The New Evolution: Zoogenesis

By Austin H. Clark | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
THE DUAL RELATIONSHIPS OF ANIMALS

A CRITICAL study of fossil animals taken as a whole brings out two apparently contradictory facts.

In the first place all the major groups of animals have maintained the same relationship to each other from the very first. The characteristic features of these major groups have undergone no change whatever. Crustaceans have always been crustaceans, echinoderms have always been echinoderms, and mollusks have always been mollusks. There is not the slightest evidence which supports any other viewpoint.

Yet on the other hand within each major group there has been constant and continual change from age to age. All of the crustaceans, echinoderms and mollusks of the present day are more or less, and often very widely, different from the representatives of those groups which flourished in the distant past.

How can such a dual relationship of animal forms -fixed and inflexible major groups each including constantly changing types -- be possible? Not only is it possible, but it is to be inferred from the facts of geology and geography as we understand and interpret them.

At the very earliest time at which life in any form could be presumed to have existed on the earth there was water in abundance, and there must have been

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