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About the Book

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V



     

Part III: Convergence and the Origin of Man

Chapter 2

The Fact of Convergence

     IT MUST be apparent that if convergence is at all common, many forms which have been used to establish genealogical trees of evolutionary significance may not in fact form trees at all but merely, as Manton (9) put it, "bundles of twigs," quite unrelated in any but the most non-evolutionary sense. The genealogical trees are then entirely fictitious, nothing less than misrepresentations of the course of biological history. One's confidence in these phylogenetic reconstructions cannot be very high.
     
Darwin himself was uncomfortably aware of this fact. In the sixth edition of The Origin of Species he wrote: (10)

     It should not be overlooked that certain strongly marked variations which no one would rank as mere individual differences, frequently occur owing to a similar organization being similarly acted on, of which numerous instances could be given with our domestic production.

     In 1876, in a letter to Moritz Wagner, he wrote: (11)

     In my opinion the greatest error which I have committed has been in not allowing sufficient weight to the direct action of the environment, i.e., food, climate, etc., independently of natural selection. . . . When I wrote "The Origin" and for some years afterwards I could find little good evidence of the direct action of the environment; now there is a large body of evidence.

     A curious course of events followed publication of Darwin's work. One result was an increasing neglect of the study of the relationships between form and function, due to an almost total obsession with the tracing of supposed lines of descent on the basis of form. Morphology totally absorbed the attention of most students of fossil remains. The second was a counter-balancing search by those

9. Manton, I., Problems of Cytology and Evolution in the Pteridophyta, Cambridge University Press, 1950: quoted by I. Knoblock, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, vol.5, no.3, 1953, p.14.
10. Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, 6th edition, 1872, p.74.
11. Darwin, Charles, Life and Lectures, October 13, 1876, iii, p.159.

     pg 1 of 14      

who opposed Darwinism (not necessarily "evolution" per se), for instances of structural parallelism between living forms which had developed in entire independence and were not believed to be linear descendants.
     
With respect to the first, Sir James Gray, the author of a classical work on animal locomotion, wrote on the theory of natural selection: (12)

     Strange as it may seem, one immediate effect of The Origin was a marked recession in the study of animal function. There was, and still is, a tendency for morphologists to ascribe to organs and structures a functional significance for which there was, or is, little observational evidence. In this respect "Evolution in action" (Julian Huxley) is by no means guiltless it goes a considerable way beyond the physiological facts. Is Dr. Huxley quite sure that the loss of the lateral digits by the ancestors of the horse gave them an "additional turn of speed"?

     This same obsession with form irrespective of function led Haeckel to formulate his well-known but now quite discredited theory of recapitulation. Sir Gavin de Beer observed: (13)

     The assumption that developmental stages of a descendant represent adult ancestral types has taken all the longer to disprove because of the facile way in which non-crucial observations have been claimed as evidence in its support. . . . In many cases it can be proved that the developmental history cannot represent the phylogenetic history, for the reason that if the adult ancestor resembled the modern embryo, it could not have been functional. . . .
     The second and, perhaps, the more important reason for which the theory of recapitulation has impeded the progress of biology is that it has blinded embryologists to the necessity of looking for causal connections (i.e., functional ones) within ontogenetic phenomena.

     In other words real or superficial resemblances were, and are still, assumed to be evidence of linear descent or close genealogical relationship, whereas they may be functionally determined parallelisms resulting from the similar response of living organisms to similar stimuli. So de Beer concluded with a quotation by the great embryologist Wilhelm His: (14)

     This opposition to the application of the fundamental principles of science to embryological questions would scarcely be intelligible had it not a dogmatic background. No other explanation of living forms is allowed than heredity, and any which is founded on another must be rejected. The present

12. Gray, Sir James, in a review of Huxley's Evolution in Action, under the heading "The Case for Natural Selection," in Nature, February 6, 1954, p.227; and August 7, 1954, p.279.
13. De Beer, Sir Gavin, "Embryology and Evolution," in Evolution, edited by de Beer, Oxford University Press, 1938, pp.58, 61.
14. Ibid., p.62.

     pg.2 of 14     

fashion requires that even the smallest and most indifferent inquiry must be dressed in a phylogenetic costume.

