A RESEARCH ON PRIMITIVE NERVOUS SYSTEMS
G. J. ROMANES, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S.
ZOÖLOGICAL SECRETARY OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
72 FIFTH AVENUE
When I first accepted the invitation of the editors of the International Scientific Series to supply a book upon Primitive Nervous Systems, I intended to have supplemented the description of my own work on the physiology of the Medusæ and Echinodermata with a tolerably full exposition of the results which have been obtained by other inquirers concerning the morphology and development of these animals. But it soon became apparent that it would be impossible, within the limits assigned to me, to do justice to the more important investigations upon these matters; and therefore I eventually decided upon restricting this essay to an account of my own researches.
With the exception of a few woodcuts in the last chapter (for the loan of which I am indebted to the kindness of Messrs. Cassell), all the illustrations are either original or copies of those in my Royal Society papers. In the letter-press also I have not scrupled to draw upon these papers, wherever it seemed to me that the passages would be sufficiently intelligible to a general reader. I may observe, however, that although I have throughout kept in view the requirements of a general reader, I have also sought to render the book of service to the working physiologist, by bringing together in one consecutive account all the more important observations and results which have been yielded by this research.
G. J. R.
||Structure of the Medusæ
||Experiments in Stimulation
||Experiments in Section of Covered-Eyed Medusæ
||Experiments in Section of Naked-Eyed Medusæ
||Star-Fish and Sea-Urchins
JELLY-FISH, STAR-FISH, AND
Among the most beautiful, as well as the most common, of the marine animals which are to be met with upon our coasts are the jelly-fish and the star-fish. Scarcely any one is so devoid of the instincts either of the artist or of the naturalist as not to have watched these animals with blended emotions of the æsthetic and the scientific—feeling the beauty while wondering at the organization. How many of us who live for most of the year in the fog and dust of large towns enjoy with the greater zest our summer's holiday at the seaside? And in the memories of most of us is there not associated with the picture of breaking waves and sea-birds floating indifferently in the blue sky or on the water still more blue, the thoughts of many a ramble among the weedy rocks and living pools, where for the time being we all become naturalists, and where those who least know what they are likely to find in their search are most likely to approach the keen happiness of childhood? If so, the image of the red sea-stars bespangling a mile of shining sand, or decorating the darkness of a thousand grottoes, must be joined with the image, no less vivid, of those crystal globes pulsating with life and gleaming with all the colours of the rainbow, which are perhaps the most strange, and certainly in my estimation the most delicately lovely creatures in the world.
It is with these two kinds of creatures that the present work is concerned, and if it seems almost impious to lay the "forced fingers rude" of science upon living things of such exquisite beauty, let it be remembered that our human nature is not so much out of joint that the rational desire to know is incompatible with the emotional impulse to admire. Speaking for myself, I can testify that my admiration of the extreme beauty of these animals has been greatly enhanced—or rather I should say that this extreme beauty has been, so to speak, revealed—by the continuous and close observation which many of my experiments required: both with the unassisted eye and with the microscope numberless points of detail, unnoticed before, became familiar to the mind; the forms as a whole were impressed upon the memory; and, by constantly watching their movements and changes of appearance, I have grown, like an artist studying a face or a landscape, to appreciate a fulness of beauty, the esse of which is only rendered possible by the per cipi of such attention as is demanded by scientific research. Moreover, association, if not the