Slike strani


EVOLUTION: ORGANIC AND SOCIAL. (1) Evolution and the War. By Dr. P. Chalmers Mitchell. Pp. XXV + 114. (London: John Murray, 1915.) Price 2s. 6d. net.

(2) Societal Evolution: a Study of the Evolutionary Basis of the Science of Society. By Prof. A. G. Keller. Pp. xi+ 338. (New York: The Macmillan Co.; London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1915.) Price 6s. 6d. net. (3) Symbiogenesis: The Universal Law of Progressive Evolution. By H. Reinheimer. Pp. By H. Reinheimer. Pp. xxiii+425. (London: Knapp, Drewett and Sons, Ltd., 1915.) Price 10s. 6d. net.


(1) DR.

book begins with an interesting personal preface concerning his relations (as student and expert and Saturday Reviewer) with Germany. The first chapter deals with war and the struggle for existence, and contains a destructive criticism of von Bernhardi's "great verity" that "war is a fundamental law of evolution." The second chapter refutes some of the widespread misconceptions of the struggle for existence, and is a timely corrective. Taking the instances of dingo replacing thylacine, of the alleged war to the death between brown rat and black rat, and of the competition of cockroaches, the author shows that the cases are rarely stated with accuracy, and that they do not substantiate the conclusion that an incessant internecine warfare obtains throughout nature. We think that Dr. Chalmers Mitchell draws his bow too tightly when he declares (p. 23) that the competition Darwin chiefly thought of is internal, amongst the individuals of a species; and on the other hand, that he would have strengthened his position by extending it, by recognising that the technical phrase "the struggle for existence" includes all the reactions (noncompetitive as well as competitive) that living creatures make to the pressure and stimulus of environing limitations and difficulties.

The third chapter is devoted to showing that even if the struggle for existence were the law of organic evolution (an unacceptable way of putting it), modern nations are not units of the same order as those of the animal and vegetable kingdom. A modern nation is not unified by bloodrelationship; a political community coheres "because of bonds that are peculiar to the human race."

The fourth chapter expresses a wholesome scepticism as to the degree in which the stock of a nation can be altered by selective or eliminative

agencies. Thus the author does not share the dread that some biologists have expressed of the dysgenic effects of the present war. But we do not yet-alas!-know the limit of the sifting. The fifth chapter defends the proposition that

"The most important of the moulding forces that produce the differences in nationality are epigenetic, that is to say that they are imposed on the hereditary material and have to be reimposed in each generation." "The environment of the body and the environment of the mind determine national differences."

What is said in regard to the importance of the environmental factor carries conviction, but when the author expresses his belief that "nurture is inconceivably more important than nature," he is opposing complementary, not antithetic, factors, condemns in the pronouncements of those who and committing the same error as that which he have said that in the case of man hereditary nature has "an overwhelmingly greater significance" than nurture.

The book closes, all too soon for our taste, with a fine and often eloquent statement of the author's position in regard to the apartness of man from other living creatures. Organically we are mammals and "rooted deep in the natal mud" (an ungrateful phrase), but

"Our possession of consciousness and the sense of freedom is a vital and overmastering distinction. For man is not subject to the laws of the unconscious, and his conduct is to be judged not by them, but by its harmony with a real and external not-self that man has built up through the ages."

We think again that the author draws his bow too tightly, but it is of great interest to find this "hard-shell Darwinian evolutionist, a lover of the scalpel and microscope, and of patient empirical observation, who dislikes all forms of supernaturalism, who does not shrink" (Heaven forfend us from not shrinking from such nonsense) "from the implications of the phrase that thought is a secretion of the brain as bile is a secretion of the liver," asserting "as a biological fact that the moral law is as real and as external to man as the starry vault."

No one ever quite agrees with his brother's philosophy, but we think that all readers of this little book (and may there be many of them!) will agree in gratitude to the author. For what he has said is marked with sincere and resolute thinking, and is especially valuable at the present time.

