The Variation of Organisms
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The Variation of Organisms book
This chapter briefly considers the steps by which domestic races have been produced, either from one or from several allied species. One of the most remarkable features in our domesticated races is that people see in them adaptation, not indeed to the animal's or plant's own good, but to man's use or fancy. At the present time, eminent breeders try by methodical selection, with a distinct object in view, to make a new strain or sub-breed, superior to anything of the kind in the country. But, for our purpose, a form of Selection, which may be called Unconscious, and which results from every one trying to possess and breed from the best individual animals, is more important. Varieties cannot be distinguished from species,—except, first, by the discovery of intermediate linking forms; and, secondly, by a certain indefinite amount of difference between them; for two forms, if differing very little, are ranked as varieties, notwithstanding that they cannot be closely connected.