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Re: Progress in evolution



> 
> I have a small objection to the word "primitive" anyway, as it seems to go=
>  back to some of the earlier views on evolution.  Historically, we have=
>  viewed evolution in terms of progress or simply "getting better" through=
>  time (since our species is at the top of the heap, and therefore the=
>  greatest;-)  Recent work has supported the premise that progress simply=
>  doesn't apply to evolution; that if one takes any animal (from any lineage)=
>  and looks at it within the time that it lived, we see that it was just as=
>  perfectly adapted to its environment as any animal today.  I see nothing=
>  primitive in that.

       "primitive" is not a term that denotes inferiority.  It simply 
means non-derived.  Therefore, if an animal has an underived feature, 
even if the feature works perfectly within the animal's evironment, it is 
by definition "primitive".  You are right in that evolution historically 
(and still in the eyes of the public) was veiwed as progress, and this 
caused the meaning of the word "primitive" to be misunderstood.