British Biologist Quotes
[Why do animals] undergo in the course of their growth a series of complicated changes, during which they acquire organs which have no function, and which, after remaining visible for a short time, disappear without leaving a trace... The explanation of such facts is obvious. The stage when the tadpole breathes by gills is a repetition of the stage when the ancestors of the frog had not advanced in the scale of development beyond a fish.
Thus, horses have very stiff backbones, and a consequence of this is that people can ride them. However, we would not say that the function of a horse's backbone is to enable people to ride horses, because we do not think that horse's backbones evolved as they did so as to enable people, in the future, to ride.
When it was suggested to Pasteur that many of his great achievements depended on luck, he replied - I'm sure with more than a little irritation - 'In the field of observation in science, fortune only favours the prepared mind.' It is not by chance that it is always the great scientists who have the luck.
The fundamental problem in the origin of species is not the origin of differences in appearance, since these arise at the level of the geographical race, but the origin of genetic segregation. The test of species-formation is whether, when two forms meet, they interbreed and merge, or whether they keep distinct.
The theory of evolution by natural selection is an ecological theory—founded on ecological observation by perhaps the greatest of all ecologists. It has been adopted by and brought up by the science of genetics, and ecologists, being modest people, are apt to forget their distinguished parenthood.
There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.
With its hundred billion nerve cells, with their hundred trillion interconnections, the human brain is the most complex phenomenon in the known universe - always, of course, excepting the interaction of some six billion such brains and their owners within the socio-technological culture of our planetary ecosystem!
The nerves have been hitherto considered as chords that have no powers of contraction within themselves, but only serving as a medium, by means of which the influence of the brain may be communicated to the muscles, and the impressions made upon the different parts of the body conveyed to the brain.