But may it not be, that while the whales of the present hour are an advance in magnitude upon those of all previous geological periods; may it not be, that since Adam’s time they have degenerated?
Inasmuch, then, as this Leviathan comes floundering down upon us from the head-waters of the Eternities, it may be fitly inquired, whether, in the long course of his generations, he has not degenerated from the original bulk of his sires.
…do not measure so much in their coffins as a modern Kentuckian in his socks; and while the cattle and other animals sculptured on the oldest Egyptian and Nineveh tablets, by the relative proportions in which they are drawn, just as plainly prove that the high-bred, stall-fed, prize cattle of Smithfield, not only equal, but far exceed in magnitude the fattest of Pharaoh’s fat kine; in the face of all this, I will not admit that of all animals the whale alone should have degenerated.
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Show samples from other sources
"If our search degenerates to that level I’ll be sure to call on you," I said without looking in his direction.
Patrick Rothfuss -- The Name of the Wind
By nature I am high-strung and animated, but when frustration confronts me head-on, I degenerate into a demoniac.