Presentation on theme: "The Fossil Record. “FOSSIL is a remnant, impression, or trace of an animal or plant that has been preserved in the earth. Usually, a fossil is simply."— Presentation transcript:
The Fossil Record
“FOSSIL is a remnant, impression, or trace of an animal or plant that has been preserved in the earth. Usually, a fossil is simply the skeleton (or impression of the skeleton) of a dead creature preserved or molded in hardened rock found in sedimentary layers.” Modern Biology, Temple Press, 1998
“Sedimentary rocks are formed from overburden pressure as particles of sediment are deposited out of air, ice, or water flows carrying the particles in suspension.”
Sedimentary rock is where the fossils are found! Sedimentary rocks can contain fossils because, unlike most igneous and metamorphic rocks, they form at temperatures and pressures that do not destroy fossil remnants.
Rocks that were created since the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens dated up to 2.8 million years old Examples of Dating
Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the devastating eruption.
steam plume on May 19, 1982 May
Common false notions.. Fossils = evolution Many fossils = evolution is fact! Big pile of fossils w/o transitional fossils = big pile of bones!
The Fossil Record and Education “Fossils offer the most direct evidence that evolution takes place…. Fossils, therefore, provide an actual record of Earth’s past life-forms. Change over time (evolution) can be seen in the fossil record.” Is this true? Biology: Principles and Explorations, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 2001, p Should Do they?
“Just about everyone who took a college biology course during the last sixty years or so has been led to believe that the fossil record was a bulwark of support for the classic Darwinian thesis, not a liability that had to be explained away... The fossil record shows a consistent pattern of sudden appearance followed by a stasis, that life’s history is more a story of variation around a set of basic designs than one of accumulating Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, pp
improvement, that extinction has been predominantly by catastrophe rather than gradual obsolescence, and that orthodox interpretations of the fossil record often owe more to Darwinist preconception than to the evidence itself. Paleontologists seem to have thought it their duty to protect the rest of us from the erroneous conclusions we might have drawn if we had known the actual state of the evidence.” (Phillip Johnson, University of CA, Berkeley, law professor, Darwin on Trial, pp )
Charles Darwin wrote of his theory… "As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth? Why is not all nature in confusion [of halfway species] instead of being, as we see them, well-defined species?" Charles Darwin, quoted in H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (1966), p Darwin attributed this lack to the imperfect geological record and fully expected that scientists to follow would “dig up” the evidence.
David Raup is the Avery Distinguished Service Professor (emeritus) of Geophysical Sciences, Evolutionary Biology, and The Conceptual Foundations of Science at the University of Chicago. What Dr. Raup has to say of the fossil record…
“We are now about 130 years after Darwin, and 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… 1 of 2
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. ” “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50, January 1979, pp )
“A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks, semi-popular articles, and so on…” David Raup, Ph.D., evolutionist, respected paleontologist at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum.
“Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found— yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks” ( Science, Vol. 213, July 1981, p. 289). David Raup, Ph.D., evolutionist, respected paleontologist at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum.
Niles Eldredge, Ph.D, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, adjunct professor at the City University of New York, a vigorous supporter of evolution, comments on the proof of the fossil record….
“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long… It (evolution) seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change—over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history.
“When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution” ( Reinventing Darwin: The Great Debate at the High Table of Evolutionary Theory, 1995, p. 95).
Professor Eldredge touched on the magnitude of the problem when he admitted that Darwin “essentially invented a new field of scientific inquiry— what is now called ‘taphonomy’— to explain why the fossil record is so deficient, so full of gaps, that the predicted patterns of gradual change simply do not emerge” (Reinventing Darwin, pp )
Paleontology: a branch of biology, the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils.
Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, author of many books and articles, known for his brilliance in the field of paleontology, he was accredited for bringing the doctrine of evolution to the common man and was considered by his peers as a controversial person for doing so.
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist and author of many books on evolution. He revised Darwin's theory of evolution, introducing his own concept of punctuated equilibrium. Gould was a professor at Harvard University until he died 2002.
“The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism [gradual evolution from one species to another]: “ Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional [evolutionary] change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear; Harvard University paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould…
morphological [anatomical or structural] change is usually limited and directionless. “ Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors: it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’” (“Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History, May 1977, pp ). Harvard University paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould…
“.. 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 Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Darwin, Evolution and the New Biology, 1982, pp. 9-10)
rare that endless argument goes on about whether a particular fossil is, or isn’t, or might be, transitional between this group and that. There ought to be cabinets full of intermediates—indeed, one would expect the fossils to blend so gently into one another that it would be difficult to tell where the invertebrates ended and the vertebrates began. But this isn’t the case. Instead, groups of well-defined, easily classifiable
fish jump into the fossil record seemingly from nowhere: mysteriously, suddenly, full- formed, and in a most un-Darwinian way. And before them are maddening, illogical gaps where their ancestors should be.” Francis Hitching, member of the Prehistoric Society and the Society for Physical Research.
