Darwin’s only observable evidence for “evolution in action” was the great variation that occurs within species of animals and plants under domestication. Darwin, who knew nothing of genetics, assumed that there was virtually no limit to this variation among the individuals of a species, though any breeder could have told him otherwise. In the first edition of his book On the Origin of Species, Darwin said that he had no difficulty imagining a race of bears entering the water to catch fish and then slowly developing wider mouths, shorter legs, and longer tails, until they evolved by chance into the great whales. Thus, Darwin extrapolated the observable but limited variation that occurs among the individuals of a species, into the unobservable evolution of fundamentally new animals.
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