(2) Prof. Keller is convinced that any fruitful study of the science of society must rest on a clear understanding of the Darwinian theory, and,

He re

furthermore, "that the Darwinian factors of variation, selection, transmission, and adaptation are active in the life of societies as in that of organisms." His aim is to discover how far societary variation, selection, transmission and adaptation are the same as organismal variation, selection, transmission and adaptation. cognises, indeed, that adaptations in mankind have come to be mainly mental and external (for we transform our environment as much as we are transformed by it), but he goes back to the simple and fundamental "folk-ways," which "form the germ and matrix of all human institutions," and inquires whether these are "adaptive by way of the activity of factors of the order of those operative in organic evolution."

The beginning of evolution is variation, and societary variations arise from individual initiatives unconscious or conscious. If these are effective and are diffused, obtaining group-approval, they become part of the body of folk-ways or of a thought-out social policy. As social phenomena they are subjected to societary selection, which the author proceeds to analyse. There are many forms of group-conflict and inter-group conflict, from internecine life and death struggle at the one extreme to the antagonism between class-codes at the other, but, on the whole, the automatic societal selection is on a different plane from natural selection. For one thing, there is a lack of that precision, exactitude, and finality characteristic of a nature-process.'

[ocr errors]

Elimination is much less thorough and survival is in virtue of social rather than biological superiorities. But emerging out of these automatic forms of societal selection there is deliberate rational selection, which works by rational criticism of the arts of societal self-maintenance. The practical difficulty arises, however, that forms of societal selection may run counter to natural selection by favouring the survival of those who are, when judged by biological standards, relatively less fit. Under the title of "counterselection," this difficult problem is shrewdly discussed, the author's general position being that a certain amount of counter-selection is, at present at least, inevitable, and that it is to be met by more carefully thought-out rational selection. Thus the dysgenic results of war may be met or mitigated by more eugenics.

attention to practicable

Turning to societary transmission-notably of the folkways which persist from generation to generation-the author points out that psychical qualities are transmitted in the biological sense, but much more is effected by tradition, both by positive inculcation and by unconscious imita

tion. The resultant of societary variation, selec tion, and transmission is adaptation, which the last quarter of the book illustrates. The author seeks to show that folkways and institutions are established as adaptations to particular settings in time and place. In the Eskimos, for instance, he finds " a primitive and isolated society, a survey of whose mores indicates beyond question the close adaptation of the maintenance-mores to environmental conditions, and the consistency of the other mores with those of self-maintenance." Another illustration worked out is that of two types of frontier-societies, the one in the temperate zone and the other in the tropics. Finally, the author uses "the modern great city as the best example at hand after which to outline the adaptation of the mores to the artificialised environment."

The whole book is interesting and will be valuable to those who wish to clear up their ideas in regard to "societal evolution." There is at times a tendency to a discursive exposition of the obvious, and to what seems to us an unnecessary amount of quotation from the late Prof. Sumner (of whose work this essay is regarded by the author as an extension); the reader may also be troubled a little by the reiteration of the words folkways" and "mores," and by the occurrence of others even less familiar, such as "acculturation," "ethnocentrism," and "aleatory," but these are trifles compared with the fact that Prof. Keller has made a stimulating contribution towards answering the question: How does evolution in societary forms agree with, and differ from, evolution among organisms, both in itself and in the factors that bring it about?

[ocr errors]

(3) Mr. Reinheimer's book is marked by seriousness of purpose, width of inquiry, and a grasp of several important truths; it is marred by a lack of scientific precision and restraint, and by a litter of quotations of diverse values which have not always been understood. The author discourses at length on many subjects, such as genetics, of which he betrays inadequate understanding, and we think that he writes a lot of nonsense about the "symbiogenetic " potency of "love-foods "which are the by-products of plantreproduction, such as dates, raisins, bananas, legumes and cereals, with milk and eggs thrown in.

"To eat pork, hare, and shellfish is certainly not in accordance with the grand symbiotic division of labour which has established itself as the normal rule of life, demanding cross-feeding in the best interests of this symbiosis. Such habits are, on the contrary, opposed to the normal order, and result in an inferior physiological currency establishing itself at the expense of a nobler cur

rency. This cannot lead to symbiogenesis, but must lead to pathogenesis."

