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to the line that separates humanity from brutes. We are brought, then,
for a solution of this problem, to a consideration of the question,
What is the object of the reproductive act in those members of the animal
kingdom just below man in the scale of being? Let science tell us, for
zoologists have made a careful study of this subject for centuries.
We quote the following paragraphs from one of the most distinguished
and reliable of modern physiologists; the facts which he states
being confirmed by all other physiologists:--
"Every living being has a definite term of life, through which it passes
by the operation of an invariable law, and which, at some regularly
appointed time, comes to an end.... But while individual organisms are
thus constantly perishing and disappearing from the stage, the
particular kind, or species, remains in existence.... This process,
by which new organisms make their appearance, to take the place of those
which are destroyed, is known as the process of _reproduction_ or
"The ovaries, as well as the eggs which they contain, undergo, at
particular seasons, a periodical development, or increase in growth....
At the approach of the generative season, in all the lower animals,
a certain number of the eggs, which were previously in an imperfect
and inactive condition, begin to increase in size and become somewhat
altered in structure."
"In most fish and reptiles as well as in birds, this regular process
of maturation and discharge of eggs takes place but once in a year.
In different species of quadrupeds it may take place annually,
semi-annually, bi-monthly, or even monthly; but in every instance it
recurs at regular intervals, and exhibits accordingly, in a marked
degree, the periodic character which we have seen to belong to most
of the other vital phenomena."
"In most of the lower orders of animals there is a periodical
development of the testicles in the male, corresponding in time with
that of the ovaries in the female. As the ovaries enlarge and the eggs
ripen in the one sex, so in the other the testicles increase in size,
as the season of reproduction approaches, and become turgid with
spermatozoa. The accessory organs of generation, at the same time,
share the unusual activity of the testicles, and become increased in
vascularity and ready to perform their part in the reproductive
"Each of the two sexes is then at the same time under the influence
of a corresponding excitement. The unusual development of the genital
organs reacts upon the entire system, and produces a state of peculiar
activity and excitability, known as the condition of 'erethism.'"
"It is a remarkable fact, in this connection, that the female of these
animals will allow the approaches of the male only during and
immediately after the oestral period; that is, just when the egg is
recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other times, when
sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the instinct of the
animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the sexes is
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