Joined: Sep. 2007
|Quote (jeannot @ Sep. 22 2007,05:02)|
|Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 22 2007,04:07)|
|What then, is your position on the lack of evidence in the fossil record for gradualism?|
Mine is rather straightforward:
Given the billions of animal and plant species that have existed, we've only collected a very small fraction of them as fossils.
We don't expect to find most transitional forms.
But we have found millions of fossil remains for many types of organisms. Why then do we still find no evidence of smooth, gradual transitions between types?
|"As we all know, Darwin's theory of evolutionary descent asserts that organisms evolve slowly and very gradually through the smallest of individual steps, through the accumulation of an infinite number of small transformations. Consequently, the fossil organic world would have to consist of an uninterrupted, undivided continuum of forms; as Darwin himself said, geological strata must be filled with the remains of every conceivable transitional form between taxonomic groups, between types of organizations and structural designs of differing magnitudes.|
Fossil material did not then and, based on the present state of our knowledge, does not today meet this challenge, not by a long shot. It is true that we know of countless lineages with continuous transformation, in as uninterrupted a sequence as could be desired. However, each time we go back to the beginning of these consistent, abundantly documented series, we stand before an unbridgeable gulf. The series break off and do not lead beyond the boundaries of their own particular structural type. The link connecting them is not discernible; the individual structural designs stand apart, beside one another or in sequence, without true transitional forms"
Otto H. Schindewolf, "Basic Questions in Paleontology", pp 102-103
And later, when speaking of the sudden appearance of new structural types, Schindewolf comments:
|" And these are by no means just isolated occurrences; these strange new forms are usually also represented by large numbers of individuals. Nonetheless, there is no connecting link with the stock from which they derived. The continuity of the other species gives us no reason to suspect interruptions in the deposition of the layers, or subsequent destruction of layers already deposited, which, furthermore, would be revealed by other geological criteria. Nothing is missing here, and even drastic changes in living conditions are excluded, for the facies remain the same.|
Further, when we see this situation repeated in all stratigraphic sequences of the same time period all over the world... we cannot resort to attributing this phenomenon to immigration of the new type from areas not yet investigated, where perhaps a gradual, slowly progressing evolution had taken place. What we have here must be primary discontinuities, natural evolutionary leaps, and not circumstantial accidents of discovery and gaps in the fossil record"
ibid. pp 104-105 (emphasis his)
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