The author is on firmer ground when he illustrates the widespread occurrence of interrelations linking organisms to organisms in mutual dependence and influence. Symbiogenesis is defined (by no means clearly) as "the mutual production and symbiotic utilisation of biological values by the united and correlated efforts of organisms of all descriptions," and the author's thesis is that this principle underlies "all creative life, all progressive evolution."

It seems to us a defensible proposition that there has been throughout organic evolution a complexifying of interrelations in the web of life. For a recognition of this truth we have to thank Darwin more than anyone else; therefore while we agree with Mr. Reinheimer that the struggle for existence includes much more than internecine competition, we deprecate the clumsiness (or worse) of a sentence like this (p. 399):


by patches of vivid green. We would venture the suggestion that in addition to denoting the localities of recent expansion it would have been of advantage had some system of shading been pursued to indicate relative importance. example, the first map, which shows the Indian localities, gives the valley of Assam coloured as fully and deeply as are Berar or Gujarat; all three might therefore be assumed to be equally important. So, again, while Prof. Todd gives the cotton areas of the United States of America as (approximately) 35, India 241, and Egypt 7 million acres, the immense size of the green patch in the States conveys the impression of its being relatively larger than it is. It would have been a good plan, moreover, to have given numbers to the maps and to have shown these on the outside. In a like way we admit that trade names had to be given in a work of this nature, such as "Oomra-Wattee" (the modern Amraoti), but it would have facilitated reference had the ortho

graphy of the maps (Amraouati), at least, also apin the text.

"We may likewise excuse Darwin for making a sweeping metaphor do (substitute) service pend-peared ing the lack of systematic study and knowledge concerning the fundamentally important co-operative (symbiotic) factors which, indeed, he had not entirely overlooked, though insufficiently appre


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ITHIN the past few years numerous books and technical reports have appeared on the subject of cotton. The latest contributions are the two volumes before us, and both authors obtained their practical inspiration direct from the cotton fields of Egypt.

(1) Prof. Todd furnishes a review of the past history and present-day world's supply, on the basis of the trade statistics of all cotton-producing countries. It should prove invaluable alike to merchant and planter. It is fully illustrated with views of the cotton fields, the methods of transport, as well as numerous local incidents of interest in planting life. It moreover furnishes a series of ten maps to show the countries of production, the cotton areas of each being indicated

An appendix affords what would seem to be full statistics (not always, we presume, easy to procure), and here brought into convenient form. A complete index has been given a very necessary feature of a work of reference. The volume may be commended to persons in want of a book that deals briefly with every aspect of the commerce and agriculture of the world's cotton crop.

(2) Mr. Lawrence Balls's work furnishes the conclusions arrived at during an endeavour to improve the Egyptian cotton staple. If we differ from him in certain particulars we fully recognise the value of his labours. As a student of biology Mr. Balls has rendered a useful service, his contributions to the cytology and physiology of the cotton plant being welcome and of considerable importance. But in another branch of his studies


he seems to have laboured under a delusion. was unfortunate that the great urgency for research into the growth of the plant justified, in his mind, the setting on one side the results and evidences of systematic botany. He thus may be spoken of as having attempted to organise research on the exclusive basis of old pedigree selection and peripatetic Mendelian cross-breeding of undetermined stocks. In other words, he assumes that every investigator must deal with existing stocks and procure from these pure strains, but make little or no effort to derive new strains from internal or external sources.

As illustrative of Mr. Balls's disregard for the opinions of systematists it may be pointed out that he characterises scientific names as "merely useless duplicates of easier names.' “Hindu

