Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Charles R., Jr. Ault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704673.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

The Bearduck of Baleen

The Bearduck of Baleen

On the Origin of New Traits from Existing Ones

(p.121) 8 The Bearduck of Baleen
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

Charles R. Ault

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the origin of incipient traits by focusing on Charles Darwin's ideas. Darwin's musings on the origins of whales find their place sandwiched between Rudyard Kipling's comic relief in “How the Whale Got His Throat” and Herman Melville's haunting despair in Moby-Dick. Kipling answers the conundrum “Which came first, the toothed or the baleen whales?” This chapter begins with a discussion of the grating in the “throat” of Kipling's Whale, the structure now known as baleen. It then considers the change in diet and feeding behavior among whales: first teeth, then baleen. It also looks at Darwin's idea of “incipient organs”; St. George Mivart's objections to the viability of an intermediate eye; Darwin's notion of a swimming bear feeding like a shoveller duck—a bearduck; and the variability and evolution of both eyes and limbs in relation to the viability of intermediate—hence incipient—organs. The chapter concludes by explaining how Darwin outlined plausible reconciliations to the conundrum of incipient organs.

Keywords:   incipient traits, Charles Darwin, baleen whales, St. George Mivart, bearduck, evolution, eyes, limbs, incipient organs

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.