Tribe of Ishmael
The studies of Ray Lankaster into "Degeneration"
He takes a minute organism which is found attached to the body of the
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
An irresistible heriditary tendency siezes upon it, and it succumbs.
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.
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.
It extends, however, over a larger field, com- prising over two