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snake, the blind worm, &c., have these fangs, but teeth of an equal size; not moveable, as this is, but fixed into the jaw.
II. In being the property of several different species, the preceding example is resembled by that which I shall next mention, which is the bag of the opossum. This is a mechanical contrivance, most properly so called. The simplicity of the expedient renders the contrivance more obvious than many others, and by no means less certain. A false skin under the belly of the animal, forms a pouch, into which the young litter are received at their birth; where they have an easy and constant access to the teats; in which they are transported by the dam from place to place; where they are at liberty to run in and out; and where they find a refuge from surprise and danger. It is their cradle, their asylum, and the machine for their conveyance. Can the use of this structure be doubted of? Nor is it a mere doubling of the skin; but it is a new organ, furnished with bones and muscles of its own. Two bones are placed before the os pubis, and joined to that bone as their base. These support, and give a fixture to, the muscles which serve to open the bag. To these muscles there are antagonists, which serve in the same manner to shut it; and this office they perform so exactly, that, in the living animal, the opening can scarcely be discerned, except when the sides are forcibly drawn asunder2. Is there any action in this part of the animal, any process arising from that action, by which these members could be formed? any account to be given of the formation, except design?
III. As a particularity, yet appertaining to more species than one; and also as strictly mechanical; we may notice a circumstance in the structure of the claws of certain birds. The middle claw of the heron and cormorant is toothed and notched like a saw. These birds are great fishers, and these notches assist them in holding their slippery prey. The use is evident; but the structure such, as cannot at all be accounted for by the effort of the animal, or the exercise of the part. Some other fishing birds have these notches in their bills; and for the same purpose. The gannet, or soland goose, has the side of its bill irregularly jagged, that it may hold its prey the faster. Nor can the structure in this, more than in the former case, arise from the manner of employing the part. The smooth surfaces, and soft flesh of fish, were less likely to notch the bills of birds,
than the hard bodies upon which many other species feed.
Goldsmith, Nat. Hist. vol. iv. p. 244.
We now come to particularities strictly so called, as being limited to a single species of animal. Of these, I shall take one from a quadruped, and one from a bird.
1. The stomach of the camel is well known to retain large quantities of water, and to retain it unchanged for a considerable length of time. This property qualifies it for living in the desert. Let us see, therefore, what is the internal organization, upon which a faculty so rare, and so beneficial, depends. A number of distinct sacs or bags (in a dromedary thirty of these have been counted) are observed to lie between the membranes of the second stomach, and to open into the stomach near the top by small square apertures. Through these orifices, after the stomach is full, the annexed bags are filled from it: and the water so deposited is, in the first place, not liable to pass into the intestines; in the second place, is kept separate from the solid aliment; and, in the third place, is out of the reach of the digestive action of the stomach, or of mixture with the gastric juice. It appears probable, or rather certain, that the animal, by the conformation of its muscles, possesses the power of squeezing back this water from the adjacent bags into the stomach, whenever thirst excites it to put this power in action.
II. The tongue of the woodpecker is one of those singularities, which nature presents us with, when a singular purpose is to be answered. It is a particular instrument for a particular use; and what, except design, ever produces such? The woodpecker lives chiefly upon insects, lodged in the bodies of decayed or decaying trees. For the purpose of boring into the wood, it is furnished with a bill straight, hard, angular, and sharp. When, by means of this piercer, it has reached the cells of the insects, then comes the office of its tongue: which tongue is, first, of such a length that the bird can dart it out three or four inches from the bill,-in this respect differing greatly from every other species of bird; in the second place, it is tipped with a stiff, sharp, bony thorn; and, in the third place, (which appears to me the most remarkable property of all,) this tip is dentated on both sides like the beard of an arrow or the barb of a hook. The description of the part declares its uses. The bird, having exposed the retreats of the insects by the assistance of its bill, with a motion inconceivably quick, launches out at them this long tongue; transfixes them upon the barbed needle at the end of it; and thus draws its prey within its mouth. If this be not mechanism, what is? Should it be said, that by continual en
deavours to shoot out the tongue to the stretch, the woodpecker species may by degrees have lengthened the organ itself, beyond that of other birds, what account can be given of its form, of its tip? how, in particular, did it get its barb, its dentation? These barbs, in my opinion, wherever they occur, are decisive proofs of mechanical contrivance.
III. I shall add one more example, for the sake of its novelty. It is always an agreeable discovery, when, having remarked in an animal an extraordinary structure, we come at length to find out an unexpected use for it. The following narrative furnishes an instance of this kind. The babyrouessa, or Indian hog, a species of wild boar, found in the East Indies, has two bent teeth, more than half a yard long, growing upwards, and (which is the singularity) from the upper jaw. These instruments are not wanted for offence; that service being provided for by two tusks issuing from the upper jaw, and resembling those of the common boar: nor does the animal use them for defence. They might seem therefore to be both a superfluity and an encumbrance. But observe the event;-the animal sleeps standing; and in order to support its head, hooks its upper tusks upon the branches of trees.
