n. The evolution of a species into a different species.
The technoprophets have made a persuasive case … That we will soon be able to leave humanness behind. … We would vnish in what the genetic enthusiast Gregory Stock calls a "pseudo-extinction," "spawning our own successors by fast-forwarding our evolution."
As I stated before, I feel that Ward's account of mass extinctionsis evenhanded. As we all are, the author is sometimes subject to biases, notably in the way he has summarized data. For example, in both his first and most recent editions, he notes (p. 173) that "contrary to popular opinion, however, mammals did poorly; in the Hell Creek region only 1 of 28 mammals species survived. In all of North America, the survival rate of the mammals was only 20 Percent." The author confuses true extinction with high turnover rates that can result from pseudoextinction.
Lamarck then proceeded to extract more from modern trigonians to buttress other pet themes. He was, for example, a partisan at the wrong end of a great debate resolved a decade later to his disadvantage by Cuvier (see my column of June 1982)—does extinction occur in nature? Human rapacity, Lamarck believed, might exterminate some conspicous beasts, but the ways of nature do not include termination without descent (Lamarck, as a transmutationist, obviously accepted the pseudoextinction that occurs when one form evolves into another).