"Everybody is interested in pigeons. The book would be reviewed in
every journal in the kingdom and would soon be on every
- An adviser to Darwin's publisher, explaining why Darwin should publish a book on pigeons instead of "The Origin of Species"
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."
- Theodosius Dobzhansky
"Why should a rat run, a bat fly, a porpoise swim, and I
type this essay with structures built of the same bones
unless we all inherited them from a common ancestor?"
- Stephen Jay Gould
"At last gleams of light have come & I am almost
convinced (quite contrary to the opinion I started with)
that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable."
- Charles Darwin
"Species evolve exactly as if they were adapting as
best they could to a changing world, and not at all as
if they were moving toward a set goal."
- George Gaylord Simpson
When you were a tadpole and I was a fish / In the Palaeozoic time,
/ And side by side on the ebbing tide / We sprawled through the ooze and slime
- Langdon Smith, From the poem "Evolution"
"Evolution ... is opportunistic, hence unpredictable."
- Ernst Mayr
"Evolution on a large scale unfolds, like much of human history, as a succession of dynasties."
- E.O. Wilson
"As an evolutionary biologist, I have learned over the years that most people do not want to see
themselves as lumbering robots programmed to ensure the survival of their genes."
- John Maynard Smith
"It touches all our lives; for how can we be
indifferent to the great questions of genealogy: where
did we come from and what does it all mean? and then, of
course, there are all those organisms: more than a
million described species, from bacterium to blue whale,
with one hell of a lot of beetles in between - each with
its own beauty, and each with a story to tell."
- Stephen Jay Gould
"A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape
for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I
should feel shame in recalling, it would rather be a
man, a man of restless and versatile intellect, who, not
content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of
activity, plunges into scientific questions with which
he had no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an
aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his
hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent
digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice."
- Thomas Henry Huxley, one of Darwin's staunchest supporters, in reply to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, known as Soapy Sam, when asked whether apes were in his lineage on his grandmother's or grandfather's side.