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wonderful transformations of these modified legs we cannot enter.
The muscles are no longer arranged to form a sack as in annelids. Transverse muscles, running parallel to the unyielding plates of chitin or horn could accomplish nothing. They have largely disappeared. The work of locomotion has been transferred from the trunk to the legs.
The abdomen of the insect is as clearly composed of distinct segments as the body of the annelid. Of these there are perhaps typically eleven. The thorax is composed of three segments, distinct in the lowest forms, fused in the highest. This fusion of segments in the thorax of the highest forms furnishes a very firm framework for the attachment of wings and muscles. These wings are a new development, and how they arose is still a question. But they give the insect the capability of exceedingly rapid locomotion.
The three pairs of jaws, modified legs, in the rear half of the head show that this portion is composed of three segments. For only one pair of legs is ever developed on a single segment. Embryology has shown that the portion of the head in front of the mouth is also composed of three segments. Possibly between the præ- and post-oral portions still another segment should be included, making a total of seven in the head. The head has thus been formed by drawing forward segments from the trunk, and fusing them successively with the first or primitive head segment. This is difficult to conceive of in the fully developed insect, where the boundary between head and thorax is very sharp. But the ancestors of insects looked more like thousand-legs or centipedes, and here head and thorax,
are much less distinct. But in the annelid the mouth is on the second segment; here it is on the fourth. It has evidently travelled backward. That the mouth of an animal can migrate seems at first impossible, but if we had time to examine the embryology of annelids and insects, it would no longer appear inconceivable or improbable. And its backward migration brought it among the legs which were grasping and chewing the food. And in vertebrates the mouth has changed its position, though not in exactly the same way. Our present mouth is probably not at all the mouth of the primitive ancestor of vertebrates. Thus in the insect three segments have fused around the mouth, and three, possibly four, in front of it. This makes a head worthy of the name. The ganglia of the three post-oral segments, which bear the jaws, have fused in one compound ganglion innervating the mouth and jaws. Those of the three præ-oral segments have fused to form a brain. Eyes are well developed, giving images sometimes accurate in detail, sometimes very rude. Ears are not uncommon. The sense of smell is often keen.
Perhaps the greatest advance of the insect is its adaptation to land life. This gives it a larger supply of oxygen than any aquatic animal could ever obtain. This itself stimulates every function, and all the work of the body goes on more energetically. Then the heat produced is conducted off far less rapidly than in aquatic forms. Water is a good conductor of heat, and nearly all aquatic animals are cold-blooded. The few which are warm-blooded are protected by a thick layer of non-conducting fat. In all land animals, even when cold-blooded, the work of the different sys
tems is aided by the longer retention of the heat in the body.
Let us recapitulate. The schematic worm had a body composed of two concentric tubes. The outer was composed of the muscles of the body covered by the protective integument. The inner tube was the alimentary canal with its special muscles. Between these two was the perivisceral cavity, filled with nutritive fluid, lymph, and furnishing a safe lodging-place for the more delicate viscera. It represented fairly the trunk of higher animals.
The annelid added segmentation, and thus greater freedom of motion by the parapodia. But the segments were still practically alike. In the insect division of labor took place, that is, each group of segments was allotted its own special work; and these groups of segments were modified in structure to best suit the performance of this part of the work of the body. The abdomen was least modified and its eleven segments were devoted to digestion, reproduction, and excretion—the old vegetative functions. Three segments were united in the thorax; all their energy was turned to locomotion, and the insect became thus an exceedingly active, swift animal. The third body-region, the head, includes six segments, of which three surrounded the mouth and furnished the jaws, while two more were crowded or drawn forward in order that their ganglia might be added to the old supracesophageal ganglion and form a brain. It is interesting to note that a form, peripatus, still exists which stands almost midway between annelids and insects and has only four segments in the head. The formation of the head was thus a gradual process, one segment being added after another.
In the turbellaria the dominant functions were digestion and reproduction, and their organs composed almost the whole body. Here only eleven segments at most are devoted to these functions, and nine in head and thorax to locomotion and brain. Head and thorax
have increased steadily in importance, while the abdomen has decreased as steadily in number of segments. And the brain is increasing thus rapidly because there are now muscles and sense-organs of sufficient power to make such a brain of value. And this brain perceives not only objects and qualities, but invisible relations between these, and this is an advance amounting to a revolution. It remembers, and uses its recollections. It is capable of learning a little by experience and observation. The A, B, C of thinking was probably learned long before the insect's time, and the bee shows a fair amount of intelligence.
The line of development which the insect followed was comparatively easy and its course probably rapid. Certain crustacea, aquatic arthropoda, are among the oldest fossils, and it is possible that insects lived on the land before the first fish swam in the sea. They had fine structure and powers; and yet during the later geologic periods they have scarcely advanced a step, and are now apparently at a standstill. They ran splendidly for a time, and then fell out of the race. What hindered and stopped them?
One vital defect in their whole plan of organization is evident. The external skeleton is admirably suited to animals of small size, but only to these. In larger animals living on land it would have to be made so heavy as to be unwieldy and no longer economical. Their mode of breathing also is fitted only for animals
of small size having an external skeleton. Whatever may be our explanation the fact remains that insects are always small. This is in itself a disadvantage. Very small animals cannot keep up a constant high temperature unless the surrounding air is warm, for their radiating surface is too large in comparison with their heat-producing mass. At the first approach of even cool weather they become chilled and sluggish, and must hibernate or die. They are conformed to but a limited range of environment in temperature. But small size is, as a rule, accompanied by an even greater disadvantage. It seems to be almost always correlated with short life. Why this is so, or how, we do not know. There are exceptions; a crow lives as long as a man; or would, if allowed to. But, as a rule, the length of an animal's days is roughly proportional to the size of its body. And the insect is, as a rule, very short-lived. It lives for a few days or weeks, or even months, but rarely outlasts the year. It has time to learn but little by experience. The same experience must be passed, the same emergency arise and be met, over and over again during the lifetime of the same individual if the animal is to learn thereby. And intelligence is based upon experience. Hence insects can and do possess but a low grade of intelligence. But instinct is in many cases habit fixed by heredity and improved by selection. The rapid recurrence of successive generations was exceedingly favorable to the development of instincts, but very unfavorable to intelligence. Insects are instinctive, the highest vertebrates intelligent. The future can never belong to a tiny animal governed by instincts. Mollusks and insects have both failed to reach the goal; another