     This was written by Dr. His in 1888. Some years later, in respect to the conclusions of physical anthropologists, Wilson Wallis wrote sadly: (15)

     Since the day of Darwin, the evolutionary idea has largely dominated the ambitions and determined the findings of physical anthropologists, sometimes to the detriment of the truth.

     And there is no doubt whatever that the famous Piltdown fraud could never have succeeded as well as it did but for the fact that Dawson supplied for the experts precisely what some of them believed they ought to have. Piltdown Man was just what the doctors ordered. V. F. Calverton, in his introduction to The Making of Man wrote: (16)

     The very simultaneity with which Darwin and Wallace struck upon the theory of Natural Selection and the survival of the fittest was manifest proof of the intense activity of the idea at the time. Every force in the environment, economic and social, conspired to the success of the doctrine.

     Similarly, A. L. Kroeber wrote:(17)

     There was evidently a particular historic concatenation in the world's thought which enabled Darwin's discovery to trigger off consequences so great.

     In protest against this landslide of approval of a theory which was surprisingly suited to the Zeitgeist (as many and recent historians have pointed out), a number of independent minds set out to take a fresh look at the evidence. Prince Kropotkin re-examined the community of wild life to see whether there really was a "struggle to survive" and whether the fittest only came out on top. He found a very different pattern in Nature and set forth his findings in his Mutual Aid. Until comparatively recently it was long out of print. But the tide seems to be changing, and there is now a fresh demand which has justified its reprinting. Similarly, in 1922 Leo Berg wrote his massive and scholarly Nomogenesis as a protest against the then unbalanced concern with morphology to the exclusion of function. He would probably today have called his book Convergence, for that is

15. Wallis, Wilson D., "The Structure of Prehistoric Man," in The Making of Man, Modern Library, Random House, New York, 1931, p.75.
16. Calverton, V. F., in The Making of Man, Modern Library, Random House, New York, 1931, p.2.
17. Kroeber, A. L., "Evolutionary History and Culture," in Evolution After Darwin, vol.2. Univeristy of Chicago Press, 1960, p.1.

     pg.3 of 14     

what it is all about. It, too, has now been republished surprisingly, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Shortly after this first edition appeared, in 1935 Sir Wilfrid LeGros Clark was willing to admit: (18)

     In the evaluation of the genetic affinities, anatomical differences are more important as negative evidence than anatomical resemblances are as positive evidence. It becomes apparent that if this thesis is carried to a logical conclusion it will be necessary to demand a much greater scope for the phenomena of parallelism or convergence in evolution than has generally been conceded by evolutionists. The fact is that the minute and detailed researches which have been carried out by comparative anatomists in recent years have made it certain that parallelism in development has been proceeding on a large scale and is no longer to be regarded as an incidental curiosity which has occurred sporadically in the course of evolution. Indeed, it is hardly possible for those who are not comparative anatomists to realize the fundamental part which this phenomenon has played in the evolutionary [developmental?] process [query mine].

     Yet today one hears very little on the subject, as the encyclopedias indicate. Sir Wilfrid himself, in contributing to the rash of Darwinia which were published in the Darwin Centennial year ( l958) wrote: (19)

     Reference should be made to the evolutionary phenomena of convergence and parallelilism, for it is well known that these can lead to structural similarities which, taken by themselves, may be misleading. The term convergence is applied to the occasional tendency for distantly related types to simulate one another in general proportions or in the development of analogous adaptations in response to similar functional needs.

     What had happened in the 25 or so years to convert Clark's "large scale" phenomena "no longer to be regarded as an incidental curiosity" into an "occasional tendency"? Perhaps it had become increasingly apparent during the intervening years that the admission of the fact of convergence on a large scale was highly inimical to many of the more commonly displayed genealogical trees purporting to show linear evolutionary descent based purely on morphololgy.
     
