Organic Evolution

Organic Evolution

Organic Evolution

Organic Evolution

Excerpt

The addition of another to the long list of books which have been written on evolutionary subjects would hardly be justified in the present instance were it not for the fact that the writer is a paleontologist, whose viewpoint and the evidence at his disposal are therefore materially different from those of the great majority of authors who have enriched the literature of evolutionary biology. The discussion is not based solely upon existing evidences, but also upon the geologic life record, which, although very imperfect compared with that formerly present, is nevertheless wonderfully rich in precept and example such as do not come within the scope of the usual methods of instruction. The work aims to be comprehensive in its scope, but should make a special appeal to students of the past life of our globe. It is hoped, however, that a wider public will learn thereby that the science of Paleontology has a unique social or human value.

The work is the outcome of twenty-three years of college teaching, during the last eleven of which courses more or less closely paralleling the substance of the present volume have been offered to Yale University students. While the course at Yale has been presented in the form of lectures, a text-book, Jordan andKellogg Evolution and Animal Life, has been used for reference, especially in the earlier lectures. The use of that excellent work has necessarily influenced the author's teaching, and as a consequence the writing of the present book, certain chapters of which will be seen to parallel somewhat those of Jordan and Kellogg. The writer wishes thus to acknowledge his indebtedness to this source. For the larger part of the work, the sources vary, the principal references being given at the close of each chapter. These, collectively, form a representative bibliography of the subject from the present writer's point of view.

Each chapter as it has been written has been referred to one or more of the author's colleagues for criticism, and, so far as possible, such criticisms have been met and suggested additions inserted. It is hoped that by so doing errors of fact have been in a measure eliminated; the final responsibility, however, lies with the author.

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