Time and Life: Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species"

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Source: http://gutenberg.org

Copyright: This work is in the public domain in the USA only.

EVERYONE knows that that superficial film of the earth’s substance, hardly ten miles thick, which is accessible to human investigation, is composed for the most part of beds or strata of stone, the consolidated muds and sands of former seas and lakes, which have been deposited one upon the other, and hence are the older the deeper they lie. These multitudinous strata present such resemblances and differences among themselves that they are capable of classification into groups or formations, and these formations again are brigaded together into still larger assemblages, called by the older geologists, primary, secondary, and tertiary; by the moderns, palaeozoic, mesozoic, and cainozoic: the basis of the former nomenclature being the relative age of the groups of strata; that of the latter, the kinds of living forms contained in them.