Professor Gould similarly admitted that the “extreme rarity” of evidence for evolution in the fossil record is “the trade secret of paleontology.” He went on to acknowledge that “the evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils”. (“Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History, May 1977)
“Reading popular or even textbook introductions to evolution,.. you might hardly guess that they [fossil gaps] exist, so glibly and confidently do most authors slide through them. In the absence of fossil evidence, they write what have been termed ‘just so’ stories. A suitable mutation just happened to take place at the crucial moment, and hey presto, a new stage of evolution was reached.” Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Darwin, Evolution and the New Biology, 1982, pp ) Do paleontologists share this trade secret with others? Hardly.
Dr. Stephen Jay Gould was a paleontologist, past professor at Harvard University, his articles were widely read and he was called “America’s unofficial evolutionist laureate.”
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists and is the trade secret of paleontology… In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed.” Evolution’s Erratic Pace” Natural History, May Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
“I regard the failure to find a clear ‘vector of progress’ in life’s history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record… We have sought to impose a pattern that we hoped to find on a world that does not really display it.” The Ediacaran Experiment, Natural History, Feb Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
“Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.” The Panda’s Thumb, p. 181 Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
Acknowledging that the fossil record contradicts Darwinism, professors Eldredge and Gould proposed a radically different theory they call “punctuated equilibrium”.. Maintaining that bursts of evolution occurred in small, isolated populations that then became dominant and showed no change over millions and millions of years. This, they say, is the only way to explain the lack of evidence for evolution in the fossil record. New theory of evolution: Punctuated equilibrium
As Newsweek explains : “In 1972 Gould and Niles Eldredge collaborated on a paper intended at the time merely to resolve a professional embarrassment for paleontologists: their inability to find the fossils of transitional forms between species, the so-called ‘missing links.’ Darwin, and most of those who followed him, believed that the work of evolution was slow, gradual and continuous and that a complete lineage of New theory of evolution: Punctuated equilibrium
ancestors, shading imperceptibly one into the next, could in theory be reconstructed for all living animals... But a century of digging since then has only made their absence more glaring... It was Eldredge and Gould’s notion to call off the search and accept the evidence of the fossil record on its own terms” (“Enigmas of Evolution,” March 29, 1982, p. 39). New theory of evolution: Punctuated equilibrium
Fossil record well represented… “when estimates are made of the percentage of [now-] living forms found as fossils, the percentage turns out to be surprisingly high, suggesting that the fossil record may not be as bad as is often maintained” (Michael Denton, British-Australian biochemist, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1985, p. 189). 1 of 2
“of the 329 living families of terrestrial vertebrates [mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians] 261 or 79.1 percent have been found as fossils and, when birds (which are poorly fossilized) are excluded, the percentage rises to 87.8 percent” (Denton, p. 189). Fossil record well represented…
“... Although each of these classes [fishes, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and primates] is well represented in the fossil record, as of yet no one has discovered a fossil creature that is indisputably transitional between one species and another species. Not a single undisputed ‘missing link’ has been found in all the exposed rocks of the Earth’s crust despite the most careful and extensive searches” (Michael Denton, pp ). Missing link?
"The problem of the origin of species has not advanced in the last 150 years. One hundred and fifty years have already passed during which it has been said that the evolution of the species is a fact but, without giving real proofs of it and without even a principle of explaining it. G. Salet, Hasard et Certitude: Le Transformisme devant la Biologie Actuelle (1973), p of 2
“During the last one hundred and fifty years of research that has been carried out along this line [in order to prove the theory], there has been no discovery of anything. It is simply a repetition in different ways of what Darwin said in This lack of results is unforgivable in a day when molecular biology has really opened the veil covering the mystery of reproduction and heredity..
“Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods. Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better. Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.” Michael Benton, Ph.D., is a vertebrate paleontologist, holds the Chair in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol, UK
They (religious fundamentalists) cannot deny that hundreds of millions of fossils reside in display cases and drawers around the world. Perhaps some would argue that these specimens - huge skeletons of dinosaurs, blocks from ancient shell beds containing hundreds of specimens, delicately preserved fern fronds — have been manufactured by scientists to confuse the public. This is clearly ludicrous. Michael Benton, Ph.D., is a vertebrate paleontologist, holds the Chair in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol, UK
Evolution and the Horse “As the biologist Heribert-Nilsson said, ‘The family tree of the horse is beautiful and continuous only in the textbooks’, and the famous paleontologist Niles Eldredge called the textbook picture ‘lamentable’ and ‘a classical case of paleontologic museology'.” Jonathan Sarfati (Ph.D. Physical Chemistry), Creation Ex Nihilo, 1999 Why would someone make this statement?
What Textbooks Don’t Contain The rib count, vertebrae count, tooth count and the size of the animal, varies widely and does not show any direct line of progression (18, 15, 19, 18) 1. Notice the line drawings The Picture 2. Similarity could be genetic variability not ancestry
What Textbooks Don’t Contain a case of genetic variabilityThe extinct Eohippus was almost identical in body design, feet, toes and size, to the modern living Hyrax, except for the skull and tail (a case of genetic variability) Many different varieties of horses exist today
What Textbooks Don’t Contain North America 3-toed to 1-toe South America 1-toe to 3-toed
“George Gaylord Simpson spent a considerable segment of his career on horse evolution. His overall conclusion was horse evolution was by no means the simple, linear and straightforward affair it was made out to be... Horse evolution did not proceed in one single series, from step A to step B and so forth, culminating in modern, single-toed large horses. Horse evolution, to What Professor Eldredge has to say about the horse as classic “proof” of evolution:
Simpson, seemed much more bushy, with lots of species alive at any one time—species that differed quite a bit from one another, and which had variable numbers of toes, size of teeth, and so forth. In other words, it is easy, and all too tempting, to survey the fossil history of a group and select examples that seem best to exemplify linear change through time... But picking out What Professor Eldredge has to say about the horse as classic “proof” of evolution:
just those species that exemplify intermediate stages along a trend, while ignoring all other species that don’t seem to fit in as well, is something else again. The picture is distorted. The actual evolutionary pattern isn’t fully represented” (p. 131). What Professor Eldredge has to say about the horse as classic “proof” of evolution:
“The uniform continuous transformation of Hyracotherium [a fossil species thought to be the ancestor of the horse] into Equus [the modern horse], so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature” ( Life of the Past, 1953, p. 119). George Gaylord Simpson himself was more blunt:
“Darwin's general solution to the incompatibility of fossil evidence and his theory was to say that the fossil record is a very incomplete one that it is full of gaps, and that we have much to learn. In effect, he was saying that if the record were complete and if we had better Dr. David Raup on horse evolution. (Raup D.M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History: Chicago IL, January 1979, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp.22-29, pp.24-25)
knowledge of it we would see the finely graduated chain that he predicted. And this was his main argument for downgrading the evidence from the fossil record. Well, we are now about 130 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.”
“… most species, including most horses, appear abruptly in the fossil record, change very little over their entire history and then disappear just as unceremoniously. This pattern is well known to paleontologists who have actually attributed it to the imperfection of the fossil record: the missing links between one species and another have all died without the decency to leave their remains as fossils.” Johnjoe McFadden (Professor of Molecular Biology and Quantum Physics), Quantum Evolution, 2000, p. 71.
Cambrian Explosion “The Cambrian explosion is not just a case of all the major animal phyla appearing at about the same place in the geologic column. It is also a situation of no ancestors to suggest how they might have evolved.” Ariel Roth (Ph.D. Zoology), Origins,1998, p Where are the thousands of observable intermediates?
Examining the Evidence Morphology Time Cambrian Precambrian Darwinian Model Actual Data Sudden appearance of complex creatures Created after their kind Tree of life
The Fossil Record: Expectation vs. Fact 1.Simple life-forms gradually appearing. 2.Simple life-forms gradually changing over time into complex forms 3.Countless transitional links between different kinds of creatures 4.Beginnings of and partially completed features such as new limbs, bones, organs. 1.Complex life-forms suddenly appearing. 2.Complex life-forms multiplying “after their kinds” (Gen.1:21; 6:20). 3.No transitional links between different kinds of creatures. 4.No partial features such as new limbs, bones and organs. General EvolutionSpecial Creation The fossil evidence fits Creation expectations!!
Aldous Huxley, "Confessions of a Professed Atheist," Report: Perspective on the News, Vol. 3, June 1966, p. 19 [grandson of evolutionist Thomas Huxley, Darwin's closest friend and promoter, and brother of evolutionist Julian Huxley. Aldous Huxley was one of the most influential liberal writers of the 20th century, “Brave New World”, etc. 1 of 3
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