About the IDEA logo

   
Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club  
Home Page     Club Info     Intelligent Design     Resources     FAQ
"Taking Life Back to its Origins"

Other Quote Collections
• General Evolution Quotes
• Origins and Complexity of life
• Philosophy Quotes
• 'Human Evolution' Quotes
• Cosmology and Physics Quotes
• Please be sure to read our
Quote Disclaimer and Explanation Page

 

Other Design Resources
• Problems with Evolutionary Interpretations of the Fossil Record
• Bad Origins of life Scenarios
• The Explanatory Filter
• Tests of Evolution
• Dysfunctional Intermediates
• Is Evolution Falsifiable?
• Irreducible Complexity
• Information Theory
• Panspermia/E.T Falsified
• Back to the Intelligent Design Theory Resources Main Menu Page

 

Some Good Links
• On the Origin of Stasis by Art Battson
• Stasis Considered by Michael Thomas
• The Fossil Record: Becoming More Random All the Time by John Woodemorappe
• Fossil Record Quotes from UCSB Faculty Staff Christian Fellowship
• "Cambrian Explosion" Quotes and discussion from UCSB Faculty Staff Christian Fellowship

The IDEA Club Fossil Record Quote Collection


What category of quotes would you like to see?
     • General Quotes
     • Cambrian explosion, "origin of phyla", and the "origin of metazoa" (multicellular animals)
     • Plants
     • Insects
     • Fishes
     • Amphibians
     • Reptiles
     • General Mammal
     • Rhodents
     • Horse
     • Bat
     • Primates and Humans
     • Whale
     • Birds
General:

"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)

"... 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))

"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."
(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)

"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)

"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:

"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," [1959], 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. 57)

"...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," [1984], 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 appearance - 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)

"Darwin predicted that the fossil record should show a reasonably smooth continuum of ancestor-descendant pairs with a satisfactory number of intermediates between major groups Darwin even went so far as to say that if this were not found in the fossil record, his general theory of evolution would be in serious jeopardy. Such smooth transitions were not found in Darwin's time, and he explained this in part on the basis of an incomplete geologic record and in part on the lack of study of that record. We are now more than a hundred years after Darwin and the situation is little changed. Since Darwin a tremendous expansion of paleontological knowledge has taken place, and we know much more about the fossil record than was known in his time, but the basic situation is not much different. We actually may have fewer examples of smooth transition than we had in Darwin's time because some of the old examples have turned out to be invalid when studied in more detail. To be sure, some new intermediate or transitional forms have been found, particularly among land vertebrates. But if Darwin were writing today, he would probably still have to cite a disturbing lack of missing links or transitional forms between the major groups of organisms."
(Raup, David M. [Professor of Geology, University of Chicago], "Geological and Paleontological Arguments," in Godfrey L.R., ed., "Scientists Confront Creationism," W.W. Norton: New York NY, 1983, p.156)

The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find-over and over again-not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another"
(Derek V. Ager, "The Nature of the Fossil Record",Proceedings of the British Geological Association, vol 87, 1976, p. 133.)

"The known fossil record is not, and has never has been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured. ... 'The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin's stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation.' ... their story has been suppressed."
(Stanley, S. M., 1981, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 71)

"The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No."
"In a generous admission Francisco Ayala, a major figure in propounding the Modern Synthesis in the United States, said "We would not have predicted stasis from population genetics, but I am now convinced from what the paleontologists say that small changes do not accumulate."
(Lewin, R., "Evolutionary Theory Under Fire," Science, 210:883, 1980.)
"Since the time of Darwin, paleontologists have found themselves confronted with evidence that conflicts with gradualism, yet the message of the fossil record has been ignored. This strange circumstance constitutes a remarkable chapter in the history of science, and one that gives students of the fossil record cause for concern."
(Stanley, S. M., 1981 , The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 101)

"Links are missing just where we most fervently desire them, and it is all too probable that many 'links' will continue to be missing."
(Jepsen, L. Glenn; Mayr, Ernst; Simpson George Gaylord. Genetics, Paleontoogy, and Evolution, New York, Athenaeum, 1963, pg. 114)

"And this poses something of a problem: if we date the rocks by their fossils, how can we then turn around and talk about patterns of evolutionary change through time in the fossil record? We need an independent time frame to know that a trilobite in Ohio is roughly the same age as one in New York before we can talk about geographic variation; otherwise, their differences might as well be ascribed to the sort of process of gradual change that Darwin thought was inevitable with the simple passage of time."
(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, p.52)

"At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the "official" position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Bauplane are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count). Even so convinced a gradualist as G. G. Simpson (1944) invoked quantum evolution and inadaptive phases to explain these transitions."
(Gould, Stephen Jay [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University, USA] & Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered," Paleobiology, Vol. 3, 1977, pp.115-147, p.147)

"The case at present [problems presented by the fossil record] must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained."
(Charles Darwin)

"It is probably only the stasis on the level of higher taxa which is both valid and differs qualitatively from the other levels of stasis. Only higher taxa lack demonstrable evidence of change ... Higher taxon-level stasis could conceivably be the result of what might be called Baraminic Stasis -- the permanent constraint of organisms under natural conditions to stay within the bounds of their baramin (Wise, 1991)."
(Wise, K. (1991), "Changing Stasis", Origins Research, vol. 13, no. 1, p. 20)

"Evolutionary scientists know everything about the missing link except the fact that it is missing."
(G.K. Chesterton, Writer)

Back to top

Cambrian explosion, "origin of phyla", and the "origin of metazoa" (multicellular animals):

"If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really startedinto life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection."
(Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Facsimileof the First Edition, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 302.)

"Consequently, if my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures. To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer."
(Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species, 1st edition Harvard Univ. Press, facsimile reprint, 1964, p. 307 Note: In Darwin's time, the "Silurian" was the name given the oldest known fossil-bearing strata. "Cambrian" does not occur as an index entry in this edition of the Origin.)

