Fossils? Ha! Lets look at what your "Experts" say:
"Not one change of species into another is on record ... we cannot prove that a single species has been changed."
(Charles Darwin, My Life & Letters)
"..why, if species have descneded from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?" "... The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) 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 gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."
(Darwin, C. (1859) The Origin of Species (Reprint of the first edition) Avenel Books, Crown Publishers, New York, 1979, p. 292)
"In most people's minds, fossils and Evolution go hand in hand. In reality, fossils are a great embarrassment to Evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of Creation. If Evolution were true, we should find literally millions of fossils that show how one kind of life slowly and gradually changed to another kind of life. But missing links are the trade secret, in a sense, of paleontology. The point is, the links are still missing. What we really find are gaps that sharpen up the boundaries between kinds. It's those gaps which provide us with the evidence of Creation of separate kinds. As a matter of fact, there are gaps between each of the major kinds of plants and animals. Transition forms are missing by the millions. What we do find are separate and complex kinds, pointing to Creation."
(Dr Gary Parker Biologist/paleontologist and former ardent Evolutionist.)
"Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group. Thus, it has seldom been possible to piece together ancestor-dependent sequences from the fossil record that show gradual, smooth transitions between species."
(Hickman, C.P. [Professor Emeritus of Biology at Washington and Lee University in Lexington], L.S. Roberts [Professor Emeritus of Biology at Texas Tech University], and F.M. Hickman. 1988. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, St. Louis, MO. 939 pp.; (pg. 866))
"When we view Darwinian gradualism on a geological timescale, we may expect to find in the fossil record a long series of intermediate forms connecting phenotypes of ancestral and descendant populations. This predicted pattern is called phyletic gradualism. Darwin recognized that phyletic gradualism is not often revealed by the fossil record. Studies conducted since Darwin’’s time likewise have failed to produce the continuous series of fossils predicted by phyletic gradualism. Is the theory of gradualism therefore refuted? Darwin and others claim that it is not, because the fossil record is too imperfect to preserve transitional series...Others have argued, however, that the abrupt origins and extinctions of species in the fossil record force us to conclude that phyletic gradualism is rare. "
"A number of contemporary biologists, however, favor various hypotheses of the punctuated equilibrium theory...They base their hypotheses on fossil records which have large ""chains"" of missing organisms. Although missing-link fossils are occasionally discovered, the record does little to support Darwin’’s concept of gradual, long-term change...Others opposed to hypotheses of evolution through sudden change argue that because such a tiny percentage of organisms becomes fossilized...drawing definite conclusions from fossil evidence about evolution through either gradual or sudden change is not warranted." (Hickman, C.P. [Professor Emeritus of Biology at Washington and Lee University in Lexington], L.S. Roberts [Professor Emeritus of Biology at Texas Tech University], and A. Larson. 2000. Animal Diversity. McGraw Hill, NY. 429pp.; (p. 23, 261))
"The fossil record has always been a problem." (Montgomery Slatkin, editor 'Exploring Evolutionary Biology", American Scientist book, 1994)
"evolutionary theory deals with biology in the present, and uniformitarianism permits the use of present processes to explain past events. THe concept of uniformitarianism does not enter the picture until the attempt is made to use evolutionary theory (biological present) to explain the fossil record (paleobiological past). Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory. When an effort is made to explain the fossil record (whether it be taxonomic differences or changes in response to ecological factors) in terms of Darwinian evolution the concept of uniformitarianism is essential, for it alows us to use the present to explain the past. This should be its main purpose, to allow us to reconstruct the past on the basis of a theory or theories founded on nonhistoric events."
