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Tribe of Ishmael - Tribe of Ishmael The studies of Ray...

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Tribe of Ishmael The studies of Ray Lankaster into "Degeneration" He takes a minute organism which is found attached to the body of the hermit crab. It has a kidney-bean- shaped body, with a bunch of root-like processes through which it sucks the living tissues of the crab. It is known as the Sacculina. It is a crustacean which has left the free, independent life common to its family, and is living as a parisite, or pauper. The young have the Nauplius form belonging to all Crustacea: it is a free swimmer. But very soon after birth a change comes over it. It attaches itself to the crab, loses the characteristics of the higher class, and becomes degraded in form and function. An irresistible heriditary tendency siezes upon it, and it succumbs. A hereditary tendency I say, because some remote ancestor left its independent, self-helpful life, and began a parasitic, or pauper, life. Not using its organs for self-help, they one by one have disappeared,—legs and other members,—until there is left a shapeless mass, with only the stomach and organs of reproduction left. This tendency to parasitism was transmitted to its de- scendants, until there is set up an irresistible hereditary tendency; and the Sacculina stands in nature as a type of degradation through parasitism, or pauperism. I propose to trace the history of similar degradation in man. It is no pleasant study, but it may be relied upon as fact. It is no isolated case. It is not peculiar to Indiana. In all probability, similar study would show similar results in any of our States.
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