possibly dangerous characteristics in the unfortunate
offspring of these marriages more frequently than in those who find
their natural place and healthy up-bringing either in the white or
the coloured sections of the community. The "half-breed" is in some
countries inexorably rejected by the race of his or her white parent
and forced to take up an equivocal association with the coloured race.

That some, at any rate, of the evils attributed to "miscegenation" are
due to the baneful influence of "pride of race" is evident from the
fact that the Portuguese (with the exception of a small aristocratic
class) have not since the early days of the fourteenth century,
perhaps in consequence of established association with the Moorish
and other North African races, shown that pride of race and aversion
to mixture with dark-skinned races which is so strong a feature in
the Anglo-Saxons, their successors and rivals as colonists. The
long-standing admixture of black blood in the Portuguese population
before the colonization of South America, has led to a toleration on
the part of the Portuguese colonists of "miscegenation," both with
Indians and the liberated descendants of imported negro slaves. The
consequence is that in Brazil there is no condemnation of black blood;
children of mixed parentage and of coloured race attend the same
schools as those of European blood, and freely associate with them.
There is no notion that that portion of the population which is of
mixed negro, Indian, and white blood is less vigorous or fertile than
the unmixed, nor that vice and feebleness are the characteristics of
the former, whilst virtue and capacity belong to the latter.

The determined hostility of the Anglo-Saxon race in North America and
in British India to "miscegenation" is in the case of the United States
to be explained by the peculiar relation of a large slave population
in the Southern States to a pure white slave-owning race: whilst in
India we have a handful of white men temporarily stationed as rulers
of millions of "natives," but never accepting India as their home. The
attitude of the Anglo-Saxon race to the North American Indians, and
also to the Maoris of New Zealand, has never been so extreme in the
matter of miscegenation as it has been to negroid people and to the
very different though dark-skinned people of the East. In support of
that opinion may be cited the fact that some of "the first families of
Virginia" are proud of their descent from Pocahontes, the Algonkian
"Princess" who married the Englishman Rolfe. In New Zealand there are
many families of mixed Anglo-Saxon and Maori blood. Though they are not
ostracized, as are the half-breeds of negro blood in the United States,
there is a firm tendency to relegate the half-breeds in New Zealand
to the Maori section of the population, which it must be remembered
includes some of the richest and most prosperous landowners in the

It may be questioned whether there is in this matter a greater "pride
of race" among Anglo-Saxons than among other Northern European peoples.
Neither the French nor the Germans have established great colonies
like the English, nor undertaken the administration of a huge Eastern
Empire, and have, therefore, not shown what attitude they would adopt
under such circumstances. The tolerance and easy-going humanitarianism
of the French in relation to "miscegenation" in their dependencies in
past times has never had the significance or practical importance which
it would have possessed in the English Colonies and in the great Indian

There is, on account of the sporadic and exceptional occurrence of
modern instances, no information of any value as to the results of
mixture of other races of man. In early times and among more primitive
or less civilized peoples there appears to have been, when immigration
or conquest gave the opportunity, no obstacle to a free intermixture of
an incoming race with the natives of an invaded territory. The "pride
of race" has, nevertheless, throughout historic time been a frequent
factor in the adjustment of populations of diverse races, and though
"colour" has been a frequent "test" or symbol of the superior and
exclusive race, it has not been the only characteristic exalted to such
importance. Such "pride of race" has frequently excluded the members of
a closely allied but conquered racial group from intermarriage with the
conquerors, and has only disappeared after centuries of persistence.
The term "blue blood" is interesting in this connection. It is the
"saing d'azure" of the Gothic invaders, the conquerors of the Iberian
and Moorish people of Spain. It refers not to any "blueness" of the
blood itself, such as distinguishes veinous from arterial blood, but
to the blue colour of the veins as seen through the colourless skin of
a northern race (the Goths), as compared with the invisibility of the
veins when the skin is rendered more or less opaque by a brown pigment,
as in the Moors and the swarthy Iberians.

Among the people of Western Europe marriage has assumed more and more
a character which is almost unknown in the rest of the world. Whatever
the future may be in regard to this matter, there is no doubt possible
that the place given to women in Western Europe by the ideals of
chivalry and the practice of the northern race (which has so largely
displaced the traditions of the Roman Empire) has established a
relation of the sexes in which marriage and consequent parentage have
ceased to be regarded as a mere regularization of animal desire and
appetite. The accepted, but not always consciously recognized, view
of marriage in Western Europe is that the union so sanctioned and the
families thereby produced should be the result not of the mere physical
necessity of irresponsible victims of an impulse common to all animals,
but the outcome of the deliberate choice of man and woman attracted to
one another by sympathy, understanding and reciprocal admiration, based
upon knowledge of character, mental gifts and aspirations, as well as
upon bodily charm. A rarely-expressed but none the less deeply-seated
conviction exists that from such unions children of the finest nature,
nurtured in circumstances most likely to make them worthy members of
the community, will be born and reared. It is this conviction which
leads to, or at any rate endorses, the exclusiveness which is described
as "pride of race." The Anglo-Saxon man and equally the Anglo-Saxon
woman (as well as the allied races of neighbouring nationalities)
recognize a responsibility, a race duty, resulting from accumulated
tradition, the heirloom of long ages of family life, which causes the
man to be ashamed of, and the woman to shrink with instinctive horror
from, union with an individual of a remote race with whom there can be
no real sympathy, no intimate understanding. That seems to me to be the
explanation and the justification of the "colour bar."

In relation to the probable effectiveness of sexual selection among
uncivilized peoples in favouring and maintaining a particular type or
form of features, hair, etc., characteristic of the race, independently
of the life-preserving value of such qualities, I may mention, before
quitting this difficult but strangely fascinating subject, a fact
observed by a traveller in Africa, and related to me by him. Other
similar facts are on record. Among the negroes employed as "porters"
by my friend, some thirty in number, was one who had a narrow aquiline
nose and thin lips. He was as black and as woolly-haired as any of
them, but would if of fair complexion have been regarded by Europeans
as a very handsome, fine-featured man. Such cases are not uncommon
in parts of Africa, where probably an unrecognized mixture with Arab
or Hamite blood has occurred. My friend expected this man to be a
favourite, on account of what to him appeared to be "good looks," with
the girls of the villages at which he camped during a three months'
journey. At every such village, as they journeyed on, the travellers
were received with joy and good nature. The negro porters were fêted
and made much of by the young women. But one alone was unpopular and
regarded with ridicule and dislike. This was the handsome negro with
the fine, well-modelled nose and beautiful European lips. The black
beauties turned their backs on him, in spite of his amiable character
and kindly overtures. They invariably and by open confession preferred
the men with the thickest lips, the broadest noses, and the most
thoroughly (as we should say) degraded prognathous appearance and
disgusting expression. Hence no doubt the young negresses were likely
to perpetuate in their offspring the features which are characteristic
of their race, and hence it is probable that mere capricious sexual
selection of individuals most completely conforming to a preferred
type–irrespective of the value of the features preferred–may have great
effect in both the selection and the maintenance of the peculiarities
of the type. Dark skin may thus have been selected, until it became
actually black; a slight curling of the hair, until it became woolly;
thickish lips and broadish nose, until they became excessive in
thickness and breadth.



Two hundred years ago the Dutch naturalist Leuwenhoek, who made
many discoveries with the highly magnifying lenses which he himself
ground and mounted, wrote to the Royal Society of London that he had
"discovered several animalcula that protrude two wheels out of the
forepart of their body as they swim, or go on the sides of the glass
jar in which they are living." He says that "the two wheels are thick
set with teeth as the wheel of a watch," and he sent to the society
for publication drawings of these wonderful little creatures. This
was the first account of the Wheel Animalcules. Since then they have
been studied by many microscopists, especially by Ehrenberg, who
figured many in his great book on animalcules in 1838. Fourteen years
later the delightful English naturalist, P. H. Gosse, who studied
and illustrated the "sea-anemones" so ably–and, by his example and
charming descriptions, made the keeping of these beautiful things in
marine aquaria a favourite occupation among people of leisure, blessed
with a "curiosity concerning the things of nature"–published some
microscopical studies on Wheel Animalcules, and continued throughout
his life to make them a special subject of his investigation.

The microscope was greatly improved–in fact, reached its present
state of perfection–during Mr. Gosse's lifetime, and a wonderful
amount was added to our knowledge not only as to the various kinds
of wheel animalcules (which now number not less than 900 species),
but also with regard to the minutest details of their structure,
their growth from the egg, and their habits. Another English lover
of these minute creatures, Dr. C. T. Hudson, of Clifton (Bristol),
began his observations a few years later, and also discovered many
wonderful kinds. It was my good fortune to bring these two devotees of
the Rotifera, or Wheel Animalcules, together, and to induce them to
write a conjoint work on their favourites–after, as they say in their
preface, they had each continued their studies almost daily for thirty
years, and had made innumerable drawings from living specimens, which
are reproduced in the many hundred (mostly coloured) figures engraved
in the thirty-four quarto plates of their monumental book. This was
published in 1889, a year after Mr. Gosse's death at the age of 78. My
friend, Mr. Edmund Gosse, the distinguished man of letters, is the son
of the naturalist; the microscope, the aquarium, and the rock-pools of
the seashore were the familiar delights of his boyhood, as of mine.

In Fig. 34 I have sketched the common Rotifer or wheel animalcule. It
is about the one-fortieth of an inch long. The two specimens drawn
in Figs. 34, A and B, are seen to be clinging by the forked tail-end
of the body to a piece of weed (drawn in dotted lines). The body is
stretched in these specimens to its full length. It can be shortened by
a "telescoping" or pulling in of either end, so as to make the animal
a mere oval particle. The four narrower joints or segments at the
tail-end can be pulled in like the segments of a telescope, whilst the
two wheels and adjacent parts can be drawn down into the body as shown
in Fig. 34, C, where the two wheels (W) are seen showing through the
skin by transparency.

[Illustration: FIG. 34.–Diagram of _Rotifer vulgaris_–the common
wheel animalcule–one hundred and twenty times as long as the creature
itself. _A_, front view. _B_, side view. _C_, head showing eyes _S_,
and retracted wheel apparatus _W_. The letters in _A_ and _B_ have the
following signification: _M_, mouth. _W_, wheel or ciliated disc. _S_,
eye spots on head. _T_, spur or tentacle. _G_, gizzard. _St_, stomach.
_Int_, intestines. _V_, vent: aperture of intestine.]

The common rotifer can walk like a looping caterpillar or a
leech–fixing itself by its tail, then stretching out the head and
fixing that, whilst letting go the tail and bringing it up by
"telescoping" it, near to the head region. The tail is forked, and in
the side view (Fig. 34, B) it is seen to have a soft branched process,
which helps it to cling. The letter V in Fig. 34, A, points to the vent
or opening of the gut at the fork of the tail. The mouth, marked M, is
seen between the two "wheels." The two "wheels" are really two discs,
the edges of which are beset by coarse "cilia," or vibrating hairs of
protoplasm.[5] These cilia "lash" and straighten again one after the
other, so that the optical illusion is produced of the toothed edge of
the disc being in movement like a wheel. They may be "focused" with the
microscope so that the groups or "bunches" of them look like stiff,
motionless "teeth," although they are really, all the time, lashing and
beating in regular rhythm. When the animal is fixed by its tail, the
lashing of the cilia on the wheels causes currents in the water which
set with great strength to the mouth and bring floating food particles
to it. It is thus that the Rotifer feeds. When the tail is not
grasping a support, the movement of the cilia on the wheels causes the
animal to swim forward through the water, so that it has two modes of
locomotion–the leech-like crawling method and the free swimming method.

The various internal organs of a Rotifer are readily seen through its
transparent skin (Fig. 34, A). It has a nervous system, many bands of
contractile muscles and a pair of little tubular kidneys or nephridia,
besides reproductive germs (the eggs). I have here sketched only the
digestive canal. The mouth leads through a gullet to a very curious
organ called the "gizzard," marked G. All the wheel animalcules have
this gizzard, but its teeth, shown as two oval bodies in the drawing,
differ a great deal in shape and complexity in the different kinds.
Whilst the Rotifer is feeding by bringing currents of water to its
mouth, the two halves of the gizzard are kept in rapid movement by
muscles, causing them to rub against one another and to grind up the
food particles which reach them through the gullet. The gizzard (G)
is followed by the digestive stomach (St), and that by the intestine
(Int), which opens at the vent (V). The side (or three-quarter profile)
view of a similar specimen (Fig. 34, B) shows only the surface of
the little animal, and is intended to show especially the snout-like
head-lobe (S), with its two eye-spots, which are red in colour.
Standing out backwards from this is a finger-like process (T), which is
called the spur, or tentacle. It has hairs at its tip, and is a sensory

[Illustration: FIG. 35.–The Rotifer _Pedalion mirum_–seen from the
right side, magnified 180 diameters. _w.a._, wheel apparatus or
"ciliated" margin of the cephalic disc. _r.e._, right side eye-spot.
_m._, mouth. _p._, tactile process. _d.l._, median dorsal limb (as it
is seen in profile, only three of the fringed hairs at its extremity
are seen). _v.l._, the great ventral limb (only five of its fan of
eight fringed hairs are seen). _l.l._^1, dorso-lateral, and _l.l._^2,
ventro-lateral limbs of the right side: they show the complete fans of
eight fringed hairs. _x._, the pair of posterior processes tipped with
vibratile cilia, better seen in Fig. 36.]

[Illustration: FIG. 36.–The Rotifer _Pedalion mirum_–seen from the
ventral surface. Letters as in Fig. 35. The complete fan of eight
fringed hairs terminating the great ventral limb are seen, and the
three spine-like processes on each side of it. The fringed hairs of the
two ventro-lateral limbs, _l.l._^2, are omitted; they are fully shown
in Fig. 35, and are the same in number and disposition as those forming
the "fan" of the great ventral limb. Compare these hairs with those of
the "Nauplius" Crustacean larva drawn as a tail-piece to Chapter XIII.]

In some wheel animalcules there is a pair of these spurs, and the very
remarkable wheel animalcule drawn in Figs. 35 and 36 has six large
processes which, though much bigger, appear to be of the same nature.
Of these four are seen in Fig. 35, namely, _d.l._, the dorsal limb,
_v.l._, the great ventral limb, and _l.l._^1 and _l.l._^2, the two
lateral limbs of the right side, all of them carrying fanlike groups
of fringed hairs. They are moved by very powerful muscles, and strike
the water with energetic strokes, so as to cause the little owner to
dart through it. This jumping or darting wheel animalcule is called
"Pedalion," and was discovered and described by Dr. Hudson. It is so
astonishing and wonderful a little beast, that when Dr. Hudson sent me
some alive in a tube by post in 1872, soon after he had discovered
it, I could not believe my eyes, and thought I must be dreaming. It
is very like the young form of Crustaceans known as a "Nauplius" (see
tail-piece to the present chapter) in having (what no other wheel
animalcule has) great hollow paired limbs moved by _striated_ muscular
fibre, carrying fringed hairs only known before in Crustaceans (crabs,
shrimps and water fleas), and striking the water violently just as do
those of the Nauplius. And yet all the while it has on its head a pair
of large ciliated wheels which serve it just as do those of the common
Rotifer. No Crustacean, young or old, has this "wheel-apparatus" nor
any vibratile "cilia" on the surface of its body. Pedalion possesses an
astounding "blend" of characters. Fig. 35 shows, besides the "paddles"
or "legs" (of which two on the other side of the animal are not seen),
the broad and large wheel-apparatus W (within which the right eye-spot
_r.e._ is seen), and a little lobe (_p_) called the "chin" lying just
below the mouth (_m_). The big leg (_v.l._) and the pair on each side
(_l.l._^1 and _l.l._^2), of which that on the right side only is seen,
end in beautiful fringed hairs, which are only seen elsewhere in the
Crustacea (water-fleas and others). Those on the lateral limbs and the
great ventral limb (Fig. 36) are set in two groups of four on each side
of the free end of the limb, whilst those on the dorsal leg (_d.l._)
are apparently not so numerous. I have corrected the drawings, Figs.
35 and 36, by reference to actual specimens kindly given to me by Mr.

