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Darwin-L Message Log 5:194 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:194>From ferragu@imiucca.csi.unimi.it  Fri Jan 28 07:05:18 1994

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 94 14:13:27 +0100
From: Ferraguti Biodip <ferragu@imiucca.csi.unimi.it>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: history of adaptation

Ansewring to a request by Ron Amundson some days ago about the
concept of "adaptation" before 1800. I think that the work Buffon
did on the subect mus be taken into account. In the section enti-
tled "De da degeneration des animaux" (soory to the French for the
missing accents!) he introduces the "degeneration" of animals
which has somtehing to do with adaptaion of animals to different
environments. It is known that Buffon is often not very "linear"
in his concepts, but the following quotation from the mentioned
section (Volume XIV of his Histoire Naturelle...) is quite clear:

"Aussi le chien, sur lequel la nourriture ne paroit avoir que
de legers influences, est neammoins celui de touls les animaux
carnassiers dont l'espece est plus variee; il semble suivre
exactement dans ses degradations les differences du climat; il
est nu dans les pays les plus chauds, couvert d'un poil epais
et rude dans les contres du Nord, pare d'une belle robe soye-
use en Espagne, en Syrie, ou la douce temperature de l'air chan-
ge le poil de presque tous les animaux en une sorte de soie.
Mais independammant de ces varietes exterieures qui sont pro-
duites par la seule influence du climat..."

Marco ferraguti
Dipartimento di Biologia
26, Via Celoria
20133 Milano, Italy

ferragu@imiucca.csi.unimi.it

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