Evolutionary Physiology


    THE presidential address to Section I (Physiology) delivered by Prof. Leathes at the recent meeting of the British Association in Oxford was so remarkable in its width of view that it may be said to constitute a landmark amongst such addresses. In the past the main objects of physiological research have seemed to be two: first, to investigate the chemical nature of the substances which enter into living matter, or perhaps it would be better to say recently killed matter, and secondly, to invent imaginary machines which in their working would resemble the functions of living beings. But even if the second object were completely attained (and in no single case has this been done) it would still leave unanswered, as Sir Charles Sherrington has pointed out, two fundamental questions—namely, first, how such machines are built up out of the formless protoplasm of the egg, and secondly, how mind inserts itself in matter. Leaving the second question aside as too profound to discuss even in the pages of NATURE, we may note that Prof. Leathes boldly grapples with the first: he discusses the nature of life itself, as well as the chemical nature of the substances with which it deals.

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    Evolutionary Physiology. Nature 118, 361–363 (1926). https://doi.org/10.1038/118361a0

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