By William Bateson
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Additional resources for Materials for the Study of Variation
INTRODUCTION. 31 occurring in divers forms has led to the belief that those forms had a common descent: in a somewhat similar way it has happened that the resemblance between individual members of a series of Repeated Parts has led to the belief that they must originally have been alike, and that they have been formed by differentiation of members originally similar. Many who would hesitate thus to formulate such a belief nevertheless have taken part in inquiries which can succeed only on the hypothesis that this has been the history of such parts.
SECTION VI. MERISTICREPETITIONAND HOMOLOGY. I n what has gone before, the two conceptions now introduced, namely the distinction of Variations into Meristic and Substantive, and into Continuous and Discontinuous, have been sketched in outline. The significance of the facts which follow will be made more evident if these two conceptions are now more fully developed in some of their aspects. Under the name Merism I have proposed to include all phenomena of Repetition and Division, whenever found and in whatever forms occurring, whether in the parts of a body or in the whole.
We see all organized nature arranged in a discontinuous series of groups differing from each other by differences which are Specific; on the other hand we see the divers environnients to which these forms are subject passing insensibly into each other. We must admit, then, that if the steps by which the divers forms of life have varied from each other have been insensible-if in fact the forms ever made up a continuous series-these forms cannot have been broken into a discontinuous series of groups by a continuous environment, whether acting directly as Lamarck would have, or as selective agent as Darwin would have.