There is an often-quoted reply of a mountain-climber to the question of his motives in mountain climbing. "Why do I want to climb that mountain? Because it is there." The same characteristic of curiosity has driven men to investigate all sorts of things aside from mountains, and in many, perhaps most, cases we make the same reply if we are really honest. So in paleontology one generally starts with the small-boy motive and some fortunate souls continue with it. They are the rockhounds, the human "pack-rats", like the famous Lauder Dick, the Baker of Thurso. For some of us the study of fossils becomes a more sophisticated business and we pursue that subject, still with the driving power of curiosity but with developing objectives beyond that. What sorts of animals existed in the past? Where did they live? What were the environmental conditions under which they lived? How were they related to each other and to the animals of today? The latter question, the genetic relationships among the animals of the past, is one of the two major topics of the study of Evolution, the other being the mechanism of evolution.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1953 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Robertson, George M.
"Some Attempts at Phylogeny of Early Vertebrates,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 60(1), 725-737.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol60/iss1/96