The New Evolution: Zoogenesis

By Austin H. Clark | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
MORE ABOUT FOSSILS

CONTRASTING strongly with the inflexibility and the permanence of the fundamental characters which delimit and identify each of the phyla or major groups of animals and the consequent absence of any change in their relations to each other from the very earliest times of which we have a record up to the present day is the very great diversity which we see within every major group when we compare the different ages of the past.

As we trace further and further back the record in the rocks we see fewer and fewer of the kinds of animals we know today and more and more unfamiliar forms, until nearly all the animals are strange and unfamiliar and we find ourselves, lost in astonishment, viewing the relics of a world which seems to have been entirely different from the world we know today.

And so it was. For instance, in that period known to geologists as the Cretaceous the mammals, though numerous, were all very small and unimportant. The earth was dominated by a most extraordinary and formidable array of reptiles. Chief among these were the dinosaurs of very many different kinds, some of them no larger than a hen, but some of enormous size and in appearance most fantastic and grotesque.

There were huge horned dinosaurs, strange armored

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