[Illustration: FIG. 37.–The Rotifer _Noteus quadricornis_–to show its
curious four-horned carapace–from which the wheel apparatus, _wa_,
emerges in front, and the tail, _t_, behind; somewhat as the head and
tail of a tortoise emerge from its protective "box" or carapace. The
ridges on the horney covering of the Rotifer recall the horney plates
of the tortoises and turtles.]

The 500 different species of Wheel Animalcules or Rotifera differ from
one another in the exact shape of the wheel-apparatus, in the jointing
of the body and its general shape, and in the development, in some,
of a hard skin or shell like a turtle's or tortoise's shell (Fig. 37)
over that broadest region of the body in which in our Fig. 34, A,
the stomach marked "St" is placed. They differ also in the shape of
the gizzard's teeth, in the presence of paddles or legs (in Pedalion
alone), and in the presence in some of longer or shorter projecting
movable rods or bristles in pairs or in bunches. Many build for
themselves tubular habitations of jelly or of hard cemented particles.
They are all minute (from the ¹/₁₂ to the ¹/₅₀₀ in. in length). They
are divided into five principal groups, which are (1) the crawlers,
like the common Rotifer (Fig. 34), which can crawl like a leech and
also swim freely by aid of their wheel-apparatus; (2) the naked free
swimmers, which do not crawl, but move only by swimming; (3) the
turtle-shelled free swimmers (Fig. 37) like the last, but provided with
strong, often faceted, angular, and spike-bearing shells or "bucklers,"
from which head and wheel-apparatus project in front and narrow tail
behind; (4) the rooted or fixed forms (Figs. 37 _bis_); these never
swim when full grown, but each forms and inhabits a protective tube or
case; (5) the skipping or darting forms. Of these there is only the
Pedalion mirum (Figs. 35 and 36), which is quite unlike all the other
wheel animalcules in having limbs like those of the minute water-fleas
(Nauplius, Cyclops) which strike the water and are fringed with
feather-like hairs.

[Illustration: The larval or young form of Crustacea known as "the
Nauplius." This is the "Nauplius" of a kind of Prawn. The three pairs
of branched limbs are well seen. Much magnified.]


[5] For some account of "cilia," see "Science from an Easy Chair,"
Figs. 29, 33, 40 and the accompanying text.



Microscopic as the wheel animalcules are they yet have been watched
and examined by their admirers to as great a point of intimacy as that
reached by the devotees of insects or of birds. A remarkable fact
about them is that in about 130 different species (out of the 500
known) it has been found that the males are diminutive creatures, about
one-tenth the size of the females, and devoid of digestive canal; in
fact, little more than minute swimming sacs full of spermatozoa. In
one group, that of the crawling Rotifers, to which the common wheel
animalcule, figured in the last chapter, belongs, no male at all has
ever been discovered. They are all females. They are precisely those
wheel animalcules which are known to microscopists for their power of
surviving (like the little water-bears or tardigrades and some other
minute animalcules) the desiccation, or "drying-up" of the water in
which they were living, swimming, and crawling (see Chapters XV. and
XVI.). And it is quite probable that this power of resistance to the
adverse conditions of changing seasons has, in the crawling Rotifers,
taken the place of the production of eggs fertilized by a male. For,
as in the case of the crustacean water-fleas (and of the terrestrial
plant-lice, or aphides and gall-flies), it is found that the female
Rotifers or wheel animalcules, which hatch from fertilized eggs, are
themselves "parthenogenetic," and lay eggs which develop without
fertilization by males–that is to say, are "impaternate." In the case
of the water-fleas these are called "summer eggs," and after one or
more generations of such fatherless females a proportion of males are
produced which fertilize the females hatched at the same period. The
eggs so fertilized acquire a thick shell and are called "winter eggs."
They remain dormant for some months and resist the injurious influences
of winter cold, or, it may be, of drying up and conversion of the
pond-mud into dust, but hatch out when warmer and wetter conditions

This, however, is just what the adult crawling kind of Rotifer can do
in the full-grown state by drawing up her body into the shape of a ball
and exuding a jelly-like or horny coat. So that she has no need of
"winter eggs," and the whole process of forming them and of males to
impregnate them has "dropped out" of the life-history of this special
kind of resistant Rotifers. The minute insignificant males and the
eventual disappearance of males altogether in some races is a subject
which may well occupy the attention of our human "suffragettes." That
the males are minute creatures, less than the thousandth part of
the size of the females, is a fact also ascertained in the case of
some curious marine worms (called Bonellia and Hamingia). The only
other instance of such degradation of the male sex is in some of the
barnacles (discovered by Darwin), in which the big individuals are
of double sex (hermaphrodite). Adhering to the shells of these are
found minute dot-like "supplemental males." It is to be observed that
these are instances where the inferiority of the male is an obvious
measurable fact. In the mammals, the group of vertebrate animals to
which man belongs, the male possesses measurably greater activity and
size than does the female, and is provided with more powerful natural
weapons, such as teeth and horns. He entirely dominates and controls
the female, or a whole company of females, and in no case is there
equality of the sexes, or any approach to it, still less inferiority of
the male. It is, perhaps, a question whether "by taking thought" this
natural inferiority of the mammalian female can be changed.

The survival of Rotifers, especially of a pink-coloured species
(called Philodina roseola), after long drying or "desiccation," has
been experimentally studied. It is found that if the water in which
some are swimming is placed in a watch-glass and allowed to dry up
rapidly the Rotifers are killed, none reappear when after a few hours
fresh water is poured into the watch-glass. But if a few grains of
sand or particles of moss are present from the first in the water the
final drying up takes place more slowly and the Rotifers find their
way between the sheltering fragments, where the water remains long
enough to give them time to form a little gelatinous case, each for
itself. When thus encased they survive, motionless, for months. The
experiment has often been made, and is not in doubt. According to
trustworthy statements, Philodina can thus survive even for so long as
five years. The processes of life are arrested, but the drying has not
proceeded to the extent which is called chemical drying or dehydration.
The tiny Rotifers are still of soft consistence: the protoplasm is
not chemically destroyed. When one is watched with the microscope as
water is allowed to flow round it after several months of dust-like
aridity, it is seen to emerge from its protective case and at once
to commence swimming and searching for food by means of the currents
directed towards its mouth by its so-called "wheel-apparatus." I may
just say that in the case of the slime-mould called "flowers of tan"
the protoplasm dries to the consistency of hard wax, and I have kept
it for years in that state and then revived it by moisture into full
activity and growth. I used also at one time to keep in my laboratory
a supply of the dried yellow lichen from apple-trees, in which one
could always rely upon finding the animalcules called "Macrobiotus" or
"water-bears" ready to be revived from a desiccated condition, after
three or four years passed in that condition.

Many of the Rotifers carry their eggs when ripe extruded from the
body in two bunches or clusters, as is the habit also of the little
microscopic shrimps known as Cyclops. There is a whole group of
Rotifers which fix themselves by the tail, when full grown, to some
solid support. Each then forms a protective tube or case around
itself, from the mouth of which it puts forth its wheel-apparatus
and into which it can retire for protection. Some of the largest and
most beautiful of the wheel animalcules belong to this group of fixed
or sedentary Rotifers. The crown animalcule (Stephanoceros) is one
of these, having what are discs edged with vibrating hairs in the
common Rotifer–here drawn out into a circlet of tapering lobes like
the points of a coronet (Fig. 37 (_bis_), B). Another is the floscule
(Floscularia), in which the wheel-apparatus has the form of five knobs
arranged on a pentagonal disc around the mouth (A in same figure). Each
knob has a bundle of excessively fine, long, stiff, motionless hairs
spreading out from it ready to entangle food particles which may drift
into contact with them. I used to find the stems of the fresh-water
polyp (Cordylophora) of Victoria Dock a sure source of supply of these
fine little creatures. When seen under the microscope as brightly
illuminated glassy florets on a black ground (by what is called "dark
ground illumination") their strange delicacy and beauty cannot be
surpassed. A rare species of floscule (which I have never seen) has
extra-long and fine filaments, each of which shows a fine streaming
current in its substance, and is, in fact, a naked filament of living
protoplasm like one of the ray-like filaments of the sun-animalcules.

[Illustration: FIG. 37 (_bis_).–Three tube-building wheel animalcules.
_A_, Floscularia campanulata. _B_, Stephanoceros Eichhornii. _C_,
Melicerta ringens.]

The most curious of the tube-building Rotifers are those which form
their tubes of little, equal-sized pellets of solid matter–as it were,
"bricks"–which they first form by compacting fine particles in a
special pit on the head and then build them up and cement them together
in rows to form the tube, adding row after row as the animal itself
increases in length (Fig. 37 (_bis_), C). These are known as Melicerta;
and, though some kinds use any minute particles to make their bricks,
one kind is frequent which uses its own excrement for this purpose.
By feeding the little creatures first with food coloured with carmine
and then with blue-stained material, one can obtain alternate rows of
pink and blue pellets, carefully manufactured and laid in position
to build up the growing length of tube. Melicerta has certainly an
extraordinary and economical way of disposing of that refuse which we
larger creatures carefully remove from our habitations and should be
very unwilling to employ as building material. The individuals of one
rare and interesting kind of the tube-builders, after swimming freely
in the youngest stage, settle down together and form their gelatinous
transparent tubes side by side, to the number of fifty or more, in
such a way as to produce a perfect sphere, a twentieth of an inch or
more in diameter, built up of fused jelly-like tubes radiating from a
common centre. The inhabitant of each tube is quite separate from and
independent of his neighbours, but they all protrude their vibrating
wheel-apparatus simultaneously, and cause the glass-like ball to rotate
and travel through the water. Many years ago I found this beautiful
little thing in a small moss-pool (not more than 3 ft. wide), high up
the sloping-side of the north-west section of Hampstead heath, above
the "Leg of Mutton Pond." The well-meant care of the public guardians
of the heath has now drained this region, and my little moss-pools and
the "bog," in which grew the Drosera, or Sun-dew, and the Bog-bean and
such plants, have gone for ever. But we must console ourselves with the
fact that the same progressive expansion of the great city has given
us electric railways, tubes, and tramways by which we can go farther
afield than Hampstead in a few minutes, and still find moss-pools and
the undisturbed glories of ancient swamps and bog-land.

Many of the Rotifers have a pair of ruby-red eyes, and in some of them
there is a minute crystalline lens overlying the red sensitive spot,
which receives the fibres of the optic nerve coming from the brain–one
on each side. It is almost incredible that so minute a creature–often
only the one-fiftieth of an inch long when full grown–should have a
nervous system and special organs of touch (sensory hairs) as well as
eyes, and on the other hand muscles running from one attachment to
another and called into activity by nerves connected with this same
central brain. The pair of branched tubes, which end internally in
flickering "flame-cells" and open externally far back at the vent, are
kidneys. Similar tubes called "nephridia" or little kidneys are found
in many of the smaller animals; the earthworm has a pair in each ring
of its body.

There is little doubt that the wheel animalcules are related in
pedigree to the primitive ancestors of the marine segmented or annulate
worms, which also gave rise to the ringed leg-bearing jaw-footed
creatures with hard skin, called Crustacea, Arachnids and Insects (the
Arthropods). The wheel-apparatus or cilia-fringed discs of the Rotifer
is seen in the young stages of many marine worms, and also in the
young of marine snails, known as the "veliger"–"velum" or "sail" being
the name given to the wheel-apparatus of the young snails (see the
drawing on p. 181). There are very minute marine annulate or segmented
worms (Dinophilus and others), which come near to the Rotifers in many
features, whilst the ringed or segmented character of the body is
obvious in the common wheel animalcule.

The Rotifers are so small that they are built up of very few "cells"
or nucleated units of protoplasm. Many of them are of smaller size
than some of the big infusorian animalcules, which consist of a single
cell. The Rotifers are probably a dwindled pygmy race descended from
ancestors of ten or a hundred times their linear measurement. It
is an important fact that in the possession of a toothed gizzard,
in the hard body-case or cuirass of some kinds, and in Pedalion's
rapidly-moving legs or paddles, fringed with plumose hairs and moved
by that peculiar variety of muscular tissue which is called "striped
muscular tissue," the wheel animalcules give evidence of relationship
to the Crustacea–that is to say, it appears to be probable that they
were derived from the common ancestor of marine worms and Crustacea
before those two lines of descent had diverged.

Rotifera or wheel animalcules are found all over the world, in the
tropics, the temperate zones, the Arctic and Antarctic, and many
species have a world-wide distribution. They occur in fresh waters
and in the sea, in great lakes, in gutters which dry up, in pools in
the polar regions and on high mountains which are solid ice for the
greater part of the year. A few are parasitic, some living on the legs
of minute Crustacea. One which I discovered in 1868 in the Channel
Islands lives in crowds on the skin of a remarkable sea-worm (Synapta),
which burrows in the sand, exposed at low tide. It holds on (as I found
and figured) by a true sucker, which replaces the forked tail of other
commoner Rotifers. It was named "Discopus" by Zelinka, who searched for
it in consequence of my description, and gave a very detailed account
of it. Others are parasitic inside earthworms, and one is found inside
the globe animalcule Volvox! Another causes the growth of warts or
"galls" in a curious kind of Alga called Vaucheria.



Our leading newspapers, with rare exceptions, never report the
discoveries announced at our scientific societies. But they often
seek to astonish their readers with silly stories of monsters said to
have been seen in tropical forests, ghostly "manifestations" and such
rubbish transmitted to them at a high price by crafty "newsmongers,"
and do much harm to themselves and to the public thereby. On the other
hand, foreign newspapers do occasionally report the proceedings of
their local Academies–and then "our own correspondent" telegraphs to
London with a flourish, a confused report of what he has read and
ignorantly imagines to be "a startling discovery" because he knows
nothing whatever of the subject. Thus shortly before the recent
war–the confirmation by a French experimenter of the fact, long since
demonstrated, that the seeds of plants can survive exposure to very low
temperature, was announced with ridiculous emphasis by one of these
"fat boys" of journalism _pour épater le bourgeois_.

A temperature very near to that of the total absence of that molecular
movement or vibration which we call "heat," can now be attained by the
use of liquid hydrogen, which enables us, by its evaporation, to come
within a few degrees (actually three!) of that condition known as the
"absolute zero." We divide into one hundred equal steps or degrees the
column of liquid (mercury, spirit, or other liquid) of a thermometer
as it expands from the shrunken bulk which it occupies when placed in
freezing water to the full length which it attains when the water is
heated to boiling point. This is called the centigrade scale, or scale
of a hundred degrees. But, as we know by the records of travellers in
the Arctic regions and by the experiments made in laboratories, there
are "degrees" of coldness or diminution of heat which are much below
that of freezing water, and can be measured by the further shrinking of
the column of liquid in the thermometer, so that we record "degrees
below zero centigrade," each of the same length as those above it and
corresponding to the same "quantum" of decrease or increment of heat.
As we pass from the temperature at which water is solid to that much
lower or diminished state of hotness at which mercury becomes solid,
the shrinking column of the thermometer (in which a liquid is used not
rendered solid by this amount of cooling) falls through 39 degrees of
the centigrade size, so that we say that mercury freezes at minus 39 or
at 39 degrees below zero of the centigrade scale. The conclusion has
now been reached that the absolute zero or cessation of all heat in a
body is represented by a fall of no less than 273 degrees below zero
on the centigrade scale. Hydrogen gas becomes a liquid at 252 degrees
below zero centigrade, and a solid at 264 degrees. If we start our
counting of those degrees or increments of heat, of which there are
100 between the freezing and boiling points of water, at the absolute
zero or condition of total absence of heat, we must say that hydrogen
"melts"–that is, passes from the solid to the liquid state–at 11
degrees (absolute), and boils at about 20 degrees (absolute), whilst
water does not melt until 273 degrees (absolute) of temperature are
reached, and boils at 373 degrees above the absolute zero.