(Ronald R. West, PhD (paleoecology and geology), Assistant Professor of Paleobiology at Kansas State University, Paleoecology and uniformitarianism". Compass, vol. 45, May 1968, p. 216. Note:
IDEA would like to kindly thank Dr. West for providing us with a copy of his original paper which showed that this quote, if taken out of context, could be construed to mean something very different than its originally intended meaning. As noted in our quote disclaimer and explanation page
, we make no official implications on our quote pages of any given quote. However, for those interested, it should be noted that this quote is discussing Darwinian evolution from a philosophical standpoint, saying that proof of the Darwinian mechanism must lie in the present, and that then it should be applied to the historic record. For this reason, Dr. West argues, the fossil record cannot in principle support the Darwinian mechanism. However, if certain fragments of Dr. Wests article were taken by themselves, those fragments might seem to have a very different meaning than the one implied by Dr. West in his actual article. This is a good example of why quotes should always be checked to their original source and context whenever using them in any official format!)
"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."
(Stephen J. Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?' Paleobiology, vol 6(1), January 1980, pg 127)
"None of five museum officials could offer a single example of a transitional series of fossilised organisms that would document the transformation of one basically different type to another."
(Luther Sunderland, science researcher)
"It is sometimes suggested that Darwin's theory is systematically irrefutable (and hence scientifically vacuous), but Darwin was forthright about what sort of finding it would take to refute his theory. "Though nature grants vast periods of time for the work of natural selection, she does not grant an indefinite period" (Origin, p. 102), so, if the geological evidence mounted to show that not enough time had elapsed, his whole theory would be refuted. This still left a temporary loophole, for the theory wasn't formulatable in sufficiently rigorous detail to say just how many millions of years was the minimal amount required, but it was a temporary loophole that made sense, since at least some proposals about its size could be evaluated independently."
(Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," 1996, p.46)
"As is well known, most fossil species appear instantaneously in the fossil record."
(Tom Kemp, Oxford University)
"The curious thing is that there is a consistency about the fossil gaps; the fossils are missing in all the important places."
(Francis Hitching, archaeologist).
"There is no need to apologise any longer for the povertyof the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration... The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps."
(T. Neville George, "Fossils in Evolutionary Perspective",Science Progress, vol 48, January 1960, pp. 1, 3.)
"The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution [i.e., a species becoming a new species] accomplishing a major morphological transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."
(Steven M. Stanley, Macroevolution (Freeman, San Francisco, 1977), p. 39)
"Despite the bright promise that palaeontology provides means of 'seeing' Evolution, it has provided 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 palaeontology does not provide them." (emphasis added)
(David Kitts, Ph.D. Palaeontology and Evolutionary Theory, Evolution, Vol.28 (Sep.1974) p.467)
"In China its O.K. to criticize Darwin but not the government, while in the United States its O.K. to criticize the government, but not Darwin."
(Chinese Paleontologist Dr. Jun Yaun. Chen)
""Progressive increase in knowledge of the fossil record over the past hundred years emphasizes how wrong Darwin was in extrapolating he pattern of long-term evolution from that observed within populations and species. If the patterns of evolution over time scales of millions and hundreds of millions of years are so different from those that Darwin postulated for modern populations and species, can the processes of natural selection that he established on the basis of living species adequately explain long term evolutionary phenomena?" (Robert Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 8)
""The following phenomena are of particular concern to biologists: 1. The origin of major new structures: Biologists have long struggled with the conceptual gap between the small-scale modifications that can be seen over the short time scale of human study and major changes in structure and ways of life over millions and tens of millions of years. Paleontologists in particular have found it difficult to accept that the slow, continuous, and progressive changes postulated by Darwin can adequately explain the major reorganizations that have occurred between dominant groups of plants and animals. Can changes in individual characters, such as the relative frequency of genes for light and dark wing color in moths adapting to industrial pollution, simply be multiplied over time to account for the origin of moths and butterflies within insects, the origin of insects from primitive arthropods, or the origin of arthropods from among primitive multicellular organisms? How can we explain the gradual evolution of entirely new structures, like the wings of bats, birds, and butterflies, when the function of a partially evolved wing is almost impossible to conceive? 