WHEN the naturalist studies the habits, the structure, or the affinities of animals, it matters little to which group he especially devotes himself; all alike offer him endless materials for observation and research. But, for the purpose of investigating the phenomena of geographical distribution and of local, sexual, or general variation, the several groups differ greatly in their value and importance. Some have too limited a range, others are not sufficiently varied in specific forms, while, what is of most importance, many groups have not received that amount of attention over the whole region they inhabit, which could furnish materials sufficiently approaching to completeness to enable us to arrive at any accurate conclusions as to the phenomena they present as a whole. It is in those groups which are, and have long been, favourites with collectors, that the student of distribution and variation will find his materials the most satisfactory, from their comparative completeness.
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Publication information: Book title: The Evolution Debate, 1813-1870. Contributors: Charles Darwin - Editor, Alfred Russel Wallace - Editor, David Knight - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 130.
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