from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A name given by Huxley to masses of so-called animal matter said to have been found covering the sea-bottom at great depths (over 2,000 fathoms), and in such abundance as to form in some places deposits upward of 30 feet in thickness.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun (Zoöl.) A name given by Prof. Huxley to a gelatinous substance found in mud dredged from the Atlantic and preserved in alcohol. He supposed that it was free living protoplasm, covering a large part of the ocean bed. It is now known that the substance is of chemical, not of organic, origin.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun zoology, obsolete A
gelatinous substancefound in mud dredgedfrom the Atlanticand once supposed to be a free living protoplasm, later found to be the result of precipitation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
We can no longer mention as belonging to the bridges which are said to lead from the organic world to the inorganic, the often-named _bathybius_, discovered by Huxley, and so strongly relied upon for the mechanical explanation of life -- a slimy net-like growth, which covers the rocks in the great depths of the ocean.
Organic _form_ which, in its lowest stages, is so simple, like the moneron and the bathybius, and which stands still lower than a cell, is, moreover, something which there is no difficulty in explaining from inorganic matter.
The lowest and most formless moneron is the bathybius, discovered by Thomas Huxley, a network of recticular mucus, which in the greatest depths of the sea, as far down as 7,000 metres, covers stone fragments and other objects, but are also found in less depths, in the Mediterranean Sea, for instance.
I mixed up the intellect with a kind of scientific jargon about protoplasm and natural selection and the survival of the fittest, and bathybius, which was then all the fashion; so I promptly devoted myself to De Guérin.
The notion of matter being ever changed except by other matter in another state is so shocking to the intellectual conscience that it may be dismissed without discussion; yet if bathybius had not been promptly dealt with, it must have become apparent even to the British public that there were indeed but few steps from protoplasm, as the only living substance, to vital principle.
Our biologists therefore stifled bathybius, perhaps with justice, certainly with prudence, and left protoplasm to its fate.
About the same time bathybius, which at one time bade fair to supplant it upon the throne of popularity, died suddenly, as I am told, at
The fashion of taking it for granted that the whole world is fast going over to the gospel of ganglia and bathybius, of _vox populi et præterea nihil_, is not confined to the 'fanatics of impiety' in France.
For after scientists like K.E. von Baer and others had already declared it probable that this bathybius is only a precipitate of organic relics, no less a person than the discoverer of the bathybius, in the "Annals of