Imagine if we took 100 randomly selected humans from the Earth today, and a random 100 of our ancestors from 2 million years ago, and placed all 200 on a random part of the Earth 1 million years ago (equally close in time to when both species lived so neither has a home team advantage).

Who would win in the struggle of survival?

Probably modern humans would, but you might say that proves little because we’re only one lineage that just happened to become uniquely adaptable.

Now imagine if we tried the same experiment on a hundred different randomly selected species, ranging in type from insects to reptiles to plants to large mammals.

Would there be a consistent trend for the modern version to outcompete its archaic ancestor, or would it be totally random, or would perhaps the ancestors win in most cases.

Of course such an experiment can not be done, it would prove whether evolution was progressive, random, or regressive.