So crucial is morphology that the anthropologist Franz Weidenreich formulated the following principle: (20)

     In determining the character of a given fossil form and its special place in the line of human evolution, only its morphological features should be made the basis of decision: neither the location of the site where it was recovered, 

18. Clark, Sir Wilfrid LeGros, Early Forerunners of Man: quoted by Rendle Short in Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.66, 1935, p.255.
19. Clark, Sir Wilfrid LeGros,"The Study of Man's Descent," in A Century of Darwin, edited by S. A. Barnett, Heineman, London. 1958, p.182
20. Weidenreich, Franz, "The Skull of Sinanthropus pekinensis: A Comparative Study on a Primitive Hominid Skull" Paleontologica Sinica, N.S.D., no.10, whole series no.127, 1943, p.1.

     pg.4 of 14     

nor the geological nature of the rock stratum in which it was imbedded is important.

     But what does one make of this demand that the evidence of geology be ignored and only physical appearance considered? In the light of the possibility that structure may be entirely the result of environmental or historic circumstances and have nothing whatever to do with geological age, the argument is entirely without validity.
     
Sir Solly Zuckerman, though fully committed to evolutionary theory, admitted freely: (21)

     Several gene patterns may have identical phenotypic effects (so that) when we deal with limited or relatively limited fossil material, correspondence in single morphological features or in groups of characters does not necessarily imply genetic identity and phyletic relationship.

     By the phrase "several gene patterns," Zuckerman is referring to the well-recognized fact that where circumstances "demand" that an animal be equipped with some particular organ (a special kind of eye for example); that organ is apt to appear even though the animal does not share a gene complex which has been responsible for the very same organ in some other species. Thus gene complexes or patterns which differ, can nevertheless lead to the production of similar structures in unrelated animals.
     
Wood Jones argued strongly that there was some kind of "vital force" in nature which resulted in the emergence of all sorts of specialized structures in animals that enabled their possessors to meet the particular exigencies of their lives. Such structures, he was convinced, could appear "out of the blue," as it were, almost upon demand. He listed many examples in his classic little volume Trends of Life, all of which were chosen to demonstrate that in some mysterious way "Nature knew what it was about." Like Leo Berg, and now even more recently Sir Alister Hardy, (22) Jones, too, was persuaded that there was little or no element of chance or randomness about this phenomenon. He wrote: (23)

     Since the acceptance of Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution, many attempts have been made by distinguished biologists (such as Gaskill and Patten) to prove that the invertebrates did in fact "evolve" into vertebrates; but all the available evidence makes it quite certain that the two great phyla arose in complete independence of each other. . . .
     When ordinary people were told by the dogmatic propagandists of  

21. Zuckerman, Sir Solly, "An Ape or The Ape?" Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol.81, 1951, p.57.
22. Hardy, Sir Alister, The Living Stream, Collins, London, 1965, especially chap.7, pp.180ff., "Habit in Relation to Structure."
23. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life, Arnold, London, 1953, pp.74, 75.

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Darwin's theory of Evolution that so complex a thing as an eye had come into existence by some vague force known as Natural Selection, acting on chance minor structural variations, their credulity was taxed to the utmost. Their faith would probably have failed them completely had they been asked to believe that this random and mechanistic process had produced the vertebrate eye and the invertebrate eye in complete independence; and more than that, had permitted the invertebrates to originate at least three different kinds of eyes in independence, within the limits of their own phylum (the singlefocal eye, bifocal eye, and compound eye). Not only eyes, but ears, and hearts and gills, and lungs, and livers, and kidneys, and brains, and all the rest have been developed twice over in complete independence in the two great phyla.

     And as we shall show, Jones' list barely scratches the surface of the less obvious parallelisms that exist. Some hitherto unrecognized or ill-defined law has been at work governing all life. Naturally, in the present climate of opinion, such concepts are too tainted with metaphysics to be encouraged by the Establishment. They are rejected out of hand. Everything must be left to chance. Evolution and Chance are virtually synonymous concepts, and perhaps LeGros Clark (like others) had begun to realize that convergence favoured development by law, rather than by chance, too pointedly. It is quite clear that this conviction certainly prompted Leo Berg to write his classical study on convergence and to give it the more precise title: Nomogenesis: Evolution Determined by Law. The idea that there might be some law governing the development of living forms throughout the ages is no more frightening, of course, than the concept of the rule of law in physics. But the physical events of the past have not shown any progress from simple to complex, lower to higher, more dependent upon the environment to less dependent on the environment, without conscious purpose to a very high degree of purposefulness, and so forth, in the way that living things have. In this sense there is a direction to the development of life which is not evident in the mere physical order. And the idea of "direction" according to "law," and to a significant extent contrary to the otherwise universal rule of "decay" (entropy), inevitably raises the spectre of purpose. And purpose implies a Purposer. This is where the rub comes. . . .
     
