It is the attempt of this book to give to people whose training is other than scientific some conception of this great story of creation. Without dogmatic certainty but without indecision it tries to tell what modern science thinks as to the great problems of life.
, and he knew more than any other man of early times of whom record has come to us.
In early days men who traveled into foreign countries brought back accounts of what they saw. The whole Natural History of ancient times was filled with the most absurd and ludicrous stories of all sorts of things to be seen in distant lands. Sir John Mandeville tells tales almost as imaginative and quite as amusing as those attributed to Baron Munchausen.
Upon the great awakening of the fifteenth century, with its new study and its wide-ranging travel, an entire change came over the human mind. Men who journeyed into far countries brought back with them not only accounts of what they saw, but, so far as might be, the things themselves. Collections of plants and of such parts of animals as could be readily preserved soon began to accumulate in every great center of Europe. It was only a question of time when such acquisitions must be arranged and classified, but as yet there was no system by which this could be d