Alexander Winchell.

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forms between the princijDal types should have invariably dis-
appeared. One would expect to encounter the descendants of
at least some of them in the Primordial Fauna. But among
all the forms from the lowest horizons of life upon the two
continents, it would be difiicult to indicate a single one which
could be considered as establishing a transition between two
families or two orders co-existing in the founa under consider-
ation. It seems, then, impossible to explain the existence of
so many types so well characterized and so distinct at that
ej)och by the sole influence of filiation and transformation, pro-
ceeding from the supposed primitive being (pp. 194-201).

2. The analysis of the Primordial Fauna shows an cxtraor-
dinaiy predominance of crustaceans, and especially of trilo-
bites. The crustacean genera are 32 out of 66 ; the crustacean
species, 264 out of 366. These crustaceans were the highest of
all the classes represented in the Primordial Fauna. Their
excess, as noted above, is extremely dificrent from the propor-
tions presented in any later peiiods. It would be difiicult to
assign a determinate cause of this predominance. In any
event, it is evidently in discordance with those theories wiiich
teach that animal life has been gradually developed, starting
from the lowest forms of organization ; since, according to this



doctrine, the inferior forms ought to have predominated in
numbers in the most ancient faunas. It is exactly the con-
trary TN'hich we establish.

The importance of this generalization is heightened by the
fact that in the Cambrian system — whether synchronous in part
wdth the Primordial Zone, or older — there has not been dis-
covered to this dav a single trace of trilobites or other crusta-
ceans playing the role of avant coureurs. Thus the first ap-
jDearance of so numerous trilobites at the origin of the Pri-
mordial Fauna offers an aspect of suddenness in disagreement
with the theories (pp. 204-206).

3. Besides the predominance of crustaceans in the Primor-
dial Fauna, a similar predominance is noticed in the numbers
of molluscs compared with the still lower classes. In the first
phase the sj)ecies of molluscs are to those of the lower classes
as 44 to 14; in the second phase, as 34 to 5. A similar though
less marked predominance appears on a comparison of genera.

When we thus consider that the relative development of
trilobites and molluscs underwent a gradual diminution, to
give place to lower forms, we recognize the fact that it pre-
sents an order diametrically opjjosed to that which ought to
be observed according to the theories (p. 20Tj.

n. Absence of Foramtnifera and Scarcity of Protozoa

IN General.

Foraminifera are those animals of extremely simple organi-
zation to which belong Eozoon (as supposed), Amceba^ Niimmu-
liteSj and similar forms. These are protozoans, a group which
also embraces sponges — horny or calcareous — together with
numerous other simple forms of no interest here. Foraminif-
era are supposed to have been represented by ^^^oo;?/ but, so
far as we know, its existence is restricted to the lower portions
of the Laurentian. It is separated, then, from the Primordial
Zone by the Upper Laurentian and the Huronian. It at-


taincd to immense size, quite unlike any Foraminifcra known
in tlie later ages, Now this gap is what arrests our attention.
No Foraminifcra are known from the Lower Laurentian until
after the close of the Primordial Fauna. Now, the theoretical
law of filiation aucl transformation teaches us that Eozolin ought
to have been rei)laced by one or many other types of the same
organization, more and more perfected, but gradually dimin-
ishing in size (p. 210). Contrary to this, other protozoans are
wdioUy unknown until we reach the later phase of the Primor-
dial Zone. Hence there are no animal forms revealed as the
possible genealogical successors oi Eozoon. This is something
"worthy to arrest attention. If there ever existed, in the whole
series of geologic ages, a period favorable to the propagation
of an animal type, it is, without contradiction, that where Eo-
zoon reigned alone in the primitive ocean, exempt from that
terrible "struggle for existence" which, according to the the-
ory, must have successively destroyed the most powerful fam-
ilies of the zoological series during the later ages (p. 214).

Thus the Foraminifcra, the immediate descendants of Eo-
eoon by filiation and transformation, ought to have propagated
themselves under all imaginable forms during the anteprimor-
dial era.

Moreover, the innumerable forms of this liimily which have
succeeded, especially during the Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Qua-
ternary ages — that is to say, during the ages in which the
"struscsle for existence" must have been the most terrible —
demonstrate to us sufficiently the powers of reproduction and
vital resistance wdiich characterize the type of Foraminifcra.

