Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

ANTHROPOMETRIC LABORATORIES 253 
not yet "taken on,” there was spare time for inquiry 
into finger-prints. 
I described the results in the above-mentioned 
lecture so far as they had then been obtained, and 
subsequently in a more advanced shape in a memoir 
read before the Royal Society in 1891 [ 117]. It 
was argued in it that these patterns had a theoretical 
significance* which has not, I think, even yet been 
adequately appreciated, which bears on discontinuity 
in evolution. I showed that the different classes of 
patterns in finger-prints might be justly compared 
to different genera. As, however, they had been 
formed without any aid from natural selection, I 
concluded that natural selection had no monopoly 
in moulding genera, but that internal conditions 
must be quite as important. 
I have always believed that the number of posi¬ 
tions of stability in every genus must be limited, 
from which moderate deviations, but not great ones, 
are possible without causing destruction. There are 
limits which, if they can be overpassed without 
disaster, would require a new position of stability 
in the organisation. Comparatively few intermediate 
finger-patterns are found between a “ loop ” and a 
"whorl,” these representing two different and well- 
marked genera or positions of stability. 
The modern division of views concerning the 
immediate causes of evolution, whether it be due 
to the slow accumulation of small factors or else by 
the sudden mutations of de Vries, are paralleled by 
those held by the physicists of the fifties on the 
method by which a glacier adapts itself to its bed, just 
as if it were a viscous body, which it certainly is not
        

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