Letter | Published:

Physiological Selection

Naturevolume 36page341 (1887) | Download Citation



LIKE so many others who have written on this subject, Mr. Rusden freely criticises my views without having deemed it desirable to read my paper. Had he taken the trouble to do so, he would have found a sufficient recognition of the general fact that instinctive habits not unfrequently serve to mitigate the swamping effects on incipient varieties of intercrossing with their parent forms. Moreover, he would have found that there are others of these habits mentioned by me which are probably much more effectual in this respect than is the one to which he draws attention. Nevertheless, it appears to me evident that all these habits taken together cannot count for much, even where they occur; while it is unquestionable that they occur only in a very small fractional part of organic nature considered as a whole—namely, in some among the more intelligent species of animals. The whole of the vegetable kingdom, an immense majority of the Invertebrata, and a considerable majority of the Vertebrata, cannot possibly have had any of their specific differentiations influenced by any of these forms of what I have already designated as “psychological selection.” This sufficiently obvious consideration appears to have entirely escaped Mr. Rusden. He adduces a well–known and a comparatively limited form of psychological selection as a “simple solution” of the difficulty from free intercrossing in all cases!

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  1. Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B.



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