As a sequel to not only the rise and fall of the cosmos but
also the rise and fall of the earth is requested, in answer to the
request, I will take up a book 'Wonderful Life' on which I touched
The sub-title of 'Wonderful Life' is the 'Burgess Shale and a story
of life evolution/ and the author is Stephen Jay Gould. In this
connection the Burgess Shale is a rocky area, just like book pages,
located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and has long been known
as a 'treasury of fossils.
In order to explain the reason why the book focusing on mysteries
of the 'life explosion' blown up in the Cambrian 570 million years
ago is titled from 'It's a wonderful life!', one of fine master pieces
of the director Frank Cabra, the author cites the following lines
in the film scene, 'George' is the leading character of the film and
an 'angel' is a guardian angel of George.
'The witty angel brought George's problem to an end and explains the
principle of contingency to him such like this. "Don't you think
it strange? Each life is connected with such an amount of life. If
a person does not exist there, the person may leave a large gaping
hole behind him, may not he? --- George, as you see that, you have
been living a wonderful life." --- The fascination and innovative
power (the extraordinary explosion of heterogeneity in the beginning
and the successive, probably most of them left themselves to chance,
unfortunate many cases of death) in messages which the Burgess Shale
tells are in its advocacy that it should mainly be history to decide
which way life turns upon.'
The 'Explosion in the Cambrian' is a phenomenon in which a lot of
types of multi-cellular living organisms appeared during the period
of only several million years just like mushrooms crop up after a
rain. It is said that all of the fundamental forms of living beings
which we can see today were all present at that time, however the
cause why such an explosion happened has still been mysterious.
The above story may be part of a common sense to persons familiar
to paleontology, however to me utterly unfamiliar to paleontology
the story of a 'mistake in a common sense about the life evolution'
explained from the beginning of the book was more interesting than
the 'mystery of life explosion' explained in the middle to the end
of the book lastingly.
Life springs from one 'species and has evolved until today by successively
increasing 'species', in other words forming a reverse tree pattern.
In its process superior species survive and continue their further
evolution while inferior species become extinct after losing the struggle
for existence. The above is an orthodox theory of evolution, and we,
the 'homo-sapience' stands on the top of the reverse tree, it is said
I was so astonished at the story that almost all of the fundamental
life forms, expected to be possible, in the Cambrian, 570 million
years ago, and after that life has evolved without drastically changing
those fundamental forms, that I was attacked by a kind of pessimistic
feeling such as 'even though whatever endeavours I will do in my coming
life, the outcomes may not be so much fruitful, may not it?', this
is a true story.
Leaving the above notice, the story of the 'mystery solution' which
has been developed before a lot of fossils discovered in the Burgess
Shale is very interesting. Danger in 'observing and analyzing' fossils
being shackled by common sense of the existing theory of life evolution,
or wonder of fresh sensitivity which keeps their eye on 'small discovery'
that gives a chance to re-challenge a theory which has once been accepted
as an established theory, they are presented thoroughly.
This is a book which gives us inspiration suitable for turning the
'rise and fall of the earth' over in our mind.
The attached illustration is contained in this book and symbolizes
an error of common sense on the 'life evolution theory in circulation
as a popular opinion'.