2. The extremely irregular occupations of the adaptive space as opposed to the nearly continuous spectrum of evolutionary change postulated by Darwin. Although an almost incomprehensible number of species inhabit earth today, they do not form a continous specrum of barely distinguishable intermediates. Instead, nearly all species can be recognized as belonging to a relatively limited number of clearly distinct major groups, with very few illustrating intermediate structures or ways of life. All of us can immediately recognize animals as being birds, turles, insects, or jellyfish, and plants as conifers, ferns, or orchids. Even with millions of living species, here are only a very few that do not fit into recognizable taxonomic categories. Of all living mammals, only the tree shrews are difficult to classify....Even among the hundreds of thousands of recognized insect species, nearly all can be placed in one or another of the approximately thirty well-characterized orders. One might hypothesize a very different pattern among extinct plants and animals: Fossils would be expected to show a continuous progression of slightly different forms linking all species and all major groups with one another in a nearly unbroken spectrum. In fact, most well-preserved fossils are as readily classified in a relatively small number of major groups as are living species.... Compared with the millions of specimens of trilobites that have been collected, there are very few that might be thought to bridge the gap between tribolites and any other group of extinct anthropods. The number of species that bridge the gaps between dinosaurs and more primitive reptiles and between dinosaurs and birds is very small compared with the number that everyone recognizes as dinosaurs. How do we account for the extremely irregular distribution of basic body plans in space and time under a theory of evolution based on gradual and continuous change?" (Robert Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 8-10)
"There are gaps in the fossil graveyard, places where there should be intermediate forms but where there is nothing whatsoever instead. No paleontologist writing in English (R. Carroll, 1988), French (J. Chaline, 1983), or German (V. Fahlbusch, 1983) denies this is so. It is simply a fact. Darwin's theory and the fossil record are in conflict" (David Berlinksi, mathematician and not a creationist in Commentary, Sept. 1996 pg. 28)
"it is difficult to pin down the precise identity of ancestors, and there is a good case for not even trying to do so." (Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 284)
"The missing link between man and the apes...is merely the most glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures. In the fossil record, missing links are the rule: the story of life is as disjointed as a silent newsreel, in which species succeed one another as abruptly as Balkan prime ministers. The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated...Evidence from fossils now points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans learned in high school..."
(John Adler with John Carey: Is Man a Subtle Accident, Newsweek, Vol.96, No.18 (November 3, 1980, p.95)
"Darwin's theory of natural selection has always been closely linked to evidence from fossils, and probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument in favour of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true."
(Dr David Raup, Curator of geology, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, 'Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology', Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol 50(1), January 1979, pg. 22)
"...we have proffered a collective tacit acceptance of the story of gradual adaptive change, a story that strengthened and became even more entrenched as the synthesis took hold. We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports that interpretation, all the while really knowing that it does not."
(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, p44)
"But how good is the geological record? I have already mentioned that the ordinary viewpoint of evolution held by most paleontologists favours gradual incremental change. The fossil record, they say, is too incomplete to take seriously. And, they say, you cannot prove a gap. But of course you can prove a gap, especially if clines occurred. If there is a break in the record it must be possible to detect the break. The main point about breaks is that, if they were really random, as proposed by Darwin, they must have been plugged by one hundred and fifty years of work. But the gaps have not been plugged. They still persist; yet authorities still plead the cause of failure of preservation. Such authorities forget that if there is a million to one chance of one specimen of a population, and then if that species lived 5-15 m.y., we therefore get 5-15 times the population fossilized. The trouble may perhaps have lain more truthfully in our failur to find or describe the material. It is special pleading to rely upon gaps, and it is special pleading to propose inadequate preservation. We would do better to look at what the record really says."
(Prof. J. B. Waterhouse (Department of Geology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Inaugural Lecture, 1980)
"Evolutionary biologists can no longer ignore the fossil record on the ground that it is imperfect."
(David S. Woodruff, professor of Biology at UCSD, in SCIENCE, 5-16-80, p.717)
"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. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradulaism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:
The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connectign together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory.
"Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution directly. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never `seen' in the rocks.
"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 never see the process we profess to study." (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)
"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)
"Many new groups of plants and animals suddenly appear, apparently without any close ancestors. Most major groups of organisms--phyla, subphyla and even classes--have appeared in this way. This aspect of the record is real, not merely the result of faulty or biased collecting. A satisfactory explanation of evolution must take it into consideration and provide an explanation...The fossil record, which has produced the problem, is not much help in it solution."
