Protoplasm is the scientific name fora substance which modern science has demonstrated to be common to all living things from the Jbwest plant to the highest animal organization. Prof. Huxley demonstrates that it may in itself exhibit all the phenomena of life. It contains oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. Before these elements can form living protoplasm, they must unite to form the binary compounds known as water, carbonic acid, and ammonia. In the presence of pre-existing living protoplasm these compounds form a com- plex living substance, new protoplasm, which, Prof. Huxley so aptly terms the " physical basis of life." He says: " To this complex combination, the nature of which has never been determined with exactness, the name of protein has been applied. And if we use this term with such caution as may properly arise out of our comparative ignorance of the things for which it stands, it may be truly said that all protoplasm is proteinaceous, or, as the white or albumen of an egg is one of the commonest examples of a nearly pure proteine matter, we may say that all living matter is more or less albuminoid." The living protoplasm of animals, a good example of which is seen in the white corpuscles of the blood, has not the power to influence the combination of the above-named compounds into new protoplasm. This power belongs only,so far as is at present known, to vegetable protoplasm, which, however, is not on that account to be considered as distinct from animal protoplasm. The latter has the power of converting dead animal or vegetable protoplasm into living animal protoplasm. In this view protoplasm is the primary *' matter of life," the first step from the inorganic into the organic world.
This article was originally published with the title "Protoplasm"