J. B. S. Haldane, famous for his quip about the Creator’s inordinate fondness for beetles, is also well known for his reply as to whether anything might make him abandon his belief in evolution. The response was to the effect that a rabbit found fossilized in Ordovician strata would shake his faith to the core. Haldane’s reply was hardly surprising; we do not find Ordovician rabbits any more than we do Devonian tulips or Cambrian dinosaurs. To the first approximation, the history of life shows an overall order that investigations of the fossil record continuously refine, but these days very...

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