“The Making of the Fittest” is one of the best introductions to evolutionary science, especially for those who have any doubts about its validity. It is lucid, easy to read, and packed with amazing and convincing facts. The subtitle says it all: “DNA and the Forensic Record of Evolution.” The same kind of evidence that is now universally accepted in all courts as proof of guilt or innocence also provides evidence “beyond all reasonable doubt” about the evolutionary history of all living beings. Here’s is how Carroll explains his motivation:
More accurate and rigorous than fiber or fingerprint analysis, and far more reliable than eyewitness testimony, DNA analysis can provide conclusive proof about who was or was not at the scene of a crime. The authority of DNA evidence … led to a revolution in the criminal justice system and a vast increase in the use of DNA testing to both convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent. …
The power of DNA testing extends far beyond criminal justice. The determination of paternity is now definitive, and testing for carriers of genetic diseases is now routing, thanks to DNA science. but there is one arena where that power is not yet widely appreciated: in what one might call the philosophical realm.
Just as the sequence of each individual’s DNA is unique, the sequence of each species’ DNA is unique. Every evolutionary change between species, from physical form to digestive metabolism, is due to – and recorded in – changes in DNA. So, too, is the “paternity” of species. DNA contains, therefore, the ultimate forensic record of evolution.