"Before we come to the sort of sudden bursts that they [Eldredge and Gould] had in mind, there are some conceivable meanings of `sudden bursts' that they most definitely did not have in mind. These must be cleared out of the way because they have been the subject of serious misunderstandings. Eldredge and Gould certainly would agree that some very important gaps really are due to imperfections in the fossil record. Very big gaps, too. For example the Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Evolutionists of all stripes believe, however, that this really does represent a very large gap in the fossil record, a gap that is simply due to the fact that, for some reason, very few fossils have lasted from periods before about 600 million years ago. One good reason might be that many of these animals had only soft parts to their bodies: no shells or bones to fossilize. If you are a creationist you may think that this is special pleading. My point here is that, when we are talking about gaps of this magnitude, there is no difference whatever in the interpretations of `punctuationists' and `gradualists'. Both schools of thought despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. Both schools of thought agree that the only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation, and both would reject this alternative."
(Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, pp. 229-230)

"For billions of years, simple creatures like plankton, bacteria and algae ruled the earth. Then, suddenly, life got very complicated"
("Evolution's Big Bang," Time, December 4, 1995, p. 67)

"[W]e have so many gaps in the evolutionary history of life, gaps in such key areas as the origin of the multicellular organisms, the origin of the vertebrates, not to mention the origins of most invertebrate groups."
(McGowan, C., 1984, In the Beginning... A Scientist Shows Why the Creationists are Wrong, Prometheus Books, p. 95)

"These new phylogenies are pushing back the origins of many groups to long before their earliest known fossils. The paleontological record indicates a Cambrian explosion of phyla around 540 million year (Myr) ago, but sequences suggest a more gradual series of splits around twice as old. Likewise, many orders of mammals and birds are now thought to have originated long before the end-Cretaceous extinction which occurred 65 Myr ago and which was thought previously to have been the signal for their radiation. If the new timescale can be trusted, these findings present a puzzle and a warning. The puzzle is the absence of fossils. Why have we not found traces of these lineages in their first tens or even hundreds of millions of years? It seems likely that the animals were too small or too rare, with the sudden appearance in the rocks corresponding to an increase in size and rise to ecological dominance."
(Purvis, A. and A. Hector. Getting the measure of biodiversity. Nature, Vol. 405, 11 May 2000, p 214)

"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)

"Zircon dating, which calculates a fossil's age by measuring the relative amounts of uranium and lead within the crystals, had been whittling away at the Cambrian for some time. By 1990, for example, new dates obtained from early Cambrian sites around the world were telescoping the start of biology's Big Bang from 600 million years ago to less than 560 million years ago. Now, with information based on the lead content of zircons from Siberia, virtually everyone agrees that the Cambrian started almost exactly 543 million years ago and, even more startling, that all but one of the phyla in the fossil record appeared within the first 5 million to 10 million years. "We now know how fast fast is," grins Bowring. "And what I like to ask my biologist friends is, How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?"
(Nash J.M., "When Life Exploded", Time, December 4, 1995, p74, also found at
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/archive/1995/951204/cover.html Please also note that some scientists have estimated that the Chienjang site containing Cambrian explosion fossils shows an explosion happening in as short as 2 million years! E-mail the the author (idea@ucsd.edu)of this page for more info.)

"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)

"We may acknowledge a central and surprising fact of life's history - marked decrease in disparity followed by an outstanding increase in diversity within the few surviving designs."
(Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989, p. 49)

"Described recently as "the most important evolutionary event during the entire history of the Metazoa," the Cambrian explosion established virtually all the major animal body forms -- Bauplane or phyla -- that would exist thereafter, including many that were 'weeded out' and became extinct. Compared with the 30 or so extant phyla, some people estimate that the Cambrian explosion may have generated as many as 100. The evolutionary innovation of the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary had clearly been extremely broad: "unprecedented and unsurpassed," as James Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, recently put it."
"Why, in subsequent periods of great evolutionary activity when countless species, genera, and families arose, have there been no new animal body plans produced, no new phyla?"
(Lewin, R. (1988), Science, vol. 241, 15 July, p. 291)

"[G]aps between higher taxonomic levels are general and large."
(Raff, R. A. and Kaufman, T. C., 1991, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution: The Developmental-Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change Indiana University Press, p. 35)

"Researchers have since uncovered thousands of exquisitely preserved fossils that offer a glimpse back to a pivotal event in the historyof life. This moment, right at the start of Earth's Cambrian Period, some 550 million years ago, marks the evolutionary explosion that filled theseas with the world's first complex creatures. In a blink of geological time a planet dominated by simple sponge-like animals gave way to one ruledby a vast variety of sophisticated beasts, animals whose relatives stillinhabit the world today"
(Richard Monastersky, "Mysteries of the Orient",Discover, April 1993, p. 40. )

"...extensive searches by paleontologists have failed to reveal the Precambrain strata rich in fosils of multicellular animals [the ancestors of the many Cambrian animals] which Darwin belived must somewhere exist."
(Richard E. Leakey, Footnote in The Illustrated Origin of Species, abridged by R. E. Leakey, Faber and Faber, Ltd, London 1979, pg. 128)

"It is certain that the multicellular animals, like the two other multicellular kingdoms, the Fungi and Plantae are the descendants of the unicellular (or acellular) eukaryote protists. But there the certainty ceases. Most of the animal phyla that are represented in the fossil record first appear, ‘fully formed,’ in the Cambrian some 550 million years ago...The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla. "
(Barnes, R.S.K., P. Calow, P.J.W. Olive, and D.W. Golding. 1993. The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis. University Press, Cambridge.)

"Ediacarian fossils provide the earliest evidence of metazoan life on Earth. All are impressions of soft-bodied organisms that lived in shallow seas over 600 million years ago, about 50 million years preceding the Cambrian...At any rate, they shed little light on the question of which phyla were ancestral to other phyla, or if indeed, animals have common ancestry."
(Pearse, V., J. Pearse, M. Bushsbaum, and R. Buchsbaum. 1987. Living Invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Palo Alto, CA. 848pp.; p. 764)

"Since the mid-nineteenth century when the theory of organic evolution became the focal point for ferreting out relationships between groups of living organisms, zoologists have debated the question of vertebrate origins. It has been very difficult to reconstruct lines of descent because the earliest protochordates were in all probability soft-bodied creatures that stood little chance of being preserved as fossils even under the most ideal conditions. "
"Reconstruction of the origins of the vast and varied assemblage of modern living vertebrates is, as we have seen, based largely on the fossil evidence. Unfortunately the fossil evidence for the earliest vertebrates is often incomplete and tells us much less than we would like to know about subsequent trends in evolution. . "
"Thus, main evolutionary lines, as seen in the fossil record, run back almost parallel; if extended backwards to their illogical extreme, they would hardly ever meet. Obviously they must meet at some point in the distant past, but this excercise reveals that the crucial separations in vertebrate evolution occurred in the Cambrian period, perhaps even the the Precambrian period, long before the fossil record became established for the convenience of paleontologists."
(The chordates are believed to have descended from echinoderm-like ancestors, probably in the Precambrian period, but the true origin of the chordates is not yet, and may never be, known with certainty."
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and F.M. Hickman. 1988. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, St. Louis, MO. 939 pp.; quotes from pgs. 447, 459, 460, 461. Please note: arguments for incompleteness or lack of fossil preservation are not necessarily to be taken at face value. Many soft-bodied fossils are found easily preserved in the fossil record, and incompleteness is often a function of what you'd expect to find if your theory was true (in other words, if evolutionary transitional forms aren't found, the theory isn't wrong, the fossil record is just always incomplete))

