Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist has remained an essential text on the bookshelves of evolutionary biologists since it was first published. Here, I expand upon several topics touched upon by Ernst Mayr to look at how our thinking has evolved, and is evolving, with particular reference to molecular phylogenetic studies on islands. At the time of publication, apart from the fossil record, inferences of temporal trends or patterns could only be speculative, deduced from the distributions of species and the patterns that these present. Much like the subject material itself, evolutionary biology evolves as a discipline, with an increasing availability of tools and resources. The development of molecular phylogenetics and molecular markers has given biologists a new window on the past and, as such, the ideas and explanations of Mayr have become more accessible to testing.