Another still later myth, which occurs in the epic poems, makes Brahma be born from a lotus which grew out of the navel of the god Vishnu whilst floating on the primordial waters.
"Without any religious rite at all," he urges, "unclean spirits brood upon waters, aspiring to repeat that primordial gestation of the divine Spirit."
The notion that all the kinds of animals and plants may have come into existence by the growth and modification of primordial germs is as old as speculative thought; but the modern scientific form of the doctrine can be traced historically to the influence of several converging lines of philosophical speculation and of physical observation, none of which go further back than the 17th century.
Lung-fish (Ceratodus) was the most primitive (or Archipterygium), placed as the primordial type a fin which palaeontology has proved to be one of the latest types if not the last.
Huxley in 1880 briefly suggested the arboreal origin, or primordial treehabitat of all the marsupials, a suggestion abundantly confirmed by the detailed studies of Dollo and of Bensley, according to which we may imagine the marsupials to have passed through (r) a former terrestrial phase, followed by (2) a primary arboreal phase - illustrated in the tree phalangers - followed by (3) a secondary terrestrial phase - illustrated in the kangaroos and wallabies - followed by (4) a secondary arboreal phase - illustrated in the tree kangaroos.