The Gastraea bilateralis, of which we may conceive the bilateral gastrula of the amphioxus to be a palingenetic reproduction, represented the two-sided organism of the earliest Metazoa in its simplest form.

It begins its existence as a simple cell, analogous in form to the amoeba, one of the lowest living creatures, and later assumes the gastrula form supposed to have been that of the earliest many-celled animals. From this state it progresses by successive stages, each of which has some relation in form to a lower class.

In other words, the starting point in the development of the frog is a single biological unit; this divides and its products redivide to constitute the many-celled blastula and the double-walled gastrula.

Probably it differed from the existing gastrula only in one essential point, though extinct millions of years ago. Some of the cells of the primary germ-layers probably became ova and others fertilising sperm. We base these hypotheses on the fact that we do to-day find the simplest form of sexual reproduction in some of the living gastraeads and other lower animals, especially the sponges.

And our ancestor was almost certainly a free swimming gastræa, or hypothetical form corresponding in form and structure to the gastrula. The ancestor of man never settled down lazily into a sessile life. But how is an adult worm or vertebrate formed out of such a gastrula? To answer this would require a course of lectures on embryology. But certain changes interest us.

The earliest one-celled protozoa were probably succeeded by many- celled animals of the type of the blastosphere, and these by gastrula-like organisms. From the gastrula type the higher sub- divisions of animal life probably diverged, as separate branches from a common trunk.

The wall of the planula is next pushed in on one side, or invaginated, whereby it is converted into a double-walled sac with an opening, the blastopore, which leads into the cavity lined by the inner wall. This cavity is the primitive alimentary cavity or archenteron; the inner or invaginated layer is the hypoblast; the outer the epiblast; and the embryo, in this stage, is termed a gastrula.

You can hardly have failed to notice how closely the gastrula corresponds to a hydra, and many facts lead us to believe that the still earlier ancestor of the hydra was free swimming, and that the tentacles are a later development correlated with its adult sessile life. Yet we must not forget that the hydra is even now not quite sessile, it moves somewhat.

Thus from a careful investigation of the sponge Haeckel was led to his famous gastrula theory, according to which the pouchlike sponge-animalcule virtually a stomach without members is the type of organism on which all high organisms are built, so to speak that is, out of which all have evolved.

Each, starting from the condition of a simple nucleated cell, becomes a cell-aggregate; and this passes through a condition which represents the gastrula stage, before taking on the features distinctive of the group to which it belongs. Stated in this form, the "gastraea theory" of Haeckel appears to the present writer to be one of most important and best founded of recent generalisations.