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ception of the number of experiments which were tried in different groups before the definite mode of forming a bony vertebra was attained. At the same time the skull was developing in a somewhat similar manner. But the skull is far more complex in origin and undergoes far more numerous and important changes than the simpler vertebral column. Into its history we have no time to enter.

And what shall we say of bone itself as a mere material or tissue, with its admirable lightness, compactness, and flawlessness. And every bone in our body is a triumph of engineering architecture. No engineer could better recognize the direction of strain and stress, and arrange his rods and columns, arches and buttresses, to suitably meet them, than these problems are solved in the long bone of our thigh. And they must be lengthened while the child is leaping upon them. An engineer is justly proud if he can rebuild or lengthen a bridge without delaying the passage of a single train. But what would he say if you asked him to rebuild a locomotive, while it was running even twenty miles an hour? And yet a similar problem had to be solved in our bodies.

But the vertebral column is not perfected by fish. The vertebræ with few exceptions are hollow in front and behind, biconcave; and between each two vertebræ there is a large cavity still occupied by the noto

hord. Thus these vertebræ join one another by their edges, like two shallow wine-glasses placed rim to rim. Only gradually is the notochord crowded out so that the vertebræ join by their whole adjacent surfaces. Even in highest forms, for the sake of mobility, they are united by washer-like disks of cartilage. Biconcave

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vertebræ persisted through the oldest amphibia, reptiles, and birds. But finally a firm backbone and skull were attained.

2. The appendages. Of these we can say but little. The fish has oar-like fins, attached to the body by a joint, but themselves unjointed. By the amphibia legs, with the same regions as our own and with five toes, have already appeared. The development of the leg out of the fin is one of the most difficult and least understood problems of vertebrate comparative anatomy. The legs are at first weak and scarcely capable of supporting the body. Only gradually do they strengthen into the fore- and hind-legs of mammals, or into the legs and wings of birds and old flying reptiles.

3. Changes in the circulatory and respiratory systems. The fish lives altogether in the water and breathes by gills, but the dipnoi among fishes breathes by lungs as well as gills. As long as respiration takes place by gills alone, the circulation is simple; the blood flows from the heart to the gills, and thence directly all over the body; the oxygenated blood from the gills does not return directly to the heart. But the blood from the lungs does return to the heart; and there at first mixes in the ventricle with the impure blood which has returned from the rest of the body. Gradually a partition arises in the ventricle, dividing it into a right and left half. Thus the two circulations of the venous blood to the lungs, and of the oxygenated blood over the body, are more and more separated until, in higher reptiles, they become entirely distinct.

As the animal came on land and breathed the air, more completely oxygenated blood was carried to the

organs, and their activity was greatly heightened. As more and more heat was produced by the combustion in muscular and nervous tissues, and less was lost by conduction, the temperature of the body rose, and in birds and mammals becomes constant several degrees above the highest summer temperature of the surrounding air.

The changes in the brain affect mainly the large and small brain. The cerebellum increases with the greater locomotive powers of the animal. But its development is evidently limited. The large brain, or cerebrum, is in fish hardly as heavy as the mid-brain; in amphibia the reverse is true. In higher recent reptiles the cerebrum would somewhat outweigh all the other portions of the brain put together. In mammals it extends upward and backward, has already in lower forms overspread the mid-brain, and is beginning to cover the small brain. But this was not so in the earliest mammals. Here the cerebrum was small, more like that of reptiles. But during the tertiary period the large brain began to increase with marvellous rapidity. It was very late in arriving at the period of rapid development, but it kept on after all the other organs of the body had settled down into comparative rest, perhaps retrogression.

We have given thus a rapid sketch in outline of the changes in the most characteristic systems between fish and mammals. Some of the changes which took place in mammals were along the same lines, but one at least is so new and unexpected that this highest class demands more careful and detailed examination.

Hence all its or

The mammal is a vertebrate. gans are at their best. But mammals stand, all things

considered, at the head of vertebrates. The skeleton is firm and compact. The muscles are beautifully moulded and fitted to the skeleton so as to produce the greatest effect with the least mass and weight of tissue. The sense-organs are keen, and the eye and ear especially delicate, and fitted for perception at long range. Yet in all these respects they are surpassed by birds. As a mere anatomical machine the bird always seems to me superior to the mammal. It is not easy to see why it failed, as it has, to reach the goal of possibility of indefinite development and dominance in the animal world. Why he stopped short of the higher brain development I cannot tell. The fact remains that the mammal is pre-eminent in brain power, and that this gave him the supremacy.

But mammals came very late to the throne, and the probability of their ever gaining it must for ages have appeared very doubtful. They seem to have been a fairly old group with a very slow early development. Reptiles especially, and even birds, were far more precocious than these slower and weaker forms which

crept along the earth. But reptiles and birds, like many other precocious children, soon reached the limit of their development. They had muscle, the mammal brain and nerve; the mammal had the staying power and the future. Bitter and discouraging must have been the struggle of these feeble early mammals with their larger, swifter, and more powerful, reptilian relatives. And yet, perhaps, by this very struggle the mammal was trained to shrewdness and endurance.

The primitive mammals laid eggs like reptiles or birds. Only two genera, echidna and platypus, sur

vive to bear witness of these old oviparous groups, and these only in New Zealand. These retain several old reptilian characteristics. Their lower position is shown also by the fact that the temperature of their bodies is, at least, ten degrees Fahrenheit below that of higher mammals. One of these carries the egg in a pouch on the ventral surface; the other, living largely in water, deposits its eggs in a nest in a burrow in the side of the bank of the stream.

After these came the marsupials. In these the eggs develop in a sort of uterus; but there is no placenta, in the sense of an organic connection between the embryo and the uterus of the mother. The young are at birth exceedingly small and feeble. The adult giant Kangaroo weighs over one hundred pounds; the young are at birth not as large as your thumb. They are placed by the mother in a marsupial pouch on her ventral surface, and here nourished till able to care for themselves.

Pardon a moment's digression. The marsupials, except the opossum, are confined to Australia, and the oviparous mammals, or monotremes, to New Zealand. Formerly the marsupials, at least, ranged all over Europe and Asia, for we have indisputable evidence in their fossil remains. But they have survived only in this isolated area, and here apparently only because their isolation preserved them from the competition with higher forms. If the Australian continent had not been thus early cut off from all the rest of the world, the only trace of both these lower groups would have been the opossum in America and certain peculiarities in the development of the egg in higher mammals. This shows us how much weight should be

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