Von Baer, toward whom all zoologists feel so profound a respect, expressed about the year 1859 (see Prof. Rudolph Wagner, "Zoologisch-Anthropologische Untersuchungen", 1861, s. 51) his conviction, chiefly grounded on the laws of geographical distribution, that forms now perfectly distinct have descended from a single parent-form.
In June, 1859, Professor Huxley gave a lecture before the Royal Institution on the "Persistent Types of Animal Life". Referring to such cases, he remarks, "It is difficult to comprehend the meaning of such facts as these, if we suppose that each species of animal and plant, or each great type of organisation, was formed and placed upon the surface of the globe at long intervals by a distinct act of creative power; and it is well to recollect that such an assumption is as unsupported by tradition or revelation as it is opposed to the general analogy of nature. If, on the other hand, we view "Persistent Types" in relation to that hypothesis which supposes the species living at any time to be the result of the gradual modification of pre-existing species, a hypothesis which, though unproven, and sadly damaged by some of its supporters, is yet the only one to which physiology lends any countenance; their existence would seem to show that the amount of modification which living beings have undergone during geological time is but very small in relation to the whole series of changes which they have suffered."
In December, 1859, Dr. Hooker published his "Introduction to the Australian Flora". In the first part of this great work he admits the truth of the descent and modification of species, and supports this doctrine by many original observations.
The first edition of this work was published on November 24, 1859, and the second edition on January 7, 1860.