It is the fact that, from the year 1860 onward, numerous observers have
experimented on the influence of very low temperatures upon seeds, and
have uniformly shown that the power of germination and healthy growth
of the seeds is not destroyed by exposure to very low temperatures. The
celebrated Swiss botanist, De Candolle, published the first careful
observations on this subject in conjunction with Raoul Pictet, who had
devised an apparatus for producing exceedingly low temperatures. Pictet
in 1893 exposed various bacteria and also seeds to a temperature of
nearly 200 degrees below zero centigrade without injury to them. They
"resumed" their life when gradually restored to the normal temperature.
Pictet concluded that since all chemical action of the kind which goes
on in living things requires a certain degree of temperature for its
occurrence, and that this is demonstrably considerably higher than
minus 100 degrees centigrade, we must suppose that all chemical action
in living things (as in nearly all other bodies) is annihilated at 100
degrees below zero centigrade. Accordingly he maintained that what we
call "life," or "living," is a manifestation of chemical forces similar
to those shown in other natural bodies, and liable to interruption and
resumption by the operation of unfavourable or favourable conditions
as are other chemical processes. In 1897, Mr. Horace Brown and Mr. F.
Escombe published, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London,
an account of experiments in which they exposed seeds of twelve plants
belonging to widely different natural orders to a temperature varying
from 183 degrees to 192 degrees below zero centigrade for a period
of 110 consecutive hours (about four days and a half). As a result
the germinative powers of the seeds showed no appreciable difference
from that of seed not subjected to cold, and they produced healthy
plants. The low temperature was obtained by the use of liquid air
in a vacuum-jacketed flask (like the well-known "thermos" flasks),
into which the seeds were introduced in thin glass tubes. Professor
M'Kendrick had previously shown that the putrescence of meat, blood
and milk by bacteria infesting them was temporarily arrested, but
not permanently so, by exposing those substances for one hour to a
temperature of 182 degrees below zero centigrade. It appeared that the
putrefactive bacteria present in those substances were not destroyed
by that degree of cold, but returned to a state of activity when the
normal temperature was restored. Professor M'Kendrick also showed that
seeds would germinate after exposure to like treatment.

All this is ancient history, twenty years and more in the past. The
experiments of a French observer, mentioned at the beginning of this
chapter as foolishly trumpeted in a London paper, were of service as
confirming the extensive and careful work of his predecessors. It is
only when our old well-bottled discoveries have, however tardily, been
brought before the Paris Academy of Sciences and sent back to us by
the Paris correspondents of news agencies as "startling novelties" and
"amazing discoveries" (twenty years old), that any attempt is made to
mention them in the London daily Press. And then they are announced
without any reference to their true history. This habit of culling
stale morsels of information from the proceedings of foreign academies
points to the fact that there is incompetence both in the purveyor and
publisher of such scraps. If our newspaper editors must publish scraps
about scientific novelties, they should employ educated assistants
to see that they do not make themselves ridiculous. The scraps which
come round to our newspapers from Paris are usually plagiarized from a
French newspaper by some one who has a very imperfect knowledge of the
subject to which they refer, and adds his own blunders to those of the
original reporter.

The action of extreme cold in arresting life in such minute organisms
as plant seeds and bacteria without destroying the possibility of
the resumption of those chemical and physical changes when warmth is
restored, is dependent on the fact that those chemical changes can
only proceed in and by the aid of liquid water. When thoroughly frozen
the chemical constituents of minute organisms and seeds–which until
frozen were living and undergoing continuous, though perhaps slow,
change–become solid, and can no longer act on one another or be acted
on by surrounding chemical bodies equally reduced in temperature.
They may be compared to the solid dry constituents of a Seidlitz
powder–one an acid, the other a carbonate. So long as they are dry
they remain–when mixed and shaken together–inert, without action
on one another. Even if one is dissolved in water and then frozen
solid and mixed in a powdered state with the other at an equally low
temperature the mixture remains dry and inert. Nothing happens so long
as the low temperature is maintained. But if we raise the temperature
above the freezing-point–so as to liquefy the solution–chemical action
will immediately ensue. With much fizzing and escape of gas the two
chemicals will unite. The effect of cold on living matter is of this
nature. It is a real "suspension" of the changes which were–however
slowly and quietly–going on before complete solidification of the
protoplasm by freezing. A frozen seed and frozen bacteria are in a
state of "suspended animation."

It is not the fact that absolutely all chemical union and change
whatsoever is prevented–that is to say, arrested or suspended–by
extreme cold, although the union with oxygen and other such changes of
the essential material of living things, which we call "protoplasm,"
and most other chemical changes are thus arrested or suspended. The
most striking exception is that of the most active of all elements,
the gas fluorine, which becomes a liquid at 210 degrees below zero
centigrade, and in that condition attacks turpentine if brought into
contact with it at the same low temperature with explosive force. Even
solid fluorine combines with liquid hydrogen with violent explosion.
It seems certain, however, that elements or chemical compounds brought
into the solid (not merely liquid) condition by extreme cold cannot act
chemically upon other bodies in the same solid condition, even when
they would at normal temperatures so act with the greatest readiness,
because they are then either liquid or gaseous.

The conception of an arrest of the changes in organisms, which we call
life, followed by their resumption after a greater or less interval of
suspense, was long ago suggested and discussed before we had knowledge
of the action of low temperatures. The winter-sleep of some animals
and the "comatose" condition sometimes exhibited by human beings
had led to the notion of "suspended animation." But a careful study
of hybernating animals and of human instances of prolonged "coma"
satisfied physiologists nearly 100 years ago that the processes of
life–the beating of the heart and the respiration–were not actually
and absolutely suspended in these cases, but reduced to a minimum. The
chemical processes connected with life were still very slowly carried

Again, a great deal of interest and discussion was excited in the last
century by the drying up of delicate yet complex aquatic animalcules,
such as the Rotifers (the wheel animalcules described in our last
chapter) and Tardigrades (bear animalcules), and the fact that after
their preservation as mere dust for many months dried on a glass-slip
they could be revived and made to return to life by wetting them with a
minute drop of water, whilst the whole process of revival was watched
under the microscope. Letters were published in the "Times" in the
"fifties" by the Rev. Lord Sydney Godolphin Osborn, describing his
observations and experiments on these animalcules.

The yellow slime-fungus called "flowers of tan," after creeping as
a naked network of protoplasm over the "spent tan," thrown out from
tan-pits, will in dry weather gather itself into little knobs, each
of which is as hard and brittle as a piece of sealing-wax. Yet (as I
have repeatedly experienced in using material given to me by the great
botanist, de Bary) a fragment of one of these hard pieces, if carefully
guarded in a dry pill-box for two or three years, will when placed on
a film of water at summer-heat gradually absorb moisture and expand
itself into threads of creeping, flowing protoplasm, nourish itself,
and grow and reproduce. It was formerly suggested in regard to these
cases of resuscitation after drying, as also in the case of seeds which
germinate after being kept in a dry condition for many years, that
really they were not thoroughly dried, but were sufficiently moist to
allow of very slow oxidation and gas exchange, which it was said was
so small in amount as to escape observation. There was a plausible
comparison of the condition of these dried organisms to that of
hybernating mammals, desiccated snails, and comatose men. It was held
that here, too, the life-processes were not absolutely arrested, but
reduced to an imperceptible minimum.

This view of the matter was connected, no doubt, with a traditional
assumption that life was an entity–an "anima animans"–which entered a
living body, kept it continually "going" or "living," and if driven
out from it could not return. Curiously enough, Mr. Herbert Spencer
seems to have been (perhaps unconsciously) affected by this traditional
view, since he defined life as "the continuous"–that is the important
word–"adaptation of internal to external relations." This definition
prejudiced the view of some distinguished physiologists on the question
of "suspended animation," and I remember a very warm dinner-table
discussion with Michael Foster and other friends, some twenty-five
years ago, when I put forward the view that so long as the intimate
structure–in fact, the chemical structure–of the protoplasm of a living
thing is not destroyed, it does not "die" though all chemical change in
it may be arrested. I compared the dried seed and dried animalcule–as
I would now compare the frozen seed and the frozen bacteria–to a well
wound watch which is stopped by the intrusion of a needle between the
spokes of its balance wheel, or, better, by the cooling on the wheel of
a tiny drop of soft wax so as to clog it. The works of the watch are
rendered absolutely motionless, but it is not "dead." As soon as the
needle is removed or the tiny speck of wax melted by a gentle warmth
it resumes its movement. It is, as we say, "alive again." So, too,
the frozen or dried organism is absolutely motionless. No chemical
movements can go on in it. They are stopped by the solidity set up by
freezing, or in the case of simple "desiccation," by the absence of the
moisture necessary for bringing the chemical molecules into contact.
If protected from destructive agents, the mechanism remains perfect
for just so many years or centuries as that protection lasts. Whenever
the frozen organism thaws or the dried organism becomes wet, the
life-processes are resumed, the seed germinates, the bacteria grow and

Thus we see what are some of the points of interest and importance
raised by the old experiments of Pictet, M'Kendrick, and Horace Brown,
the results of which were the same as those announced as Parisian
novelties. I have yet to say a few words as to the reason why we cannot
produce "suspended animation" in higher organisms or in man by the
application to them of extreme cold. Further, the influence of extreme
cold on the possible passage, through space, of living germs from
other worlds to this earth–a possibility suggested by the late Lord
Kelvin–requires some consideration in connection with the striking
experiments with phosphorescent bacteria described ten years ago by Sir
James Dewar.

[Illustration: Young stages of growth or Veliger larvæ of marine
snails, showing the ciliated band or velum which is identical with the
wheel apparatus of the Rotifers or Wheel animalcules.]



I gave some account in the last chapter of the experiments made within
the last twenty years, which have shown that, in certain very simple
organisms and in seeds, all chemical change can be stopped by the
application to them of methods of freezing. The continuous changes
which go on in these living things under ordinary circumstances are
arrested by the solidification of what was more or less "moist"
material. Water in the liquid state, though it may be in extremely
minute quantity, is necessary for the chemical combinations and
decompositions which go on in living things. Hence not only the
solidification of all moisture, in or having access to the living
bodies experimented on, arrests those chemical combinations and
decompositions, but very thorough drying also has this result. Yet
either on thawing the frozen liquid or supplying moisture to the "dried
up" organism, the previously continuous chemical and physical changes
are resumed as though no arrest or suspension of them had occurred. No
limit is known to the length of time during which this arrest may be
continued, and yet a resumption of living changes occur when the cause
of arrest–namely, either solidification by cold or else dryness–is
removed. The apparatus–the exact structure and the exact chemical
materials–of the seeds or the bacteria remains uninjured and unchanged
by either freezing or drying carefully applied. It is, of course,
impossible to guarantee that no accident, no unforeseen change in the
surroundings, shall take place and destroy in one way or another the
experiment. But the arrest of all change, such as goes on in life, has
been, in many experiments, maintained under careful supervision and
protection for several months, and yet life has been resumed when the
cause arresting chemical change has been removed. The presumption,
then, is in favour of the possibility of the arrest being maintained
for an unlimited period, and yet at any time being resumed when the
arresting cause (cold or dryness) is removed.

Before what we may call "the suspensory action" of very low
temperatures had become generally known, the question occurred as to
whether seeds kept in a dry condition for several months, or even
years, and yet capable of germination when placed in moist earth,
are during their dry condition undergoing any chemical changes. The
matter presented itself in this way. The dry seeds can germinate when
sown, therefore they are not dead, but living. According to various
physiologists and philosophers (_e.g._, Herbert Spencer), life is
a continuous adjustment of internal to external relations. Burdon
Sanderson, the Oxford professor of Physiology, declared that "life is
a state of ceaseless change." If this is a correct conception, and if
by "living" we mean, as the great Oxford English Dictionary tells us,
"manifesting the property called life," then the seeds which, though
dry, are still "living" or "alive" or "endowed with life," should yield
some evidence of the "ceaseless change" (by which is meant chemical
change) of which, as things not dead but living, they are supposed
to be the seat. The late Dr. George Romanes published in 1893 some
experiments on this matter. We know that free oxygen is very generally
(though not universally) necessary for the continual chemical changes
which the minutest as well as the largest plants and animals carry on.
Romanes enclosed a quantity of dry seeds in glass tubes, from which he
pumped out all gas as completely as possible–that is to say, all except
one-millionth of the original volume. He also expelled all oxygen by
replacing it by other gases. As a result of this treatment, continued
for as much as fifteen months, he found that neither a high vacuum nor
subsequent exposure for twelve months in separate instances to oxygen
or to hydrogen, or nitrogen, or carbon monoxide, or carbon dioxide,
or hydrogen sulphide, or the vapour of ether or of chloroform, had
any effect on the subsequent germinative power of the seeds employed.
These experiments proved that anything like respiration by ordinary
gaseous exchange with the atmosphere was _not_ going on in the seeds,
and that if they are the seat of "ceaseless change" because not dead,
the changes must be chemical interactions of some kind or other within
their protoplasm.

The keeping of seeds and also of bacteria for days and even months–at
temperatures as low as 100 degrees below zero centigrade–and their
subsequent resumption of life, has removed the possibility (not
excluded by Romanes) of the occurrence of chemical interactions within
the substance of these organisms preserved during long periods of
time, and yet not ceasing to be what is ordinarily called "alive,"
or endowed with "life." It is time that we should definitely abandon
Herbert Spencer's and Burdon Sanderson's definitions or verbal
characterizations of "life." The word "life" is commonly and properly
used to designate the condition of a "living thing" or a thing which
is "alive." A thing which has lost life–that is, which was living, but
is so no more, and cannot be "restored to life" or resuscitated–is, in
correct English, said to have "died," or to be "dead." The motionless,
unchanging frozen seed or bacterium, which resumes its living
activities when carefully thawed, has _not_ "died." The mere fact that
it can be resuscitated justifies the application to it, according to
correct English usage, of the word "alive"–it is still "alive." It is
not possible to alter the significance of the words "life," "living"
and "alive," so as to retain the definitions of Herbert Spencer and
Burdon Sanderson as correct. They are incorrect. Life is not continuous
or ceaseless change. It is a property of the more active substance of
plants and animals which has special structure and definite chemical
constituents. The property is, no doubt, usually manifested under
normal conditions of temperature, light, moisture, pressure, chemical
and electrical surroundings in a continuous series of changes, both
chemical and physical. But at exceptionally low temperature, and in
other arresting circumstances these changes can, in a few exceptional
organisms, be absolutely stopped, though the organism in which the
changes cease is uninjured as a mechanism. It still possesses "the
property of life"–is still "alive" although motionless and unchanging.
Its life is in suspense, as is that of a clock with arrested pendulum.

The unjustified conception of "life," or "living," or being "alive,"
and not dead, as necessarily a state of incessant chemical and
other change, is bound up with the old fancy that life is not to be
considered as a state or motion of a special and complex structure
called protoplasm, but is a thing, a spirit or an essence, which takes
possession of organic bodies and makes them "live." According to Sir
Oliver Lodge, if chemists could build up the chemical materials which
constitute protoplasm, the protoplasm so made by them would not live.
It would (he stated at the meeting of the British Association in
Birmingham in 1912) have to receive a charge or infusion, as it were,
of this thing suggested by the word "life." It cannot live itself
(according to the suppositions of Sir Oliver), but serves as the
vehicle, the receptacle, for this supposed intangible entity "life." In
the same imaginative vein, our grandfathers used to say that heat was
due to the entity or "fairy" "caloric" which could be enticed into or
driven from material bodies, making them "hot" by its presence and cold
by its greater or less exclusion. The suspended animation of frozen
germs and their return to life when warmed could thus be represented
as an affection or affinity between the fairy "Vitalis" and the fairy
"Caloric," the former fleeing from the body and waiting near when the
latter deserts his place, but returning to happy union with "Caloric"
when he again, however feebly, pervades once more the vehicle provided
for "Vitalis." Such imaginary essences are not of any assistance to
us in arriving at a knowledge of the facts, and so far from helping
us to a comprehension of the ultimate nature of things (which we
have no reason to suppose that it is possible for us to attain)
their introduction tends to the substitution of imaginary causes and
unverified assumptions for the carefully-tested and demonstrated
conclusions of science.