(The Evolution of Life by Everett C. Olson. The New American Library, New York and Toronto, 1965, pg. 94)
"It remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families, appear in the [fossil] record suddenly, and are not led up to by gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences"
(Simpson, George Gaylord (1953), The Major Features of Evolution, New York: Columbia University Press, p. 360)
"[T]he fossil record itself provided no documentation of continuity -- of gradual transitions from one kind of animal or plant to another of quite different form." (Stanley, S. M., 1981 The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 40)
"It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student, from trueman's Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers' Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been 'debunked'. Similarly, my own experience [sic] of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the mesozoic Brachopoda has proved them equally elusive.'
(Dr. Derek V. Ager (Dpt. Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK), 'The nature of the fossil record.' Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, vol 87(2), 1976, pg 132)
"At the present stage of geological research, we have to admit that there is nothing in the geological records that runs contrary to the view of conservative creationists, that God created each species separately, presumably from the dust of the earth."
(Dr. Edmund J. Ambrose, Emeritus Prof of Cell Biology)
"A major problem in proving the theory [of evolution] has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth's geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin's hypothetical intermediate variants - instead species appear anddisappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argumentthat each species was created by God."
(Mark Czarnecki [evolutionist], "The Revival of the Creationist Crusade", MacLean's, January 19, 1981, p. 56.)
"The appearance of many novel morphologies, frequently expressed taxanomically as new phyla, classes, or orders, occurs with such rapidity in evolutionary time that microevolutionary substitutions involving structural genes seem and implausible mechanism."
("Hopeful monsters," transposons, and Metazoan radiation by Douglas H. Erwin and James W. Valentine in Proc Natl Acad. Sci. USA, Vol 81, pp 5482-5483, September 1984)
"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)
"So, the geological time scale and the basic facts of biological change over time are totally independent of evolutionary theory. It follows that the documentation of evolution does not depend on Darwinian theory or any other theory. Darwinian theory is just one of several biological mechanisms proposed to explain the evolution we observe to have happened."
(Raup, David M. [Professor of Geology, University of Chicago], "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17 July 1981, p.289)
"We are faced more with a great leap of faith that gradual, progressive adaptive change underlies the general pattern of evolutionary change we see in the rocks than any hard evidence."
"The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life's history -- not the artifact of a poor fossil record." "The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change." (Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982) The Myths of Human Evolution Columbia University Press, p. 59. Note on this quote: It has been reported that this quote has been incorrectly referenced to pg. 57, but that the correct reference is to pg. 59. Make sure you check the page in the original if you want to cite this quote.
"...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?"
"Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say 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 of organism was derived.' I will lay it on the line-there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record." (Patterson, Colin [late zoologist specialising in fossil fishes, 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. Ellipses are Sunderland's.)
"It is still, as it was in Darwin's day, overwhelmingly true that the first representatives of all the major classes of organisms known to biology are already highly characteristic of their class when they make their initial appearance in the fossil record. This phenomenon is particularly obvious in the case of the invertebrate fossil record. At its first appearance in the ancient paleozoic seas, invertebrate life was already divided into practically all the major groups with which we are familiar today."
"The virtual complete absence of intermediate and ancestral forms from the fossil record is today recognized widely by many leading paleontologists as one of its most striking characteristics, so much so that those authorities who have adopted the cladistic framework now take it as axiomatic, that, in attempting to determine the relationships of fossil species, in the words of a recent British Museum publication: " we assume that none of the fossil species we are considering is the ancestor of the other." "G.G Simpson recently estimated the percentage of living species recovered as fossils in one region of North America and concluded that, at least for larger terrestrial forms, the record may be almost complete!...According to an article by Wyatt Durham in the Journal of Paleontology," as many as two percent of all marine invertebrate species with hard skeletal components that have ever existed may be known as fossils. Assuming ten to twenty species per genus, this means that for certain groups, such as mollusks which are ideal fossil material the percentage of genera known could be as high as fifty percent. There are, therefore, grounds for believing that in the case of some groups appealing to the imperfection of the fossil record as an explanation for the gaps is not a particularly convincing strategy." (Agnostic Michael Denton in "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" (1986) Bethesda, Maryland, Adler & Adler, Pub., p.162, 165, 189-190) "Paleontologists disagree about the speed and pattern of evolution. But they do not--as much recent publicity has implied--doubt that evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution simply does not depend upon the fossil record."
