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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1761
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Fossil Gaps 2


The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago has one of the largest collections of fossils in the world. Consequently, its former dean, Dr. David Raup, was highly qualified to discuss the absence of transitions in the fossil record:

“Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information—what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection.” David M. Raup, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 1, January 1979, p. 25.

“Surely the lack of gradualism—the lack of intermediates—is a major problem.” Dr. David Raup, as taken from page 16 of an approved and verified transcript of a taped interview conducted by Luther D. Sunderland on 27 July 1979.

“In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.” Stanley, p. 95.

“But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition.” David S. Woodruff, “Evolution: The Paleobiological View,” Science, Vol. 208, 16 May 1980, p. 716.

[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown]
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1762
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Fossil Gaps 3


Dr. Colin Patterson, a senior paleontologist at the British Museum (Natural History), was asked by Luther D. Sunderland why no evolutionary transitions were included in Dr. Patterson’s recent book, Evolution. In a personal letter, Patterson said:

“I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be asked to visualise such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic licence, would that not mislead the reader?...Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say that there are no transitional fossils. As a palaeontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least “show a photo of the fossil from which each type organism was derived.” I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.” Copy of letter, dated 10 April 1979, from Patterson to Sunderland.

[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown]
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Old 1 Week Ago   #1763
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Fossil Gaps 4


“But the curious thing is that there is a consistency about the fossil gaps: the fossils go missing in all the important places. When you look for links between major groups of animals, they simply aren’t there; at least, not in enough numbers to put their status beyond doubt. Either they don’t exist at all, or they are so rare that endless argument goes on about whether a particular fossil is, or isn’t, or might be, transitional between this group or that.” Hitching, p. 19. [emphasis in original]

“There is no more conclusive refutation of Darwinism than that furnished by palaeontology. Simple probability indicates that fossil hoards can only be test samples. Each sample, then, should represent a different stage of evolution, and there ought to be merely ‘transitional’ types, no definition and no species. Instead of this we find perfectly stable and unaltered forms persevering through long ages, forms that have not developed themselves on the fitness principle, but appear suddenly and at once in their definitive shape; that do not thereafter evolve towards better adaptation, but become rarer and finally disappear, while quite different forms crop up again. What unfolds itself, in ever-increasing richness of form, is the great classes and kinds of living beings which exist aboriginally and exist still, without transition types, in the grouping of today.” [emphasis in original] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol. 2 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), p. 32.

[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown]
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Fossil Gaps 5


“This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate. A fortiori, it is also true of the classes, themselves, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous categories of plants.” George Gaylord Simpson, Tempo and Mode in Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1944), p. 107.

“...the geologic record did not then and still does not yield a finely graduated chain of slow and progressive evolution. In other words, there are not enough intermediates. There are very few cases where one can find a gradual transition from one species to another and very few cases where one can look at a part of the fossil record and actually see that organisms were improving in the sense of becoming better adapted.” Ibid., p. 23.

[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown]
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