Species and Adaptations


MR. BATESON'S address to the American Association at Toronto last December, which was published in NATURE of April 29, exhibits features of the same kind as those which were evident in his address to the British Association in Australia in 1914. In the Australian address he maintained that the effect of the discoveries and investigations in recent years in the phenomena of heredity and variation was greatly to increase the difficulty of understanding the origin of any characters which were new in the proper sense of the word. He went so far as to suggest that all characters which have appeared in the course of evolution may have been present in the protoplasm Or nuclear structure of the original unicellular forms from which later forms, including man, have descended, all apparently new characters having been due to loss of inhibiting factors and segregation of various simpler combinations from the original complex. Now Mr. Bateson again declares himself an agnostic with regard to the evolution of species, and in spite of all modern discoveries, or because of them, states that we are farther than ever from any satisfactory explanation of the evolution of a new species, or of two or more species, from a single ancestral species.

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CUNNINGHAM, J. Species and Adaptations. Nature 109, 775–777 (1922). https://doi.org/10.1038/109775b0

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