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South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies

    Naturevolume 134pages186187 (1934) | Download Citation



    ANNUAL CONGRESS AT READING THE Annual Congress of the South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies was held at Reading on July 11-14, under the presidency of Prof. H. L. Hawkins. By the courtesy of the Vice-Chancellor and Council and Senate of the University, the meetings were held in the various buildings of the University, the grounds of which were thrown open for the use of those attending. The president's address was entitled “Fossils and Men”, and was in part a philosophical discourse on the lessons to be learnt from over-specialism in both ancient and modern life, and the invariable consequences resulting from such specialism, notably as regards human life. The address was a notable one. “To some the voice of Evolution is a birthday serenade, to others it is the tolling of the passing bell,"was a passage which one might quote. “The Lords of Creation of one era are the fossils of the next,"is another. “If numbers imply success, graptolites and ammonites were successful groups. We can scarcely guess what inborn impetus drives some groups to riotous evolution, leaving others almost static; but we can find an analogy in human temperament, where the mer-’ curial and the stolid may appear for no apparent reason in the offspring of one marriage. Persistent stocks are not the actual ancestral types, but are the simplest derivatives from those types that possess all-round efficiency. Cidaris was not, by a long way, the first sea-urchin to appear; there were plenty of queer experiments in the echinoid world during the palaeozoic eras; but it is, and since triassic times has been content to remain, the simplest expression of orthodox sea-urchinity. Nautilus came into being after a long succession of preliminary types had come and gone; it has proved more durable than scores of its less and more elaborate relatives.

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