"If the creationists want to impress the Darwinian establishment, it will be no use prating on about what the fossils say. No good Darwinian's belief in evolution stands on the fossil evidence for gradual evolution, so nor will his belief fall by it." "Some palaeontologists maintain that animals have evolved gradually, through an infinity of intermediate stages from one form to another. Others point out that the fossil record offers no firm evidence of such gradual change. What really happened, they suggest, is that any one animal species in the past survivied more or less unchanged for a time, and then either died out or evolved rapidly into a new descendant form (or forms). Thus, instead of gradual changes, they posit the idea of "punctuated equilibrium". The argument is about the actual historical pattern of evoluion; but outsiders, seeing a controversy unfolding, have imagined that it is about the truth of evolution--whether evolution occured at all. This is a terrible mistake; and it springs, I believe, from the false idea that the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place. In fact, evolution is proved by a totally separate set of arguments--and the present debate within palaeontology does not impinge at all on the evidence that supports evolution.
" "No real evolutionist uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of evolution over creation." (Mark Ridley (zoologist, Oxford University), 'Who doubts evolution?' New Scientist, vol. 90, 25 June 1981, p. 830-832, Emphasis Added)
"Although the comparative study of living animals and lants may give very convincing circumstantial evidence, fossils provide the only historical, documentary evidence that life evolved from simpler to more and more complex forms."
(Carl O. Dunbar, PhD. (geology) (Professor Emeritus of Paleontology and Stratigraphy, Yale University, and formerly Asst. Editor, American Journal of Science) in Historical Geology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Yourk, 1960, pg. 47)
"Stasis is data."
(Gould, S. J. (1991), "Opus 200", Natural History, August, p. 16)
"[S]tasis, or nonchange, of most fossil species during their lengthy geological lifespans was tacitly acknowledged by all paleontologists, but almost never studied explicitly because prevailing theory treated stasis as uninteresting nonevidence for nonevolution. [T]he overwhelming prevalence of stasis became an embarrassing feature of the fossil record, best left ignored as a manifestation of nothing (that is, nonevolution)."
(Gould, S.J. (1993), "Cordelia's Dilemma", Natural History, February, p. 15)
"[W]ell represented species are usually stable throughout their temporal range, or alter so little and in such superficial ways (usually in size alone), that an extrapolation of observed change into longer periods of geological time could not possibly yield the extensive modifications that mark general pathways of evolution in larger groups. Most of the time, when the evidence is best, nothing much happens to most species."
(Gould, S.J., 1988, "Ten Thousand Acts of Kindness", Natural History, Vol. 97, No. 12, December, p.14)
"The Eldredge-Gould concept of punctuated equilibria has gained wide acceptance among paleontologists. It attempts to account for the following paradox: Within continuously sampled lineages, one rarely finds the gradual morphological trends predicted by Darwinian evolution; rather, change occurs with the sudden appearance of new, well-differentiated species. Eldredge and Gould equate such appearances with speciation, although the details of these events are not preserved. They suggest that change occurs rapidly, by geologic standards, in small, peripheral populations. They believe that evolution is accelerated in such populations because they contain a small, random sample of the gene pool of the parent population (founder effect) and therefore can diverge rapidly just by chance and because they can respond to local selection pressures that may differ from those encountered by the parent population. Eventually some of these divergent, peripheral opulations are favored by changed environmental conditions (species selection) and so they incrase and spread rapidly into fossil assemblages.
