Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
- Theodosius Dobzhansky, the title of his 1973 essay.
Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.
- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts - some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.
- Theodosius Dobzhansky
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.
- H. G. Wells
We are essentially elaborate replicative systems that have evolved into codependent niches.
Fish did most of the work. They developed digestive systems, muscles, eyes, and brains. All of the complexity of animals have built upon their work.
The physical appearance of a plant or animal is the physical expression of its genes, as doctored by its environment (and its age)
Particularly in epochs of change, beauty is not the greatest genetic guarantee. Adaptability and intelligence are.
Evolution is a truly vast topic.
Life is robust
Life has been through a hell of a lot, and it has innovated its way through problems so diverse that our small ability to understand cannot comprehend it.
The only thing that may sterilise this planet is the Suns expansion. Or perhaps some kind of intense solar radiation or sustained bombardment.
However, there is no guarantee that civilisation, beauty, or intelligence will survive such events.
Ghosts of evolution
Evolution leaves ghosts everywhere.
In continent_, the avocado evolved alongside a kind of megafauna called __. Only this animal was large enough to eat an avocado, seed and all.
The animal would disperse the seed in its poo, and the avocado plant would grow in a new area.
When human beings arrived in _continent_, we inadvertently send megafauna_ extinct, but we also discovered the avocado and eventually exported it all over the world.
But it still carries its large seed, the remanent of its relationship with a species long extinct, like a ghost in its genes.