[ocr errors]

weed" is to Mr. Balls a name sufficiently explicit for all practical purposes. He, moreover, manifests a reckless use of terms that often proves most ambiguous if not misleading. The cotton plant belongs, so we are told, to "the sub-order Gossypiæ (or Hibisca)"-there is no such suborder. Our author next admits that some conception of the genealogical tree of the cotton plant becomes necessary, and hence he affords us a description of what he regards as its original ancestor. He then proceeds to say: "At the present day certain wild cottons are found which represent the descendants of this primitive ancestor not so much altered, such as the wild species Gossypium sturtii in Australia." "Not so much altered," and yet the wild species mentioned manifests a direct negation of practically every one of the characteristics of Mr. Balls's presumed primitive ancestor of cotton! It is thus hopeless to: attempt to follow him into speculations of "cleavages" that gave rise to his "Asiatic," "Peruvian," and "Uplands" groups. "The


the length of the fire, are certainly clever and seem practical. But his chapter on the "Commercial Lint" confirms the necessity for critical study of all the races of the plant. The appendix affords a very much-needed key to Mr. Balls's methods of research, and is distinctly useful.


(1) Plants and their Ways in South Africa. By Prof. B. Stoneman. New edition. Pp. xii+ 387. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1915.) Price 5s.

(2) The Ferns of South Africa, containing Descriptions and Figures of the Ferns and Fem Allies of South Africa. By T. R. Sim. Second edition. Pp. ix + 384. Plates. (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1915.) Price 25s. net. (3) With the Flowers and Trees in California. By C. F. Saunders. Pp. xii+286. (London: Grant Richards, Ltd., 1914.) Price 7s. 6d. net.

HE author of "Plants and their Ways

grouping," he says, "of all species of cottons of (1) Tin South Africa" has produced a useful

the Peruvian type, for example, into groups of relations, each group being designated a subspecies." By another enigma a sub-species becomes a hybrid.

"The Indian group," we are told, "does not appear to cross with the Upland or Peruvian groups." That statement is given more than once, and its value obviously turns on the plants accepted as Indian, Upland, and Peruvian. It is, however, a fact that a cross has been obtained repeatedly, both in India and America, between an Indian and an American plant.

Why did not Mr. Balls furnish his readers with a botanical drawing of each of the chief plants investigated by him, or at all events with drawings of his three great divisions of which he has so much to say? His plates iii. and iv. are useless for that purpose.

We have felt it incumbent to exhibit the weak side of Mr. Balls's work, but we turn with pleasure to other portions of his book. The chapter on the Egyptian plant (as recognised by the author) is admirable. It sets forth in a vivid manner the different conditions of soil, water, and temperature that prevail in that country. He thus exemplifies the conditions that it would seem must exist before Egyptian stock can be successfully acclimatised in other countries.

The chapter on "Development of the Boll," though full of interesting details, is less practical than it may be presumed the author anticipated it might prove. Mr. Balls's method of investigating (and estimating) the productiveness of the plant, of testing the strength, as also of measuring

text-book for the South African student of botany, a companion, that is to say, to class and practical work under supervision. A study of the seed and its germination leads on to the consideration of the growth of roots, stems and leaves, and of the duration of life of the plant. The form and structure of the parts, with a brief section on cells and tissues, is followed by a series of chapters on function. The chapter on the leaf is rather mechanical, and its subject-matter might with advantage have been more intimately associated with the portions dealing with plant-physiology. The study of the flower and fruit is associated with pollination and seed-distribution; and there is a short chapter on the remarkable Kukumakranka, a small bulbous plant belonging to the Amaryllidaceæ. The remainder of the book, comprising about one-half of the whole, is devoted to a sketch of the classification of plants, mainly the seed-bearing plants, with concise descriptions of those families and their representative genera which occur in South Africa. A short concluding chapter deals with the botanical regions of South Africa. The book is profusely and well illustrated with blocks, both original and borrowed from various sources.

(2) The first edition of Mr. Sim's "Ferns of South Africa" appeared in 1892, and was reviewed in NATURE of January 26, 1893. In the twentythree years which have elapsed since, the exploration of the country north of the Orange, Vaal, and Umvolosi rivers and the opening up of Southern Rhodesia have added greatly to our

knowledge of the fern flora of the reconstituted South Africa. Hence the new edition of the book enumerates 220 species, as compared with 179 in the first edition, and, the author states, this number should be further increased when the northern Drakensberg ranges, the Portuguese mountain slopes, and the valleys of the Zambesi, have been more closely investigated. Mr. Sim has taken the opportunity of revising the nomenclature, which now follows Christensen's Index Filicum, and thus renders the volume comparable with recent fern literature. The arrangement adopted by Christensen is also followed in the classification of the ferns proper, that is, exclusive of the Lycopods, Psilotum, and Equisetum.