"With one exception, hardly any invertebrate chordates are known as fossils...In the absence of additional fossil evidence, most speculations on vertebrate ancestry have focused on the living cephalochordates and tunicates."
"Reconstruction of the origins of the vast and varied assemblages of modern living vertebrates is based, as we have seen, largely on fossil evidence. Unfortunately the fossil evidence for the earliest vertebrates is often incomplete and tells us much less than we would like to know about subsequent trends in evolution. "
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and A. Larson. 2001. Integrated Principles of Zoology. McGraw Hill, NY. 899pp.; p. 499-500, 505)

"With one exception, hardly any invertebrate chordates are known as fossils...In the absence of additional fossil evidence, most speculations on vertebrate ancestry have focused on the living cephalochordates and tunicates."

"Taxa recognized as orders during the (Precambrian-Cambrian) transition chiefly appear without connection to an ancestral clade via a fossil intermediate. This situation is in fact true of most invertebrate orders during the remaining Phanerozoic as well. There are no chains of taxa leading gradually from an ancestral condition to the new ordinal body type. Orders thus appear as rather distinctive subdivisions of classes rather than as being segments in some sort of morphological continuum."
(Valentine, J.W., Awramik, S.M., Signor, P.W., and Sadler, P.M. (1991) "The Biological Explosion at the Precambrian-Cambrian Boundary" Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 25, Max K. Hecht, editor, Plenum Press, New York and London, p.284)

"The known phyla of living animals...number well over 30, each with a characteristic body plan. There are few convincing bridges, intermediate species that might serve as bridges between the phyla."
"However, that evidence tells us only that all the major phyla appeared at about the same time -500-600 million years ago...Many of the fossil members of these groups are similar to living counterparts today, and there is little indication, even within a phylum, of a steady progression of more and more complex forms. Morever, few, if any, new phyla made their first appearance in the fossil record after about 500 million years ago."
"Thus, while providing information about how long ago the known phyla have been on Earth, evidence from the fossil fauna provides very little information about which group is derived from which."
(Pearse, V., J. Pearse, M. Bushsbaum, and R. Buchsbaum. 1987. Living Invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Palo Alto, CA. 848pp., pg. 753, 761, 762)

"If any event in life's history resembles man's creation myths, it is this sudden diversification of marine life when multicellular organisms took over as the dominant actors in ecology and evolution. Baffling (and embarrassing) to Darwin, this event still dazzles us and stands as a major biological revolution on a par with the invention of self-replication and the origin of the eukariotic cell. The animal phyla emerged out of the Precambrian mists with most of the attributes of their modern descendants."
(Bengston, Stefan (1990) Nature 345:7650)

"There is still a tremendous problem with the sudden diversification of multi-cellular life. There is no question about that. That's a real phenomenon.'
(Niles Eldredge, quoted in Darwin's Enigma: Fossila and Other Problems by Luther D. Sunderland, Master Book Publishers, Santee, California, 1988, p 45)

"The paleontological data are consistent with the view that all of the currently recognized phyla had evolved by about 525 Ma. Despite half a billion years of evolutionary exploration by the clades generated in Cambrian time, no new phylum-level designs have appeared since then"
("Developmental Evolution of Metazoan Bodyplans: The Fossil Evidence," Valentine, Erwin, and Jablonski, Developmental Biology 173, Article No. 0033, 1996, p. 376)

"Phyla appear abruptly in the fossil record without intermediates to link them to their putative ancestors. This pattern presumably reflects derivation of most or all phyla from small, soft-bodied ancestors that had virtually no potential for fossilization. However, most classes and orders of durably skeletonized marine animals also appear abruptly, without obvious linkage to their durably skeletonized antecedents (although see Paul and Smith [1984])."
(Erwin D.H., Valentine J.W. & Sepkoski J.J., "A Comparative Study of Diversification Events: The Early Paleozoic Versus the Mesozoic," Evolution, Vol. 41, No. 6, p1178)

" there is no geological evidence as to the ancestry of the echinoderms, since the first representatives appear already differentiated in the lower Cambrian."
(Clarkson, Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution )

"The most obvious contrasts between the darwinian view of the patterns and the rates of evolution, and the evidence that has since been documented by the fossil record, are illustrated in Fig. 1. Darwin used the only illustration in the first edition of The Origin of Species to explain his hypothesis that the patterns of evolution over hundreds of millions of generations were the same as those at the level of populations and species. In fact, they are clearly distinct in all taxonomic groups. Evolution at the level of populations and species might, in some cases, appear as nearly continuous change accompanied by divergence to occupy much of the available morphospace. However, this is certainly not true for long-term, large-scale evolution, such as that of the metazoan phyla, which include most of the taxa that formed the basis for the evolutionary synthesis. The most striking features of large-scale evolution are the extremely rapid divergence of lineages near the time of their origin, followed by long periods in which basic body plans and ways of life are retained. What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types. The most conspicuous event in metazoan evolution was the dramatic origin of major new structures and body plans documented by the Cambrian explosion. Until 530 million years ago, multicellular animals consisted primarily of simple, soft-bodied forms, most of which have been identified from the fossil record as cnidarians and sponges. Then, within less then 10 million years, almost all of the advanced phyla appeared, including echinoderms, chordates, annelids, brachiopods, molluscs and a host of arthropods. The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota."
(Carroll, Robert L. (2000). Towards a new evolutionary synthesis. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 15:27-32)

