Excerpt: ...olfactory organs. The Ammophila, in search of her Grey Worm, had already led me to make the same assertion; I now obtain an experimental proof which seems to me decisive. I would add that the Pompilus has very short sight: often she passes within a couple of inches of her Spider without seeing her. CHAPTER 7. SOME REFLECTIONS UPON ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...olfactory organs. The Ammophila, in search of her Grey Worm, had already led me to make the same assertion; I now obtain an experimental proof which seems to me decisive. I would add that the Pompilus has very short sight: often she passes within a couple of inches of her Spider without seeing her. CHAPTER 7. SOME REFLECTIONS UPON INSECT PSYCHOLOGY. The laudator temperis acti is out of favour just now: the world is on the move. Yes, but sometimes it moves backwards. When I was a boy, our twopenny textbooks told us that man was a reasoning animal; nowadays, there are learned volumes to prove to us that human reason is but a higher rung in the ladder whose foot reaches down to the bottommost depths of animal life. There is the greater and the lesser; there are all the intermediary rounds; but nowhere does it break off and start afresh. It begins with zero in the glair of a cell and ascends until we come to the mighty brain of a Newton. The noble faculty of which we were so proud is a zoological attribute. All have a larger or smaller share of it, from the live atom to the anthropoid ape, that hideous caricature of man. It always struck me that those who held this levelling theory made facts say more than they really meant; it struck me that, in order to obtain their plain, they were lowering the mountain-peak, man, and elevating the valley, the animal. Now this levelling of theirs needed proofs, to my mind; and, as I found none in their books, or at any rate only doubtful and highly debatable ones, I did my own observing, in order to arrive at a definite conviction; I sought; I experimented. To speak with any certainty, it behoves us not to go beyond what we really know. I am beginning to have a passable acquaintance with insects, after spending some forty years in their company. Let us question the insect, then: not the first that comes along, but the most gifted, the Hymenopteron. I am giving my opponents every advantage. Where will they find a...Read Less
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