Biology quotes

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die. Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral. If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm - a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven. One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand. Then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one. There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.