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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index E > Category: Extinct

Extinct Quotes (7 quotes)

All palaetiological sciences, all speculations which attempt to ascend from the present to the remote past, by the chain of causation, do also, by an inevitable consequence, urge us to look for the beginning of the state of things which we thus contemplate; but in none of these cases have men been able, by the aid of science, to arrive at a beginning which is homogeneous with the known course of events. The first origin of language, of civilization, of law and government, cannot be clearly made out by reasoning and research; and just as little, we may expect, will a knowledge of the origin of the existing and extinct species of plants and animals, be the result of physiological and geological investigation.
In History of the Inductive Sciences (1837), Vol. 3, 581.
Science quotes on:  |  Civilization (155)  |  Geology (187)  |  Government (85)  |  Homogeneous (2)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Language (155)  |  Law (418)  |  Origin (77)  |  Palaetiology (2)  |  Physiology (66)  |  Plant (173)  |  Reason (330)  |  Research (517)  |  Result (250)  |  Species (181)  |  Speculation (77)

Faced with a new mutation in an organism, or a fundamental change in its living conditions, the biologist is frequently in no position whatever to predict its future prospects. He has to wait and see. For instance, the hairy mammoth seems to have been an admirable animal, intelligent and well-accoutered. Now that it is extinct, we try to understand why it failed. I doubt that any biologist thinks he could have predicted that failure. Fitness and survival are by nature estimates of past performance.
In Scientific American (Sep 1958). As cited in '50, 100 & 150 years ago', Scientific American (Sep 2008), 299, No. 3, 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Admirable (11)  |  Animal (309)  |  Biologist (31)  |  Change (291)  |  Condition (119)  |  Estimate (19)  |  Failure (118)  |  Fitness (7)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Future (229)  |  Hairy (2)  |  Intelligent (35)  |  Life (917)  |  Mammoth (7)  |  Mutation (25)  |  New (340)  |  Organism (126)  |  Past (109)  |  Performance (27)  |  Prediction (67)  |  Prospect (19)  |  Survival (49)  |  Understanding (317)

Of all extinct life-forms, dinosaurs are the most popular. Why that should be is not clear.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 202.
Science quotes on:  |  Dinosaur (23)  |  Life Form (5)  |  Paleontology (29)  |  Popular (21)

One must believe that every living thing whatsoever must change insensibly in its organization and in its form... One must therefore never expect to find among living species all those which are found in the fossil state, and yet one may not assume that any species has really been lost or rendered extinct.
Système des Animaux sans Vertébres, (1801) trans. D. R. Newth, in Annals of Science (1952), 5, 253-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (482)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Species (181)

The dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for. … I’m not blaming the Dodo but he was a mess. He had an ugly face with a large hooked beak, a tail in the wrong place, wings too small … and a very prominent stomach.
In 'The Dodo', How to Become Extinct (1941), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Beak (4)  |  Blame (17)  |  Chance (122)  |  Dodo (5)  |  Face (69)  |  Hook (4)  |  Invented (4)  |  Mess (10)  |  Place (111)  |  Prominent (5)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Small (97)  |  Stomach (18)  |  Tail (13)  |  Ugly (11)  |  Wing (36)  |  Wrong (116)

The number of travellers by gigs, the outside of coaches, and on horseback, have, since the introduction of railways, been prodigiously diminished; and as, in addition, the members of the medical faculty having lent their aid to run down the use of water-proof (apparently having found it decided enemy against their best friends colds and catarrhs), the use of the article [the Macintosh] in the form of cloaks, etc., has of late become comparatively extinct.
A Biographical Memoir of the late Charles Macintosh Esq FRS (1847), 89.
Science quotes on:  |  Catarrh (2)  |  Cloak (3)  |  Coach (4)  |  Cold (38)  |  Diminish (7)  |  Enemy (52)  |  Friend (63)  |  Horseback (3)  |  Introduction (31)  |  Macintosh (3)  |  Outside (37)  |  Physician (232)  |  Railway (13)  |  Traveler (18)

We speak of it [astrology] as an extinct science; yet let but an eclipse of the sun happen, or a comet visit the evening sky, and in a moment we all believe in astrology. In vain do you tell the gazers on such spectacles that a solar eclipse is only the moon acting for the time as a candle-extinguisher to the sun, and give them bits of smoked glass to look through, and draw diagrams on the blackboard to explain it all. They listen composedly, and seem convinced, but in their secret hearts they are saying—“What though you can see it through a glass darkly, and draw it on a blackboard, does that show that it has no moral significance? You can draw a gallows or a guillotine, or write the Ten Commandments on a blackboard, but does that deprive them of meaning?” And so with the comet. No man will believe that the splendid stranger is hurrying through the sky solely on a momentous errand of his own. No! he is plainly signalling, with that flashing sword of his, something of importance to men,—something at all events that, if we could make it out, would be found of huge concern to us.
From 'Introductory Lecture on Technology for 1858-59', published as The Progress of the Telegraph (1859), 19-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Astrology (35)  |  Comet (43)  |  Concern (76)  |  Deprive (9)  |  Eclipse (16)  |  Guillotine (4)  |  Importance (183)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sun (211)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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