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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

The Influence of Previous Fertilisation of the Female
on Her Subsequent Offspring... (S502: 1894)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An interim report to the BAAS drawn up by James Clark, member of a Wallace-chaired committee studying this subject, and reported to the meeting held in Oxford in August 1894. Later printed on page 346 of the Report of the Sixty-fourth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (John Murray, London, 1894). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S502.htm

The Influence of Previous Fertilisation of the Female on her Subsequent Offspring, and the Effect of Maternal Impressions during Pregnancy on the Offspring.--Interim Report of the Committee, consisting of Dr. A. Russel Wallace (Chairman), Dr. James Clark (Secretary), Dr. G. J. Romanes, Professor S. J. Hickson, Professor E. A. Schäfer, and Dr. J. N. Langley. (Drawn up by the Secretary).

     The members of this Committee wish to express their deep sense of the irreparable loss they have sustained in the death of Dr. Romanes, whose previous experience in this difficult field of inquiry rendered his judgment and advice invaluable.

     During the past year the efforts of the Committee have been mainly directed to collecting facts and statistics relating to Telegony. In this they have received considerable assistance from the principal agricultural clubs in the country, and have been offered assistance by several societies in France, Switzerland, Germany, and America. Twenty-five preliminary reports have also been received from veterinary surgeons in Scotland and the North of England. In all over 900 letters and reports have been received. The majority, however, are too vague to be of any service, and many correspondents send generalisations 'based on personal observation and experience,' instead of recording facts. In the description of actual cases, too, the data supplied are generally too meagre. On account of the difficulty of obtaining reliable and sufficient data, the Committee consider it advisable to defer the publication of the collected facts until the important points connected with each can be verified or corroborated.

     An examination of the pedigree cattle and of the stud-books and prize-bred horses of Yorkshire is also in progress, and will, it is hoped, be completed in the course of a few months.

     The belief in Telegony among breeders and fanciers is very widely spread. The general consensus of opinion among our correspondents is that it frequently occurs in cats, occasionally in dogs and horses, rarely in birds, and almost never in cattle and sheep. The majority of the writers further insist that it is the first fertilisation only that has any effect upon subsequent offspring by a different male.

     On account of the amount of work that still remains to be done, the Committee respectfully request that they may be re-appointed for another year.

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