120 NATURAL INHERITANCE. [CHAP.
occurrences, namely that in which the mediocre members of a population are those that are most nearly in harmony with their circumstances. The harmony ought to concern the aggregate of their faculties, combined on the principle adopted in Table 3, after weighting them in the order of their importance. We may deal with any faculty separately, to serve as an example, if its mediocre value happens to be that which is most preservative of life under the majority of circumstances. Such is Stature, in a rudely approximate degree, inasmuch as exceptionally tall or exceptionally short persons have less chance of life than those of moderate size.
It will give more definiteness to the reasoning to take a definite example, even though it be in part an imaginary one. Suppose then, that we are considering the stature of some animal that is liable to be hunted by certain, beasts of prey in a particular country. So far as he is big of his kind, he would be better able than the mediocrities to crush through thick grass and foliage whenever he was scampering for his life, to jump over obstacles, and possibly to run somewhat faster than they. So far as he is small of his kind, he would be better able to run through narrow openings, to make quick turns, and to hide himself. Under the general circumstances, it would be found that animals of some particular stature had on the whole a better chance of escape than any other, and if their race is closely adapted to their circumstances in respect to stature, the most favoured stature would be identical with the M of the race. We already know that if we