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HARES.   47

 

mon in the same regions, and I hardly need to say how black they are. For them to change would serve no useful purpose, for they very largely live on dead carcasses cast up by the waves, or on young birds in their nests, or their eggs. The polar bear remains white in all seasons, and that color may well be the work of natural selection, but the change of color is a subject that needs more light thrown on it by careful study.

It would seem to be the most in line with observations that the change of color is due to the effect of cold on the fur, by which it reflects all the light instead of a portion of it. That the change is beneficial to the hares is very certain, but that it was brought about for their benefit is not at all clear. It would be a good thing for our partridges, but they have got along without it, although their cousins, the ptarmigans of Newfoundland and Quebec, have the advantage of this seasonal change of color. It may be asked, of what benefit is it to inquire about such matters? Why not say, God willed it that hares should turn white in winter and brown in summer ? If a very ingenious man made a wonderful piece of machinery and showed it to me, and I merely remarked that I knew he was clever enough to make such a

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