In 1871 Lord Kelvin, when president of the British Association,
suggested that the origin of life as we know it may have been
extra-terrestrial, and due to the "moss-grown fragments from the
ruins of another world," which reached the earth as meteorites. It
was objected to this that the extreme cold–very near to the absolute
zero–which prevails in interstellar space would be fatal to all germs
of life carried by such meteoric stones. But twenty years later Sir
James Dewar showed that this objection did not hold, since at any
rate some forms of life–certain bacteria–could survive an exposure of
several days to a temperature approaching the absolute zero. Later Sir
James made some very striking experiments by exposing cultivations of
phosphorescent bacteria to the temperature of liquid hydrogen (252
degrees below zero centigrade). These bacteria may be obtained by
selective cultivation from sea-water taken on the coast, in which a few
are always scattered. A rich growth of these bacteria in gelatine broth
gives off a brilliant greenish light when shaken with atmospheric air
or otherwise exposed to oxygen. The light is so intense that a glass
flask holding a pint of the cultivation gives off sufficient light to
enable one to read in an otherwise dark room. The emission of light
is dependent on the chemical activity of the living bacteria in the
presence of oxygen. In the absence of free oxygen they cease to be
luminous. As soon as they are killed the light ceases. When they are
frozen solid the light ceases, even in the presence of free oxygen
gas. When a film consisting of such a culture is frozen solid it will
remain inactive if the low temperature be maintained for months, though
exposed to free oxygen gas, and then, as soon as it is liquefied by
a gentle rise in temperature, the active changes recommence, and the
phosphorescent light beams forth. Sir James Dewar exposed such films
to the low temperature of liquid hydrogen for (so far as I remember)
six months, and obtained from them at once the evidence of their living
chemical activity, namely, their "phosphorescence," as soon as they
were thawed. In the frozen state, at a temperature of minus 250 degrees
centigrade, nothing, it appeared, could injure these phosphorescent
bacteria. No chemical can "get at them" at that temperature, the most
biting acid, the most caustic alkali cannot touch them when, like them,
it is in a hard, solid condition. Powdering the film by mechanical
pressure has no effect on the bacteria. They are too small to be
crushed by any mill. Such germs would, it seemed, surely be able to
travel through interstellar space, as suggested by Kelvin.

Then it occurred to Sir James that light–the strangely active
ultra-violet rays of light–might be able to disintegrate and destroy
the bacteria, even when frozen solid at the lowest temperature. He
exposed his frozen cultures to strong light, excluding any heat-giving
rays, and found that the bacteria no longer recovered when subsequently
the culture was thawed. Light, certain rays of light, can, it thus
appears, penetrate and cause destructive vibrations in chemical bodies
protected from all other disintegrating agencies by the solidity
conferred by extreme cold. I am not able to say, at the moment, how
far this important matter has been pursued by further experiment, nor
whether what are called the "chemically active" rays of light and
other rays such as the Röntgen rays can effect chemical change in
other bodies (besides living germs), upon which they act at normal
temperatures, but in regard to which they might be expected to be
inoperative when the bodies in question are brought into the peculiar
state of inactivity produced by extreme cold. Since light is far more
intense outside our atmosphere than within it, it seemed, at first,
that the demonstration of its destructive action on frozen germs puts
an end to Kelvin's theory of a meteoric origin of life. It must,
however, be remembered that minute living germs could conceivably be
protected from the access of light by being embedded in even very
small opaque particles of meteoric clay. So Lord Kelvin's suggestion
as to the travelling of life on meteoric dust cannot be set aside as
involving the supposition of the persistence of life in conditions
known to be destructive of it.

The great interest in former times in relation to "suspended
animation" has naturally been in relation to the occurrence of this
condition in man and the possibility of producing it in man by this
or that treatment. There is no doubt whatever, at the present day,
that "death-like" trances, whether occurring naturally or after the
administration of drugs, in the case of man and of higher animals,
are not due to that complete suspension of living changes which we can
produce, as I have here related, in certain lower forms of life. These
death-like trances are merely cases of reduction of the living changes
to a very low degree.[6]

The bodies of all but the simplest animals and plants are too large and
too complex to survive the bursting and disruptive action of extreme
cold, due to the unequal distribution of water within them and its
irresistible expansion when frozen. Their living mechanism is broken,
mechanically destroyed by this expansion. We cannot hope to apply
cold to man so as to produce "suspended animation." It is true that
experiments are on record in which fish and even frogs have survived
enclosure within a solid mass of ice by the freezing of the water in
which they were living. But careful experiments are wanting which
would demonstrate that these animals were actually frozen through and
through, and that either fish or other cold-blooded animals can survive
a thorough solidification by freezing of their entire substance. Such
survival cannot be pronounced to be impossible, but it has not been
demonstrated in any cold-blooded animal–even shell-fish or worm or
polyp–let alone a warm-blooded mammal. It appears that, apart from
disruptive effects, the protoplasm of even very minute and simple
organisms, such as the Protozoa, does not in all kinds, even if in any,
survive exposure to great cold. The toleration of great cold and return
to living activity after thorough freezing is, it appears, a special
quality attained by the living material of vegetable seeds and by many
kinds of bacteria. A similar special toleration of high temperatures,
a good deal short of the boiling point, but high enough to kill most
plants and animals, is known to characterize certain bacteria and
allied Schizophyta found in hot springs. It is a matter of common
knowledge that many animals and plants are killed by a temperature
(whether too high or too low for them) which allows others to flourish
and may be necessary for their life. Minute organisms (flagellate
monads) have been cultivated experimentally in a nourishing liquid, the
temperature of which was raised daily by one or two degrees until the
liquid was so hot that the same species of organism was at once killed
by it when abruptly transferred to it from liquid at ordinary summer

The true "suspended animation" of many vegetable seeds and of many
kinds of bacteria under the influence of cold is not an exhibition of
a general property of living things, but is due to a special quality
of resistance gradually attained by natural selection of variations a
little more tolerant of cold or of drought than are the majority. It is
of life-saving value and a cause of survival to the species of plants
and bacteria concerned. No doubt there is need of further experiment on
the subject of the "killing" or destructive effect exerted by different
degrees of diminution of temperature upon the protoplasm of all kinds
of organisms, and with the knowledge so obtained we shall be able to
frame a conception of the actual mechanical and chemical peculiarities
of the protoplasm of those bacteria and of those vegetable seeds
which can be exposed to the extreme of cold for many months or for an
indefinite period and yet subsequently recover or live again. Probably
in order to survive freezing, protoplasm must be, not absolutely dry,
but free from all but a minimum of moisture.


[6] See the chapter on "Sleep," in my "Science from an Easy Chair,"
Methuen, 1909.



[Illustration: FIG. 38.–The swastika in its simplest rectangular form.
It may turn to the right, as here, or to the left, a less usual thing,
but without significance.]

A good many people have never heard of the Swastika. It is an emblem
or device such as is the Cross or the Crescent. Here it is (Fig. 38)
in its most simple and most common form. In India it is in common use
at the present day, and has been so for ages. It is the emblem of good
luck. The name "Swastika," by which it is widely known, is a Sanskrit
word meaning "good luck." The word is composed of Su, the equivalent
of the Greek _eu_, signifying "well" or "good," and asti (like the
Greek _esto_), signifying "being," whilst ka is a suffix completing
the word as a substantive. The sign or emblem called Swastika must
have existed and been largely used in decoration of temples, images,
swords, banners, utensils, and personal trinkets of all sorts long
before this name was given to it. It has a name in many widely separate
languages. It is often referred to by English writers as the fylfot,
the gammadion, and the "crux ansata," also as the "croix gammée." It is
often found more roughly drawn (on pottery or cloth) as shown in Fig.
39. Often the arms of the cross are bent rigidly at right angles as
in Fig. 38, but they are often only curved as seen in Fig. 39, C, or
curled spirally as in B, when it is called an "ogee." The arms of the
Swastika are sometimes bent to the right as in Fig. 38, and sometimes
to the left as in Fig. 39. This difference does not appear to have any
symbolic significance, but to depend on the fancy of the artist.

[Illustration: FIG. 39.–Three simple varieties of the swastika.
_A_, the normal rectangular. _B_, the ogee variety (with spiral
extremities). _C_, the curvilinear or "current" variety.]

[Illustration: FIG. 40.–Footprint of the Buddha, from an ancient Indian
carving, showing several swastikas. (Fergusson and Schliemann.)]

In Figs. 40 to 45 a few examples are shown of the Swastika from various
places and ages. It was in use in Japan in ancient times, and is
still common there and in Korea. In China, where it is called "wan,"
it was at one time used, when enclosed in a circle, as a character
or pictograph to signify the sun. It has been employed in China from
time immemorial to mark sacred or specially honoured works of art,
buildings, porcelain, pictures, robes, and is sometimes tattooed on
the hands, arms, or breast. In India it is widely used in decoration
by both Buddhists and Brahmins; children have it painted on their
shaven heads, and it is introduced in various ceremonies. The gigantic
carved footprints of Buddha from an Indian temple drawn in Fig. 40 show
several Swastikas on the soles of the feet and on the toes. In the
Near East and in Europe the Swastika is no longer in use: it is not,
in fact, popularly known. But in ancient and very remote times it was
in constant use in these regions, especially by the Mykenæan people
and those who came under their influence, and also by the people of
the Bronze Age–before the use of iron in Europe. Fig. 41 shows a vase
of Mykenæan age (about 1200 years B.C.) from Cyprus ornamented with
Swastikas. Hundreds of terra-cotta "spindle-whorls" like Fig. 42 were
found by Schliemann in excavating Hissarlik and the site of ancient
Troy, and some of them date from 3000 B.C. in layers of different ages.
The vase on which is painted the ornament shown in Fig. 43 is from
Bœotia, and belongs to the same early period–the "Mykenæan" or "Ægæan"
before that of the Hellenes. It still survives in the pottery of the
Dipylon period (_circa_ 800 B.C.), as is seen in the fragment drawn
in Fig. 6, Chapter I. The later Greeks of the great classical period
(Hellenes) did not use the Swastika. Nor has it been found on the works
of art of the ancient Egyptians, nor in the remains of Babylonia,
Assyria or Persia. It, in fact, seems to have belonged especially to
that ancient "Minoan" civilization, the remains of which are found
in Crete and the other Greek islands. The same culture and the same
race is revealed to us by the discoveries of Schliemann at Mykenæ and
other spots in Greece, and at Hissarlik, the seat of ancient Troy. The
Mykenæan art seems not to have been transmitted to the post-Homeric
Greeks, nor to Egypt, nor to Babylonia and Assyria. The Swastika seems,
like the "flying gallop" of Mykenæan art, to have travelled in very
ancient times by a north-eastern route to the Far East. I have given
some account of the latter, with illustrations, in "Science from an
Easy Chair," Second series. Like the representation of the galloping
horse, with both fore and hind legs stretched and the hoofs of the hind
legs turned upwards, the Swastika is found in the remarkable metal work
(Fig. 43 _bis_) discovered in the necropolis of Koban, in the Caucasus,
dating from 500 B.C. The Swastika and the "flying gallop" probably
travelled together across Asia to China and the Far East, and so
eventually to India on the one hand and Japan on the other–the Swastika
thus escaping altogether, as does the pose of the "flying gallop," the
Near East and later Greece. This is a very remarkable and interesting

[Illustration: FIG. 41.–Vase from Cyprus (Mykenæan Age, _circa_ 1200
B.C.); painted with lotus, bird and four swastikas (Metropolitan
Museum, New York City).]

[Illustration: FIG. 42.–Terra-cotta spindle-whorl marked with
swastikas. Troy, 4th city (Schliemann).]

The Mykenæans and their island relatives obtained the Swastika either
from the ancient Bronze-age people of Europe or else gave it to them,
since it is very nearly as common as a decoration or symbol on the
bronze swords, spear-heads, shields, and other metal work of these
prehistoric people of the middle and north of Europe (also occurring
in the pottery of the Swiss Lake dwellings), as it is in the islands
and adjacent lands of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Swastika is also
found abundantly on the early work of the Etruscans, but disappeared
from general use in Italy, as it did from the rest of Europe, before
historic times, although occasionally used (as in the decoration of
the walls of a house at Pompeii). All over Germany, Scandinavia,
France, and Britain it is found (Fig. 44) on objects of the Bronze
period–sometimes on stone as well as on bronze utensils, ornaments,
and weapons. A few objects of Anglo-Saxon age are ornamented with
it–especially remarkable is a piece of pottery of that age from Norfolk
(Fig. 45).

[Illustration: FIG. 43.–Ornament from an archaic (pre-Hellenic) Bœotian
vase, showing several swastikas, Greek crosses and two serpents (from

[Illustration: FIG. 43. (_bis_).–Swastika in bronze repoussé, from the
necropolis of Koban, Caucasus (after Chantre "Le Caucase"), about 500

[Illustration: FIG. 44.–Silver-plated bronze horse-gear from
Scandinavia, showing two swastikas, and below a complex elaboration of
a swastika. (Bronze Age, about 1500 B.C.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 45.–Anglo-Saxon urn from Shropham, Norfolk,
ornamented by twenty small hand-made swastikas stamped into the clay.
(British Museum.)]

The history of the "Swastika" would be remarkable enough if it ended
here with the disappearance of its use in Europe in prehistoric times
and its continued use in the Far East and India. But the most curious
fact about it is that we find it as a very common and favourite
decoration and device among the native tribes in North America and
Mexico, and exceptionally in Brazil. It is found in use among the
Indians of Kansas and other tribes–as a device in pottery, in bead-work
(Fig. 46), patch-work, quill-embroidery, and other decorative fabrics.
The Indians called Sacs, Kickapoos, and Pottawottamies, who worship
the sun (which is associated with the Swastika in China), call it by
a native name signifying "the luck." It is also found as a decorative
design in the most ancient remains of man in America, dating (so far as
can be guessed) from a thousand years or more before Columbus (Fig. 47).

[Illustration: FIG. 46.–Piece of a ceremonial bead-worked garter,
showing star and two swastikas made by the Sac Indians, Cook County,
Kansas. (Modern.)]

It is generally held that the Swastika must have been introduced into
America in prehistoric times by early redskin immigrants from Asia. The
question has been raised as to whether this introduction was before or
after the worship of Buddha in Asia. It is only amongst Buddhists that
the Swastika has a religious or sacred character. Elsewhere it seems to
have been a mark or sign carrying "good luck." A representation of a
sitting human figure incised on shell has been found in a prehistoric
burial-mound in Tennessee, which has remarkable resemblance to the
Asiatic statues of the Buddha. Shell ornaments have also been found
here decorated with sharply-cut Swastikas, and in a mound in Ohio thin
plates of copper were found cut into simple Swastika shapes like that
of Fig. 38, four inches across. Modern Mexican Indians make brooches of
gold and turquoise in the form of the Swastika, and it is a favourite
device among the Indians of neighbouring territory. Swastikas occur as
decorations or lucky marks on the small terra-cotta "fig-leaf," which
was worn by the women of some of the aboriginal tribes of Brazil, and
have also been found on native pottery from the Paraguay River.

Some students of this subject have held the opinion that the "Swastika"
has been invented independently at different times in different
parts of the world. It is a fairly simple device, it is true; but
the view which is accepted at present is that it has spread from
one centre–probably European in the late Stone period–through the
Mykenæans, across Asia, and so with early immigrants across the Pacific
into the American continent.

[Illustration: FIG. 47.–A stone slab from the ancient city of Mayapan
(Yucatan, Central America), on which (right side) a curvilinear
swastika is carved. (From the American Antiquarian Society, 1881.)]

Apart from this problem, there is an interesting question as to how
the device probably took its origin. The "Swastika" is sometimes
called the "gammadion," because it may be regarded as four individuals
of the Greek letter gamma (which has this shape [Greek: G]) joined
at right angles to one another. The old English name for it, dating
from Anglo-Saxon times, was fylfot–an old Norse word of doubtful
meaning, which has no currency at the present day.

A method of making the Swastika by piling up sand or grain on a flat
surface, actually in use at the present time in India, is shown in Fig.
48. The artist makes first of all a circle with a cross drawn within it
(A). Then the circle is rubbed out or cut away at four corresponding
points where the arms of the cross touch the circle, and so we get
B. Then by the straightening of the curved pieces we get the correct
rectangular Swastika, C. It is not probable that this is the way in
which the Swastika was originally devised, though it is not possible to
arrive at any certainty on the subject.

In these matters concerning the origin of simple ornamental patterns,
designs, and symbols, we always have to deal with certain natural
opposing tendencies on the part of the artist-draughtsman or designer,
one or other of which may be variously called into prominence by the
softness or hardness or other quality of the material he has to use,
or by the individual fancy for elaboration or for simplification which
exists in him. I will call four of these tendencies which concern us
in regard to the Swastika: 1, the rectilinear as opposed to 2, the
curvilinear, and 3, the grammatizing as opposed to 4, the naturalizing
tendency, and will show what bearing they may have on the origin of the
device known as the Swastika.

