[On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin]@TWC D-Link book
On the Origin of Species



Difficulties of the theory of descent with modification--Absence or rarity of transitional varieties--Transitions in habits of life--Diversified habits in the same species--Species with habits widely different from those of their allies--Organs of extreme perfection--Modes of transition--Cases of difficulty--Natura non facit saltum--Organs of small importance--Organs not in all cases absolutely perfect--The law of Unity of Type and of the Conditions of Existence embraced by the theory of Natural Selection.
Long before the reader has arrived at this part of my work, a crowd of difficulties will have occurred to him.

Some of them are so serious that to this day I can hardly reflect on them without being in some degree staggered; but, to the best of my judgment, the greater number are only apparent, and those that are real are not, I think, fatal to the theory.
These difficulties and objections may be classed under the following heads: First, why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?
Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?
Secondly, is it possible that an animal having, for instance, the structure and habits of a bat, could have been formed by the modification of some other animal with widely different habits and structure?
Can we believe that natural selection could produce, on the one hand, an organ of trifling importance, such as the tail of a giraffe, which serves as a fly-flapper, and, on the other hand, an organ so wonderful as the eye?
Thirdly, can instincts be acquired and modified through natural selection?
What shall we say to the instinct which leads the bee to make cells, and which has practically anticipated the discoveries of profound mathematicians?
Fourthly, how can we account for species, when crossed, being sterile and producing sterile offspring, whereas, when varieties are crossed, their fertility is unimpaired?
The two first heads will be here discussed; some miscellaneous objections in the following chapter; Instinct and Hybridism in the two succeeding chapters.
As natural selection acts solely by the preservation of profitable modifications, each new form will tend in a fully-stocked country to take the place of, and finally to exterminate, its own less improved parent-form and other less-favoured forms with which it comes into competition.

Thus extinction and natural selection go hand in hand.
Hence, if we look at each species as descended from some unknown form, both the parent and all the transitional varieties will generally have been exterminated by the very process of the formation and perfection of the new form.
But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?
It will be more convenient to discuss this question in the chapter on the imperfection of the geological record; and I will here only state that I believe the answer mainly lies in the record being incomparably less perfect than is generally supposed.

The crust of the earth is a vast museum; but the natural collections have been imperfectly made, and only at long intervals of time.
But it may be urged that when several closely allied species inhabit the same territory, we surely ought to find at the present time many transitional forms.

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