"The sudden and great proliferation of complex forms of sea- dwelling animal life came at the base of the Cambrian Period (now known to be about 575 million years ago); as we shall see later in this chapter, this event remains one of the most fascinating episodes in the history of life. When paleontologists thought that no fossils were to be found in any older rocks, they did not leap to the conclusion that life had all of a sudden been invented at the beginning of Cambrian times. Particularly because Darwin had so convincingly argued that life evolves slowly, requiring huge amounts of time to accumulate significant change, few paleontologists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were willing to claim that the apparently sudden advent of complex creatures 575 million years ago was an actual evolutionary event. They preferred to see it as an artifact of geological processes: they noted that most older rocks were either igneous or the metamorphosed remnants of sedimentary rocks whose fossils had been baked and squeezed out of existence. Life *had* been there in those earlier eons, they felt sure, but simply had not survived the ravages of time. Especially since life had diversified into a wondrous array of mollusks (snails, clams, and the like), arthropods (trilobites plus more modern groups such as insects and crustaceans), echinoderms (the starfish/sea urchin clan), brachiopods (the dominant shellfish group of ancient seas) and other, less-well-known creatures, paleontologists quite naturally felt that there must have been a truly long period of slow evolution to allow all these different forms to derive front the common ancestor they were supposed to have shared. Wrong on both counts. Careful paleontological detective work begun in the 1950s has revealed an extensive, if elusive, early fossil record. And this new Precambrian paleontology has made us take that early Cambrian event much more seriously, for it does not bear out the predicted long, slow history of diversification of complex life. That early Cambrian spurt of life looms now as one of the most important ecological and genealogical events in the entire history of life. And the events leading up to it, during life's first 3 billion years, give little inkling of what was to follow. The stage was set in those first 3 billion years, but only in the most general sort of way: looking at that unbelievably long and seemingly almost uneventful early history of life, there was simply no way anyone could have anticipated what happened so relatively quickly when complex animal life finally appeared on the scene."
(Eldredge N., "Life Pulse: Episodes from the Story of the fossil Record," Facts on File: New York NY, 1987, pp.23-24. Emphasis in original)

"The models we consider are of three sorts: those that extrapolate processes of speciation to account for higher taxa via divergence, those that invoke selection among species, and those that emphasize that many higher taxa originated as novel lineages in their own right, not only as a consequence of species-level processes. It is in this latter class of model that we believe the record favors." "... many of the large populations should have been preserved, yet we simply do not find them. Small populations are called for, then, but there are difficulties here also. The populations must remain small (and undetected) and evolve steadily and consistently toward the body plan that comprises the basis of a new phylum (or class). This is asking a lot. Deleterious mutations would tend to accumulate in small populations to form genetic loads that selection might not be able to handle. Stable intermediate adaptive modes cannot be invoked as a regular feature, since we are then again faced with the problem of just where their remains are. We might imagine vast arrays of such small populations fanning continually and incessantly into adaptive space. Vast arrays should have produced at least some fossil remains also. Perhaps an even greater difficulty is the requirement that these arrays of lineages change along a rather straight and true course --- morphological side trips or detours of any frequency should lengthen the time of origin of higher taxa beyond what appears to be available. Why should an opportunistic, tinkering process set on such a course and hold it for so long successfully among so many lineages?"
"We conclude that the extrapolation of microevolutionary rates to explain the origin of new body plans is possible, but does not accord with the primary evidence."
"The required rapidity of the change implies either a few large steps or many and exceedingly rapid smaller ones. Large steps are tantamount to saltations and raise the problems of fitness barriers; small steps must be numerous and entail the problems discussed under microevolution. The periods of stasis raise the possibility that the lineage would enter the fossil record, and we reiterate that we can identify none of the postulated intermediate forms. Finally, the large numbers of species that must be generated so as to form a pool from which the successful lineage is selected are nowhere to be found. We conclude that the probability that species selection is a general solution to the origin of higher taxa is not great, and that neither of the contending theories of evolutionary change at the species level, phyletic gradualism or punctuated equilibrium, seem applicable to the origin of new body plans."
(Valentine, J., and Erwin, D. (1985) "Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments: The Fossil Record" Development as an Evolutionary Process Rudolf A. Raff and Elizabeth C. Raff, Editors Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York, pp. 71, 95, 96)

"Our modern view synthesizes these two opinions. Darwin, course has been vindicated in his cardinal contention: Cambrian life did arise from organic antecedents, not from the hand of God. But Murchison's basic observation reflects a biological reality, not the imperfections of geologic evidence: the Precambrian fossil record is little more (save at its very end) than 2.5 billion years of bacteria and blue-green algae. Complex life did arise with startling speed near the base of the Cambrian."
(Gould S.J., "Is the Cambrian Explosion a Sigmoid Fraud?" in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," [1978], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.126- 127)

"The three-leveled, five-kingdom system may appear, at first glance, to record an inevitable progress in the history of life. Increasing diversity and multiple transitions seem to reflect a determined and inexorable progression toward higher things. But the paleontological record supports no such interpretation. There has been no steady progress in the higher development of organic design. We have had, instead, vast stretches of little or no change and one evolutionary burst that created the entire system. For the first two-thirds to five-sixths of life's history, monerans alone inhabited the earth, and we detect no steady progress from "lower" to "higher" prokaryotes. Likewise, there has been no addition of basic designs since the Cambrian explosion filled our biosphere (although we can argue for limited improvement within a few designs-vertebrates and vascular plants, for example). Rather, the entire system of life arose during about 10 percent of its history surrounding the Cambrian explosion some 600 million years ago."
(Gould S.J., "The Pentagon of Life", in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History", [1978], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.118)

"Modern multicellular animals make their first uncontested appearance in the fossil record some 570 million years ago-and with a bang, not a protracted crescendo. This "Cambrian explosion" marks the advent (at least into direct evidence) of virtually all major groups of modern animals-and all within the minuscule span, geologically speaking, of a few million years. The Burgess Shale represents period just after this explosion, a time when the full range of its product inhabited our seas. These Canadian fossils are precious because they preserve in exquisite detail, down to the last filament of a trilobite's gill, or the components of a last meal in a worm's gut, the soft anatomy of organisms. Our fossil record is almost exclusively the story of hard parts. But most animals have none, and those that do often reveal very little about their anatomies in their outer coverings (what could you infer about a clam from its shell alone?). Hence, the rare soft-bodied faunas of the fossil record are precious windows into the true range and diversity of ancient life. The Burgess Shale is our only extensive, well-documented window upon that most crucial event in the history of animal life, the first flowering of the Cambrian explosion."
(Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History," [1989], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.23-24).

