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Subterranean Faunas

Naturevolume 52pages225226 (1895) | Download Citation



THE researches of geologists and engineers have revealed the existence of vast tracts of underground waters, often associated with more or less extensive caves. The investigation of these underground waters is interesting to naturalists, as it has led to the discovery of a special subterranean fauna, different in different regions, it is true, but characterised throughout by modifications in certain definite directions. The study of these modifications is a fascinating one, and the problem of their evolution seems to be rendered comparatively easy by the simplicity and limitations of the conditions of life which obtain beneath the earth's surface; for these subterranean forms live in continual darkness, and are exposed to a fairly uniform temperature at all times. It is also, in many cases, possible to tell from what surface-species an underground form has descended, and to infer the age of the latter with a fair approach to accuracy; the nature of the changes undergone, and the rate at which these modifications have taken place, can thus be estimated in particular instances.


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