“THE AFFINITIES of all the beings of the same class havesometimes been represented by a great tree.
I believe this similelargely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs mayrepresent existing species; and those produced during each formeryear may represent the long succession of extinct species . . . Thelimbs divided into great branches, and these into lesser and lesserbranches, were themselves once, when the tree was small, buddingtwigs; and this connexion of the former and present buds byramifying branches may well represent the classification of allextinct and living species in groups subordinate to groups . .Order now
. Fromthe first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayedand dropped off, and these lost branches of various sizes mayrepresent those whole orders, families, and genera which have nowno living representatives, and which are known to us only fromhaving been found in a fossil state . . . As buds give rise by growthto fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on alla feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with theTree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crustof the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching andbeautiful ramifications” (Darwin, 1859). Bibliography:The theory of evolution, formalized by Charles Darwin,is as much theory as is the theory of gravity, or thetheory of relativity.
Unlike theories of physics, biologicaltheories, and especially evolution, have been arguedlong and hard in socio-political arenas. Even today,evolution is not often taught in primary schools. However, evolution is the binding force of all biologicalresearch. It is the unifying theme. In paleontology,evolution gives workers a powerful way to organize theremains of past life and better understand the onehistory of life.
The history of thought about evolution ingeneral and paleontological contributions specificallyare often useful to the workers of today. Science, like any iterative process, drawsheavily from its history.