[Illustration: FIG. 48.–Diagram to show the derivation of the swastika
from a Greek cross enclosed by a circle. In India the swastika is
actually modelled in this way–in native ceremonies with rice-grain
spread on the ground. The successive figures drawn above are produced
by moving the rice with the hand.]



The Swastika is, we have seen, a very early device or symbol in
use among ancient races in Europe, Asia and America. Though it has
been found on an ingot of metal in Ashanti it was of late foreign
introduction there, and is not known in Africa, nor in Polynesia and
Australia, nor among the Eskimos. How did it as a mere matter of
shape and pattern come into existence? One might suppose that such
combinations of lines as the simple cross and this modified cross,
with the arms bent each half-way along its length to form a right
angle, would be very natural things for a primitive man–or a child–to
make when trying to produce some ornamental effect by tracing simple
rectilinear and symmetrical figures. No doubt such a "playing with
lines" is a common phase or stage of the human search for decorative
design. It leads by gradual steps to very complex line-decoration in
early pottery and woven work, which is sometimes called "geometrical

It is, however, the fact, and a very interesting one, that the
tendency to make geometrical design is not so pronounced in the very
earliest examples of human drawing and ornament known to us, as is
the tendency to copy natural objects. And this would appear to be
especially the case where the drawing is to be a symbol or significant
badge. In the earliest art-work known to us–that of the cave-men of
the late Pleistocene period in Western Europe (see Chaps. I., II.
and III.)–the artists were busy with attempts (often wonderfully
successful ones) to present the outlines of familiar animals (and
sometimes plants) by incised carving on bone or painting on the rock
walls of caves–preceded, it is true, by a period in which "all-round"
sculpture in bone or stone or modelling in clay was the method
employed. The extensive use of lines–concentric or parallel, like
those on the finger-tips–as decoration of stone work is not known
until the later or Neolithic period.[7] On one at least of the incised
bone drawings of the Palæolithic cave-men two little diamond-shaped
lozenges are engraved. They are seen in the cave-men's drawing of a
stag figured on pp. 12, 13 of this book. These lozenges are supposed to
be the "signature" of the artist, and, if so, are not only the first
examples of a geometrical rectilinear figure as ornament, but the
earliest examples known of the use of a badge or symbol as a means of

When we compare the simpler decorative designs made use of by the
less cultivated races of men, we find that there are certain distinct
and opposed tendencies the predominance of which is of importance
in helping us to explain the origin of the design. The tendency to
make straight lines and rectilinear angles, which we may call the
"rectilinear habit," is found in work executed on hard stone by a
graving tool, and in work where square-cut stones are set together or
flat pieces of wood or straw are interlaced, and in coarser kinds of
weaving, bead-work, and basketwork. The opposite tendency is found in
work executed with a brush and fluid paint on pottery or cloth, or even
with a graver on soft clay or bone.

The contrast is well shown in the two renderings of one and the same
"pattern," shown in A and B of Fig. 49. A is the rectilinear angular
decorative design which is known as the "Greek key pattern," whilst the
scroll below it is the "curvilinear" treatment of the same subject.
The first takes its rectilinear character from a structure built up of
hard blocklike pieces; the other is the flowing, easily moving line of
a brush laying on paint, or of a style moving over clay or soft wax.
The contrast is the same as that of the capital letters of the Roman
alphabet, as used in print, with their equivalents in "copper-plate,"
cursive handwriting.

[Illustration: FIG. 49.–The Greek Key pattern in _A_ rectangular, and
_B_ curvilinear or "current" form.]

Another pair of tendencies opposed to each other which have much
significance in the explanation of decorative design is the tendency
to convert the simple lines of an original design into a drawing
representing some animal or plant shape. At the end of the last chapter
I distinguished this as the "naturalizing" tendency, contrasting it
with the grammatizing or simplifying tendency. A good example of it
is seen in Fig. 50. In A of that figure we see a circle divided into
three cones by curved lines; this is a known design. It is called a
"triskelion" (meaning a three-legged figure), or is more correctly
termed "a three-branched scroll." The curves are converted into angles
and straight lines in B, and then the stiff rectilinear "triskelion"
is subsequently developed into three human legs, as shown in C, Fig.
50. It is naturalized. Were the change to proceed in the other way from
the three human legs to the simple lines, we should have an example of
the opposed tendency, namely, that of converting drawings of natural
objects–by a degenerative or reducing process–to the simplest lines
representative of them. This tendency, which we call "grammatizing"
(from gramma, the Greek for a line), is far commoner in early art than
the naturalizing tendency which sets in when the artist is exuberant,
self-confident, and imaginative. We see a "naturalizing" tendency
in the flamboyant and arabesque decorative work of the renascence,
but it is also found among the happy Minoan, or Ægæan, island folk
who decorated great pots and basins in Cyprus and Crete with forms
suggested by birds, sea-creatures, and climbing plants, and worshipped
the great mother Nature as Aphrodite, the sea-born goddess.

[Illustration: FIG. 50.–Diagrams of the "triskelion" or figure formed
by the division of a circle into three equal bent cones as in _A_. _B_
is the rectangular form derived from it. _C_ is a "naturalized" form
derived from it, namely, the three conjoined legs used as the badge of
Sicily and of the Isle of Man.]

The triangular island of Sicily (called also Trinacria) had in ancient
times (even as far back as 300 B.C.) the conjoined three legs (shown
in Fig. 50, C) as its badge or armorial emblem. An ancient Greek vase
found at Girgenti has this badge painted on it. Ancient Lycia had a
triskelion formed by three conjoined cocks' heads stamped on its coins.
Though it has no direct connection with the Swastika, the introduction
of the "three legs" as the armorial emblem of the Isle of Man is worth
relating, as it is not known to most of those who are familiar with
the device, with its motto, "Quocunque jeceris stabit" on the copper
pence minted for that island up to as late a date as 1864, and current
in Great Britain. King Alexander III of Scotland expelled the Norse
Vikings from the Isle of Man in A.D. 1266, and substituted for their
armorial emblem in the island, which was a ship under full sail, the
three legs of Sicily. Frederick II, King of Sicily, married Isabella,
the daughter of Henry III of England. Alexander III of Scotland married
Margaret, another daughter of Henry, and Henry's son, Edmund the
Hunchback, became King of Sicily, in succession to his brother-in-law
Frederick. Alexander of Scotland was thus brother-in-law both of
Frederick II and of Edmund, successive kings of Sicily. It was in this
way that he was led, when he added the Isle of Man to his kingdom, to
replace the former Norse emblem of the island by the picturesque and
striking device of that other island–Sicily–with which he had so close
a family connection.

The tendency for drawings of men and animals when used as decorative
designs to degenerate, in the course of time and repetition, into
more and more simple lines, to become more and more "grammatized"
and simplified, till at last their origin is hardly recognizable,
is both a very remarkable and a very usual thing. The process of
degeneration, step by step, can often be traced, and curious remnants
of important parts of the original drawing are found surviving in the
final simplified design. The paddles and other carvings of some of the
South Sea Islanders show very curious "degenerations" of this kind.
A carved human head with open mouth becomes by repeated copying and
simplification a mere crescent or hook, which is the vastly enlarged
mouth of the original face. It alone survives, and is of enormous
size, when all other features and detail have been abandoned. In some
carvings of a face the tongue is shown projecting as an indication of
defiance. In course of simplification in successive reproductions the
face becomes a mere curved surface with a large pointed piece standing
out from it; it is the tongue. That one significant thing–suggesting
defiance–alone persists. The study of this process in human art
covers a very wide field, including all races and all times. An
excellent example is that given in Fig. 51. It shows the step by step
"grammatizing" of a favourite decorative drawing–that of an alligator,
as painted by the Chiriqui Indians of Panama on pottery. We start in
Fig. 51, A, with an alligator, already considerably "schematized"
or conventionalized. The Indians could do better than that, but it
served for pottery decoration. The figures B, C, D show three stages
of further "grammatizing" of the design (from different parts of
the surface of a pot) till, in D, we get the alligator reduced to a
yoke-like line and a dot!

[Illustration: FIG. 51.–Four stages in the simplification of a
decorative design–the Alligator–as painted on pottery by the Chiriqui
Indians. (Holmes.)]

Familiar modern examples of this reduction of an animal figure to one
or two lines, with mysterious-looking branches (representing limbs or
horns), are seen in the scattered devices on the Turkey carpets so
largely used at the present day. A comparison of various examples of
such carpets of different age and locality reveals the true nature of
these queer-looking patterns as representations of animals! Another
familiar instance of the grammatizing of an animal form is that
shown in Fig. 52, D, which is the common symbol in modern European
art for a flying bird. Fig. 52 shows, however, some more important
simplifications of animal form. The series marked E are a few examples
from hundreds painted on the walls of caves in Cantabria (Spain) by
prehistoric men. They start with a clearly recognizable figure of
a man–many such, an inch or two high, occur on some parts of the
cave-walls–and then we have all sorts of simplifications and deviations
from the more naturalistic initial design, as shown by the rest of the
series, ending in a T–a primitive symbol often arrived at by savage
decorative artists in various parts of the world by reducing and
grammatizing the human figure. The letters of many alphabets have been
simplified in this way from original picture-like signs or pictographs.

[Illustration: FIG. 52.–Simplification (grammatizing) of decorative
design. _A_, a stork walking. _B_, a stag. _C_, a stork with wings
spread for flying–resulting when fully "grammatized" in a curvilinear
swastika. _A_, _B_, and _C_, from spindle-whorls found at Hissarlik.
_D_, conventional representation of three flying birds. _E_,
grammatized human figure from the walls of caverns in Cantabria.]

[Illustration: FIG. 53.–Spindle-whorl from Troy (fourth city), with
three swastikas–two resembling "stylized" storks (see Fig. 52, C).

The drawings lettered A, B and C in Fig. 52 represent accurately
figures scratched on the clay "spindle-whorls" (before baking), so
abundant in the remains of the ancient cities on the hill of Hissarlik
(Troy), found by Schliemann (see Figs. 42 and 53). These heavy,
bun-like spindle-whorls have retained their use and shape since
Neolithic times (they are found in the Swiss lake-dwellings) to the
present day. Similar whorls were made of modern porcelain, variously
decorated, in France in the last century and sold to the peasants for
giving weight and rotatory stability to the spindle used in spinning,
and are still used wherever the spindle survives, as among the Indians
of Central America. A "grammatized" profile representation of a stork
(Fig. 52, A) is one of the designs on these Hissarlik spindle-whorls,
and so is the linear representation of a stag (Fig. 52, B). And now we
come back to the Swastika. The four figures in a row, marked C in Fig.
52, are a few of the representations of "flying" storks on these same
spindle-whorls; one so marked is drawn in Fig. 53. They are of various
degrees of simplification, and the last but one on the right hand side
is identical with a Swastika! It must be carefully remembered that
these clay spindle-whorls from Hissarlik are very commonly inscribed
with undoubted well-shaped Swastikas, as shown in Fig. 42. The Swastika
is quite a common and usual decorative lucky badge in the household art
of that locality and age. Hence it is not surprising that M. Solomon
Reinach, of Paris, has suggested that the Swastika may have originated
thus–by the "stylizing" or "grammatizing" of a favourite and sacred
bird–the stork. Once thus suggested and drawn in the simple Swastika
shape the emblem (it would be supposed) became fixed, and made as
rectilinear and simple as possible. Thenceforward it was accepted as an
emblem of good luck, which has been transmitted throughout the ancient
world of Europe, Asia and America. This theory has a plausible aspect,
but I understand from M. Reinach that he no longer attaches importance
to it. I do not know what theory, if any, of the origin of the Swastika
now commends itself to him, nor whether he thinks it has originated
independently in several times and places, or holds that it has one
common origin. I am inclined to favour the theory that the Swastika
has been started by the copying of the form of a natural object on the
part of a primitive race of men, and that this form has lent itself to
the invention of other badges and symbols besides that known as the
Swastika. I will explain this in the next chapter.


[7] But spiral and leaf-like decorative designs engraved on bone (see
Fig. 29, p. 54) are found in caves associated with other carvings made
by cave-men of the Reindeer or late Palæolithic period.



[Illustration: FIG. 54.–The "Tomoye"–the Japanese badge of triumph.]

[Illustration: FIG. 55.–Symbols of the history of the universe used by
the ancient Chinese philosopher Chu-Hsi. _A_, The original "void." _B_,
The great monad. _C_, The monad divides into two, male and female. _D_,
The halves in rotatory movement, suggested by the S-like bending of the
dividing line or diameter of the circle.]

[Illustration: FIG. 56.–Diagrams to show the possible derivation of the
swastika from the inscription of two S-like lines (or "ogees") within a
circle so as to divide the circle into four bent cones. _B_ and _C_ are
ogee and rectangular swastikas easily produced by modification of the
encircled figure.]

Fig. 54 represents a remarkable design which is a sort of national
emblem, a universally accepted badge of triumph and honour in Japan,
and is called "Tomoye"–meaning "triumph." The black and white portions
are in that country painted respectively red and yellow. It is simply
a circle divided into two equal cone-like figures by the inscription
within it of a doubly-curved line like the letter S. Where and how did
the Japanese get this badge? Who invented it, or from what natural
object is it copied? A modified Tomoye with the cones dislocated is
used as the national flag of Korea. A single one of these curious,
tapering, one-sided cones is closely similar to the cone-like figures
sometimes called "pines" which one sees on Indian shawls. The origin
of these is sometimes said to be a copying of some fruit or vegetable
growth, but is really not ascertained–and is possibly half of a Tomoye!
A great circular altar-stone has been found in Central America, 5 ft.
across, divided by a deep S-shaped groove into two equal one-sided
cones (Fig. 59) like the Tomoye. The figure formed by an S within a
circle is found in the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher
Chu-Hsi. He gives a series of symbols representing (according to
him) the history of the universe. They are shown in Fig. 55, and are
explained as follows. The empty circle A represents the original
"void"–the boundary line is conventional. After untold æons the great
monad appeared. It is represented by B. Then we get the division of
the great monad (now called "Tai-I") into two, shown in C of our
Fig. 55–singularly recalling the division of the nucleated cell or
protoplasmic unit of animal and vegetable structure. The two halves,
however, in this case represent the feminine called "Yin" and the
masculine called "Yang." The last drawing, D of Fig. 55, shows the
Yin and the Yang in rotatory motion. This is indicated by the S-like
bending of the diameter, and the consequent formation of a figure like
the Tomoye. By this motion the visible universe is supposed–by the
philosopher Chu-Hsi–to be produced. The figure marked D is described
as a "cosmological symbol." It does not help us to the origin of the
figure showing the division of the circle as in the Tomoye, for it
dates only from about the twelfth century of our era.

If we suppose the circle divided, as in the Tomoye, to be a very
ancient badge or device, dating from prehistoric man, then it is
probably derived from a natural object. And this object was probably
a ground-down transverse section across a whelk-shell, for if one
makes such a section just above the mouth of the shell at right angles
to its length, one gets two adjacent chambers of the spirally-coiled
shell separated by an S-like partition, the resulting figure given
by the slice across the shell being that of the "tomoye," with its
paired, one-sided, cone-like constituents. Shells are amongst the
chief ornaments used by prehistoric and modern savage man. Large
ones are ground down to make armlets. The perception of the spiral
as a decorative line is almost certainly due to the handling and
grinding-down of snail shells, and, indeed, we find spirals and
reversed spiral scrolls engraved on bone by the Pleistocene cave-men
(see Fig. 29).

[Illustration: FIG. 57.–Terra-cotta cone with a seven-armed sun-like
figure engraving on it. Troy. (Schliemann.)]

The Ægæan people of the Greek islands (of whom the Mykenæans are
a part) copied a variety of forms of marine animals in their
decorations of pottery, and, in fact, natural shapes were the basis
of their decorative art. They simplified and "grammatized" their more
nature-true designs into badges and symbols.

[Illustration: FIG. 58.–Scalloped Shell Disk, from a mound near
Nashville, Tennessee, showing in the centre a tetraskelion with four
curved arms, about four inches in diameter, made of polished shell.
(Peabody Museum.)]

