The Animal and Its Environment: A Text-Book of the Natural History of Animals

The Animal and Its Environment: A Text-Book of the Natural History of Animals

The Animal and Its Environment: A Text-Book of the Natural History of Animals

The Animal and Its Environment: A Text-Book of the Natural History of Animals

Excerpt

The need for a systematic survey of the relations of individual animal organisms to their surroundings has been growing for some time. In the following pages I have endeavoured to do something towards meeting it. The ground to be covered is so vast that, within the limits to which I could go, little more could be done than to sketch the framework of the subject; but I have tried here and there to clothe it with some detail. The student should understand that when I have cited examples of the various phenomena with which I have dealt, the lists are almost never complete, and with a little reflection can be supplemented from knowledge which he possesses. I would ask indulgence for the necessary omission of many striking and important facts, as well as for the errors that I cannot hope to have avoided.

A few matters of treatment call for some explanation. The book has been planned primarily for the use of Students, though I hope that other readers may find it of interest. I have as far as possible avoided all reference to theories of Evolution--either as to the course which that process has taken or as to the way in which it has been brought about. Important though they are, these subjects are but remotely connected with that of the relation between the individual and its surroundings, which is best studied for its own sake. At times, however (as when it has seemed of interest to consider how the faunas with which animals are in relation have come into being), questions of Evolution have necessarily intervened. I have made much use of English names for species and groups of animals, though I have given the Latin names as well. In my experience, the student is retarded and disheartened, now more than formerly, by the unfamiliarity of the terms in which a science is expressed. Owing to lack of space in certain parts of the book it has not been possible always to . . .

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