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On The Generation Of Animals   


be concocted and formed into distinct parts is too cold and in too
great quantity. Thus the moving agent, mastering it in one part but
not in another, makes the embryo in formation to be multiform, as
happens with athletes because they eat so much. For owing to the
quantity of their food their nature is not able to master it all, so
as to increase and arrange their form symmetrically; therefore their
limbs develop irregularly, sometimes indeed almost so much that no one
of them resembles what it was before. Similar to this is also the
disease known as satyrism, in which the face appears like that of a
satyr owing to a quantity of unconcocted humour or wind being diverted
into parts of the face.

We have thus discussed the cause of all these phenomena, (1)
female and male offspring are produced, (2) why some are similar to
their parents, female to female and male to male, and others the other
way about, females being similar to the father and males to the
mother, and in general why some are like their ancestors while
others are like none of them, and all this as concerns both the body
as a whole and each of the parts separately. Different accounts,
however, have been given of these phenomena by some of the
nature-philosophers; I mean why children are like or unlike their
parents. They give two versions of the reason. Some say that the child
is more like that parent of the two from whom comes more semen, this
applying equally both to the body as a whole and to the separate
parts, on the assumption that semen comes from each part of both
parents; if an equal part comes from each, then, they say, the child
is like neither. But if this is false, if semen does not come off from
the whole body of the parents, it is clear that the reason assigned
cannot be the cause of likeness and unlikeness. Moreover, they are
hard put to it to explain how it is that a female child can be like
the father and a male like the mother. For (1) those who assign the
same cause of sex as Empedocles or Democritus say what is on other
grounds impossible, and (2) those who say that it is determined by the
greater or smaller amount of semen coming the male or female parent,
and that this is why one child is male and another female, cannot show
how the female is to resemble the father and the male the mother,
for it is impossible that more should come from both at once. Again,
for what reason is a child generally like its ancestors, even the more
remote? None of the semen has come from them at any rate.

But those who account for the similarity in the manner which remains
to be discussed, explain this point better, as well as the others. For
there are some who say that the semen, though one, is as it were a
common mixture (panspermia) of many elements; just as, if one should
mix many juices in one liquid and then take some from it, it would
be possible to take, not an equal quantity always from each juice, but
sometimes more of one and sometimes more of another, sometimes some of
one and none at all of another, so they say it is with the
generative fluid, which is a mixture of many elements, for the
offspring resembles that parent from which it has derived most. Though
this theory is obscure and in many ways fictitious, it aims at what is
better expressed by saying that what is called 'panspermia' exists
potentially, not actually; it cannot exist actually, but it can do
so potentially. Also, if we assign only one sort of cause, it is not
easy to explain all the phenomena, (1) the distinction of sex, (2) why
the female is often like the father and the male like the mother,
and again (3) the resemblance to remoter ancestors, and further (4)
the reason why the offspring is sometimes unlike any of these but
still a human being, but sometimes, (5) proceeding further on these
lines, appears finally to be not even a human being but only some kind
of animal, what is called a monstrosity.

For, following what has been said, it remains to give the reason for
such monsters. If the movements imparted by the semen are resolved and

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