From these considerations, we ought to expect to find the
monuments of the work of the generations of this family pre-
served, as well as the relics of trilobites and brachiopods, in
the rocks containing the Primordial Fauna. Thus their ab-
sence from these rocks constitutes an unexpected and inex-
plicable discordance between the theoretical views and the
paleontological facts thus far observed.


III. Absence of Polyps in the PRnroRDiAL Fauna.

Polyps, or coral-builders, are the lowest class of radiates, a
sub-kingdom next in rank above protozoans, and lower in
rank than molluscs or articulates. A j^atient inspection of
the geological records of all the countries of the Primordial
Fauna fails to reveal the existence of a single species of the
class of polyps.

Eozooti seems singularly related to polyps in some of the
elements of its structure ; but the approximation seems even
more marked by the vocation which it was appointed to fill
in the primitive ocean. It is regarded as the chief agent in
the secretion of enonnous calcareous masses from the waters
of the Laurentian sea. If this conclusion be correct, it must
have fulfilled, during the Laurentian ages, exactly the same
functions as polyps have accomplished during all the later
ages, and which they are still accomplishing before our eyes.

In accordance with this double affinity in their zoological
structure and in their geological vocation, one would feel led
to assert that between Eozoon and the calcareous polyps there
was but one step to take in the path of filiation and trans-
formation. According to theoretical ideas, this step must also
have been the first one taken in this path. In fact, the prin-
ciple of natural selection does not permit us to imagine that
the great primitive agent of calcareous secretions, Eosoiin, at
one time in possession of all the seas of the globe, could have
been supplanted and eliminated except by other beings better
organized for fulfilling the same functions — that is to say, by
calcareous poh^DS.

Thus these polyps, near descendants of the first animal, ac-
cording to the natural order of the zoological series, should
have commenced to exist during the anteprimordial period;
and the products of their calcareous secretions should be found,
mingled in the same rocks M'ith those of the numerous gener-
ations of the family of Eozoon.


After the period of the struggle for existence {.^), and tlie final
elimination of the primitive t\pe, the polyps, in their turn,
should have reigned supreme over the bottom of the ante-
primordial seas, and should have constructed calcareous
masses at least equal in magnitude to the Laurentian masses,
of which one near Grenville, according to the estimate of Sir
AVilliam Logan, has a thickness of about 1500 feet.

If it is true, as the same authority teaches us, that the ante-
primordial ages comprised an interval of time longer than that
of all the geological ages succeeding, the indestructible monu-
ments of the work of the polyps must have been repeated dur-
ing the antesilurian era at least as many times as we see the
reefs of corals reproduced in the vertical series of Paleozoic,
Mesozoic, and Tertiary formations.

On the other hand, since the delicate structure of the tubu-
lar walls of Eoziion has resisted all the chemical reactions and
all the crystalline forces since the most remote ages, there is
no reason why the reefs of polyjDS should not be preserved in
rocks of later origin, and especially in the same countr}-. But
in spite of this, and in spite of all considerations, no trace of
polyps has yet been found in the antesilurian rocks of Canada
or any other country, nor even in the Primordial zone.

This fact constitutes a strange and inexplicable phenome-
non when we consider that the Primordial Fauna contains
varied types both inferior and sui)erior to polyps. Of the
former, we cite sponges ; of the latter, many forms belonging
to echinoderms, bryozoans, brachiopods, gasteropods, and
pterojDods, and various types of crustaceans, principally trilo-
bites (pp. 216, 217).

This total absence of polyps in the Primordial Fauna is in
complete discordance with the theories which teach us that
animal life has been gradually developed from forms lowest
in respect to organization (j). 228).


IV. Absence of Acephals and Abundance of


AcciDlials (conchifers or lamellibraiichs) are a class of mol-
luscs generally regarded as standing next above brachiopods ;
while still higher stand in order the groups of gasteropods,
heterojjods, pteropods, and ccphalopods.

While ]>rachiopods manifest themselves in considerable
numbers in the Primordial Fauna, and play a role second in
importance only to that of trilobites in all the countries, we
are astonished to learn that nowhere in this fauna has the
least trace of the class of acephals been encoimtered. This
total absence to this day seems so much the more enigmatical,
since we are acquainted with representatives, in the first Si-
lurian Fauna, of three classes of molluscs superior to acephals,
viz.: gasteropods, heteropods, and pteropiods (p. 229).

