Making a better future

"Evolution is our ticket for making a better future," writes Steve Brusatte, paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and author of the bestselling The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.

I teach my students evolution for the same reason my high school teachers taught me US history. Evolution tells us how we got here. It’s how we understand what has happened in the past, how the Earth and ecosystems have changed over time, how extinctions and climate change have affected the world, and how we should interact with our world today.

Let’s not pump the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, because fossils tell us what has happened when this actually occurred (many times) in the distant reaches of prehistory.

Evolution is our ticket for making a better future. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let’s not pump the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, because fossils tell us what has happened when this actually occurred (many times) in the distant reaches of prehistory. Countless species go extinct—up to 95% in some cases! It can take millions of years for the survivors to recover. Entire dynasties of animals that once ruled the world can disappear, setting the history of life on radical new courses.

Evolution makes us appreciate the world, and our place in it. It is the grand theory that links all humans together, regardless of what we look like, or where we come from. Not only does it connect all humans, it connects all species—all animals, plants, bacteria, and so on—into one beautiful family tree, which has been growing for the last four billion years. And hopefully for many millions and billions of years to come.

Steve Brusatte
Short Bio

Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist on the faculty of the University of Edinburgh, a specialist on the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs and other fossil vertebrates, and author of the bestselling The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.

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