Can One Thing Be More Evolved Than Another?

There is a common misunderstanding here.

If a species is long extinct, then yes, modern species are more evolved than it was. Modern species have longer histories. But if two creatures both exist today, then they have equally long histories. (Denton makes this mistake in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.)

If a creature looks "primitive", it's not because it hasn't evolved. If you're good at "primitive", you can be very successful. Pound for pound, there are more bacteria than there are people.


A century ago, there was a theory that various human races were "less evolved" than whites. (More specifically, than European upper-class males.) The evidence did not hold up, and scientists discarded this theory.

Let me repeat that. It isn't true.

Last modified: 26 September 1999

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