The first forms of the class of acephals manifest themselves
toward the origin of the " Second Fauna," that is to say, in its
first or second phase, on the two continents.

Since all zoological classifications agree in placing the ace-
phals immediately above the brachiopods"^ in the animal series,
it is very difficult to conceive why brachioi^ods have so much

* Professor E. S. !Morse very ably niahitaius (see Ftvceedings Jhs-
toil Soc. JWit. Hiif., vol. XV., pp. 315-372) that brachiopods are not
molluscs, but belong to the class of worms among articulates; and
hence could not be expected to sustain direct genetic relations with
the acephals. He supposes ancient chsetopod worms to have cul-
minated in two parallel lines — brachiopods and modern chsetopods,
as Serpula, AmjJhitnie, etc. (loc. cit., 369). If articulates are properly
ranked above molluscs, the brachiopods are thus removed to a great-
er distance above acephals than pteropods and heteropods are ; and
the anomaly of their early appearance is more glaring than in the
case of these molluscan types. In this case, however, it will be re-
membered theory does not assign them to the same genealogical
line, but to different lines which converge somewhere in the past.


preceded acalcphs in existence. Tlie difference between the
eiDoclis of appearance of tliesc two closely related classes
exceeds the whole duration of the Primordial Fauna, since
brachiopods have existed to the nunil)er of 28 species in the
first phases of this fauna, after having made their first ap-
pearance in the Cambrian age. Since, moreover, the class-
es of pteroj)ods and gasteropods, sui)erior in their organiza-
tion, existed during the first Silurian periods, the absence of
acalcphs during the whole Primordial Fauna constitutes a
grave anomaly and an interversion of the supposed order, that
is to say, an inexplicable discordance between theoretic pre-
visions and the reality (p. 333).

Y. Absekce of Heteropods.

Only a single species of this type of molluscs is known with-
in the Primordial Zone, and that only in England, and near
the close of the period. On the contrary, pteropods are known
in considerable abundance in the lowest beds of the Primor-
dial Zone. The first advent of pteropods antedates, there-
fore, the first advent of heteropods — a lower type — by the
Mliole duration of the Primordial Fauna. Here, consequent-
ly, is another inversion of the order of gradual development
supposed by the theories (p. 235).

It is well also to remark that the gasteropods, placed im-
mediately heloiD the heteropods in the zoological scale, ap-
peared sporadically in the first phase of the Primordial Fauna
in Spain and in America. These facts set forth still more con-
spicuously the irregularity of the absence of heteropods, while
the two classes between which they are placed among mol-
luscs are re]n-esented from the time of the first phases of the
Primordial Fauna (p. 235).


The absence of this (highest) class of molluscs from the Pri-


mordial Fauna has been fully established by the study of the
primordial fossils of all countries {Distrib. des Cejjhalojwdes,
pp. 106-108). This fact, so important in the study of the ev-
okition of life, is accompanied by another fact which is also
worthy of attention. It is that toward the origin of the
Second Fauna representatives of the class of cephalopods ap-
peared simultaneously in almost all the Silurian countries
under a great number of generic types and speciuc forms.
About 165 species are known, representing 12 genera.

This simultaneous development of so many different forms
upon the first horizons of the Second Fauna Mhich present ceph-
pJoiDods is irreconcilable with the theoretical laws of filiation
and transformation by insensible variations. In foct, accord-
ing to these laws, such a develoi^ment would demand an ante-
cedent and i^rolonged existence of this class. Thus, the ab-
sence of cephalopods in the Primordial Fauna ought to be
considered as establishing a discordance between the theories
and the reality (p. 236).

VII. Discordances in the Devolopment of Trilobites.
A. Predominance of Trilohites in the Primordicd Fauna.

This predominance is manifested in all their relations :

1. In respect to the number of genera. We know 28 genera
of trilobites in the Primordial Fauna, besides 4 other crus-
tacean genera. Of molluscan tyjDcs we find 1 genus each of
pteropods, heteropods, and gasteropods, and 9 genera of brach-
iopods. The still lower types are represented severally by only
1 or 2 genera.

