By William Bateson
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Additional resources for Materials for the Study of Variation
If the manner of development of Repeated Parts is considered, this fact will not seem surprising. For all these parts arise from the undifferentiated tissues by a process of Division, and whatever characters were potentially present in the undifferentiated tissues may appear in the parts into which it subsequently divides. A somewhat loose illustration will perhaps make this more clear. Everyone knows the rows of figures which children cut out from folded paper. There are as many figures as folds, each figure being alike if the folds coincide.
The importance of the phenomena of Merism to the Study of Variation is thus, in the first instance, a direct one, for the Variations which have resulted in the production of Meristic Systems are a direct factor in Evolution. I n addition to this direct relation to the Study of Variation, the phenomena of Merism have also an indirect relation, which is scarcely less important; for they are a factor in the estimation of the magnitude of the integral steps by which Variation proceeds. This will be more evident after the second group of Variations has been spoken of.
When even these splendid observations cannot be made to shew much more. Surely their use is now rather to point the direction in which we must go for more facts. The qnestions which by the Study of Variation we hope to answer may be thus expressed. I n affirming our belief in the doctrine of the Community of Descent of living things, we declare that we believe all living things to stand to each other in definite genetic relationships. If then all the individuals which have lived on the earth could be sirnultaneously before us, we believe that it would be possible to arrange them all, so that each stood in its own ordinal position in series.
Materials for the Study of Variation by William Bateson