Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Five characters-flatness, elongation, posterior pointedness, delay in division of the body, delay in completion of mitosis-are so distributed among the subdivisions of the Opalinidae as to involve either repeated fortuitous appearances of these characters, a thing not to be believed, or trends resident in the germ plasm. The Ophryoscolecidae show similar distribution of two sets of characters. In the Salpidae there is evidence of trends toward: coiling of the gut; decrease in number, size, regularity, and symmetry of body muscles; simplification and degeneration of the eyes. These qualities appear first in the phylogeny in the chain Salpas, the final phase in the life-cycle. In the course of the evolution the solitary Salpas become more and more modified in the same directions, until, in the most highly modified species, the muscles and eyes are as much modified in the solitary Salpas as in the aggregated. These changes, not disadvantageous but rather adaptive in their beginning in the colonial individuals, are harmful to the solitary Salpas, yet the degeneration is, by precocious development, thrown back onto the earlier phase of the life-cycle, the solitary stage. Precocious development is not purely utilitarian, but may be more fundamental, biological.Evolution is discussed in terms of trends resident in the germ plasm, their origin in connection with mutations, their growth, decrease, disappearance, branching; auto-evolution. Discussion is from the standpoint of the germinal stream, internal factors of evolution being emphasized.
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