CHAPTER IV. NATURAL SELECTION; OR THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
8. THE PROBABLE EFFECTS OF THE ACTION OF NATURAL SELECTION THROUGH DIVERGENCE OF CHARACTER AND EXTINCTION, ON THE DESCENDANTS OF A COMMON ANCESTOR. (continued)
The intervals between the horizontal lines in the diagram, may represent
each a thousand or more generations. After a thousand generations, species
(A) is supposed to have produced two fairly well-marked varieties, namely
a1 and m1. These two varieties will generally still be exposed to the same
conditions which made their parents variable, and the tendency to
variability is in itself hereditary; consequently they will likewise tend
to vary, and commonly in nearly the same manner as did their parents.
Moreover, these two varieties, being only slightly modified forms, will
tend to inherit those advantages which made their parent (A) more numerous
than most of the other inhabitants of the same country; they will also
partake of those more general advantages which made the genus to which the
parent-species belonged, a large genus in its own country. And all these
circumstances are favourable to the production of new varieties.
If, then, these two varieties be variable, the most divergent of their
variations will generally be preserved during the next thousand
generations. And after this interval, variety a1 is supposed in the
diagram to have produced variety a2, which will, owing to the principle of
divergence, differ more from (A) than did variety a1. Variety m1 is
supposed to have produced two varieties, namely m2 and s2, differing from
each other, and more considerably from their common parent (A). We may
continue the process by similar steps for any length of time; some of the
varieties, after each thousand generations, producing only a single
variety, but in a more and more modified condition, some producing two or
three varieties, and some failing to produce any. Thus the varieties or
modified descendants of the common parent (A), will generally go on
increasing in number and diverging in character. In the diagram the
process is represented up to the ten-thousandth generation, and under a
condensed and simplified form up to the fourteen-thousandth generation.