Prior to Darwin's time there had been speculations regarding the origin and the relationships of the various plant and animal groups. Some of these were ingenious and some of them hit close enough to post-Darwinian ideas to have led some biologists to over-value them. To most biologists of those days, however, such problems were unimportant. They seem to have taken the animal and plant groups for granted. Similarities and differences were used in classification, but to their authors such concepts as archetypes, etc. probably had no special philosophic importance. A vertebrate archetype was like an alphabet, a composite of the characters shown by different vertebrates, these characters being grouped, rearranged, and varied in different forms, but such community of characters had only a function of convenience.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1949 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Robertson, George M.
"Some Contributions of Fossil Study to the Problem of Vertebrate Origin,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 56(1), 379-384.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol56/iss1/54