Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

By Charles Darwin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
ON THE IMPERFECTION OF THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD

On the absence of intermediate varieties at the present day--On the nature of extinct intermediate varieties; on their number--On the lapse of time, as inferred from the rate of denudation and of deposition--On the lapse of time as estimated by years--On the poorness of our paleontological collections--On the intermittence of geological formations--On the denudation of granitic areas--On the absence of intermediate varieties in any one formation--On the sudden appearance of groups of species-- On their sudden appearance in the lowest known fossiliferous strata-- Antiquity of the habitable earth

IN THE sixth chapter I enumerated the chief objections which might be justly urged against the views maintained in this volume. Most of them have now been discussed. One, namely, the distinctness of specific forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty. I assigned reasons why such links do not commonly occur at the present day under the circumstances apparently most favorable for their presence, namely, on an extensive and continuous area with graduated physical conditions. I endeavored to show that the life of each species depends in a more important manner on the presence of other already defined organic forms, than on climate, and, therefore, that the really governing conditions of life do not graduate away quite insensibly like heat or moisture. I endeavored, also, to show that intermediate varieties, from existing in lesser numbers than

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