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The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol. I.

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Author: Charles Darwin
Published: 1868
Language: English
Wordcount: 179,306 / 558 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 37.1
LoC Category: QH
Downloads: 1,140
Added to site: 2008.03.28
mnybks.net#: 20424
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Science

The object of this work is not to describe all the many races of animals which have been domesticated by man, and of the plants which have been cultivated by him; even if I possessed the requisite knowledge, so gigantic an undertaking would be here superfluous. It is my intention to give under the head of each species only such facts as I have been able to collect or observe, showing the amount and nature of the changes which animals and plants have undergone whilst under man's dominion, or which bear on the general principles of variation.

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o changes in its conditions, being grown sometimes in one district and sometimes in another, in different soils. Under such circumstances, {3} scarcely a plant can be named, though cultivated in the rudest manner, which has not given birth to several varieties. It can hardly be maintained that during the many changes which this earth has undergone, and during the natural migrations of plants from one land or island to another, tenanted by different species, that such plants will not often have been subjected to changes in their conditions analogous to those which almost inevitably cause cultivated plants to vary. No doubt man selects varying individuals, sows their seeds, and again selects their varying offspring. But the initial variation on which man works, and without which he can do nothing, is caused by slight changes in the conditions of life, which must often have occurred under nature. Man, therefore, may be said to have been trying an experiment on a gigantic scale; and it is an experiment which natu

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