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Nutrition and Evolution

Nature volume 81, page 68 (15 July 1909) | Download Citation



THIS is an essay on the importance of nutrition as a factor in evolution, and the author is in good company. For was it not Claude Bernard who said, “l'évolution, c'est l'ensemble constant de ces alternatives de la nutrition; c'est la nutrition considerée dans sa réalité, embrassée d'un coup d'œil à travers le temps”? To have had this thesis worked out in a methodical manner would have been great gain, but the author is not strong in scientific method. He has gleaned far and wide to illustrate “the evolutionary aspects of nutrition,” and while he has a crow to pick with most of his authorities, who have not the “ceattal key of a analysis,” he uses them when they suit him to back up his conclusion “that in its silent effects nutrition is one of the most formidable factors in the shaping of individual and racial destinies.” The conclusion is sound, but we cannot say this of many of the arguments.

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