"For perhaps three billion years, the highest form of life was an algal mat-thin layers of prokaryotic algae that trap and bind sediment. Then, about 600 million years ago, virtually all the major designs of animal life appeared in the fossil record within a few million years. We do not know why the "Cambrian explosion" occurred when it did, but we have no reason to think that it had to happen then or had to happen at all."
(Gould S.J., "In the Midst of Life...", "The Panda's Thumb", Penguin: London, 1990 reprint, p.116)

"...we must understand that nothing happens most of the time -- and we don't because our stories don't admit this theme -- if we hope to grasp the dynamics of evolutionary change. (This sentence may sound contradictory, but it isn't. To know the reasons for infrequent change, one must understand the ordinary rules of stability.) The Burgess Shale teaches us that, for the history of basic anatomical designs, almost everything happened in the geological moment just before, and almost nothing in more than 500 million years since."
(Gould, S. J. (1988), A Web of Tales", Natural History, October, pp. 16-23)

"Multicellular animals of modern design-and with hard parts readily preservable as fossils-first appear, also with geological alacrity, in an episode called the "Cambrian Explosion" some 550 million years ago. trilobites, a group of fossil arthropods beloved of all collectors, provide the principal signature for this first fauna of modern design. The full flowering of this initial fauna reaches its finest expression in the exquisite, soft-bodied fossils of the Burgess Shale, subject of my recent book, Wonderful Life. This basic pattern has been well publicized and is now known to most nonprofessionals with strong interests in the history of life: a long period of unicellular creatures only; followed by a rapid appearance of the Ediacara fauna, perhaps with no relationship to living animals; and the final, equally quick, origin of modern anatomical designs in the Cambrian Explosion, with maximum expression soon thereafter in the Burgess Shale."
(Gould S.J., "Defending the Heretical and the Superfluous," in "Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History," Jonathan Cape: London, 1993, p.329)

"The Cambrian then began with an assemblage of bits and pieces, frustratingly difficult to interpret, called the "small shelly fauna." The subsequent main pulse, starting about 530 million years ago, constitutes the famous Cambrian explosion, during which all but one modern phylum of animal life made a first appearance in the fossil record. (Geologists had previously allowed up to 40 million years for this event, but an elegant study, published in 1993, clearly restricts this period of phyletic flowering to a mere five million years.) The Bryozoa, a group of sessile and colonial marine organisms, do not arise until the beginning of the subsequent, Ordovician period, but this apparent delay may be an artifact of failure to discover Cambrian representatives."
"Although interesting and portentous events have occurred since, from the flowering of dinosaurs to the origin of human consciousness, we do not exaggerate greatly in stating that the subsequent history of animal life amounts to little more than variations on anatomical themes established during the Cambrian explosion within five million years. Three billion years of unicellularity, followed by five million years of intense creativity and then capped by more than 500 million years of variation on set anatomical themes can scarcely be read as a predictable, inexorable or continuous trend toward progress or increasing complexity."
"We do not know why the Cambrian explosion could establish all major anatomical designs so quickly. An "external" explanation based on ecology seems attractive: the Cambrian explosion represents an initial filling of the "ecological barrel" of niches for multicellular organisms, and any experiment found a space. The barrel has never emptied since; even the great mass extinctions left a few species in each principal role, and their occupation of ecological space forecloses opportunity for fundamental novelties. But an "internal" explanation based on genetics and development also seems necessary as a complement: the earliest multicellular animals may have maintained a flexibility for genetic change and embryological transformation that became greatly reduced as organisms "locked in" to a set of stable and successful designs. In any case, this initial period of both internal and external flexibility yielded a range of invertebrate anatomies that may have exceeded (in just a few million years of production) the full scope of animal form in all the earth's environments today (after more than 500 million years of additional time for further expansion). Scientists are divided on this question. Some claim that the anatomical range of this initial explosion exceeded that of modern life, as many early experiments died out and no new phyla have ever arisen. But scientists most strongly opposed to this view allow that Cambrian diversity at least equaled the modern range-so even the most cautious opinion holds that 500 million subsequent years of opportunity have not expanded the Cambrian range, achieved in just five million years. The Cambrian explosion was the most remarkable and puzzling event in the history of life."
(Gould S.J., "The Evolution of Life on the Earth," Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 4, October 1994, p.67)

"In his book about the Cambrian explosion, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, Stephen Jay Gould remarks on this topdown quality of the Cambrian with wonder. (Kauffman S.A., "At Home in the Universe," 1996, p.13) As well he might! You only have to think for one moment about what `top down' filling in would have to mean for the animals on the ground and you immediately see how preposterous it is. 'Body plans' like the mollusc body plan, or the echinoderm body plan, are not ideal essences hanging in the sky, waiting, like designer dresses, to be adopted by real animals. Real animals is all there ever was: living, breathing, walking, eats , excreting, fighting, copulating real animals, who had to survive and who can't have been dramatically different from their real parents and grandparents. For a new body plan-a new phylum-to spring into existence, what actually has to happen on the ground is that a child is born which suddenly, out of the blue, is as different from its parents as a snail is from an earthworm. No zoologist who thinks through the implications, not even the most ardent saltationist, has ever supported any such notion. Ardent saltationists have been content to postulate the sudden bursting into existence of new *species*, and even that relatively modest idea has been highly controversial. When you spell out the Gouldian rhetoric into real-life practicalities, it stands revealed as the purest of bad poetic science."
(Dawkins R., "Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder," [1998], Penguin: London, 1999, reprint, p.203. Emphasis in original)

"The 'Cambrian explosion' is a real evolutionary event, but its origins are obscure. At least 20 hypotheses have been proposed, and although arguments linking diversification to oxygen levels, predation, faunal provinciality and ocean chemistry all attract support, it is the case that 'The emergence of Metazoa remains the salient mystery in the history of life' (p. 17, ref. 58).
"...a coherent explanation for the origin and scope of the early metazoan radiations is still missing....
"Again, the causes of this diversification still remain a mystery, although changes in the concentration of atmospheric oxygen, trophic resources and ecological response, especially to predation, may all have played a part..."
(S. Conway Morris. 1993. The fossil record and the early evolution of the Metazoa. Nature 361. January 21 pp. 219-225)

"For 75 years the Canadian Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale fauna provided most data on soft-bodied animals, but similar preservation is now known to be widespread in Cambrian rocks. An important site was discovered in 1984 in Chiengjiang, Yunnan, south China, and is approximately late Atdabanian (about 525 to 530 million years old). The Chengjiang fauna may have lived only 5 million years after the "Cambrian explosion" began at the onset of the Tommotian age. The superb preservation and high diversity (now close to 100 known species) equal those of the Burgess Shale fauna which is ~ 10 million years younger. Mineralized parts in both metazoans, protists anad cyanobacteria, as well as diverse macrofauna producing varied trace fossils, appear abruptly close to the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. this major diversification of life forms is known as the "Cambrian explosion." The biotic system appears to have quickly reached a level of complexity not far from that present in modern oceans....
(Jan-yuan Chen, Lars Ramskild, Gui-qing Zhou. 1994. Evidence for Monophyly and Arthropod Affinity of Cambrian Giant Predators. 1994. Science 264 May 27 pp. 1304-1308.)

