The Quaternary sub-era or Quaternary period is a terminology that is becoming outdated. Once the Quaternary was a well-known time period, particularly since it encompasses the most recent years, when hominids and humans came into being and flourished. However, as science has advanced, and unified with international bodies, the term Quarternary has gradually fallen out of favor and has been subsumed into the Neogene.
Such a phenomenon reflects one of the values of science—being willing to modify the presentation of concepts, terminology, and theories as new evidence requires such changes. Other values that scientists are expected to adhere to include presenting data accurately; performing experiments and studies with honesty and integrity and according to rigorous standards; and being willing to share results and work cooperatively with other scientists to advance the state of knowledge. It has been noted by Dinshaw Dadachanji, in an article on Science and Peace, that such values were not derived from scientific experimentation, but scientists made their selection from values offered by culture and religion.
While most values do come from religion and culture, science is sometimes the source of cultural values, not all of which are positive. For example, the concept of predator-prey relationships, and the "red in tooth and claw" of classical Darwinism, is sometimes used to justify a "survival of the fittest" among humans. Such a view is in direct contrast with the "live for the sake of others" dictum of religions. Notably, some scientists, such as Lynn Margulis, hold that "Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking" (Margulis and Sagan 1986)—in other words, by cooperation rather than Darwinian competition.
- Margulis, Lynn and Dorion Sagan. 1986. Origins of Sex : Three Billion Years of Genetic Recombination. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300033400