2. In resjDect to the number of species. Of the 306 species
known in the Primordial Fauna, 252 (69 per cent.) are trilo-
bites, and 72 per cent* are crustaceans. Considering the ear-
lier phase by itself, three-fourths of all the fossils are crusta-

8. In respect to the frequency of individuals. Every col-


lector knows that the fragments of trilobites are innumerable,
wliile the traces of other fossils are rare. In Bohemia tli3
frequency of trilobites is at least a hundred-fold that of all
other fossil forms.

4. In respect to size. Pamdoxides, characterizing the first
phase of the Primordial, attains almost the largest size known
among trilobites, being 28 to 30 centimetres [11 to 11 2- inches]
in length. Only two larger species are known, and these at-
tain to 35 and 40 centimetres [13| to 15^ inches]. Among
other fossils, the largest in the Primordial is but 9 to 10 centi-
metres [31 to 4 inches] in length ; and most of them arc decid-
edly diminutive.

5, In respect to horizontal diffusion. In every country
wdiere the Primordial Fauna is known, trilobites invariably
constitute the major part. They are ordinarily accompanied
by a few representatives of other types, but these are different
in the different countries.

Thus trilobites dominate not only over each of the other
types of the Primordial, but over their aggregate. This is
true, however we compare them. We must add to this that,
in respect to the degree of their organization, they occupy the
first rank among all the animals of this fauna. We are led to
recoo-nize here a grave discordance between the actual evolu-
tion of this tribe and that which would be assigned to it by
the theories.

In fact, according to the law of filiation and gradual trans-
formations, the evolution of the animal series having begun
with the lowest type, and being compelled to produce types
successively higher and higher, it follows that the most per-
fect type in the Primordial Fauna — that is, the type of crus-
taceans or of trilobites — must have been the last one to appear
in the anteprimordial era ; and consequently it must have pre-
sented in the Primordial Fauna but a minimum of develop-
ment in comparison with the other types which must have


preceded it in existence and enjoyed long ages for their de-
velopment. But it is precisely the contrary which we estab-
lish by ajopeal to facts. These facts are, then, in complete con-
tradiction with the theories.

B. Conformation of the Tliorax in Trilolites of tlie Primordial.

According to one of the theoretical conceptions, each animal
should reproduce, in its embryonic evolution, or in its meta-
morphoses, the chronological series of forms of its ancestors,
from which it has descended by filiation and transformation.
Consequently the metamorphoses of the most ancient trilobites
characterizing the first phase of the Primordial Fauna, such
as Sao^ Arionellus, Agnostus, etc., should represent the successive
forms of their unknown ancestors.

But these trilobites, like all those with whose metamorpho-
ses we are acquainted, present us in their embryonic develop-
jnent a series of forms, of which each ofiers one thoracic see:-
ment more than the preceding, beginning with zero. We
should thence conclude that the first antejDrimordial trilobites,^
if they existed, appeared with the thorax wanting, and that
the number of their segments, beginning with unity, gradually
increased in their successive transformations. Agnostus, whose
thorax, at maturity, consists of 2 segments, and Microdiscus^
which has 4, should represent in the Primordial Fauna 2 of
the most ancient combinations, according to theorv.

But it must be observed that these two trilobites are the
only ones thus conformed in the Primordial Fauna. On the
contraiT, nearly all the other types of this fauna, and chiefly
those which characterize its first phases, are distinguished by
the great number of their thoracic segments. This number
is almost constantly above the mean figure 11, and in Para-
doxidcs it attains the figure 20, which is very near the maxi-
mum, 26, known in all the tribe.

Thus one would be led to think, according to the theories,


that all the primitive tiilobitcs possessing from 5 to 9 thoracic
segments must have existed in the Auteiorimordial Faunas,
and that they must have disappeared, according to the order
of animal evolution, before the epoch of the first Silurian
Fauna, never to re-appear.

Our astonishment should be greatly excited, therefore, at
seeing these types appearing in great numbers in the Second
Fauna, and showing themselves simultaneously in all Silurian
regions on the two continents. By a singular privilege, this
fauna is the only one in which these tyjDcs ijredomiuate by the
number of their species and the frequency of their individuals.
It suffices to cite Asaphus^ Ogygia^ TrimicJeus, etc., known to all
savans. These genera constitute, by their presence, the princi-
pal character of the Second Fauna, as Paradox ides, Olemis, and
ConocejjJialites constitute that of the Primordial Fauna.

