Sunday, February 3, 2008


I'm really not sure what to say about this chapter. It's long and dense, and more than a little confusing. I read it more than once, and didn't understand it any more the third time than I did the first. Darwin mainly talks about the ease or difficulty of making certain crosses. There seems to be very little about how evolutionary pressures or forces impact on this, and so overall, the chapter seems sort of out of place. This is, I suspect, another place where access to modern genetic science would have made Mister Darwin absolutely giddy. Being able to decode genomes, as we are today, I would think that we have a much better understanding of why certain crossbreeds work, and why others don't - which combinations are simply non-viable from the start, which ones result in catastrophic defects that doom the developing embryo and which ones result in viable, if not always fertile, offspring.

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