So pervasive did Berg see convergence to be, that he could write without hesitation: "Convergence and not divergence is the rule, not the exception. This appears to be all pervasive, both among plants and animals, both present, recent, and extinct." (24) And in the latest re-issue of his work we find him saying: (25)

     From the examples set forth in this section, it is obvious that convergence

24. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, p.174 of the English edition, Constable, London, 1926.
25. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, p.169 of the Massachesetts Institute of Technology edition, 1969.

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affects the most important organs fundamental for existence, and not merely external characters.

     And again, later: (26)

     From the numerous examples that have been offered in this Chapter, and their number might easily be multiplied, we have shown that convergence affects the most fundamental organs in animals and plants, that the phenomenon is widely distributed, and that points of similarity which have been attributed to common descent are often due to convergence.

     Before examining the evidence in more detail, it may be well to note, in fairness to other writers since then, that although convergence is too dangerous a doctrine to give much emphasis to, it is, nevertheless, quite widely admitted by the Establishment. G. G. Simpson was willing to admit:(27)

     In convergence, there occurs the same sort of opportunistic development of one way of life by different groups -- in this case those groups being dissimilar (or less similar) in adaptive type to start with. The trend towards greater similarity of adaptation involves . . . converging functional and structural characteristics. The groups may be nearly related or may be only very distantly related. . . . . Insects and birds are so distantly related that any particular homology between their parts can hardly be traced, and yet they converge, sometimes quite closely.
     Humming moths (given by Evan Shute (28) as Hawk Moths, Trochilidae chordates) and humming birds are so remarkably alike in habits and functional operation that they are often mistaken for each other if seen only from a distance. Convergence on a grand scale is seen in the comparison of South and North American mammals.

     Alfred S. Romer (29) observed that "the development of long spindles to support a dorsal tail occurred in at least two and perhaps five separate lines." And he reported that Radfield had suggested to him these were heat regulating mechanisms. This is most probable, I think. Such a structure is to be observed in the Dimetrodon, for example.
     
Boule and Vallois extended the principle somewhat: (30)

     It would be important to know whether we can not accept the existence of convergence phenomena of biochemical characters, analogous to the convergence phenomena of a morphological order. There is no reason why a similar morphological evolution [development?] in two different groups

26. Ibid., p.225.
27. Simpson, G. G., The Meaning of Evolution, Yale University Press, 1952, pp.183, 184.
28. Shute, Evan, Flaws in the Theory of Evolution, published privately, London, Ontario, 1961.
29. Romer, A. S., in Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, edited by Jepson, Mayr, and Simpson, Princeton Univerity Press, 1949, pp.103ff.
30. Boule, Marcellin, and Henri V. Vallois, Fossil Man, translated by M. Bullock, Dryden Press, New York, 1957, p.573, footnote.

     pg.7 of 14     


should not he accompanied by a parallel evolution of phenomena ascribable to biochemistry. It seems that naturalists have not given attention to this point [query mine].

     As we shall see, biochemists per se have given attention to the point, but dyed-in-the-wool evolutionists have not given attention to the biochemists. In speaking of man's ancestry, Ruggles R. Gates wrote: (31)

     The abundance of convergent types also involves recognition of the fact that groups, such as mammals, which are now regarded as uniform [i.e., descended from a single ancestor] have had polyphyletic (i.e., independent) origin.

     Alfred S. Romer (32) even went so far a to say that "the known presence of parallelisms in so many cases and its suspected presence in others suggests that convergence may have been an almost universal phenomenon." And Simpson seemed to be issuing the same caution against the too hasty assumption of relatedness based on homologies when he said: "Sanger has shown that the insulin composition of sperm whales is identical with that of pigs and quite different from that of sei whales! To be sure, a sequence of only three amino acids is involved, and both differences and resemblances could be accidental without even true convergence, but the lesson is there." (33)
     
One more example. Herbert Friedman, Curator of the Division of Birds, U. S. Natural Museum, in a paper on ecological counterparts in birds, presents a survey of the extraordinary parallels in unrelated species of birds, including patterns of feeding, call, and nest-building, as well as in colouration and structural details. He said: (34)

     The more complete our knowledge of any given group of organisms, the more such cases come to mind. . . . The number of instances may be extended to a point where it grows wearisome. . . .
     The number of possible permutations and combinations of the different colours and patterns (spots, bars, stripes, etc.) found in birds is far greater than the number of kinds of birds. It is therefore interesting, and probably significant, that there should be as many instances of convergence among unrelated groups as there are. It is all the more intriguing when we find that these similarities in appearance are so often correlated with equally marked similarities in habit.

