Charles Darwin courted controversy yet bequeathed to us the theory of evolution. The survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle are phrases so common today that even a four year old child would have some idea of their meaning. However, according to The Guardian, there are some loopholes in Darwinian biology. A prime example is the “tree of life” drawn by Darwin in his famous notebooks. The tree of life portrayed how species are interlinked. What the whole exercise meant to show was that natural selection is the engine of evolution. The latest experiments by geneticists show otherwise. According to them it is not a tree-like structure but rather a sort of thicket.
The inter-relatedness of life has been compared to a tangled bank. And the fact of the matter is that it is impenetrable. Darwin as a child used to explore the greenery surrounding his house for fossils and plant/animal species. That was when his curiosity was piqued and later on as an adult he decided to travel aboard the ship that led him round the world. His discoveries in the form of meticulous notebooks formed the basis of the grand concept of evolutionary thinking. The fact that all living beings are related to each other has been applied to other fields such as linguistics and physiology. It completely revolutionized the thought and zeitgeist of the times.
Today, though we are advancing at such a fast pace that even Darwin has come under criticism. There is the obvious fact of crossbreeding which has come up as a stumbling block in the way. Genetic tests show that many species swap genetic materials. And these range from the microscopic to the macroscopic. And the interesting thing is their offspring are sometimes fertile. At least 10% of animals can engage in hybridization so that pretty much discards the tree of life at one go. It was an over-simplified version of biological determinism. More complex models are needed today which lend credence to newer realities which supplant the theories of the past. This is not only the need of the time but a rational step in eliminating a blind worship of the past even if it is in the name of science.
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