[Quotes index] [Fossil record; #1, #2, #3]
"Many people suppose that phylogeny can be discovered directly from the fossil record by studying a graded series of old to young fossils and by discovering ancestors, but this is not true. The fossil record supplies evidence of the geological ages of the forms of life, but not of their direct ancestor-descendant relationships. There is no way of knowing whether a fossil is a direct ancestor of a more recent species or represents a related line of descent (lineage) that simply became extinct." (Knox B., Ladiges P. & Evans B., eds., "Biology," , McGraw-Hill: Sydney, Australia, 1995, reprint, p.663) .[Top of page]
"But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record." (Darwin, Charles R. [English naturalist and joint founder of the modern theory of evolution], "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, pp.292-293).[Top of page]
"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. 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." (Gould, Stephen Jay [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University, USA], "Evolution's erratic pace," Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, pp.12-16, May 1977, p. 14).[Top of page]
"Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of `seeing' evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists the most notorious of which is the presence of `gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." (Kitts, David B. [Professor of Geology, University of Oklahoma], "Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory," Evolution, Vol. 28, September 1974, p.467).[Top of page]
"The hazards of preservation and subsequent exposure impose another bias- against groups of animals that were rare or geographically restricted. This bias is particularly unfortunate, since most major evolutionary changes probably occurred in small, isolated populations that were subject to stringent selection pressure (Dobzhansky et al., 1977; Mayr, 1963; Simpson, 1953). Where information regarding transitional forms is most eagerly sought, it is least likely to be available. We have no intermediate fossils between rhipidistian fish and early amphibians or between primitive insectivores and bats; only a single species, Archaeopteryx lithographica represents the transition between dinosaurs and birds. (Carroll, Robert L. [Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Canada], "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.4).[Top of page]
"Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils." (Patterson, Colin [late Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London], letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L.D., "Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems," , Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p.89).[Top of page]
".. 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 used 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?' (Patterson, Colin [late Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London], letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L.D., "Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems," , Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p.89).[Top of page]
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution. (Gould, Stephen Jay [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University, USA], "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?," Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1980, p.127).[Top of page]
"It takes a while to realize that the 'thousands' of intermediates being referred to have no obvious relevance to the origin of lions and jellyfish and things. Most of them are simply varieties of a particular kind of creature, artificially arranged in a certain order to demonstrate Darwinism at work, and then rearranged every time a new discovery casts doubt upon the arrangement." (Hitching, Francis, [Writer], "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, p27)[Top of page]
"One of the most surprising negative results of palaeontological research in the last century is that such transitional forms seem to be inordinately scarce. In Darwin's time this could perhaps be ascribed with some justification to the incompleteness of the palaeontological record and to lack of knowledge, but with the enormous number of fossil species which have been discovered since then, other causes must be found for the almost complete absence of transitional forms." (Brouwer, A. [Professor of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology, University of Leiden, Netherlands], "General Palaeontology," , Transl. Kaye R.H., Oliver & Boyd: Edinburgh & London, 1967, pp162-163).[Top of page]
"Darwin's early scientific experience was primarily as a geologist, and much of what he had to say about the nature of the fossil record (summarized in the passage quoted above) was an accurate and insightful early contribution to our understanding of the vagaries of deposition and the preservation of fossils. But his Chapter 9 (first edition) on the imperfections of the geological record is one long ad hoc, special-pleading argument designed to rationalize, to flat-out explain away, the differences between what he saw as logical predictions derived from his theory and the facts of the fossil record." (Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria", Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, pp.27-28).[Top of page]
"Although the relationship of the rhipidistians to the amphibians will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter, it should be said here that none of the known fishes is thought to be directly ancestral to the earliest land vertebrates. Most of them lived after the first amphibians appeared, and those that came before show no evidence of developing the stout limbs and ribs that characterized the primitive tetrapods." (Stahl, Barbara J. [Professor of Biology, Saint Anselm College, USA], "Vertebrate history: Problems in Evolution," Dover: New York NY, 1985, p.148).[Top of page]
"Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.' (Patterson, Colin [late Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London], letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L.D., "Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems," , Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p89).[Top of page]
"It is not difficult to imagine how feathers, once evolved assumed additional functions, but how they arose initially presumably from reptilian scales, defies analysis." (Stahl, Barbara J. [Professor of Biology, Saint Anselm College, USA], "Vertebrate history: Problems in Evolution," Dover: New York, 1985, p349)[ Top of page]
"In point of fact, the number of modifications in reptilian structure which the birds have managed to effect in order to adapt themselves for flight is so large as to constitute a real problem and deserves our further attention. To begin with, many modifications serve to reduce its weight. The bones are hollow, the skull very thin. It has abandoned the heavy tooth-studded jaw for the light but rigid beak. The body is condensed into a compact shape, the reptilian tail being abandoned, as also the reptilian snout. The centre of gravity has been lowered by placing the chief muscles beneath the main structure. Where organs are paired, like the kidney, and the ovary, one has been sacrificed. the pelvis has been strengthened to absorb (allow me the teleology) the shock of landing. The legs and feet have been reduced to minimum the muscles operating them have vanished to be replaced by muscles within the body. The brain has been modified: a larger cerebellum to handle problems of balance and co-ordination, a larger visual cortex now that vision has become more important than smell. Less obvious but even more remarkable is the change in bodily metabolism. To produce the energy for flight the bird must consume a lot of fuel and maintain a high temperature. Not only do birds eat a lot, as anyone who grows fruit or has seen the bullfinches systematically remove every bud from a treasured shrub knows, but they have a crop in which they can store reserve fuel. So that it can handle more blood, the partitions in the heart have been completed. The lungs too have not only been enlarged but are supplemented by air-spaces within the body. In land creatures like ourselves, much of the air in the lungs remains static; we exchange only a very small proportion of it in a normal breath. The bird, by passing the inspired air right through the lung into the air-sacs, contrives to exchange the lot with each breath. This system also serves to dissipate the heat generated by the muscles during flight. It strains the imagination to visualise so many beautifully apt changes occurring by chance, even when one considers that 150 million years elapsed between the emergence of life from the sea and the appearance of the first birds. For my part I can imagine that each change might have occurred by chance during that time, what I find hard to swallow is the accumulation of different changes integrated into a single functional pattern." (Taylor, Gordon Rattray [former Chief Science Adviser, BBC Television], "The Great Evolution Mystery", Abacus: London, 1983, pp.70-71).[Top of page]
"The transition to the first mammal which probably happened in just one or, at most, two lineages, is still an enigma." (Lewin, Roger [biochemist, former editor of New Scientist and science writer], "Bones of mammals' ancestors fleshed out," Science, Vol. 212, 26 June 1981, p.1492).[Top of page]
"Each species of mammal-like reptile that has been found appears suddenly in the fossil record and is not preceded by the species that is directly ancestral to it. It disappears some time later, equally abruptly, without leaving a directly descended species although we usually find that it has been replaced by some new, related species. (Kemp, Tom [Curator of the Zoological Collections, University Museum, Oxford UK], "The reptiles that became mammals," New Scientist, Vol. 92, 4 March 1982, pp.581-584, p.583).[Top of page]
"It would not be fitting in discussing the implications of Evolution to leave the evolution of the horse out of the discussion. The evolution of the horse provides one of the keystones in the teaching of evolutionary doctrine, though the actual story depends to a large extent upon who is telling it and when the story is being told. In fact one could easily discuss the evolution of the story of the evolution of the horse." (Kerkut, Gerald A. [Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, University of Southampton, UK], "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, pp.144-145).[Top of page]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed to be creationists.
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