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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index Z > Category: Zoophyte

Zoophyte Quotes (5 quotes)

Are coral reefs growing from the depths of the oceans? ... [The] reply is a simple negative; and a single fact establishes its truth. The reef-forming coral zoophytes, as has been shown, cannot grow at greater depths than 100 or 120 feet; and therefore in seas deeper than this, the formation or growth of reefs over the bottom is impossible.
On Coral Reefs and Islands (1853), 138.
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In every living being there exists a capacity for endless diversity of form; each possesses the power of adapting its organization to the variations of the external world, and it is this power, called into activity by cosmic changes, which has enabled the simple zoophytes of the primitive world to climb to higher and higher stages of organization, and has brought endless variety into nature.
From Gottfried Reinold Treviranus, Biologie, oder Philosophie der lebenden Natur [Biology, or Philosophy of Animate Nature], quoted in Lecture 1, August Weismann (1904, 2nd German ed.) as translated in August Weismann, Margaret R. Thomson (trans.), The Evolution Theory, Vol 1., 18-19.
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The book of Nature is the book of Fate. She turns the gigantic pages,—leaf after leaf,—never re-turning one. One leaf she lays down, a floor of granite; then a thousand ages, and a bed of slate; a thousand ages, and a measure of coal; a thousand ages, and a layer of marl and mud: vegetable forms appear; her first misshapen animals, zoophyte, trilobium, fish; then, saurians,—rude forms, in which she has only blocked her future statue, concealing under these unwieldy monsters the fine type of her coming king. The face of the planet cools and dries, the races meliorate, and man is born. But when a race has lived its term, it comes no more again.
From 'Fate', collected in The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 6: The Conduct of Life (1860), 15. This paragraph is the prose version of his poem, 'Song of Nature'.
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Why does such and such animal feed only on flesh, while another on plants? Where does one get the finesse of its sense of smell, or that of its hearing? What is the source of the prodigious strength of the muscles of birds? How is this force used to produce this amazing movement of flight? How does it come about that the bird sees equally well at quite different distances? What is the cause of the range and variety of its voice? Why is a reptile so lethargic? Why does a worm stay alive long after being divided? Why can a zoophyte live equally well with some parts of its body cut off? Is it presumed there could be natural history without these questions, and thousands of others like them, and do we think we can answer without a thorough comparative anatomy?
From 'Lettre à M. de la Cépède', collected in G. L. Duvernpy (ed.) Leçons d’Anatomie Comparée de Georges Cuvier: Tome IV, Première Partie: Corrigée et Augmentée (2nd ed. 1833), xxij. As translated and tweaked by Webmaster using online translation sites from the original French: “Pourquoi tel animal ne se nourrit-il que de chair, tel autre que de végétaux? D’où celui-ci tire-t-il la finesse de son odorat, ou celle de son ouïe? Quelle est la source de la force prodigieux des muscles des oiseaux? Comment cette force est-elle employée à produire ce mouvement si étonnant du vol? D’où viens que l’oiseau voit également bien à des distances si differentes? Quelles sont les causes de l’etendue, et de la variété de sa voix? Pourquoi tel reptile, est-il si engourdie? Pourquoi tel ver, conserve-t-il de la vie long-temps après être divisé? Pourquoi tel zoophyte peut-il vivre égalment bien, quelque partie de son corps que l’on en retranche. Suppose-t-on qu’il puisse exister une histoire naturelle sans ces questions, et des millieurs d’autres semblables, et des milliers d’autres semblables, y soient traitées, et croit-on pouvoir y répondre sans une anatomie compárée profonde?” [John Abernethy used this quote in a lecture to illustrate what animating motive caused Cuvier to strive so hard to find answers.]
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[Zoophytes (Protists, or simple life forms) are] the primitive types from which all the organisms of the higher classes had arisen by gradual development.
Entry for Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus in Encyclopedia Britannica (1911), Vol. 27, 255-256.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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