"Since the identification of the Lower Cambrian "Yunnanozoon" as a chordate in 1995, large numbers of complete specimens of soft-bodied chordates from the Lower Cambrian Maotianshan Shale is central Yunnan (southern China) have been recovered. Here we describe a recently discovered craniate-like chordate, Haikouella lanceolata, from 305 fossil specimens in Haikou near Kunming. This 530 million-year-old (Myr) fish-like animal resembles the contemporaneous "Yunnanozoon" from the Chengjkiang fauna (about 35km southeast of Haikou) in several anatomic features. But Haiouella also has several additional anatomic features: a heart, ventral and dorsal aorta, an anterior branchial arterial, gill filaments, a caudal projection, a nerural cord with a relatively large brain, a head with possible lateral eyes, and a ventrally situated buccal cavity with short tentacles. These findings indicate the Haikouella probably represents a very early craniate-like chordate that lived near the beginning od the Cambrian period during the main burst of the Casmbrian explosion. These findings will add to the debate on the evolutionary transition from invertebrate to vertebrate."
(Jun-Yuan Chen, Di-Ying Huang and Chia-Wei Li "An early Cambrian craniate-like chordate" 2 December 1999, Vol.402, No. 6761, p.518, http://www.natureasia.com/)

"The discovery of complete anomalocaridids in the older Early Cambrian Chengjiang fauna of China indicates a greater diversity of these predators than previously imagined (adding a new species of Anomalocaris and two new unnamed genera). The length of the largest of the new forms is estimated to have reached a staggering 2 meters, although so far known only from the jaws..... "
(Derek E. G. Briggs. 1994. Giant Predators from the Cambrian of china. Science 264 May 27 pp. 1283-1284.)

"...my colleagues and I have spent much of the past 15 years traveling to remote corners of the world searching for clues to the early evolution of life. By sifting through ancient sediments, we have sought to understand the nature of life just before the Ediacaran animals appear in the fossil record and to identify environmental factors that may explain the timing of their appearance. Our time has been well spent. We now know that the Ediacaran radiation was indeed abrupt and that the geologic floor to the animal fossil record is both real and sharp.
(Andrew H. Knoll. 1991. End of the Proterozoic eon. Scientific american October 1991 pp. 64-73. Please note: what he is saying is that he finds no ancestors to the Ediacaran fauna (a poorly understood group of fossils before the Cambrian which are not said to be ancestrally related to the Cambrian fauna)

"The seemingly sudden appearance of skeletonized life has been one of the most perplexing puzzles of the fossil record. How is it that animals as complex as trilobites and brachiopods could spring forth so suddenly, completely formed, without a trace of their ancestors in the underlying strata? If ever there was evidence suggesting Divine Creation, surely the Precambrian and Cambrian transition, known from numerous localities across the face of the earth, is it. "
(Peter Douglas Ward. 1992. On Methuselah's Trail: Living fossils and the Great Extinctions. (Foreword by Steven M. Stanley). W. H. Freeman and Company. New York. 212 pages. Page 29. [Please note: from what I'm told, Dr. Ward is a well known expert on ammonite fossils and he does not favour a creation based view])

"A record of pre-Cambrian animal life, it appears, simply does not exist. Why this lamentable blank? Various theories have been proposed; none is too satisfactory. It has been suggested, for example, that all the Pre-Cambrian sediments were deposited on continental areas, and the absence of fossils in them is due to the fact that all the older animals were sea-dwellers. But that all these older sediments were continental is a theory which opposes, without proof, everything we know of deposition in later times. Again, it is suggested that the Pre-Cambrian seas were poor in calcium carbonate, necessary for the production of preservable skeletons; but this is not supported by geochemical evidence. Yet again, it is argued that even though conditions were amenable to the formation of fossilizable skeletal parts, the various phyla only began to use these possibilities at the dawn of the Cambrian. But it is, a priori, hard to believe that the varied types present in the early Cambrian would all have, so to speak, decided to put on armour simultaneously. And, once again, it has been argued that the whole evolution of multicellular animals took place with great rapidity in late Pre-Cambrian times, so that a relatively short gap in rock deposition would account for the absence of any record of their rise. Perhaps; but the known evolutionary rate in most groups from the Cambrian on is a relatively leisurely one, and it is hard to convince oneself that a sudden major burst of evolutionary advance would be so promptly followed by a marked 'slowdown'. All in all, there is no satisfactory answer to the Pre-Cambrian riddle."
(Romer A.S., "The Procession of Life," The World Publishing Co: Cleveland OH, 1968, pp.19-20)

"Some 540 million years ago, at the beginning of the Cambrian, there appeared an array of multicellular marine animals, including the major phyla that exist today-coelenterates, platyhelminths, annelids, arthropods, molluscs, Echinoderms and others. Chordates are also present in the Cambrian: they are not known from the earliest deposits, in which only hard parts are preserved, but are present in the slightly later Burgess Shale, in which soft-bodied forms are preserved. Forty years ago, this sudden appearance of metazoan fossils was not only a puzzle but something of an embarrassment: the absence of any known fossils from earlier rocks was a weapon widely used by creationists. Today, the fossil evidence for prokaryotes goes back 3000 million years, and for protists some 1000 million years. The Cambrian explosion remains a puzzle, however, which has been only fitfully illuminated by the discovery of the enigmatic soft- bodied Ediacaran fauna, which had a worldwide distribution between 580 and 560 million years ago. ... The puzzle is why the Cambrian explosion took place when it did. Two kinds of answer are possible. One is that, before complex multicellular organisms could evolve, some crucial invention or inventions in cell physiology or gene regulation had to be made: once made, there was rapid radiation into an ecologically empty world. The apparently monophyletic origin of the Metazoa, deduced from molecular data, is consistent with this view."
(Maynard Smith J. & Szathmary E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.203)

Back to top

Plants:

