Volltext: Elements of Physiology

in some instances curly, and in others straight. The most common 
varieties arising in this way from internal causes, are the fair and the 
dark haired. Fair persons are occasionally met with amongst'races for 
the most part characterised by black hair,—for example, amongst the 
Mongolians: and Dr. Prichard adduces several examples of fair-com- 
plexioned negroes who were not albinos. 
It is true that these varieties are chiefly due to the parents being individuals of dif¬ 
ferent complexions, and to the characteristics sometimes of one and sometimes of the 
other being predominant in the offspring. But even when the parents have the same 
complexion, a certain variety of forms and internal properties may present itself in the 
offspring. In consequence of the mingling of these different varieties in marriage, 
their peculiarities are not preserved, and are not propagated as constant fixed types. 
It is easy to conceive the conditions which must be combined in order, independently 
of climate, food, and locality, to convert these accidental varieties into persistent types. 
The longer individuals of the same stock continue to unite in marriage, without foreign 
admixture, the longer will the type to which they belong be preserved. In this way, 
and independently of all external influences, a race will be formed. Sometimes when 
the type has become fixed through a series of generations in the members of a family, 
even the admixture of a foreign type is not sufficient to efface the fixed characters of 
the family, and the foreign element becomes lost in the older fixed type. Hence we 
see in many royal families that in spite of their union by marriage with other houses, 
the type of the family features is in a remarkable way preserved and transmitted from 
generation to generation,—as, for example, in the Bourbon family, and equally in many 
princely houses in Germany. It was previously shown how one family, being iso¬ 
lated by the intermarrying of its members exclusively with each other, might produce 
a nation or tribe with general distinguishing characters. History teaches us how the 
national type once formed is preserved in spite of individual variations through thou¬ 
sands of years, and that, except when modified by admixture with other types, it is 
maintained unchanged, as in the case of the Jews, even in the most varied climates 
which produce their peculiar modifications of form and complexion. 
The propagation of like with like is, however, capable of perpetuating, not merely 
a physical type forming one of the varieties of a species, but also the faculty which 
individuals acquire by education. The peculiar properties of the hound, the shep¬ 
herd’s dog, and the watch-dog, for example, are all comprehended in the general notion 
of the species; and it is probable that in the brood of a single wild dog, or in the gene¬ 
rations descended from this brood, through the inherent tendency of the species to the 
production of varieties, individuals occur which, when tamed, discover very different 
talents,—the one being more adapted for the chase, another for tending of sheep, and 
a third for keeping watch or guarding property. But the education and rearing of the 
dogs with the requisite endowments for the purposes mentioned, cause the faculties thus 
improved or acquired to be transmitted to succeeding generations, when this object is 
provided for by the pairing of males and females with similar endowments. 
Varieties of species are also produced by external influences; and the longer the 
action of these causes is continued, the more constant does the particular variety 
become, and the more does it acquire the character of a type. To these external 
causes belong the climates or zones in which the animals live. The warmth or cold¬ 
ness of the climate has an especial influence on the fur or hairy coat of animals. 
Most animals, as is well known, have two kinds of hair in their coat,—namely, long 
and stiff hairs, and between these a shorter, curly, woolly hair. Now, the further a 
sheep is carried towards the north, the more equal does the proportion of the two kinds 
of hair in the coat become; while in sheep living in southern countries the woolly hair 
increases in quantity at the expense of the stiffer, longer hair. This is exemplified in 
the merino sheep inhabiting the mountains of Spain. Climate modifies also the 
“habitus” and size of animals. Cattle transported from the temperate zones of 
Europe,—for example, from Holland or England to the East Indies,—are said to 
become considerably smaller in their succeeding generations.* On the other hand, 
the skin of the cattle carried to South America has in a series of generations gradually 
become so much changed in its properties, that the Brazilian hides now supply the 
* See Sturm, Über Raeen, Kreuzung, und Veredlung der landwirthschaftliclien Hausthiere. 
Elberfeld, 1825, p. 54.


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