The punctuated eqilibrium model has been widly accepted, not because it has a compelling theoretical basis but because it appears to resolve a dilemma. ... apart from its intrinsic circularity (one could argue that speciation can occur only when phyletic change is rapid, not vice versa), the model is more ad hoc explanation than theory, and it rests on shaky ground." (Robert E. RIcklefs (Dpt. Biology, University of Pennsylvania) "Paleontologists confronting macroevolution.' Science, vol. 199, 6 Jan 1978, p. 59)
"Paleontologists (and evolutionary biologists in general) are famous for their facility in devising plausible stories; but they often forget that plausible stories need not be true."
(Stephen Jay Gould (Prof. of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), Dr. David M Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago), J. John Sepkoski, Jr, (Dpt of Geological Sciences, University of Rochester, New York), Thomas J.M. Schoph (Dpt of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago), and Daniel S. Simberloff (Dpt of Biology, Florida State University), 'The shape of evolution: a comparison of real and random clades'. Paleobiology, vol 3(1), 977, pp 34-35)
"No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed 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 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 fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution."
(Eldredge, N., 1995, Reinventing Darwin, Wiley, New York, p. 95)
"Most families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors."
(Eldredge, N., 1989, Macro-Evolutionary Dynamics: Species, Niches, and Adaptive Peaks, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York, p. 22)
"[T]here are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate 'transitional' forms between species, but also between larger groups -- between, say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals. In fact, the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be."
(Eldredge, N., 1982, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, Washington Square Press, pp. 65-66)
"The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, and orders before families. This is not to say that each higher taxon originated before species (each phylum, class, or order contained at least one species, genus, family, etc. upon appearance), but the higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa."
(Erwin, D., Valentine, J., and Sepkoski, J. (1988) "A Comparative Study of Diversification Events" Evolution, vol. 41, p. 1183)
"The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:
1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless; 2. Sudden appearances. 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'." (Gould, S.J. (1977), "Evolution's Erratic Pace", Natural History, vol. 86, May)
"[the neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolution] is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy." (Gould, S. J. (1980), "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?", Paleobiology, 6(1), p. 120
"[T]he absence of fossil evidence for intermediate 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, S.J., 1982, "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?", Evolution Now: A Century After Darwin, Maynard Smith, J. (editor), W. H. Freeman and Co. in association with Nature, p. 140)
"The more one studies palaeontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone; exactly the same sort of faith which it is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion."
(More, Louis T. [late Professor of Physics, University of Cincinnati, USA], "The Dogma of Evolution," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1925, Second Printing, p.160)
"If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures wihch were a bit like what wen tbefore them and a bit like what came after. But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures. This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fosil record wihch gradualists expected to fill when rock strata of the proper age had been found. IN the last decated, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and no transitional forms were contained in them."
(The Guardian Weekly, 26 Nov 1978, vol 119, no 22, p 1)
"Mr. Bird is concerned with origins and the evidence relevant thereto. He is basically correct that evidence, or proof, of origins-of the universe, of life, of all of the major groups of life, of all of the minor groups of life, indeed of all of the species-is weak or nonexistent when measured on an absolute scale, as it always was and will always be."
(Nelson, Gareth [Chairman and Curator of the Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology, American Museum of Natural History, New York], "Preface," in Bird W. R., "The Origin of Species Revisited," Regency: Nashville TN, 1991, Vol. I, pxii)
"Indeed, it is the chief frustration of the fossil record that we do not have empirical evidence for sustained trends in the evolution of most complex morphological adaptations."
(Gould, S. J. and Eldredge, N., 1988 "Species selection: its range and power" Scientific correspondence in Nature, Vol. 334, p. 19)
"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism ... and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record."
(Mayr, E., 1991, One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 138)
"What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities. All species are separated from each other by bridgeless gaps; intermediates between species are not observed. ... The problem was even more serious at the level of the higher categories."
(Mayr, E., 1982, The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 524)
"With the benefit of hindsight, it is amazing that palaeontologists could have accepted gradual evolution as a universal pattern on the basis of a handful of supposedly well-documented lineages (e.g. Gryphaea, Micraster, Zaphrentis) none of which actually withstands close scrutiny."
