RECORD: Croll, J. 1874. [Review of Origin, 5th and 6th editions]. In Mr. J. Croll on the physical cause of ocean-currents. London, Edinburgh and Dublin philosophical magazine and journal of science, vol. 47: 187-188.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2021. RN1

[page] 187


Ocean-currents in relation to the Distribution of Plants and Animals .-In the fifth and last editions of the 'Origin of Species,' Mr. Darwin has done me the honour to express his belief that the foregoing view regarding alternate cold and warm periods

[page] 188

in north and south during the glacial epoch explains a great many facts in connexion with the distribution of plants and animals which have always been regarded as exceedingly puzzling.

There are certain species of plants which occur alike in the temperate regions of the southern and northern hemispheres. At the equator these same temperate forms are found on  elevated mountains, but not on the lowlands. How then, did these temperate forms manage to cross the equator from the northern temperate regions to the southern, and vice versa? Mr. Darwin's solution of the problem is (in his own words) as follows :-

"As the cold became more and more intense, we know that Arctic forms invaded the temperate regions; and from the facts just given, there can hardly be a doubt that some of the more vigorous, dominant, and widest-spreading temperate forms invaded the equatorial lowlands. The inhabitants of these hot lowlands would at the same time have migrated to the tropical and subtropical regions of the south; for the southern hemisphere was at this period warmer. On the decline of the Glacial period, as both hemispheres gradually recovered their former temperatures, the northern temperate forms living on the lowlands under the equator would have been driven to their former homes or have been destroyed, being replaced by the equatorial forms returning from the south. Some, however, of the northern temperate forms would almost certainly have ascended any adjoining high land, where, if sufficiently lofty, they would have long survived like the Arctic forms on the mountains of Europe."

"In the regular course of events the southern hemisphere would in its turn be subjected to a severe glacial period, with the northern hemisphere rendered warmer; and then the southern temperate forms would invade the equatorial lowlands. The northern forms which had before been left on the mountains would now descend and mingle with the southern forms. These latter, when the warmth returned, would return to their former homes, leaving some few species on the mountains, and carrying southward with them some of the northern temperate forms which had descended from their mountain fastnesses. Thus we should have some few species identically the same in the northern and southern temperate zones and on the mountains of the intermediate tropical regions." (P. 339, sixth edition.)

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