A lecture delivered at Columbia University in the serieson Science, Philosophy and Art November 20, 1907

Published: 1907
Language: English
Wordcount: 7,814 / 30 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 42
LoC Category: Q
Downloads: 3,893
Added to site: 2006.07.27 14355
Genre: Science

these are given in the obvious structure of the organism, such as the tendrils by means of which the climbing plant sustains itself against the action of gravity or the winds, the protective shell of the snail, the protective colors and shapes of animals, and the like. Any structural feature that is useful because of its construction is a structural adaptation; and when such adaptations are given the mechanist has for the most part a relatively easy task in his interpretation. He has a far more difficult knot to disentangle in the case of the so-called functional adaptations, where the organism modifies its activities (and often also its structure) in response to changed conditions. The nature of these phenomena may be illustrated by a few examples so chosen as to form a progressive series. If a spot on the skin be rubbed for some time the first result is a direct and obviously mechanical one; the skin is worn away. But if the rubbing be continued long enough, and is not too severe, an indirect effect is pro


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