The theory of evolution, formalized by Charles Darwin, is as much theory as is the theory of gravity, or the theory of relativity. Unlike theories of physics, biological theories, and especially evolution, have been argued long and hard in socio-political arenas. Even today, evolution is not often taught in primary schools. However, evolution is the binding force of all biological research. It is the unifying theme. In paleontology, evolution gives workers a powerful way to organize the remains of past life and better understand the one history of life.
The history of thought about evolution in general and paleontological contributions specifically are often useful to the workers of today. Science, like any iterative process, draws heavily from its history. It is a FACT that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a FACT that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a FACT that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past.
There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a FACT that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a FACT that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different.
Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.