(Paul, C. R. C., 1989, "Patterns of Evolution and Extinction in Invertebrates", Allen, K. C. and Briggs, D. E. G. (editors), Evolution and the Fossil Record, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C., 1989, p. 105)
"[T]ransitions between major groups of organisms ... are difficult to establish in the fossil record."
(Padian, K., 1991, "The Origin of Turtles: One Fewer Problem for Creationists", National Center for Science Education Reports Vol. 11, No. 2, Summer, p. 18)
"Darwin's book-On the Origin of Species-I find quite unsatisfactory: it says nothing about the origin of species; it is written very tentatively; with a special chapter on "Difficulties on theory"; and it includes a great deal of discussion on why evidence for natural selection does not exist in the fossil record. Darwin, I think, has been ill-served by the strength of his supporters."
(Lipson, H.S. [Professor of Physics, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, UK], "Origin of species," in "Letters," New Scientist, 14 May 1981, p.452. Emphasis in original.)
"The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change. All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt."
(Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, 86, June-July, 1977, pp. 22, 24.)
"The united efforts of paleontology and molecular biology, the latter stripped of its dogmas, should lead to the discovery of the exact mechanism of evolution, possibly without revealing to us the causes of the orientations of lineages, of the finalities of structures, of living functions, and of cycles. Perhaps in this area biology can go no farther: the rest is metaphysics."
(Grasse, Pierre-P. [editor of the 28-volume "Traite de Zoologie," former Chair of Evolution, Sorbonne University and ex- president of the French Academie des Sciences], "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p17, 246)
"There are a number of problems with hypothetical schemes capable of producing rapid, large, coherent changes in phenotypes. Equally large immediate changes in the genotype might be needed, and any large change in genotype or phenotype must surely be sufficiently disruptive to be lethal. And where would a large change in a phenotype or genotype come from? Moreover, suppose an oddity were to be produced, how would a population be established and maintained?"
(Thomson, Keith Stewart [Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University, USA], "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, pp.529-531, September-October 1982, p.530)
"The principal problem is morphological stasis. A theory is only as good as its predictions, and conventional neo-Darwinism, which claims to be a comprehensive explanation of evolutionary process, has failed to predict the widespread long-term morphological stasis now recognized as one of the most striking aspects of the fossil record."
(Williamson, Peter G. [Assistant Professor of Geology, Harvard University], "Morphological stasis and developmental constraint: real problems for neo-Darwinism", Nature, Vol. 294, 19 November 1981, p.214)
"[F]or more than a century biologists have portrayed the evolution of life as a gradual unfolding ... Today the fossil record ... is forcing us to revise this conventional view."
(Stanley, S. M., 1981, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p.3)
"The gaps in the fossil record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt."
(Wesson, R., 1991, Beyond Natural Selection, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 45)
"[L]arge evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any."
(Wesson, R., 1991, Beyond Natural Selection, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 206)
"...not being a paleontologist, I don't want to pour too much scorn on paleontologsists, but if you were to spend your life picking up bones and finding little fragments of head and littel fragments of jaw, there's a very strong desire to exaggerate the importance of those fragments..."
(Dr. Greg Kirby (Senior Lecturer in Population Biology, Flinders University, Adelaide) in an address on the case for evolution given at a meeting of the Biology Teachers' Association (South Australia) in 1976)
"Palaeobiologists flocked to these scientific visions of a world in a constant state of flux and admixture. But instead of finding the slow, smooth and progressive changes Lyell and Darwin had expected, they saw in the fossil records rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years-patterns hauntingly reminiscent of creation."
(Pagel M. [Research fellow, Department of Zoology and Hertford College, Oxford University], "Happy accidents?" Nature, Vol 397, 25 February 1999, p.665)
"Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded ... 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 appeard to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic."
(Raup, D. (1979), "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology", Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 50 (1), p. 24, 25)
"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, semipopular articles, and so on. 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."
(Raup, David M. [Professor of Geology, University of Chicago], "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17 July 1981, p.289)
"Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. ... That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, ... prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search ... One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong."
"The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor's new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin's predicted pattern, simply looked the other way." "Darwin's prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record." (Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982), The Myths of Human Evolution, Columbia University Press, p. 45-46)