"We know in the Second Fauna 19 types whose thorax is
composed of 5 to 9 segments, and they are rej^resented by 323
species — the total number of genera of this fauna being 52,
and of species, 866.

On the contrary, there exists in the Second Fauna no trilo-
bite which presents a number of thoracic segments equal to
that oi Avion ell us, Sao, Pamdoxides characterizing the first phase
of the Primordial Fauna.

Thus, from the theoretical point of view, avc would be led
to assert that the Primordial and Second faunas present a sort
of interversion in the order of appearance of the trilobitic
types which constitute their chief distinctive characters re-
spectively (jDp. 240-242).

YIII, Absence of Intermediate Forms.

Eleven family types are known in the Primordial Fauna.
These are as trenchantly diflerentiated from eaeli other as the
same types in any succeeding age, or even in the actual fauna.
For example, among crustaceans wc have trilobites, phyllo-


pods, and ostracods. But between a trilobite, like Paradox-
ides (somewhat lobster -like) and an ostracod, like Prmitia^
a little bivalve crustacean, the difference of conformation is
so marked that, were we to refer them to any common ances-
try, we should necessarily conceive of a multitude of interme-
diate forms which must have existed before Paradoxides and
the ostracods co-existing in the Primordial Fauna. Such in-
termediate forms have left no trace of themselves, either in
the rocks which inclose the Primordial Fauna or in those
which represent the anterior ages. Similar observations ap-
ply to the contrasts between any two of the family types of
the Primordial.

It may also be observed that such observations ajDply equal-
ly to the family types of all the Paleozoic ages. The forms
intermediate between them are universally wanting. One can
not conceive why, in all rocks whatever, and in all countries
upon the two continents, all relics of the intermediary types
should have vanished.

This disapi^earance of intemiediate tj'pes is so general and
so constant in the series of geologic ages, and over the entire
surface of the explored formations, that it seems impossible to
explain it except by regarding it as the effect of a grand law
of nature.

The absence of intermediate types characterizes the gaps
between genera and even species, as well as between orders
and families. We have, fortunately, a single striking instance
of an intermediate form in the genus BoJieniilla^ which unites
the characters oi Paradoxides and Agnosius. Bohemilla ought,
therefore, to occur, according to theory, among trilobites of
the Primordial Fauna, unless its existence at an earlier epoch
should have been established. But, by a sort of perversity
which nature seems to show toward theories, Bohemilla does
not appear in the Primordial at all, but only after the com-
mencement of the Second Fauna, after the extinction of Ag-


nostus, and a whole geologic cycle after the disappearance of

Similar anachronisms are established in the succession of
cephalopods {Dititrih. des CejjJiaJojy.^-p.iQij).

IX. Zoological Composition of the Cambrian Fauna.

Underneath tlie recognized Silurian rocks of England, Bohe-
mia, Norway, and Sweden reposes a series of strata containing
a limited number of mostly obscure remains of animals and
plants. They are characterized by the relative abundance of
l^lauts and traces of marine worms. One polyj) is doubtfully
recognized, which is thus seen to be far separated from its
nearest successor in time. Three-fourths of all the genera are
known in the Silurian, and five species even range into the
Silurian, Under the circumstances, it seems probable that
the fossiliferous f)ortions of these so-called Cambrian strata
should be annexed to the Silurian.

But, admitting their real anteriority, we have to remark the
imjDortant fact that not a single trilobite has been discovered
in the Cambrian rocks, although in many cases their condition
is very favorable for the preservation of the most delicate parts.
We are still left profoundly imjircssed by the suddenness of
•the appearance of trilobites at the beginning of the Silurian
age. This phenomenon, however, is repeated in the case of
cephalopods, near the origin of the Second Fauna, and again in
the case of fishes, near the close of the Third Fauna. Indeed,
similar examples are repeated through all the geologic ages.

All these sudden manifestations of life under new typical
forms, appearing constantly and everywhere with the plenitude
of their distinctive characters, are in complete discordance
with the hypothesis of a gradual development l)y insensible

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Online LibraryAlexander WinchellThe doctrine of evolution; its data, its principles, its speculations, and its theistic bearings → online text (page 8 of 10)