"The facts derived from a study of fossil plants are of paramount importance for the bearing they have on the broader subjects of phylogeny and evolution. It has long been hoped that extinct plants will ultimately reveal some of the stages through which existing groups have passed during the course of their devlopment, but it must be feely admitted that this aspiritation has been fulfilled to a very slight extent, even though paleobotanical research has been in progress for more than one hundred years. As yet we have not been able to track the phylogenetic history of a single group of modern plants from its beginning to the present."
(Chester A Arnold, Professor of Botany and Curator of Fossil Plants, University of Michigan, An Introduction to Paleobotany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1947, p.7, italicized emphasis added)

"The origin of vascular plants is lost in antiquity, but the earliest fossils are found in the 400 million-year old rocks of the Silurian period of the Paleozoic era."
"The ancestors of the 70 or so named species of gnetophytes alive today may have been related to the ancestors of today’s flowering plants. We can’t be sure because information on the evolutionary origin of flowering plants is woefully scarce. "
"When did flowering plants first appear? Were they inconspicuously sprinkled among the primitive gymnosperms that dominated the Mesozoic? Or were they absent altogether in those days? And especially, what conditions would have promoted the sudden explosion of flowering plants? Perhaps the important question is, if there were flowering plants during the Mesozoic, where were they? The fragmentary evidence seems to point to the drier upland regions of the earth"
"There is some agreement that the family Magnoliaceae (the magnolias) in the order Ranales, is a living representative of the ancestral group. The fossil record isn’t much help in resolving the issue since lower Mesozoic rock is devoid of angiosperm fossils...Most of our presumed plant relationships are based on the study of today’s plants, particularly the comparison of their flowers. As an example, the magnolia family is suggested as the ancestral type because of its primitive flower structure, as we will see. When botanists use the flower structure to determine taxonomic relationships, they must first decide what is primitive (original equipment) and what is advanced (new) - and that presents problems. The concepts of primitive and advanced are always troublesome."
(Wallace, R.A, J.L. King, and G.P. Sanders. 1986. Biology: The Science of Life. Scott, Foresman and Co., Glenview, IL. pp.1217; pgs 511, 522, 525-526, 527 )

"There is little unanimity of thought, however, as to precisely how evolution proceeded in the past. One authority will be convinced that a certain group evolved from another, while other equally eminent authorities will maintain that the exact reveres occurred. Part of the reason for such paradoxes is that the historical record is quite incomplete. Although fossil evidence for the evolution of a few organisms such as certain mollusks and the horse is fairly substantial, other fossil evidence is very fragmentary. Possibly fewer than one in each million organisms that once existed ever became a fossil, and there are probably no fossils at all of many herbacious and soft-bodied organisms. “Missing link” fossils are frequently referred to, but often it is whole “chains” that are missing and science has recoginized a few isolated links. With such evidence, scientists can deal only in probabilities or possibilities, and it is inevitable that various, sometimes conflicting, interpretations result."
(Stern, K.R. 1985. Introductory Plant Biology. 3rd Edition. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, IA. pp. 517.)

"... I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation ... Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed and a palm tree have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition."
"Textbook hoodwink. A series of more and more complicated plants is introduced--the alga, the fungus, the bryophyte, and so on, and examples are added eclectically in support of one or another theory--and that is held to be a presentation of evolution. If the world of plants consisted only of these few textbooks types of standard botany, the idea of evolution might never have dawned, and the backgrounds of these textbooks are the temperate countires which, at best, are poor places to study world vegetation. The point, of course, is that there are thousands and thousands of living plants, predominantly tropical, which have never entered general botany, yet they are the bricks with which the taxonomist has built his temple of evolution, and where else have we to worship?" (E.J.H. Corner (Professor of Tropical Botany, Cambridge University, UK), "Evolution" in Contemporary Botanical Thought, Anna M. Macleod and L. S. Cobley (editors), Oliver and Boyd, for the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 1961, pg. 97)
(Dr Eldred Corner, Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, England: Evolution in Contemporary Botanical Thought (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961, p.97))

"The rapid development as far as we can judge of all the higher plants within recent geological times is an abominable mystery."
(Darwin, Charles R., letter to J.D. Hooker, July 22nd 1879, in Darwin F. & Seward A.C., eds., "More Letters of Charles Darwin: A Record of His Work in a Series of Hitherto Unpublished Papers," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. II, pp.20-21)

Back to top

Insects:

"Interpretations of the fossil record must be made with great caution. For example, fossils used in evaluating the terrestrial/aquatic origin of insects were recently found to be not primitive insects at all, but merely fossilized segments of crustaceans! With so few insect fossils available and fossils absent from critical geologic periods, it is difficult to base evolutionary trends in any of the insect orders solely on the fossil record."
(Merrit, R.W. and K.W. Cummins. 1996. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, IA. 862 pp.; pg. 98)

"Their are many problems and uncertainties as to the best classification of the insects. The fossil record is not always helpful in resolving these problems, as it is very incomplete, and the origin of most major groups is buried deep in the past, more than 230 million years ago."
(Evans, H.E. 1984. Insect Biology: A Textbook of Entomology. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Reading, MA. 436 pp.; pg. 51)

"Unfortunately evidence of the crucial steps leading to the origin of insects have not yet been found in the fossil record. "
Wings have contributed more to the success of insects than any other anatomical structures, yet the historical origin of wings remains largely a mystery. The earliest insect fossils that have been discovered, from the Pennsylvanian Period, were already winged...Thus the body structures that developed into wings, the steps in the evolution, and the ecological circumstances that favored wings are debatable."
(Daly, H.V., J.T. Doyen, and P.R. Ehrlich. 1978. Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity. McGraw Hill, NY. 564pp.; p. 274, 308)

"The most common fossils are wings or fragments of wings...The first appearance of a modern insect order is also subject to argument because the ancestral forms often do not clearly resemble the modern forms. Recent treatments of fossil insects differ in methodology, higher categories, and number of orders, as well as in the families assigned to the orders. "
(Daly, H.V., J.T. Doyen, and A.H. Purcell. 1998. Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity. 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press, NY. 680pp.; p. 320-321)

Back to top

Fishes:

"Phylogeny of the teleosts is intricate and difficult to trace. Despite the excellent efforts of systematists who are making progress in unraveling the evolutionary puzzle, evolution is for the most part a continuum, and our invention of categories for the stages and levels recognized in known fossil and living fishes is an artificial one."
"The fishes are of ancient ancestry, having descended from an unknown free-swimming protochordate ancestor. "
(Bond, C.E. 1979. Biology of Fishes. Saunders College Publ., Philadelphia, PA.; pg. 7, 466)

"At present, it seems prudent to steer a middle course through current paleontological debate and assign equal rank to all three groups in the class Osteichthyes. In other words, it is impossible to decide which one of these three groups, if any, might have served as ancestral stock for the other two. It is apparent from fossil evidence that all three groups were distinct in the Devonian period, some 400 million years ago. They are believed to have descended from an acanthodian of the Silurian period. "
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and F.M. Hickman. 1988. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, St. Louis, MO. 939 pp.; pg. 477).