Of the introductory chapters, that on "Cultivation" has been rewritten and much extended; but there is room for a good chapter on the general life-history of a fern, which is at present somewhat scrappily treated. The plates are more numerous, 186 as against 159, and on the whole better, than in the first edition, and the general get-up of the book, which is now issued by the Cambridge Press, is also greatly improved.


(3) "With the Flowers and Trees in California' is a delightful series of word-pictures descriptive of the plant-life of one of the most brilliantly floriferous regions on the face of our earth. In a series of thirteen chapters, Mr. Saunders describes as many phases of his subject from first-hand knowledge. There is no definite plan, each chapter is complete in itself, and, open it where he will, the botanist or intelligent general reader

will find matter of interest charmingly por

trayed. The first chapter is retrospective: an

attempt to depict the virgin flora as it appeared

to the first white men who visited the country, the Portuguese navigators, and later the Padres, who were the earliest settlers. Some account is also given of early botanical explorations, especially of David Douglas, who introduced to European gardens so many Californian flowers and trees; the Yorkshireman, Thomas Nuttall; and the American, John Fremont. The author does not overstate the case when he says that "the value of annuals in horticultural effect was first realised when the Royal Horticultural Society of London sowed the seeds of the scores of beautiful annuals which their collector, David Douglas, back in the 1830's, brought them from California," and "the gardens of Europe are full of California wild flowers, such as clarkias, lupines, gilias, eschscholtzias, godetias, penstemons," and, best known of all, nemophila. Intimately associated with Douglas also are some of the finest conifers, which he discovered in the West American forests, Pinus lambertiana, the Douglas pine (Pseudotsuga douglasii), and many others.

The story of Californian plant life would not be complete without mention of the Big trees, and the chapter entitled "The Sequoia and its Adventures in Search of a Name" gives a racy account of the red-wood and its ally, the Sequoia gigantea, and the vicissitudes connected with the botanical name of the latter. If California has been generous she has also proved hospitable, and her wayside trees have been brought from all quarters of the globe; one may mention among many various palms, New Zealand cordylines, Australian eucalyptus, acacias, and casuarinas, and the widely-spread pepper-tree (Schinus molle), a native of Peru: as "the professor" remarks, “a walk along a California avenue is like a trip round the world." "Tree-hunting on a California. desert" depicts another phase, and introduces the reader to the yuccas, mesquit, cacti, and brilliantflowered shrubs of the desert. A few daintily coloured plates and a number of half-tone illustrations enhance the value of an interesting and eminently readable book.


(1) Fighting the Fly Peril. A Popular and Practical Handbook. By C. F. Plowman and W. F. Dearden. Pp. 127. (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1915.) Price 1s. net.

(2) The House Fly: A Slayer of Men. By F. W. Fitz Simons. Pp. vi+89. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1915.) Price is. net.


Tin popular terms of the use of borax

HIS volume is practically an exposition

fly, with suitable quotations from Gordon Hewitt

as a destroyer of the eggs and larvæ of the house

and other writers. The use of traps, of formalin, of some general precautions is also advocated. The authors lay stress on the importance of covering manure with soil, but it is not clear how far this will affect its rotting and so its manurial value.

Above all, the authors recommend borax, using the matter in Bulletin 118 of the United States Department of Agriculture and adducing an experiment of their own. We pass over the American bulletin, since it is now recognised in America that borax is not a suitable material for preventing fly-breeding in manure heaps. The "British Experiment" of chapter ix. is of interest, as it goes completely contrary to experiments made in this country on a much larger scale. periment was made in three tea boxes, with three cubic feet of manure in each. Flies hatched out from the untreated manure, not from the treated. It is noticeable that flies began to emerge on the eighth day from the untreated manure: they must

This ex

« PrejšnjaNaprej »