Organic Selection

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IN certain recent publications1, an hypothesis has been presented, which seems in some degree to mediate between the two rival theories of heredity. The point of view taken in these publications is briefly this:—Assuming the operation of natural selection as currently held, and assuming also that individual organisms through adaptation acquire modifications or new characters, then the latter will exercise a directive influence on the former quite independently of any direct inheritance of acquired characters. For organisms which survive through adaptive modification will hand on to the next generation any “coincident variations” (i.e. congenital variations in the same direction as adaptive modification) which they may chance to have, and also allow further variations in the same direction.

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  1. 1

    H. F. Osborn, Proc. N. Y. Acad. of Sci., meeting of March 9 and April 13, 1896; also Science, November 27, 1896. C. Lloyd Morgan, " Habit and Instinct," October 1896, pp. 307 ff.; also Science, November 20, 1896. J. Mark Baldwin, discussion before N.Y. Acad. of Sci. meeting of January 31, reported in full in Science, March 20, 1896; also Amer. Naturalist, June and July 1896. The following brief statement has been prepared in consultation with both Principal Mdrgan and Professor Osborn. I, may express indebtedness to both of them for certain suggestions which they allow me to use, and which I incorporate verbally in the text. Among them is the suggestion that "Organic Selection" should be the title of this letter. While feeling that this co-operation gives greater weight to the communication, at the same time I am alone responsible for the publication of it as it here stands.

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    This aspect of the subject has been especially emphasised in my own exposition (Atner. Naturalist. June 1896, pp. 447 ff.).

  3. 3

    Introduction to " Comp. Psych.," pp. 170, 210 "Habit and Instinct," pp. 183, 342.

  4. 4

    " Mental Development in the Child and the Race," 1st ed., January 1895, p. 364; Science, August 23, 1895.

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