Quote: Grasse on Pre-Adaptation

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‘The role assigned to natural selection in establishing adaptation, while speciously probable, is based on not one single sure datum. Paleontology (cf. the case of the transformation of the mandibular skeleton of the thecodont reptiles) does not support it; direct observation here and now of the genesis of a hereditary adaptation is nonexistent, except, as we have stated, in the case of bacteria and insects preadapted to resist viruses or drugs. The formation of the eye, the inner ear, of cestodes and the whale, etc., does not seem possible by way of preadaptation. Besides, paleontology teaches that the evolution of the stirrup bones of the inner ear took place exceedingly slowly by the unambiguous addition of tiny changes, preadaptation had nothing whatever to do with it.’

Pierre-Paul Grasse (past-President, French Academie des Sciences) in ‘Evolution of Living Organisms’, Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 170.

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