How Life Began. A Speculative Study in Modern Biology by David Forsyth

By David Forsyth

CONTENTS: Preface; concerning the Biology of guy; Heredity and the surroundings -- Can They Be Distinguished?; How Did organic existence Begin?; What Underlies the Evolutionary Process?; the fight for life; mountain climbing the Genealogical Tree; thesaurus; Bibliography. PARTIAL checklist of key phrases; parasitic adaption; behaviour as physico-chemical response; biosphere; destiny loss of life of Biosphere; Sunrays as catalyst; chemotaxis; coal-heaver's elbow; colloids; diatoms; department of work; power kept in ovum; eugenics; Eugenics Society; fox-glove; ontongeny; phototaxis; sleep and sunlight radiation; protoplasmic slime; testis and sunrays; Vesalius; vitalism; and so forth.

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Applied over even a couple of successive steps in descent, it does not hold good. However many generations backwards or forwards this may be tested, a parental soma will always be found to be doubly constituted : first, as the environment of the germ-cell or embryo it encloses, and secondly, as the product of its own inheritance. A conception of heredity and environment which fails to recognise this, surely needs revising again and bringing up to date. And yet, if I am asked what means we have of determining what comes to an organism from the one source, what from the other, I am at a loss.

Applying this on a bigger scale to an entire animated being with its surface bathed by what is beyond it, we need find no particular difficulty in recognising this outside world as part and parcel of it. Just as what lies around an individual cell is counted as sharing the organism's life, so the fluid that lies around an individual plant or animal should be reckoned a component of its vital process. In this way the current idea of biological "life" is expanded. We conceive of it as the joint attribute of both an organism and its environment.

We can apply this to other than elemen- HOW DID BIOLOGICAL LIFE BEGIN ? 55 tary living things, and suppose that every kind of plant and animal has necessarily come into being when the special conditions appropriate for it have been established ; and that so long as this state persists, the species must go on being reproduced. We may not unprofitably apply the same idea to the emergence of the most elaborated structure, man. Since human beings first appeared, they have multiplied until now they number about 2,000 millions.

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