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Page 236 - Fourthly, when we revolve in our minds the great similarity of structure, which obtains in all the warm-blooded animals, as well quadrupeds, birds, and amphibious animals, as in mankind; from the mouse and bat to the elephant and whale; one is led to conclude, that they have alike been produced from a similar living filament.
Page 247 - ... the world itself might have been generated, rather than created; that is, it might have been gradually produced from very small beginnings, increasing by the activity of its inherent principles, rather than by a sudden evolution of the whole by the Almighty fiat.
Page 233 - Secondly, when we think over the great changes introduced into various animals by artificial or accidental cultivation, as in horses, which we have exercised for the different purposes of strength or swiftness, in carrying burthens or in running races; or in dogs, which have been cultivated for strength and courage, as the bull-dog; or for acuteness of his sense of smell, as the hound and...
Page 236 - Fifthly, from their first rudiment, or primordium, to the termination of their lives, all animals undergo perpetual transformations; which are in part produced by their own exertions in consequence of their desires and aversions, of their pleasures and their pains, or of irritations, or of associations; and many of these acquired forms or propensities are transmitted to their posterity.
Page 238 - Some birds have acquired harder beaks to crack nuts, as the parrot. Others have acquired beaks adapted to break the harder seeds, as sparrows. Others for the softer seeds of flowers, or the buds of trees, as the finches.
Page 240 - ... would it be too bold to imagine, that in the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine, that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament...
Page 235 - ... exuberance of nourishment supplied to the fetus, as in monstrous births with additional limbs; many of these enormities of shape are propagated, and continued as a variety at least, if not as a new species of animal. I have seen a breed of cats with an additional claw on every foot; of poultry also with an additional claw, and with wings to their feet; and of others without rumps. Mr. Buffon...
Page 240 - ... the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity-, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!
Page 231 - Linnaeus has conjectured in respect to the vegetable world, it is not impossible, but the great variety of species of animals, which now tenant the earth, may have had their origin from the mixture of a few natural orders.