We find in early work discovered in the ancient mounds of North America
decorative circles (Fig. 58) in which two S-like lines at right angles
to one another are inscribed as shown in Fig. 56, and we find also
that these curved rays may be prolonged as a marvellous enveloping
spiral coil or helix–especially in the painting of pottery. When the
curved rays are many in number, as in Fig. 57, the design has been
interpreted by some archæologists as symbolizing the sun, and it is
important to remember that the Swastika itself was used in China as
the pictograph of the sun. A single curved S-like line has been found
cut on a great circular slab, an ancient altar-stone (Fig. 59) in
Honduras (Copan)–so as to divide the circle as is done in the Japanese
Tomoye. It is obvious that the exact geometric character of the S-like
division is of great significance in these designs and requires careful
study and explanation. I have briefly discussed this matter at the
end of the chapter. In the common "ogee Swastika," Fig. 56, B, the
more or less elaborately helicoid arms are merely careless flourishes
of the painter's brush. The simple four-rayed figure, shown in Fig.
56, A, is often spoken of as a "tetraskelion," or four-legged scroll,
and is associated with the three-legged figure or triskelion which I
wrote of in the last chapter. If the curvilinear "tetraskelion" be
angularized–that is to say, rectangles substituted for semicircles,
we get the correct fully developed Swastika, Fig. 56, C. And if,
abandoning the circle, the draughtsman rapidly drew with a brush or on
soft clay lines like an S crossing one another at right angles, he
produced what is common enough wherever the more formal rectangular
Swastika is found, namely, the curvilinear or "ogee Swastika," Fig. 56,

It is not possible with our present knowledge to penetrate into
the remote past and really ascertain the origin of the shape or
device called a Swastika. But it is, I think, quite likely that in
manipulating the "tomoye" symbol (whether copied from a section of
shell or originating by more independent invention and "trying"
of lines and curves and circles), very early man duplicated the
symmetrical S by which he had divided a circle and produced the
tetraskelion seen in Fig. 56, A. The conversion of this into the
rectangular Swastika and into varieties of the ogee and menander (which
I have not found space to describe) would be an easy and natural

[Illustration: FIG. 59.–An altar-stone of prehistoric age. The circular
surface is cut into by a trough of S-shape, which divides it so as to
resemble the Japanese "Tomoye." From Copan, Honduras.]

At the same time, I have no conviction that this is the real origin of
the Swastika, and await further evidence. The "flying-stork theory,"
which was put forward by Reinach, is very attractive. Birds as badges
and "totems" are frequent among primitive mankind, and certain species
are often regarded as sacred and bringing good luck. The stork is one
of these. If the artists who marked the very ancient clay-pottery of
Hissarlik with the Swastika and also with outlines of the flying stork,
strongly resembling a Swastika, did not derive the Swastika from the
stork, but had received it from some independent source, then it is
probable that they purposely drew the flying stork, so as to make it
resemble as much as possible a Swastika.

When we take account of the apparently arbitrary passage of human
decorative design from the naturalistic to the linear, and from the
linear to the naturalistic; from the curvilinear to the rectilinear,
and from rectilinear to curvilinear; when we also reflect that some
races and populations of men have been prone to seek for the forms
of their decoration in the natural forms of plants and animals,
whilst others have made use of mere mechanical patterns of parallel
or interlacing lines, we must conclude that by the appeal to one or
other of these various tendencies it is easy to invent a large variety
of more or less plausible theories as to the origin of the Swastika.
The truth of the matter can only be decided, if ever, by more direct
and conclusive evidence than we at present possess. Nevertheless, it
is a legitimate and fascinating thing to speculate on the origin of
this wonderful world-pervading emblem coming to us from the mists of
prehistoric ages, and to endeavour to arrive, if possible, at possible
points of contact between it and other "devices" and "symbols," even
though they may be of equally obscure birth.[8]

[Illustration: FIG. 60.]

The accurate division of a circle into two equal comma-shaped areas
of the special shape presented by the "Tomoye" of the Japanese (Fig.
54) and the rotating "Great Monad" of Chinese cosmogony (Fig. 55),
is effected by describing within a given circle two circles each
having its diameter equal to a radius of the enclosing circle. The
two inscribed circles touch one another at the centre of the latter,
but do not overlap. The area of the enclosing circle is thus divided
into four areas, _a_, _b_, _c_ and _d_ (see Fig. 60, A). The areas
_a_, _b_ are the two inscribed circles. Each of the residual areas
_c_, _d_ is called (as Sir Thos. Heath, F.R.S., kindly informs me) an
"arbelus" by ancient Greek geometricians–a name used for a rounded
knife used by shoemakers. The comma-shaped bent cone or pine is
formed by the fusion of one of the two small circles with one of the
adjacent arbeli (Fig. 60, B). The figure so formed which to-day is
loosely spoken of as a "bent cone," a "pine," or a "comma," has never,
so far as I can ascertain, received a name in geometry, nor in the
language of decorative design or pattern-making. Nor has the S-like
line made by the two semicircles separating the contiguous "pines"
or "commas" received any designation though vaguely indicated by
the word "ogee." The comma-like areas might conveniently be called
"streptocones," and their S-like boundary "a hemicyclic sigmoid." As
shown in Fig. 56, by drawing a second hemicyclic sigmoid of the same
dimensions at right angles to the first, the circle is divided into
four smaller streptocones. By using sigmoids or half-sigmoids of a
curvature of a different order from that of the hemicyclic one, but
of a precisely defined nature, the circle may be divided into three,
six, eight or more equal "streptocones" of graceful proportions, some
of which have been used either in series as borders in metal work
(for circular dishes and goblets) or as detached or grouped elements
in pattern-designs (stone-work tracery, embroidery, woven and printed

Apart from this development of the "streptocone" as an important
feature in decorative work, it is not without interest in connection
with the probable importance and significance of the Japanese double
streptocone, as we may call the Tomoye, to note some of its geometrical
features. Referring to the Fig. 60, it is obvious that each of the
paired streptocones is equal in area to half the enclosing circle,
also that each of the two inscribed circles (_a_, _b_) has an area of
one-fourth of that of the enclosing circle–and that each arbelus (_c_,
_d_) has also an area one-fourth that of the enclosing circle and is
equal in area to each of the inscribed circles (_a_, _b_). Each of the
two constituent "streptocones" is made up of a _complete_ circle capped
by an "arbelus" equal in area to it (namely, one-quarter of that of
the big circle). It is obvious that the area of the arbelus formed in
a semicircle by two enclosed semicircles which are contiguous and of
equal base as in Fig. 60, is equal to that of a circle the diameter
of which is the vertical line drawn from the apex of the arbelus to
the arc of the semicircle (Fig 60). This is true whether the enclosed
contiguous semicircles have chords of equal or unequal length (Fig.
60). This fact was known to the Greek geometricians, as I am informed
by Sir Thos. Heath.


[8] I am indebted for the figures (not the diagrams) illustrating
Chapters XVII., XVIII., XIX. to the report by Mr. Thomas Wilson on the
Swastika–in the Smithsonian Reports, 1894. Those interested in this
subject will find a vast store of information in that report.



Coal is so much "a matter of course" in our daily life that most people
are only now, when its supply is becoming precarious, anxious to know
something of its nature and history. By the word "coal," or "coles,"
our ancestors understood what we now distinguish as "charcoal,"
prepared from wood by the "charcoal-burner," or "charbonnier," as
the French call him. What we now call "coal" was known to them as
"sea-coal," and, later, as "black" or "stone cole," to distinguish it
from "brown coal," known nowadays as "lignite," though the name "stone
coal" is locally applied in England to that very hard kind of black
coal also called "anthracite," of which jet is only an extremely hard
and dense variety found in small quantities in the oolitic strata of
Whitby, Spain, and other localities.

It is on record that in the year 1306 a citizen of London was tried,
condemned, and executed for burning "sea-coal." This severe treatment
was held to be justified by the poisonous and otherwise injurious
nature of the smoke produced by fires of sea-coal. I have not met with
any records of the earliest digging for and trade in "sea-coal," but
presumably it was obtained near the coast in the North of England and
brought to London by ship–hence its name. The coal-trade of Newcastle
began in the thirteenth century, but, owing to an Act of Parliament
in the reign of Edward I forbidding the use of sea-coal in London,
did not become important until the seventeenth century. It came very
gradually into use, and we find that Evelyn (the diarist) in 1661
noted the withering and bad condition of rose-bushes and other plants
in London gardens, which he attributed to the pestilential action
of the smoke given off by the newly introduced "sea-coal" which was
increasingly used as fuel in London houses. The sea-coal was not yet
largely, if at all, used in the production of iron; and Evelyn as a
forest-owner and lover of trees, has much to say about the necessity
for attention to the cultivation of our forests in connection with the
iron industry which then flourished in the Weald of Sussex; charcoal
procured by the slow burning or roasting of wood being the fuel used
in the smelting furnaces, whilst the ore was the orange-brown wealden
sand. It was during the eighteenth century that what we now call simply
"coal" came rapidly into use–not only for domestic heating, but for
furnaces of all kinds employed in industrial enterprise, and, at a
later date, for the earlier and later forms of steam-engines. The smoke
of the new coal was everywhere regarded as a terrible nuisance, and
a source of injury to both animal and vegetable life. The poisonous
action of coal-smoke is not due to the finely divided black particles
of carbon of which it largely consists, but to the sulphuric acid
derived from the small quantities of sulphur present in coal. It is
calculated that more than sixteen million tons of coal are annually
used in London alone for heating purposes, and that 480,000 tons of
black carbon powder are discharged over London by its chimneys every
year, together with very nearly the same weight of poisonous sulphuric

What, then, is this "sea-coal" or "coal" of our modern life? We all
know its black, glistening appearance, and more or less friable
character. Its nature and origin are best conveyed by the statement
that it is very ancient "peat," compressed and naturally changed by
chemical action and retaining little or no trace of its original
structure. Peat, as we know it from the low land of English and French
river valleys and the bogs of Scotland and Ireland, is formed by the
annual growth and death of "mosses" of several kinds and of other
accompanying vegetation. It retains the woody forms of the vegetable
growths which constitute it, and they are often but loosely adherent to
one another. Peat may be merely a growth of the past five years, but is
sometimes many thousand years old. Older than peat, and more caked and
compressed, is lignite, or brown coal, which occurs on the Continent of
Europe, also in South Devon and elsewhere, in geological strata newer
than those which yield our black coal. Then we have the most important
class of black coals which are known as "bituminous coals," because
they soften when heated and form hydrocarbons of both viscid and
gaseous nature. They are used for domestic purposes, and wherever flame
is desired. They are, in fact, the "lumps of coal" familiar in our
scuttles. The "bituminous coal" with the greatest amount of hydrogen
in it is the cannel or candle coal, so called from its bright flame
when burning. This kind is especially valuable for gas-making, and of
smaller value as fuel. The term "anthracite" is reserved for a hard,
stone-like coal which is very nearly pure carbon (ninety per cent).
This class of coal burns with a very small amount of flame, gives
intense heat, and no smoke. It is used in drying malt and hops.

Like all woody matter, that from which peat is formed consists of a
combination of the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; and these
remain in somewhat changed chemical union in the brown coal, bituminous
coal, and anthracite. The carbon and a varying and small proportion of
the original hydrogen of the woody peat, are the important elements in
coal; and we may well ask how they come to be produced as a black or
dark brown mass from dead vegetable growths which are often bleached
and colourless. It is true that vegetable refuse does not necessarily
blacken when left to itself. We know that by roasting or charring wood
(or animals' flesh or bone) we can drive off the elements oxygen and
hydrogen and nitrogen (if there), and obtain a black mass of carbon
(so-called charcoal). That blackness is the actual true tint of carbon.
The dead weeds and leaves at the bottom of a stagnant pond break down
and form a pitch-black mud. They would not, and do not, go black
if exposed to the oxygen of the atmosphere; but at the bottom of a
stagnant pond or in a refuse heap they are excluded from the air, and
a microbe–a bacterium which has been carefully studied, and is of a
kind which can only flourish in the absence of free oxygen–attacks the
dead weeds, producing by change of their substance marsh-gas and black
carbon, the black mud emitting bubbles of gas which one may stir up
with a pole in such a pond. This chemical attack by anaërobic bacteria
goes on in the deeper layers of all marshes and stagnant pools, remote
from the oxygen of the air; and it is fairly certain that the black
coal which we find in strata of great geological age was so produced
by the action of special kinds of bacteria upon peat-like masses of
vegetable refuse. Indeed, by studying microscopic sections of coal,
numerous forms of bacteria have been recognized which might be capable
of effecting such chemical changes. On the other hand, we must remember
that it is not possible to conclude by form alone as to what subtle
chemical work a bacterium or bacillus or micro-coccus may be, or may
have been, carrying on. The peat-like deposits which became carbonized
and so formed the "coal" were probably masses of algæ, mosses and soft
aquatic plants, which were brought down and accumulated in swampy,
forest-covered ground about the mouths of rivers, the deposit being
covered in owing to rapid oscillations of level by beds of sand or
clay, followed by new growth and deposit.

Our British coal and a good deal of foreign coal is found in certain
stratified rocks of the earth's crust known as "the Carboniferous
System," about 12,000 ft. thick, consisting chiefly of very dense
limestone. The "seams," or stratified beds of coal, occur in sandy
rock known as the "Coal Measures," and vary in thickness from a mere
film to 40 ft. Above the Carboniferous System are later deposits, some
14,000 ft. in thickness–the Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous,
and Tertiary strata. Below them we find stratified deposits containing
fossilized remains of plants and animals, to a depth of another 40,000
ft.: they are the Devonian, Silurian, and Cambrian "systems" or series
of strata. Coal of a workable nature is found in many parts of the
world in the beds or strata of later age than our Coal Measures–namely,
those of Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary age.

Coal is so valuable and used in such vast quantities by modern man
that, though procured at first from beds lying at or near the surface,
it has been found remunerative to mine far into the depths of the
earth's surface, where its existence is ascertained, in order to
procure it. A depth of 4000 ft. is apparently the limit set to such
mining by the increase of temperature in mines which penetrate to
that extent below the surface. In 1905 the annual output of British
coal-mines was in round numbers 230,000,000 tons. It is certain that
there is a limit to this production, but not possible to calculate what
that limit may be, owing to the uncertainty as to the future working of
coal-fields as yet unexplored.

Such questions have been, and are being, considered by experts on
behalf of the Government. A matter of interest of another kind is
that in and associated with the coal seams of our Coal Measures,
fossilized remains of peculiar fern-like trees, ferns, and other
strange plants, and of very peculiar, extinct newt-like animals (as
large as crocodiles) are found in great variety. The notion that the
toads occasionally found embedded in the black mud of a coal-yard or
even in a fractured lump of coal are survivals from the time–many
millions of years past–when the plants and animals of the Coal Measure
swamps were living, is a baseless fancy. The toads so found are of the
kind or species now living on the earth–totally different from those
whose bones occur in the Coal Measures, and the presence of such modern
toads embedded in black slime, in coal-heaps in store-yards, or even in
coal-scuttles, is only what may be expected to occur and does occur in
damp quarries and other places where these familiar little beasts love
to hide.



Closely similar to coal in chemical matter–that is to say, consisting
chiefly of definite chemical compounds, called hydrocarbons, built
up of only two elements, carbon and hydrogen, and of no other–is a
very remarkable class of mineral substances known to the ancients
as "bitumen." In its widest sense, it includes "natural gas," the
variously mixed liquids called "petroleum" and the solid "asphalts."
In ancient times the more fluid kinds of petroleum issuing from the
ground in South Russia and Persia were called "naphtha," and that
name is still applied to the more volatile hydrocarbons obtained by
the distillation of such substances as coal-tar (the residue of the
extraction by heat of commercial gas from coal), bituminous shale,
petroleum, wood and some other bodies which owe their existence to the
activity either of living or of long-extinct and "fossilized" plants
and animals.