I CAN hardly imagine to myself a more distinguishing mark and, consequently, a more certain proof of design, than preparation, i. e. the providing of things beforehand, which are not to be used until a considerable time afterwards: for this implies a contemplation of the future, which belongs only to intelligence.
Of these prospective contrivances, the bodies of animals furnish various examples.
I. The human teeth afford an instance, not only of prospective contrivance, but of the completion of the contrivance being designedly suspended. They are formed within the gums, and there they stop; the fact being, that their farther advance to maturity would not only be useless to the new-born animal, but extremely in its way; as it is evident that the act of sucking, by which it is for some time to be nourished, will be performed with more ease both to the nurse and to the infant, whilst the inside of the mouth, and edges of the gums, are smooth and soft, than
if set with hard pointed bones. By the time they are wanted, the teeth are ready. They have been lodged within the gums for some months past, but detained, as it were, in their sockets, so long as their farther protrusion would interfere with the office to which the mouth is destined. Nature, namely, that intelligence which was employed in creation, looked beyond the first year of the infant's life; yet, whilst she was providing for functions which were after that term to become necessary, was careful not to incommode those which preceded them. What renders it more probable that this is the effect of design, is, that the teeth are imperfect, whilst all other parts of the mouth are perfect. The lips are perfect, the tongue is perfect; the cheeks, the jaws, the palate, the pharynx, the larynx, are all perfect: the teeth alone are not so. This is the fact with respect to the human mouth the fact also is, that the parts above enumerated are called into use from the beginning; whereas the teeth would be only so many obstacles and annoyances, if they were there. When a contrary order is necessary, a contrary order prevails. In the worm of the beetle, as hatched from the egg, the teeth are the first things which arrive at perfection. The insect begins to gnaw as soon as it escapes from the shell, though its other parts be only gradually advancing to their maturity.
What has been observed of the teeth, is true of the horns of animals; and for the same reason. The horn of a calf or a lamb does not bud, or at least does not sprout to any considerable length, until the animal be capable of browsing upon its pasture; because such a substance upon the forehead of the young animal would very much incommode the teat of the dam in the office of giving suck.
But in the case of the teeth-of the human teeth at least, the prospective contrivance looks still farther. A succession of crops is provided, and provided from the beginning; a second tier being originally formed beneath the first, which do not come into use till several years afterwards. And this double or suppletory provision meets a difficulty in the mechanism of the mouth, which would have appeared almost insurmountable. The expansion of the jaw (the consequence of the proportionable growth of the animal, and of its skull) necessarily separates the teeth of the first set, however compactly disposed, to a distance from one another, which would be very inconvenient. In due time, therefore, i. e. when the jaw has attained a great part of its dimensions, a new set of teeth springs up, (loosening
and pushing out the old ones before them,) more exactly fitted to the space which they are to occupy, and rising also in such close ranks, as to allow for any extension of line which the subsequent enlargement of the head may occasion.
II. It is not very easy to conceive a more evidently prospective contrivance, than that which, in all viviparous animals, is found in the milk of the female parent. At the moment the young animal enters the world, there is its maintenance ready for it. The particulars to be remarked in this œconomy, are neither few nor slight. We have, first, the nutritious quality of the fluid, unlike, in this respect, every other excretion of the body; and in which nature hitherto remains unimitated, neither cookery nor chymistry having been able to make milk out of grass we have, secondly, the organ for its reception and retention: we have, thirdly, the excretory duct, annexed to that organ and we have, lastly, the determination of the milk to the breast, at the particular juncture when it is about to be wanted. We have all these properties in the subject before us and they are all indications of design. The last circumstance is the strongest of any. If I had been to guess beforehand, I should have conjectured, that at the time when there was an extraordinary demand for nourishment in one part of the system there would be the least likelihood of a redundancy to supply another part. The advanced pregnancy of the female has no intelligible tendency to fill the breasts with milk. The lacteal system is a constant wonder: and it adds to other causes of our admiration, that the number of the teats or paps in each species is found to bear a proportion to the number of the young. In the sow, the bitch, the rabbit, the cat, the rat, which have numerous litters, the paps are numerous, and are disposed along the whole length of the belly; in the cow and mare, they are few. The most simple account of this is to refer it to a designing Creator.
But in the argument before us, we are entitled to consider not only animal bodies when framed, but the circumstances under which they are framed; and in this view of the subject, the constitution of many of their parts is most strictly prospective.
III. The eye is of no use, at the time when it is formed. It is an optical instrument made in a dungeon; constructed for the refraction of light to a focus, and perfect for its purpose,