31. Gates, Ruggles R., Human Ancestry from a Genetical Point of View, Harvard University Press, 1948, p 3.
32. Romer, A. S., in Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, edited by Jepson, Mayr, and Simpson, Princeton Univerity Press, 1949, p.115.
33. Simpson, G. G., Biology and Man, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1969, p.38.
34. Friedman, Herbert, "Ecological Counterparts in Birds," Scientific Monthly, vol.63, no.5, 1946, p.395-398.

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So much, then, for acknowledgment of the fact itself. It is to the work of Leo Berg in particular that we must turn for the most complete examination of the evidence. It indicates some measure of the renewed interest in the subject as a whole that his original work, first published in Russian in 1922, and in an English translation in 1926, is once again available for study in 1970.
     Consider a few examples of organs and body fluids. According to Berg, the placenta, by which the embryo is connected with the body of the mother and by which it receives its nourishment and gets rid of its waste products, has been independently formed in various groups of animals including Polyzoa (a certain type of fish parasite), Penpatus (non-externally segmented caterpillars), certain insects and scorpions, the Tunticata (sea squirts), certain sharks, certain marsupials, and of course all the placental mammals. Berg noted:
(35)

     Everything in the anatomy, embryology, and paleontology of mammals inclines us to share Abel's opinion: the monotremata, marsupiala, and Placentalia are three parallel branches which have arisen independently of one another.

     Berg pointed out that chlorophyl and hemoglobin are allied substances, yet they have arisen quite independently as life-carriers (36)

     Manoilov (37) has discovered a reaction for the discrimination of the blood of man from that of woman; it is remarkable that the same reaction afforded the means of distinguishing the male from the female sex in dioecious plants such as the maple (Acer negundo), the nettle (Lychnis dioica), and Vallisneria.

     He commented: (38)

     Such a physiological parallelism indicates that the elaboration of chemical substances (which ultimately affect morphology as well as physiology) is subject to certain laws.

     While dealing with blood, it may be noted in passing that C. L. Prosser, in a paper inspired by the Darwin Centennial "celebrations," pointed out: (39)

     Haemoglobins, different in protein but similar in heme, have evolved separately many times -- in chordates, a few molluscs, some entomostraeons, certain annelids, numerous holothurians, a few dipteran insects, even some nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

35. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, pp.214, 215.
36. Ibid., p.224.
37. Manoilov, W. W., in The Medical Gazette, vol.15, 1923: quoted by Leo Berg.
38. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, p 225.
39. Prosser, C. L., "The Origin after a Century: Prospects for the Future," American Scientist, vol.47, 1959, p.539.

     pg.9 of 14     


     And warm-bloodedness has, of course, appeared twice, independently, in birds and in mammals. The transformation of a cold-blooded animal into a warm-blooded animal involves complexities in the central and peripheral nervous systems which are almost unbelievably complex.
     
Berg noted that in certain insectivorous plants there has developed a fermenting agent similar to the pepsin of the animal digestive system, to enable it to make use of protein food stuffs; and it is secreted by a corresponding organ. (40) Yet curiously enough, pepsin appears only in the higher animals; its presence in invertebrates is still a matter of doubt.
     
Berg referred to the development of very similarly structured bifocal eyes in fish and in quite unrelated whirligig beetles. (41) These bifocal eyes allow the beetle to see normally in air but "to keep an eye" under water as well, whereas in certain fishes, the reverse is observed. A horizontal band divides the eye in both cases into an upper and lower portion, the lens of one suitable for seeing in the air and the other in water. Such a complex organ has developed twice, therefore, in total independence.
     