The bitumens, together with coal, present in their natural state a
very large variety of inflammable constituents–gaseous, liquid, and
solid hydrocarbons; but, when "distilled" at various temperatures and
under conditions determined by the manufacturing chemist, they yield a
still larger series of pure separable bodies, which have been minutely
studied and classified according to their chemical constitution.
They are produced in great chemical factories in large quantities
for use in the most diverse ways invented by human ingenuity. Thus
natural gas–superseded by distilled coal-gas–has served for fuel and
for illumination: refined petroleum serves not only for those uses
in general, but as the special source of power in the engines of
motor-cars and aeroplanes. A wonderful solid crystalline wax-like
substance, paraffin, as white as snow, is distilled in enormous
quantities (nearly three million tons a year) from "bituminous
shale" or "oil-shale" in this country alone. It can be obtained in
soft (vaseline) and liquid forms, and in fact the "paraffin series"
recognized by chemists starts from the gas "methane," or marsh-gas,
and comprises some thirty kinds, leading from gas to volatile liquids,
thence to viscid liquids, to butter-like solids, and up to hard
crystalline substances which melt only at the temperature of boiling
water. Endless chemical manufacturing industries–_e.g._, those of
dye-stuffs and explosives–depend upon the chemical treatment of these
paraffins and of various bodies obtained as secondary products in their
preparation. Benzine and aniline are chiefly obtained from coal-tar.
The oils and waxes of quasi-mineral origin have a great advantage over
vegetable and animal oils in many uses, since they are not liable to
become "rancid"; that is to say, to decompose owing to the action on
them of bacteria. A marked difference between the paraffins (often
distinguished, together with the "olefines," as "mineral" oils) and the
oils and fats found in living plants and animals is that they do not
"saponify"; that is to say, they do not form those combinations with
alkalis and other bases which are called "soaps," nor can they serve as
food to man or any other animal. They are not acted on by the digestive

From ancient times natural deposits or outpourings of "bitumens"
have been known and used by mankind. The Assyrians and other early
peoples of the East used "asphalt" (translated by the word "slime"
in the English version of the Bible) in place of calcareous mortar
in building; and to this day it is used largely in this country as a
"damp-course" in walls built of brick. Great deposits of asphalt are
found in Central America and some of the West Indian islands, and
"quarried" for commercial purposes. The great pitch-lake of Trinidad
yields an abundant supply. In the Val de Travers, in the Canton of
Neuchatel (Switzerland), a rich deposit is worked which, mixed with
earthy material, forms a road-making concrete, largely used in London
and other cities, and also for main roads in country districts. The
ancient Egyptians used asphalt for embalming the dead. But the ancients
also knew natural springs of liquid bitumen–that which nowadays we call
petroleum–some of them freely flowing like water, which would take
fire and burn for long periods, and were described as fountains of
"burning water." We find, as we pass from the Middle Ages to the days
of geographical exploration, records of such springs of inflammable
oil and of natural inflammable gas in all parts of the world–Japan,
China, Burma, Persia, Galicia, Italy (Salsomaggiore), Central and North
America, and of not a few in these islands–for instance, in Shropshire,
Derbyshire, Sussex, Kimmeridge and various sites in the southern
counties. The oil was, until the middle of the last century, valued
chiefly as a medicinal application, and "Seneca oil" and "American
medicinal oil" were largely sold and used as an embrocation in the
United States.

We owe the introduction of the name "petroleum" to Professor Silliman,
who in 1855 reported upon the "rock oil or petroleum" of Venango
County, Pennsylvania. The first attempt as a commercial enterprise
to obtain rock-oil or petroleum by _boring_ into the strata in which
there was local evidence of its existence in greater or less quantity,
was made in 1854 by the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company. After some
unsuccessful attempts, when the drilling had been carried to a depth
of 69 ft. the tools suddenly dropped into a subterranean cavity, and
on the following day the well was found to have "struck oil," and
twenty-five barrels a day were yielded by that well for some time. From
here the industry spread over the States and Canada, and in 1908 the
year's yield was 45,000,000 barrels.

Since 1870 the industry has spread all over the globe–Russia, Galicia,
Rumania, Java, Borneo and Burma being prominent sources of the oil
supply of the world. The raw petroleum of different localities differs
in each case in the amount of solid paraffins and olefines dissolved
in the liquid paraffins. Other substances also are dissolved in it in
variable amount–such as benzene, acetylene, camphene and naphthalene.
The fact that the oil, when reached by a boring, is often found to be
under a considerable pressure, so that it rises and flows from the
surface of the well, or even may shoot up as a great fountain, is
an important feature in the oil-seeking industry, though the supply
depends largely on pumping and not necessarily on natural flow. The
borings when made, act like Artesian wells, and sometimes are carried
to a great depth. Those in Pennsylvania vary in depth from 300 ft. to
3700 ft., according to the distance below the surface at which the
oil-bearing strata (usually a sandstone) is situate. As in the case of
an Artesian well, the boring is in the first instance an exploration
subject to uncertainty as to "striking" the desired liquid, but
the uncertainty is greater in the case of the search for oil than
in that for water. The water-well is also far less likely to "give
out" when once flowing than is that bored for oil, which, even if at
first successful, may be soon exhausted owing to the small area of
the oil-bearing strata tapped. A cause of the high pressure in many
oil-wells is the gas which accompanies the oil. The pressure may amount
to as much as 1000 lb. to the square inch. In the Northern Caucasus
spouting wells caused by the high pressure of gas in the boring are
frequent. A famous fountain-well in that region, which began to flow
in August 1895, threw up 4½ million gallons a day, gradually
diminishing during fifteen months until it became exhausted. At first,
when boring was introduced, such outbursts led to an enormous loss of
the oil, for there was not sufficient means of storing or transporting
it. Ordinary cartage in barrels was the earlier method; then followed
tanks on railway trains and canal boats; and this has been supplemented
by the use of pipes along which the oil is pumped from the well to the
refinery. In Pennsylvania there are said to be no less than 25,000
miles of such pipes in use for the distribution of petroleum.

It will be obvious from what is here stated that the attempt to
discover an oil-supply in Derbyshire must not be regarded, at present,
as more than a praiseworthy and interesting enterprise. There is no
room for doubt that the best expert opinion has been brought to bear
on the matter. A small quantity of petroleum has already been raised;
but whether the flow will be sufficient to cover the expenses of the
boring, and how long the flow may last, or how much it may amount
to, are matters quite impossible to foretell. In any case, it is in
the highest degree improbable that such an abundance of oil will
be obtained as to count much, if at all, in the world's production
of petroleum. It must also be remembered that products similar to
those yielded by petroleum are already extracted in quantity as a
remunerative industry by the distillation of oil-shales in various
parts of the United Kingdom; and that there are oil-shales in this
country still unworked. So that we need not be in despair if we do
not tap an oil-spring of any importance close to hand. The world's
supply is still open to British enterprise. Another reflection of some
importance is that these world-wide sources of rock-oil or petroleum
are likely to be exhausted by exploitation much sooner than are the
coal-fields of the world. We cannot rely on their long duration.



From mediæval times onward a serious constitutional disease–a morbid
condition of the blood and tissues–has been known by the name "scurvy,"
and the word "scorbutic" has been coined from it. It is to-day
practically unknown in the ordinary conditions of civilized life, but
formerly was common, and the cause of disablement and of frightful
mortality in ships' crews, beleaguered cities, armies on campaign, and
war-stricken regions. It begins with a certain failure of strength.
Breathlessness, exhaustion, and mental depression follow. The face
looks haggard, sallow, and dusky. After some weeks the exhaustion
becomes extreme; the gums are livid, ulcerated, and bleeding; the teeth
loosen and drop out; purple spots appear on the skin; ulcers break out
on the limbs; effusions of blood-stained fluid take place in the great
cavities of the body; profound exhaustion and coma follow; and death
results from disorganization of the lungs, kidneys, or digestive tract.
It was recognized in early times that the disease was dependent on the
character of the food of those attacked by it; and not the least of
the horrors accompanying it was the terror caused by the well-founded
conviction that the appearance of a single case in a ship's crew or
other specially circumscribed community was an unfailing index, and
meant that all were likely within a few days–owing to the enforced
identity of their food and conditions of life–to develop the disease.
Often, in past centuries, a half or two-thirds of a ship's company have
been carried off by it before a port could be reached and healthy food
and conditions of life obtained. At the present moment in view of the
actual condition of Europe, it is a fact of very grave importance that
scurvy is known to break out and cause a terrible mortality among civil
communities in time of scarcity–especially in prisons, workhouses, and
other public institutions, which are the first to suffer deprivations
when food is scarce.

Three hundred years ago it was held that fresh vegetables and
fruit-juices were both a cure for and a preventive of scurvy, or
"anti-scorbutic." But the fact was not appreciated by Army and
Admiralty officials that _dried_ vegetables, even of kinds which were
held to be especially "anti-scorbutic," would not serve in place of
_fresh_ ones. In 1720, _dried_ "anti-scorbutic" herbs were supplied
to the Austrian Army when suffering from scurvy; but they were of no
avail, and thousands of the soldiers perished from the disease. A
few years later, the British Lords of the Admiralty (actuated by a
spirit of blundering parsimony) proposed to supply the Navy with dried
spinach, although it was well known that dried vegetables were useless
against scurvy. In the American Civil War, 1861-1865, in spite of this
knowledge, large rations of dried vegetables were supplied to the
armies, and failed to prevent outbreaks of scurvy. Even at the present
day so little attention has been given of late years to the subject,
that many ignorant officials, upon whose action the life of thousands
depends, regard dried vegetables as equivalent in value to fresh!

A great advance was made in the second half of the eighteenth century,
when the British Admiralty became convinced by the repeated experience
of its officers that "lime-juice" _is_ a specific remedy and preventive
for scurvy, and, in spite of the great expense and difficulties
entailed, adopted its use officially. In those days of sailing-ships,
long voyages (such as those of Captain Cook) were safely carried
through without serious outbreak of scurvy so long as a ration of
so-called "lime-juice" (about one ounce) was swallowed each day by each
sailor. But it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century
that the disease was practically eliminated from the Navy by the
introduction (after many foolish delays) of a general issue of what was
called "lime-juice."

The complete control and elimination of scurvy by the use of so-called
"lime-juice" sufficed to carry us on until the introduction of steam
navigation, when it became superfluous owing to the fact that long
absence from land, where fresh food could be obtained, ceased to be
usual. Moreover, after a mutiny on the part of our defrauded sailors,
better food and greater variety of it was secured for them, and the
profits of murderous contractors were stopped.

The history of outbreaks of scurvy for the last century is practically
confined to the experiences of Arctic Expeditions and the campaigning
of troops in remote or devastated regions. So little had scurvy been
investigated, or any serious study made of the nature of the remedial
and preventive action of lime-juice, that up to the year 1914 it was
regarded as a matter of course that the acid, the citric acid, of
lime-juice was what gave to it its virtue, and samples of lime-juice
supplied by contractors were tested solely as to the percentage of that
acid present. Eminent medical authorities proposed to use crystals of
citric acid in place of the juice; others declared that vinegar would
do just as well; others, in spite of the overwhelming record as to the
value of lime-juice, held that scurvy was due _not_ to the absence of a
food constituent–supplied by fresh vegetables and fruit-juice–but to
a peculiar poison present in the salted and dried meat served out as
rations; others again, without any study of the disease, have expressed
the opinion that it is due to a bacterial micro-organism.

A blow to the easy-going belief of the Admiralty that they had mastered
and made an end of scurvy was struck when scurvy broke out (60 cases
among 122 men) in the expedition to the North Pole which sailed in
May 1875 in the _Alert_ and the _Discovery_, under the command of Sir
George Nares. The expedition had to return prematurely after seventeen
months' absence, and a committee was appointed to inquire into the
cause of the outbreak. The stores of food and of lime-juice were shown
to have been ample; and the action of the leader in equipping his
sledging parties was in accordance with the judgment and experience
of successful explorers who gave evidence. The cause of the outbreak
remained a mystery. The firm belief in the anti-scorbutic powers of
"lime-juice" was shaken, and this unfavourable opinion of its value has
been confirmed by medical officers who, during the recent war, have
been confronted by outbreaks of scurvy. These outbreaks occurred among
troops who, in military circumstances which rendered an adequate supply
of fresh meat and vegetables impossible, were supplied with lime-juice
prepared from the West Indian "sour-lime."

Under these circumstances, an experimental study of scurvy has been
carried out during the last four years by a group of workers at the
Lister Institute, together with a historical inquiry as to the use
of lime-juice. The reports of these investigators have very great
practical value and far-reaching interest, as showing what disastrous
results may arise from inaccurate use of a word, and the neglect to
ascertain the exact nature of the material thing upon which the issue
between life and death may depend.

Here let me say that the staff of the Lister Institute for medical
research has done work in its laboratories in Chelsea Gardens of the
very greatest national importance during the war. It was founded by
public subscription, and has now an endowment of some £10,000 a year.
Sir David Bruce, the chairman of its Council, gives in the Report of
the Governing Body for 1919 a very striking summary of the work done
in the laboratories and by the staff of the Institute. The successful
investigation of trench fever and of tetanus, of the destruction of
lice, and of the effects of cold storage on food, besides the study
of scurvy and other diseases due to deficiency of what are now called
"_accessory food factors_," are, we learn, the chief matters in
which the Lister Institute was engaged in the year 1918-19. Besides
this, however, at its farm at Elstree it has prepared and supplied
to the War Office, the Admiralty, the Overseas Forces, and the Local
Government Board more than a million doses of anti-toxins (diphtheria
and tetanus), bacterial vaccines (cholera, plague, influenza), and
other similar curative fluids–requiring for their safe production the
highest skill and most complete knowledge of recent discovery. And this
is only a sample of what the Lister Institute has been doing for many
consecutive years.

Now we return to the investigation of scurvy. Within the last ten
years the fact has been established (which was more or less guessed
and acted upon by medical men of past days) that, in order to
maintain health, the diet of man and of many animals must contain
not merely the necessary quantities of meat or cheese-like bodies,
of fat and starch and sugar, but also minute quantities of accessory
food-factors which it is convenient to term "vitamines." The name
serves (though its etymology is unsatisfactory) to indicate certain
"proteids" or highly complex nitrogenous compounds which are only to
be obtained from fresh and uncooked or slightly heated vegetables
and from some foods of animal origin. These "vitamines" are destroyed
by heat and by desiccation. They have not yet been isolated though
in some cases extracted in a nearly pure state. Their presence or
absence is demonstrated by careful experiments in feeding animals,
such as guinea-pigs, with weighed quantities of different foods.
The "vitamine" is often found to be present only in one part of a
seed or fruit or special kind of fat liable to be rejected in food
preparation. An important fact is that it may not amount to as much as
one-ten-thousandth of the weight of the food in which it occurs; and
the part containing it may be overlooked and rejected, or its value
destroyed by heat or by desiccation. A committee on these "accessory
food-factors" is carrying on experiments at the Lister Institute. Dr.
F. G. Hopkins, F.R.S., who first discovered the importance of one of
these factors in feeding young rats, is the chairman, and Dr. Harriette
Chick is the secretary. Three kinds of these vitamines, or accessory
food-factors, have up to this date been recognized. The first is the
anti-neuritic or anti-beri-beri vitamine. Its principal sources are
the seeds of plants and the eggs of animals–yeast-cells are a rich
source of it. Where "polished rice," as in the Far East, is the staple
article of diet, to the almost entire exclusion of other food-stuffs,
lassitude and severe pains like those of rheumatism set in, and a whole
colony or shipload of Chinese "coolies" may be disabled. The disease
is called beri-beri, and it can be cured by administering that part of
the rice-grain (the skin and germ) which is removed by "polishing," and
unfortunately is just that part which contains the needful vitamine.
It exists in very minute quantity, amounting to only one part in ten
thousand by weight of rice-grain. The second "vitamine" recognized is
the anti-rachitic factor (studied by Hopkins), which tends to promote
growth and prevent "rickets" in young animals. Certain fats of animal
origin (milk) and green leaves contain it in minute quantity, and are
necessary for the life of young animals and for the health of adults.

The third vitamine recognized is the anti-scorbutic, the factor which
prevents scurvy. It is found in fresh vegetable tissues, and to a
less extent in fresh animal tissues. Its richest sources are cabbage,
swedes, turnips, lettuce, water-cress, and such fruits as lemons,
oranges, raspberries, and tomatoes; other vegetables have a less
value. Fresh milk and meat possess a definite but low anti-scorbutic
value. This vitamine (I am quoting the report of the Committee, which
has been issued to our military, naval, and medical administrators
and famine-relief-workers throughout the world) _suffers destruction_
when the fresh food-stuffs containing it are subjected to _heat_, or
_drying_, as methods of preservation. It is habitually destroyed and
wasted by stewing fresh vegetables with meat for two or three hours.
All dry food-stuffs, such as cereals, pulses, dried vegetables and
dried milk, are deficient in anti-scorbutic properties; so also are
_tinned vegetables_ and _tinned meat_–hence the disgust to which they
soon give rise!

