Observations of a Naturalist in the Pacific between 1896 and 1899

Abstract

FEW of the problems that confront the naturalist are wider in their range of interest than those connected with the origin of the present inhabitants of an oceanic island. Such a population is almost always a very mixed one, though it can usually be roughly divided into two classes, the one embracing the aboriginal or endemic element, whilst the other is composed of colonists hailing, it may be, from widely-sundered centres of emigration. But closer investigation shows that such a distinction is, after all, not a very profound one. The forbears of the endemic groups were themselves at one time colonists; time and circumstance have permitted and encouraged divergent variation, and so new types have arisen. The causes responsible for the variation itself for the most part elude recognition, and their study is the business of the physiologist rather than of the naturalist, but the effects may well serve to concentrate the attention of the latter on the larger problems bearing on the nature and significance of adaptation no less than on those more directly concerned with the sources and mode of dispersal of the individual species.

Observations of a Naturalist in the Pacific between 1896 and 1899.

By H. B. Guppy. Vol. ii. Plant Dispersal. Pp. xxvi + 627. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1906.) Price 21s. net.

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F., J. Observations of a Naturalist in the Pacific between 1896 and 1899. Nature 75, 217–218 (1907) doi:10.1038/075217a0

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