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Why are there not layers upon layers of transitional fossils?

Why, if the theory of evolution is true, are there not layers upon layers of transitional fossils, rather than a few oddments that scientists use to try to back up this theory? I believe in adaptive responses but all creatures have essentially remained the same in the fossil record i.e. the crocodile.
Jill Christmas from Kent (Age 55+)


2 Responses

  1. Hi Jill,

    There are several points here. Firstly, the fossil record is very incomplete. Organisms without hard parts (such as shells, bones and teeth) are highly unlikely to be preserved, and so all we have are ‘snapshots’ of life through evolutionary time.

    However, the fossil record is still chock-full of lineages showing evolutionary development (bearing in mind that many of these have no living representatives, i.e. they went extinct at some point in the past). The fossil record of horses is a good example, with overall increases in size, leg length, and tooth shape over the last 40 or so million years. Also, think of dinosaurs, and the great diversity of sizes and shapes that they achieved. There were certainly many forms in between the first dinosaur and a T. rex, which could be thought of as ‘transitional’. The fossil record of hominids gives other examples, with many ‘transitional’ forms over the last few million years.

    Many lineages show progressive development throughout their evolutionary histories, a few (such as crocs and lungfish) developed quickly near the beginning and then have remained more or less the same up to the present day, presumably because there was no selective pressure to change further. However, we are certainly not able to say that “all creatures have essentially remained the same in the fossil record”!

  2. But aren’t horses still horses? Oh that’s right, there is no real evidence of evolution from one practical species to another… I forgot. We are expected to believe that horses just changed in size over 40 or so million years, but “trust us” say the scientists, they evolved from simple organisms in only 100 to 1000 times that span. Oh but wait, the earth is less than 5 billion years old by most estimations, so I take that back. Horses have been horses for 40 million years, and that’s all evolution could achieve. But in a timespan less than 125 times that, changes from a single celled – not wait – no life organism to the horse transpired. The illogicality of evolution is obvious to a thinker.

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