Furthermore, as Rendle Short pointed out, (42) the eyes of the octopus are precisely like those of most mammals including man, and this parallelism extends to the structure of the cornea, iris, ciliary muscle and processes, and the retina. Yet there is clearly no "evolutionary" connection between these two types of living creatures.
     
Berg noted: (43)

     Eyes with a lens are independently met with in annelid worms, arthropoda, and cephalopoda. In the latter we meet with retina, cornea, iris, ciliary process, and even (in some) with eye-lids.

     Zawarzin (44) referred to eyes as "a principle of structure connected with the faculty of vision common to the entire animal world." For such a structure with all its component parts (blood supply, lachrymal glands, neuromuscular control mechanisms, and associated visual areas in the brain) to have formed so many times in such diverse creatures is surely quite beyond the power of pure chance

40. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, p.223.
41. Ibid., p.221.
42. Short, Rendle A., "Some Recent Literature Concerning the Origin of Man," Transactiions of the Victoria Institute, vol.67, 1935, p,253.
43. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, p. 221.
44. Zawarzin, A. A., Studies in the Histology of the Sensory Nervous System and Optical Ganglia of Insects (in Russian), St. Petersburg, 1913, vi and 192 pp.

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acting via natural selection upon random changes in the gene complex. This is faith in miracles indeed.
     
Concerning such strange phenomena as luminosity or phosphorescence Berg remarked: (45)

     The luminous or phosphorescent organs, enigmatic as to function and origin, developed independently in the most diverse groups of marine fishes such as sharks (Spinax and others), in the stomiatidae, the scopalidae, and in antennariidae, and others.

     Such a remarkable defense weapon as the ability to give a very powerful electric shock has also appeared independently in three water-living animals: the Electric Eel (a U.S. freshwater species), the Torpedo (widely distributed in the oceans), and Malapterurus in Africa. (46)
     Again, speaking of defense, quills have been developed independently by otherwise harmless creatures such as the Australian monotreme Anteater (locally called "Porcupine"), the true rodent porcupine (Hystrix) that is common to Europe and North Africa, the South American porcupine (Synetheres), also the common hedgehog, and the small prickly Ericulus of Madagascar. (47)
     In his book Animal Weapons, discussing defense at a time of complete helplessness, Philip Street remarked on a case of parallel development in insects in the larval stage:
(48)

     Convergent evolution, by which two completely unrelated types of animals evolve similar structures for a similar purpose quite independently of each other is an extremely interesting phenomenon. There is certainly no possible connection between the various types of tube worms and the larvae of the caddis fly, yet these larvae, usually referred to as caddis worms, construct tubes for their protection which are remarkably similar to those produced by marine annelids.

     So much for organs or structures: the same picture applies to whole animals. David Lack, speaking of the Australian fauna, said: (49)

     Australia was colonized by marsupial mammals which, in the absence of placental forms evolved into fox-like, wolf-like, mole-like, squirrel-like, rabbit-like, rat-like, anteater-like, and flying squirrel-like forms, which resemble, often closely, their counterparts among the placental mammals of other continents.

     Yet they are not related to them.

45. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, p.219.
46. Short, Rendle A., "Some Recent Literature Concerning the Origin of Man," Transactiions of the Victoria Institute, vol.67, 1935, p.253.

47. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life, Arnold, London, 1953, p.80.
48. Street, Philip, Animal Weapons, MacGibbon & Kee, London, 1971, p.37.
49. Lack, David, Evolutionary Theory and Christian Belief, Methuen, London, 1957, p.65.

     pg.11 of 14     


     From Sir Alister Hardy's work, The Living Stream, the following illustrations will show how remarkably close in structural detail such parallels may be. (50) The desert rat and the Jerboa (see Fig. 4) are dearly responding to environmental pressures by developing the same exceptional overall form, which enables them to move quickly in loose sand by jumping like a kangaroo rather than by running. The Tasmanian wolf skull cannot be told apart from the skull of the North American or European wolf (see Fig. 5), (51) The range of variability in both overlaps. Even more remarkable is the close similarity between the placental and marsupial moles (see Fig. 6), which have developed almost identical "digging" feet, nose and mouth configuration, eye structure, and ear openings designed to prevent particles entering the ear hole. (52) Yet these two creatures are not related. G. G. Simpson (53) has given an illustration of the structural framework supporting the wing of a bat and a fly, and believes it is another example of convergent development to meet a shared engineering problem. Wood Jones stated it very succinctly: (54)

     It seems therefore certain that structures which have developed for the satisfaction of these common needs may bear a considerable likeness to each other, although the animals manifesting them may be utterly unrelated by kinship or descent. Since so many basal needs are common to all animals and these functional needs are satisfied by the development of appropriate structures, it is to be expected that a common ground plan of parts and organs might be detected. . . .

