The Fossil Record


There are a couple of ideas so closely related to recent topics, they warrant a brief mention. Originally, evolution maintained the principle of ‘uniformitarianism’ (see article 1), by which our world evolved very gradually at a fairly uniform rate. This would imply that there would have been many transitionary creatures between species; a hybrid of the cow and the whale for example (see article 5). There is however, a very significant lack of these transitionary fossils in the record of fossil finds world wide.

Some ‘transitionary’ fossils have been proposed, but these are usually followed by healthy debate. Some rather argue that these fossils are pre-adaptations of existing species or extinct species. The adaptation of a longer (or shorter) beak, for example, can be observed in species today without mutations taking place. There is, of course, no proof that any variation seen in the fossil record is the result of a mutation or an adaptation.

All this is especially true of the proposed transition from ape to man. Whether it be australopithicus, ‘Lucy’ or neanderthal man, scientists are divided and undecided. Some claim they are indeed transitionary forms, others are convinced they rather resemble the gorilla and pygmy chimp respectively and that neanderthal man exhibits bone deformities typical of rickets and syphilis.

To account for the lack of transitionary forms in the fossil record, ‘punctuated evolution’ has been proposed. According to this theory, the transitions between species must have occurred relatively quickly for so few fossils to remain as testimony to them. This is contrary to the idea that these complex transitions would require a very long time to evolve by random mutations and natural selection.

Irreducible complexity also required the rapid ‘creation’ of irreducibly complex systems in new species. This would however be a lot faster than any atheistic evolutionist would care to admit. Irreducible complexity renders natural selection ineffective and the chance mutation of irreducibly complex systems impossible unless sanctioned by a Creator.

The coelacanth is a good example of how flimsy the fossil record testimony can be. The coelacanth is an extraordinary fish. It was believed extinct and it was proposed that the coelacanth was not only a transitionary form, but our remote ancestor. There was no sign of its fossils in any geological layers ‘younger than 60 million years’. To everyone’s surprise, a population of coelacanths was discovered in 1938. Its internal anatomy was all wrong for it to be our ancestor. What was more interesting was that these fossils are found in layers ‘dated’ 360 million years old and are exactly the same as the living variety. No evolution has taken place. They were therefore never transitionary forms and never subject to the natural selection of more advanced counterparts.

Science is founded upon observation. It is interesting what one real observation can do to one of the more extravagant claims of evolution. This should be kept in mind when looking at the broad spectrum of evolutionary 'facts'. They are not based upon real observations.

Becky Conolly

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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