LIFE, the title of Miss Buckley's thoughtful work now before us would suggest, once it became materially existent, went ever forward, striving after diverse fashions to adapt her children to the best methods of fighting and winning. She felt her way onward in several directions, and in reveral of these she attained to a fair share of perfection, from shapelessness to symmetry, from a simpleness in structure to a wonderful differentiation thereof; from a mere manifestation of vitality to a high state of instinct, almost of intellect; but there was to all of these a limit all too speedily attained—and it is now plain that no arrangement of epidermis, or muscle, or nerve, no alteration of blood, or alimentary system could get the uppermost in the struggle. It was only with the appearance of a quite new structure—the back-bone of this volume—that Life felt she had acquired a new power, and those of her children who were thus endowed went on gallantly until, Winners in the race, they were left without a rival. The record of their humble beginning was still very incomplete but a few years ago, and there was no clue thereto. Now as the reader will learn in the clearest manner from chapter 1., we know of such forms as the Lancelet, and those strange Ascidia who “once tried to be backboned, and yet as they grew fell back into the lap of Invertebrates.”
Winners in Life's Race; or the Great Backboned Family.
By Arabella Buckley, Author of Life and her Children, &c. With Numerous Illustrations. (London: Edward Stanford, 1882.)
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W., E. Winners in Life's Race; or the Great Backboned Family . Nature 27, 51 (1882). https://doi.org/10.1038/027051a0