The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms

The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms

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The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms by Charles Darwin

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1881

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The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms

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Book Excerpt

a "beautiful example of the natural cultivation of the soil; for year after year the thrown-up castings cover the dead leaves; the result being a rich humus of great thickness."

In the year 1869, Mr. Fish {5} rejected my conclusions with respect to the part which worms have played in the formation of vegetable mould, merely on account of their assumed incapacity to do so much work. He remarks that "considering their weakness and their size, the work they are represented to have accomplished is stupendous." Here we have an instance of that inability to sum up the effects of a continually recurrent cause, which has often retarded the progress of science, as formerly in the case of geology, and more recently in that of the principle of evolution.

Although these several objections seemed to me to have no weight, yet I resolved to make more observations of the same kind as those published, and to attack the problem on another side; namely, to weigh all the castings thrown up within a given time in a

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