The explanation of the mystery about lime-juice (which a hundred years
ago was used with absolute success to prevent scurvy, and in 1875 was
a dead failure) is shown by the workers at the Lister Institute to
be this–namely, "lime" and "lemon" are in origin the same word, and
have become applied in ways unrecognized by the Admiralty and their
medical advisers in various parts of the world to which the citron, the
lemon, the sweet-lime and the sour-lime–all varieties of one species,
_Citrus medica_ of Linnæus–have been carried from their original home
of origin, the south-east of Asia. The original effective and valuable
"_lime_-juice" of the eighteenth century was _lemon_-juice, carefully
prepared from lemons in Sicily and Italy, and from 1804 to 1860 in
Malta. When the demand for it increased in the nineteenth century,
it was adulterated and made up from poor fruit, as the commercial
enterprise of contractors and the fatuous incapacity of the naval
authorities progressed hand in hand. And then, in the early fifties,
the West Indian growers of the small sour-lime (_Citrus medica var.
acida_) in Montserrat got the naval contracts, the honest intention
of Sir William Burnett, the chief medical officer of the Navy, being
to establish a permanent and first-rate supply. Strangely enough,
the naval "lime-juice" now really was _lime_-juice and no longer
_lemon_-juice. By a natural but fatal misconception, the medical value
of the juice, whether of lemon or of lime, was by all authorities
attributed to the citric acid present; and the only tests applied to it
were chemical ones, and not therapeutic. The Lister Institute Committee
have shown by therapeutic experiment–the feeding of guinea-pigs, in
which scurvy can be produced and cured at will–that _the anti-scorbutic
vitamine remains active and unimpaired in lemon-juice from which all
the citric acid has been extracted_. And, further, that the juice of
the West Indian sour-lime (_Citrus medica acida_), although very rich
in citric acid, _contains only one-fourth the anti-scorbutic vitamine_
which the same quantity of the juice of the true lemon (_Citrus medica
limonum_) contains. This has been most carefully established by
prolonged series of feeding experiments. It explains the failure of the
_lime_-juice in Sir George Nares' Polar Expedition, and restores the
confidence in _lemon_-juice based on the unanimous testimony of the
early records of its use.

Whilst lemon-juice is thus justified, Dr. Harriette Chick has made a
discovery which will go far to remove it from supremacy. She finds that
an anti-scorbutic food can be prepared, when fresh vegetables or fruit
are scarce, by moistening any available seeds (wheat, barley, rye,
peas, beans, lentils) and allowing them to germinate. This sprouted
material possesses an anti-scorbutic value equal to that of many fresh
vegetables; the unsprouted seeds have none. Probably this explains
the anti-scorbutic value of sweet-wort and of beers made from lightly
dried malt; and the total failure in this respect of our modern beers
made from kiln-dried malt. Dr. Chick, amongst many other interesting
and important results published by members of the Lister Institute
Committee, states that the juice of raw swedes and of raw turnips
is a valuable anti-scorbutic (to be added to milk for the use of
artificially nourished infants); so, she states, is orange-juice. But,
contrary to the usual opinion, she finds that beetroot has little or no
anti-scorbutic value. The whole subject is of extreme importance, and
is necessarily in a tentative stage of pioneer experiment.


  Ages, successive, of stone, bronze, and iron, 4

  Aitken, Dr., F.R.S., on fog, cloud, and odoriferous particles, 77

  Alligator, simplification of, in the decorative work of the Chiriqui
      Indians, 205

  Altamira, cave of, discovery of pictures in, 28

  America (Central), stone slab from, with carved swastika, 198

  American Indians bead-work garter with two swastikas, 197

  Anglo-Saxon urn ornamented with swastikas, 196

  Aniline, 224

  Animalcules, wheel, 157-172

  Animation, suspended, 173-190

  Anthracite, 217, 219

  Anti-scorbutic value of germinating wheat, barley, peas, beans,
      lentils, discovered, 237

  Anti-scorbutics, no use when dried, 230
    or preservatives against scurvy described, 235-236
    studied at the Lister Institute, 233

  Antler, engraved, from the cavern of Lortet, 1

  Arbelus, the, of ancient Greek geometers, 215

  Asphalt, 223, 225

  Aurignacian negroid race, 8

  Bacteria, suspended animation of, 177, 186, 187, 188

  Bear engraved on stalagmite, 48

  Beer, modern, not so effective an anti-scorbutic (preserver from
      scurvy) as older sorts, 237

  Benzine, 224

  Bison, pictures of, from walls of caves, 47

  Bitumen, 223, 224

  Bituminous coal, 219

  Blue blood and pride of race, 154
    colour of frogs, 78
      of the Lake of Geneva, 83
      of water, 74-85
    Grotto of Capri, 82

  Breeding and inter-breeding as a test, 102, 104, 131

  Bridle seen in engravings of horse, 43, 45

  Brown, Horace, F.R.S., his experiments with seeds at low
      temperatures, 175

  Bruce, Sir David, his report of the work done by the Lister
      Institute in 1919, 233

  Buddha, footprint of the, picture showing swastikas, 193

  Bumpus, Prof., on variation in sparrows, 118

  Burnett, Sir William, by mistake introduces in the Navy juice of the
      sour-lime in place of lemon-juice, 236

  Burning water, fountains of, 225

  Butterflies of the genus Vanessa, 97
    several different species of white and of blue, 97
    several species united to form one larger kind–a genus, 95
    species of, 94
    the kinds of, 94

  Caloric, an assumed entity, 186

  Cannel (or candle) coal, 219

  Carbon, weight of, annually discharged over London, 218

  Carboniferous system, the, 221

  Cats, male, with blue eyes are deaf, 120

  Cause of survival in the struggle for life, 118, 119

  Cave of Altamira, 28, 47
    of Brassempouy, 51
    of Combarelles, 32
    of Font de Gaume, 29, 32
    of Laugerie basse, 46
    of Lortet, 1
    of Marsoulas (Haute Garonne), 43
    of Mas d'Azil, 43
    of Niaux (Ariège), 43
    of St. Michel d'Arudy, 45

  Caves, pictures on walls of, 7

  Census of species of animals, 129

  Chick, Dr. Harriette, secretary, and Dr. Hopkins, F.R.S., chairman,
      of a committee investigating accessory food-factors, 234

  Chinese "great monad," 210

  Circle, how to divide it so as to describe a Tomoye, 214

  _Citrus medica limonum_, the lemon, 236
    _acida_, the West Indian sour-lime, 236

  Coal, 217-222
    mines, annual output of, 221

  Coal-tar, 224

  Coffer-fish, 130

  Cold, action of extreme, in preventing chemical combination, 177

  Copan, circular altar-stone from, divided by an S-shaped trough so as
      to resemble the Tomoye, 213

  Correlated characters or structures, 119, 125

  Crab, common shore, variations in, 118

  Crag, the Red, of Suffolk, 38
    the Norwich, 38

  Crayfish, species of, 120

  Cromagnard race, 8, 9

  Cross-breeding of races, 140-156

  Crystal Palace, the, sixty years ago, 84

  Decorative design, 200-208

  Deer, the picture of the Three, 13

  Dewar, Sir James, his important experiments on action of cold and of
      light on phosphorescent bacteria, 188

  Diplodocus, a gigantic reptile, 85, 91

  Discoveries falsely announced, and others misrepresented or
      unnoticed by newspapers, 173, 176

  Dolphins (oceanic colour-changing fish), 130

  Equus the horse genus, the history of, 103

  Exuberances of non-significant growth, 127, 130

  Fat boys of journalism, 173

  Fertilization, resistance to hybrid, 136, 137, 138

  Fish drawn between horse's legs, 23

  Fishes, examples of strangely-shaped, 130

  Fleas, species of, 105

  Flowers of tan survive desiccation, 179

  Food, the accessory factors in, 233

  Fylfot, the, 191

  Gammadion, the, 191

  Geometrical properties of the Tomoye, 216

  Germ variation, a constant process, 112

  Gigantic reptiles, 85, 87

  Gigantosaurus, discovery of, in Africa, 87
    upper-arm bone of, compared with that of an elephant and of man, 88

  Gills of crayfishes, 121
    a new one discovered by a lady student at Oxford, 123

  Glacial period, 6

  Goose engraved on reindeer antler, 49

  Grammatizing _v._ naturalizing in decorative art, 202, 203

  Grouse, the red and allied species, 116, 117

  Harpoons of Azilian and Magdalenian period, 3

  Horses, cave-men's pictures of, 43, 45

  Horses' heads drawn with bridle or halter, 44, 45

  Hybrids, 131-138
    among allied species of fish, 133, 134
    infertile and fertile, 134, 135

  Inter-Glacial climate and animals, 9

  Kaleidoscope, the living organism compared to a, 112

  Kelvin, Lord, on the origin of life, 186

  Kipling, Mr. Rudyard, on primitive man, 4

  Koban necropolis, swastikas from, 196

  Lake dwellings of Switzerland, 4

  Lalanne, M., discovery by, of human statuettes, 50

  Laussel, rock-shelter of, human statuettes from, 50

  Life-saving qualities not alone survive in nature, 127

  Lime-juice, action of, was not understood, 231
    and scurvy, 229-237
    on long voyages, 231
    shown to be effective when prepared from the true lemon, 236
    the original lime-juice was lemon-juice, not the juice of the
      sour-lime, 236
    when prepared from West Indian sour-lime not effective, 232

  Linnæus, his method of naming and classifying animals and plants, 99

  Lion, wall engraving of, 48

  Lister Institute, investigations carried on there, 233

  Lodge, Sir Oliver, on life, 185

  Lortet, cavern of, 1

  Mammoth, engraving of, on ivory, from the cave of La Madeleine, 26

  Mammoths, engravings of, on walls of caves, 32, 33

  Man, Isle of, and the Sicilian three-legged emblem, 203

  Mantell, Dr. Gideon, discoverer of gigantic extinct reptiles, 84

  Marsh-gas, 220

  Milne-Edwards, Alphonse, his proposed experiment on cross-breeding of
      races and species, 141

  Miscegenation or cross-breeding of human races, 148-156

  Monaco, Prince of, his researches and publications, 29

  Mongrels defined as distinct from hybrids, 138, 145
    may exhibit fine qualities, 147

  Monsters, 132

  Mules between horse and ass, 103

  Mykenæan age, swastikas of, illustrated, 194, 195

  Neander men, 8

  Negro with European features disliked by other negroes, 155

  Neolithic people, 10

  Ogee, a vague term, 215
    swastika, so-called, 210, 213

  Oil, boring for, 223

  Oil-boring industry, 226

  Oil-shales, 227

  Okapi of the Congo Forest, not a hybrid, 133

  Olefines, 224

  Osborn, Rev. Lord Sydney Godolphin, 179

  Pairing as a test of species, 101, 131

  Palæolithic or ancient Stone Age, 5

  Papilio, the genus of swallow-tailed butterflies, 97

  Paraffin series, 224

  Peat, 219

  Pedalion, the leg-bearing wheel animalcule, 161, 163
    to be compared with young of certain prawns, 164

  Petroleum, the name invented in 1855 by Prof. Silliman, 225

  Pictet and de Candolle on suspended animation, 175

  Picture, the earliest, in the world, 1-25
    of the Three Red Deer, 12, 13

  Piette, Edouard, his excavations of caves, 1

  Pigs and the paint-root, 119, 145

  Pimpernel, red and blue, will not inter-breed, 145

  Pine ornament of Indian shawls, 210

  Pleistocene, a small fraction of earth's crust, 42
    series or system, 38, 39

  Pliny the elder at Vesuvius, 58

  Pocahontes, the Algonkian princess, 153

  Prehistoric men, art of, 35-54
    successive ages of, 36-39

  Printings from engraved cylinders, 11, 16, 17

  Race, pride of, 150, 152, 153

  Racehorse, English thoroughbred, history of, 147

  Races, nature of, 143
    produce mongrels by cross-breeding, 140

  Reindeer, cave-man's engraving of, 46
    period, 7

  Restoration of the Lortet picture of the Three Deer, 13

  Rhinoceros drawn on wall of a cavern, 46

  Rice, polished, the story of, and the disease beri-beri, 234

  Rock-oil, 225

  Romanes, Dr. George, his experiments on the suspended animation of
      seeds, 184

  Rotifer, the common, or wheel animalcule, 159

  Scandinavian silver work showing swastikas, 196

  Schliemann, fragment of pottery found by, in Tiryns, 23
    swastikas discovered by, at Hissarlik, 193

  Scurvy, description of, 229

  Seeds, frozen, survive, 177

  Simplification of decorative designs (figures of), 206

  Smoke nuisance, London citizen executed for producing it in 1306, 217

  Sparrows, variations in, 118

  Species, an attempt to estimate their number, 129
    in the making, 108
    Latin names for, why used, 96
    not a convention, but a naturally limited group of individuals, 100
    not the same as a variety or a race, 101
    of common English plants, 98
    of crayfish, 120
    types or type-specimens of, 96
    what the word means, 91-99

  Specific characters, 118-130

  Spencer, Herbert, on life, 183

  Spirals carved on mammoth ivory, 54

  Statuette of a man, 51

  St. Germain, museum of, 1, 11, 45

  Stork theory of the swastika, 207

  Strata of the earth's crust, thickness of, 40, 41

  Streptocone, the bent cone or comma-like figure forming half a
      Tomoye, 215, 216

  Sulphuric acid, weight of poisonous, annually discharged over
      London, 218

  Sun-fish, 130

  Survival value, 124, 125

  Suspended animation, 173-190

  Swastika, mode of forming a, in India, 199
    on a piece of painted pottery from Tiryns, figure of, associated
       with horse and fish, 23
    possible derivation from a doubled Tomoye, 210
    related to the tetraskelion, with four curved arms, shown in
       Fig. 58, 212
    the, 191-208

  Tapirs, the two living species of, 109

  Temperature, measurement of, 174

  Thoroughbred English racehorse a mongrel, 147

  Tiger, sabre-toothed, 9

  Time, estimate of, in geology, 43

  Tinning of vegetables destroys their anti-scorbutic value, 235

  Tiryns, fragment of pottery from (date 800 B.C.), and having swastika
      and horse and fish, 23

  Toads in coal, 221

  Toleration in nature, 128

  Tomoye, the, and its relation to the swastika, 208-216

  Triskelion of Sicily and the Isle of Man, history of, 203

  Variation in nature, 110
    made use of by gardeners and breeders, 111

  Varieties and gradational series in nature, 114, 115

  Veliger, young stage of marine snail, drawing of, to compare with a
      wheel animalcule, 181

  Vesuvius, 55-73
    as it appeared in A.D. 70, 57
    ascent of, during eruption, 66
    eruption of 1872 witnessed, 68-70
    history of eruptions, 61-64

  Vitamines or accessory food factors, 233

  Volcanoes and eruptions, 72, 73

  Water, blue colour of, 74-85

  Weldon, Prof., on variation in the shore-crab, 118

  Wells, spouting and fountain, of rock-oil, 227

  Whales, their size and its limit, 86

  Wheel animalcule, parasitic, on the sea-worm Synapta, 172
    animalcules, 157-172
      book on, by Mr. Gosse and Dr. Hudson, 158
      compared with the young stages of growth of marine
      snails, 171, 181
      minute males of some, 166
      pictures of, 159, 161, 162, 163, 169
      some survive drying up of the water in which they live, 166, 167,
        178, 179

  Willendorf, female statuette from, 50

  Winans, Mr. Walter, on the picture of the Three Deer, 19-22

  Wolf, engraving of head of, 48

  Women, carvings representing, 50, 51

  Zebras, 103


  │ Transcriber's Note:                                               │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.      │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.             │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs    │
  │ and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that    │
  │ references them. The List of Illustrations and Index paginations  │
  │ were changed accordingly.                                         │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Footnotes were moved to the ends of chapters and numbered in one  │
  │ continuous sequence.                                              │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters, _like    │
  │ this_.                                                            │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Use of a caret (^) indicates a superscript number.                │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Other corrections:                                                │
  │ p. 72: Suffrière changed to Soufrière (Soufrière of St. Vincent   │
  │   in 1812).                                                       │
  │ pp. 153, 242: Pocahontes changed to Pocahontas.                   │

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