No one argues the case for the inevitibility of maple trees or damselflies or aardvarks; it is always our species that is cast as the specially intended pinnacle and purpose of nature. Such hubris is absurd… If we can let go of our conceit, we may find that an understanding of evolution makes life on this planet all the more precious. Every living species is a unique, still-changing part of lineages that have persisted for billions of years, and once they are gone they are lost forever. Sooner or later, extinction claims all.
– Brian Switek, Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature (New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2010), p. 271
[I reviewed this book on my other blog]