George Carlin - Jacob Bronowski TV - Charles Darwin - Alfred Russel Wallace - David Attenborough TV - Horizon TV - Alice Roberts TV - Oceans TV - Penn & Teller TV - Richard Dawkins TV - Jacob Bronowski TV -Terry Pratchett - Andrew Marr TV - Survivors TV - Charles Lyell - Richard E Leakey - Joni Mitchell - Loretta Lynch - Gary L Francione - Rudyard Kipling - Paul Watson - Noam Chomsky - Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero TV - Rudolph Steiner - Desmond Morris - Kim Stanley - Tony Robinson TV -
If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little. George Carlin
Species are not immutable. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man: Evolution 9/13: The Ladder of Creation, BBC 1973
As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species Introduction p5
It will be seen that I look at the term species, as one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, and for mere convenience sake. ibid. ch2 p52
Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving, for, of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born, but a small number can survive. I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. (Charles Darwin & Evolution & Species) ibid. chIII p61
Extinction has only separated groups: it has by no means made them; for if every form which has ever lived on this earth were suddenly to reappear, though it would be quite impossible to give definitions by which each group could be distinguished from other groups, as all would blend together by steps as fine as those between the finest existing varieties, nevertheless a natural classification, or at least a natural arrangement, would be possible. ibid.
Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. ibid.
The problem then was not only how and why do species change, but how and why do they change into new and well-defined species, distinguished from each other in so many ways; why and how they become so exactly adapted to distinct modes of life; and why do all the intermediate grades die out (as geology shows they have died out) and leave only clearly defined and well-marked species, genera, and higher groups of animals? Alfred Russel Wallace, autobiography
Many species have never been filmed. David Attenborough, Life on Earth V: Conquest of the Waters, BBC 1979
This is our planet’s hothouse: the jungle. The tropical rain forest. Forests like these occupy only 3% of the land, yet they are home to over half of the world’s species. David Attenborough, Planet Earth e8: Jungles, BBC 2006
Darwin’s great insight revolutionised the way in which we see the world. We now understand why there are so many different species. Why they are distributed the way they are around the world. And why their bodies and our bodies are shaped in the way that they are. Because we understand that bacteria evolve, we can devise methods of dealing with the diseases they cause. And because we can disentangle the complex relationships between animals and plants in the natural community, we can foresee some of the consequences when we start to interfere with those communities. But above all, Darwin has shown us that we are not apart from the natural world. We do not have dominion over it. We are subject to its law and processes as are all other animals on Earth, to which indeed we are related. David Attenborough, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, 2009
Darwin had explained how different species evolved but he also proposed that all life was inter-related having come from a common origin. Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild II: Understanding the Natural World, BBC 2012
Over 80% of all animal species on this planet are arthropods. David Attenborough: Micro Monsters I: Conflict ***** Sky 2013
Many species have reached the point of collapse ... If present trends continue, commercial fishing as we know it will have collapsed by the year 2050. David Attenborough, Horizon: The Death of our Oceans? 2010
But the Census has also given us a glimpse of the future in which many species and habitats could end up disappearing, some before we’ve even had the chance to discover them. ibid.
67% of species will be lost since the 1970s. Horizon: Ten Things You Need to Know About the Future, BBC 2017
Our species is just a tiny twig on this massive tree of life. Dr Alice Roberts, Horizon: Are We Still Evolving? 2011
Home to a spectacular array of species. Oceans III: Red Sea, BBC 2008
The Endangered Species Act is bullshit. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s3e11: Endangered Species, Showtime 2005
Because it’s an archipelago, because the islands are within reach, it is a recipe for division of species. Every now and again one or two finches gets blown across, because that happens rather seldom, there’s time for it to evolve in a different way on the new island. Richard Dawkins, interview Darwin’s Brave New World, CBC 2009
That’s an important lesson in evolution, by the way. Different species do things in different ways, and we often won't understand the differences until we have examined the whole economy of the species. Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth p49
All that matters is that the two populations were isolated from one another for long enough so that, when time and chance eventually reunited them, they found they had diverged so much that they couldn’t interbreed any more. ibid. p255
Darwin later came to recognize the crucial importance of islands and archipelagos for his theory, and he did several experiments to settle questions about the theory of geographical isolation as a prelude to speciation. ibid. p271
Darwin was well aware of the significance of the geographical distribution of species for his theory of evolution. ibid. p272
The species becomes populated by individuals who are good at doing it. Richard Dawkins, lecture Why Evolution? New College of the Humanities 18 November 2013
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection was built on the work of naturalists who were discovering thousands of new species across the world. Brian Cox, Wonders of Life III: Endless Forms Most Beautiful, BBC 2013
Few problems are less recognized, but more important than, the accelerating disappearance of the earth’s biological resources. In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it is perched. Paul Ehrlich
Species are not immutable. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 9/13: Evolution : The Ladder of Creation, BBC 1973
Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fibre and, in some cases, backbone. Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man
During the rest of his voyage Darwin would encounter a vast variety of plants and animal species he’d never seen before. He’d discover fossils of giant extinct species that seemed to resemble the living animals around him. And in the Galapagos he’d encounter different species of birds and tortoises uniquely adapted to the conditions on each of the islands. Everywhere he looked he seemed to find evidence that Life on Earth was constantly changing. Andrew Marr, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, BBC 2009
Myers was now suggesting that we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction, and this one is being caused by us. Norman Myers estimated that this new mass extinction was the fastest loss of species ever seen on the planet, and the greatest number of casualties was from tropical rain forests. ibid.