RE: Birds on evolutionary scale

To: "'Ozbird Mail'" <>
Subject: RE: Birds on evolutionary scale
From: "Conole, Lawrie" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 15:43:15 +1000
        >Why are Magpies, Ravens, Currawongs and Crows considered to be the
        >developed on an evolutionary scale?

        What evolutionary scale?  Would someone like to define one?  Is the
        any more than a teleological hangover?

I guess it's still valid to think of some organisms as "more highly evolved"
than others even if by this we mean only that they've departed further from
the primitive form than any others; but I don't know whether corvids even
fit that description any more as bird phylogeny is currently understood.  

Teleology!!  I haven't heard that for a while, but recently I picked up a
book that the great pioneer evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace wrote in his
later years (after he went a bit barmy).  Seeing "the hand of the creator"
in the natural world is quite a seductive notion - even Wallace succumbed to
its charm eventually.

The term "evolutionary scale" is certainly a teleological hangover, but it's
one you'll still hear touted on "Mike Moore's Wonderful World of Nature"
type documentaries for a few years to come yet.

Lawrie Conole

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