Call of the Wild

How does the author define "instincts"?

In chapter 4

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From the text:

Far more potent were the memories of his heredity that gave things he had never seen before a seeming familiarity; the instincts (which were but the memories of his ancestors become habits) which had lapsed in later days, and still later, in him, quickened and became alive again.


Call of the Wild, Chapter Four

How doesn’t the author define instincts