The term can also be applied to larger groups of organisms, as in "the adaptive radiation of mammals." adaptive strategies: A mode of coping with competition or environmental conditions on an evolutionary time scale.
Then the paleontologists use the geologists' dates as evidence for the age of the fossils! The relative order of the strata was first determined by the principles of stratification. Beagle, a very strong Bible believer, made it a point to have a copy of Lyell's book for the ship's library.
(The principle of superposition was recognized as early as 1669 by Steno.) Reverend Benjamin Richardson and Reverend Joseph Townsend were a couple of early geologists involved in this work. Obviously, even Lyell was not pushing evolution at the time.
Archaeological geology as a science had to precede the proposal of evolution, as an understanding of the immense age of the earth is necessary to understand evolution.
Cuvier established amongst the scientific community the fact of extinction.
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