     Homologies are then neither due to chance nor to descent, but to a built-in design factor.
     It might be argued that we do not have direct evidence that substantial changes in structure can be attributed to environmental factors. But we do have such evidence. For example the phenomenon of hornlessness in normally horned cattle is observed when herds are moved into areas in which hornlessness is already known. Such cattle are found in Europe, Africa, and South America.
(55) Again, Swiss cattle moved into Hungary developed longer horns and longer legs, such as the native cattle have. In another instance, cattle brought from the Bavarian Alps into the crown estate of Altenburg in Hungary not only developed the longer horns common to the area,

50. Hardy, Sir Alister, The Living Stream, Collins, London, 1965, p.202.
51. Ibid., p.201.
52. Ibid., p.200.
53. Simpson, G. G., The Meaning of Life, Yale University Press, 1952, p.182.
54. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life, Arnold, London, 1953 p 71.
55. Berg, Leo, Nomogenesis: Or Evolution Determined by Law, original Russian edition of 1922 translated by J. N. Rostovtov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1969 reprint, p.241.

     pg.12 of 14     


Fig. 4. (A) The marsupial jerboa (Antechinomys laninger) and (B) the placental jerboa (Dipus hirtipes), redrawn respectively from Troughton's "Furred Animals of Australia" and the "Cambridge Natural History."

Fig. 5. The marsupial Tasmanian wolf (Thylacinus cynocephalus), with (A) its skull compared with (B), that of the placental wolf (Canis lupus), drawn to the same scale, from specimens in the Oxford University Museum.

Fig. 6. (A) The marsupial mole (Notoryctes), redrawn from the "Cambridge Natural History," and (B) the placental mole (Tlpa europe a), drawn from a photograph.

     pg.13 of 14     


but their horns became harder and acquired a peculiar lyrelike form characteristic of the local Hungarian breed, and the skull became narrower. (56) Such structural differences often form the basis by which modern taxonomists distinguish species and genera, and even higher orders of classification. The investigators believed that these changes were entirely due to the effects of the Hungarian climate and soil. They were not due to interbreeding.
     Fishes (Zoarees viviparus) transferred from Ise Fjord to Roskilde Fjord in Denmark, a few degrees of latitude, increased the number of vertebrae, the average rising from the native mean of 108 to a higher mean of 114.6 vertebrae.
(57) The stocks did not mix with fish already in the new area. Similarly, land molluscs of different genera have developed parallel shell forms, markings, and decorative patterns in entire independence. (58) The list could be extended to the point of boredom. But it works both ways. Unlikes may become like, and likes may come to differ -- actual relationship or lack of it is not necessarily reflected by the terminal result. This applies also to apes and men, though the actual data we have shows rather that the human skull more readily degrades towards an apelike form than that the ape skull becomes humanlike. If size is ignored, certain now extinct apes did develop over a long period of time, it is held, into a more manlike form including the acquisition of partial erectness, somewhat reduced brow ridge development, and a more humanlike tooth pattern as a whole. Such changes are possible and may have been due to environmental factors with secondary influences, resulting from changes in food habits as ambient conditions modified the local fauna and flora which comprised the food supply.
     In the next chapter we shall examine the extent to which the human skull may be "degraded" structurally until it resembles more nearly the ape skull. Such factors as climate, diet, and certain cultural habits which relate to eating (the presence or absence of knives, for example) can be shown to effect changes in cranial morphology. These brutalize the appearance but do not provide justification, in the absence of any other guide, for supposing that fossil men were phylogenetically nearer to the apes than to modern man.

56. Ibid., p.280.
57. Ibid., pp.281, 282.
58. Ibid., p.247.

     pg.14 of 14     

Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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