Excerpt: ...31), the male has its mouth and inter-operculum fringed with a beard of stiff hairs, of which the female shows hardly a trace. These hairs are of the nature of scales. In another species of the same genus, soft flexible tentacles project from the front part of the head of the male, which are absent in the female. These tentacles are prolongations of the true skin, and therefore are not homologous with the stiff hairs of the former species; but it can hardly be doubted that both serve the same purpose. What this purpose may be, it is difficult to conjecture; ornament does not here seem probable, but we can hardly suppose that stiff hairs and flexible filaments can be useful in any ordinary way to the males alone. In that strange monster, the Chimaera monstrosa, the male has a hook-shaped bone on the top of the head, directed forwards, with its end rounded and covered with sharp spines; in the female "this crown is altogether absent," but what its use may be to the male is utterly unknown. (19. F. Buckland, in 'Land and Water, ' July 1868, p. 377, with a figure. Many other cases could be added of structures peculiar to the male, of which the uses are not known.) The structures as yet referred to are permanent in the male after he has arrived at maturity; but with some Blennies, and in another allied genus (20. Dr. Gunther, 'Catalogue of Fishes, ' vol. iii. pp. 221 and 240.), a crest is developed on the head of the male only during the breeding-season, and the body at the same time becomes more brightly-coloured. There can be little doubt that this crest serves as a temporary sexual ornament, for the female does not exhibit a trace of it. In other species of the same genus both sexes possess a crest, and in at least one species neither sex is thus provided. In many of the Chromidae, for instance in Geophagus and especially in Cichla, the males, as I hear from Professor Agassiz (21. See also 'A Journey in Brazil, ' by Prof. and Mrs. Agassiz, 1868, p....
  • ISBN13: 9781481243520
  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Pubilcation Year: 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 00614
Publication DateDecember 13, 2012
Primary CategoryScience/Life Sciences - Evolution

The Descent of Man

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