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Paleontology Quotes


"In vertebrate paleontology, increasing knowledge leads to triumphant loss of clarity." - Alfred Romer

"In the future, I'd like to see paleontology as a whole get a lot more quantitative." - Jack Horner

"Mary Anning [is] probably the most important unsung (or inadequately sung) collecting force in the history of paleontology." - Stephen Jay Gould

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology." - Soren Kierkegaard

"The study of literature threatens to become a kind of paleontology of failure, and criticism a supercilious psychoanalysis of authors." - John Updike

"Human paleontology shares a peculiar trait with such disparate subjects as theology and extraterrestrial biology: it contains more practitioners than objects for study." - David Pilbeam

"The evidence for evolution pours in, not only from geology, paleontology, biogeography, and anatomy, but of course from molecular biology and every other branch of the life sciences." - Daniel Dennett

"Darwin (1859) recognized the fact that paleontology then seemed to provide evidence against rather for evolution in general or the gradual origin of taxonomic categories in particular." - George G. Simpson

"Darwin recognized the fact that paleontology then seemed to provide evidence against rather for evolution in general or the gradual origin of taxonomic categories in particular." - George Gaylord Simpson

"One of the laws of paleontology is that an animal which must protect itself with thick armour is degenerate. It is usually a sign that the species is on the road to extinction." - John Steinbeck

"We know evolution happened not because of transitional fossils such as A. natans but because of the convergence of evidence from such diverse fields as geology, paleontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, molecular biology, genetics, and many more." - Michael Shermer

"The impact of the magazine was very strong. As I said, it portrayed dinosaurs as part of the geological history, part of the story of life on earth. It struck that paleontology was the career for me." - Robert T Bakker

"My own field of paleontology has strongly challenged the Darwinian premise that life's major transformations can be explained by adding up, through the immensity of geological time, the successive tiny changes produced generation after generation by natural selection." - Stephen Jay Gould

"I have always been fascinated by paleontology and prehistoric people, and I've always thought that one of the most intriguing moments in human history was the birth of artistic imagination. I always loved those cave paintings." - Kathryn Lasky

"I have this amateur side attraction to, and interest in, the sciences and biology and physics and evolution. Paleontology is of interest to me. I'm interested in the way these fields have helped us understand how we are human and why we are human. I'm also from the area that is considered to be the cradle of mankind." - Wangechi Mutu

"The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based upon faith alone; exactly the same sort of faith which is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion....The only alternative is the doctrine of special creation, which may be true, but irrational." - Louis T. Moore

"I am not, personally, a believer or a religious man in any sense of institutional commitment or practice. But I have a great respect for religion, and the subject has always fascinated me, beyond almost all others (with a few exceptions, like evolution and paleontology)." - Stephen Jay Gould

"The facts of paleontology seem to support creation and the flood rather than evolution. For instance, all the major groups of invertebrates appear "suddenly" in the first fossil ferrous strata (Cambrian) of the earth with their distinct specializations indicating that they were all created almost at the same time." - Enoch

"Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing Does not!" - Anonymous

"The once rather old-fashioned science of paleontology finds itself in a maelstrom of excitement and controversy. Astrophysicists, atmospheric scientists, geochemists, geophysicists, and statisticians are all contributing to the extinction problem. And the general public is taking part through television talk shows, magazine cover stories, newspaper editorials, and even the occasional mention in gossip columns." - David M. Raup

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as a trade secret of Paleontology. Evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils." - Stephen Jay Gould

"We still do not know the mechanics of evolution in spite of the over-confident claims in some quarters, nor are we likely to make further progress in this by the classical methods of paleontology or biology; and we shall certainly not advance matters by jumping up and down shrilling, `Darwin is god and I, So-and-so, am his prophet'" - Errol White

"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism, confirmed by the work of population genetics, and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record." - Ernst Mayr

"Perhaps generations of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing about in the dark; that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about the past. Paleontology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about, but that is heresy." - David Pilbeam

"On the first page of the Bible there is an instance of how literalism is but an invitation to transcend the image to which literalism points. That first page is not geology, biology or paleontology; it is high religion. For there we are told who we are in terms of our constititutive text. And if we could understand that, we would worrying about whether the antelopes or the cantaloupes came in a certain order." - Joseph Sittler

"Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to Darwinian theory search for results that will be in agreement with their theories and consequently orient their research in a given direction, whether it be in the field of ecology, ethology, sociology, demography (dynamics of populations), genetics, or paleontology. This intrusion of theories has unfortunate results: it deprives observations and experiments of their objectivity, makes them biased, and, moreover, creates false problems." - Pierre-Paul Grasse

"A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks semipopular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general. these have not been found-yet the optimism has died hard and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks." - David M. Raup

"Read non-fiction. History, biology, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology. Get a bodyguard and do fieldwork. Find your inner fish. Don't publish too soon. Not before you have read Thomas Mann in any case. Learn by copying, sentence by sentence some of the masters. Copy Coetzee's or Sebald's sentences and see what happens to your story. Consider creative non-fiction if you want to stay in South Africa. It might be the way to go. Never neglect back and hamstring exercises, otherwise you won't be able to write your novel. One needs one's buttocks to think." - Marlene van Niekerk

"We know from astronomy that the universe had a beginning, from physics that the future is both open and unpredictable, from geology and paleontology that the whole of life has been a process of change and transformation. From biology we know that our tissues are not impenetrable reservoirs of vital magic, but a stunning matrix of complex wonders, ultimately explicable in terms of biochemistry and molecular biology. With such knowledge we can see, perhaps for the first time, why a Creator would have allowed our species to be fashioned by the process of evolution." - Kenneth R Miller