"The geological record has so far provided no evidence as to the origin of the fishes, and shortly after the time when fish-like fossils first made their appearance in the rocks, the Cyclostomes (or Agnatha), Elasmobranchiomorphs, and Bony Fishes are not only already differentiated from each other and firmly established, but are represented by a number of diverse and often specialized types, a fact suggesting that each group had already enjoyed a respectable antiquity."
(J.R. Norman, A History of Fishes, P. G. Greenwood (editor), 3rd edit., British Museum of Natural History, London, 1975, pg. 343. Note: Since the writing of this book, jawless fish have been found in Cambrian strata, and fish are now considered to have existed at a time very near, if not in the middle, of the "Cambrian Explosion". See: 1. San Diego Union Tribune, 5/4/99,
"2 half-billion-year-old fish-like fossils found" and also at "Catching the first fish" by Philippe Janvier; Nature Volume 402 Number 6757 Page 21 - 22 (1999)

"The common ancestor of the bony-fish groups is unknown"
(Alfred Sherwood Romer, _Vertebrate Paleontology_, 3rd ed.[Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966], 53).

"Whatever ideas authorities may have on the subject, the lungfishes, like every other major group of fishes that I know,have their origins firmly based in nothing"
(quoted in W. R. Bird, _The Origin of Species Revisited_ [Nashville: Regency, 1991; originally published by Philosophical Library, 1987], 1: 62-63)

"All three divisions of the bony fishes appear in the fossil record at approximately the same time. They are already widely divergent morphologically, and they are heavily armoured. How did they originate? What allowed them to diverge so widely? How did they all come to have heavy armor? And why is there no trace of earlier intermediate forms?"
(G. T. Todd, American Scientist 20(4):757, 1980.)

"But we still know very little about the early origins of fishes...."
(Bone, Q., N.B. Marshall and J.H.S. Blaxter. 1995. Biology of Fishes. Blackie Academic & Professional, Glasgow, UK.; p. 6)

"The fishes are of ancient ancestry, having descended from an unknown free-swimming protochordate ancestor...The earliest fishlike vertebrates were a paraphyletic assemblage of jawless agnathan fishes, the ostracoderms. One group of ostracoderms gave rise to the jawed gnathostomes. The jawless agnathans, the least derived of the two groups, include along with the extinct ostracoderms the living hagfishes and lampreys....The ancestry of hagfishes and lampreys is uncertain...no forms intermediate between the agnathans and gnathostomes are known."
"The very first fishes undoubtedly arose from invertebrate protochordates, perhaps a urochordate or cephalochordate. However, the first fishes left no fossil record and their form and relationships are a mystery."
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and A. Larson. 2001. Integrated Principles of Zoology. McGraw Hill, NY. 899pp.; p. 508-510, p. 151)

"No intermediate fossils between jawed and jawless forms have been found - early fossils of jawed fishes had jaws, teeth, scales and spines. The origins of jaws and other structures that characterized the early gnathostomes are lost in the fossil record, belonging to some group about which we known nothing. "
(Helfman, G.S., B.B. Collette and D.E. Facey. 1997. The Diversity of Fishes. Blackwell Science, MA. 528pp.; p. 157)

"How this earliest chordate stock evolved, what stages of development it went through to give rise eventually to truly fish-like creatures we do not know."
(F. D. Ommanney, The Fishes, Life Nature Library, Time Inc, pg. 60)

"...there are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures in the fossil collections of the world."
(Gordon Rattray Talor, The Great Evoltion Mystery, Harper and Row, New York, 1983, pg. 60)

"The geological record has so far provided no evidence as to the origin of the fishes."
(J.R. Norman, "A History of Fishes," 1975, page 343. )

"The evolution and relationships of fishes are still highly debatable, despite the repeated and continuing investigation; partly because of the variety of philosophical approaches used by systematists, details of the higher classification of these animals remain evanescent."
(Lagler, et al. 1977. Ichthyology. Wiley & Sons, NY.)

"No intermediate fossils between jawed and jawless forms have been found--early fossils of jawed fishes had jaws, teeth, scales and spines. The origins of jaws and other structures that characterized the early gnathostomes are lost in the fossil record, belonging to some group about which we know nothing."
(Helfman, et al. 1997. The Diversity of Fishes. Blackwell Science, MA.)

"Duane Gish finds from reading Alfred S. Romer's 1966 treatise, *Vertebrate Paleontology*, that mainstream paleontologists have found no fossil record of transitional chordates leading up to the appearance of the first class of fishes, the Agnatha, or of transitional forms between the primitive, jawless agnaths and the jaw-bearing class Placodermi, or of transition from the placoderms (which were poorly structured for swimming) to the class Chondrichthyes, or from those cartilaginous-skeleton sharklike fishes to the class Osteicthyes, or bony fishes [cites Gish's earlier book]. The evolution of these classes is shown in Figure 43.1. Neither, says Gish, is there any record of transitional forms leading to the rise of the lungfishes and the crossopterygians from the lobe-finned bony fishes, an evolutionary step that is supposed to have led to the rise of amphibians and ultimately to the conquest of the lands by air-breathing vertebrates.In a series of quotations from Romer (1966), Gish finds all the confessions he needs from the evolutionists that each of these classes appears suddenly and with no trace of ancestors. The absence of transitional fossils in the gaps between each group of fishes and its ancestor is repeated in standard treatises on vertebrate evolution. Even Chris McGowan's 1984 anticreationist work, purporting to show "why creationists are wrong," makes no mention of Gish's four pages of text on the origin of the fish classes. Knowing that McGowan is an authority on vertebrate paleontology, keen on faulting the creationists at every opportunity, I must assume that I haven't missed anything important in this area. This is one count in the creationists' charge that can only evoke in unison from paleontologists a plea of *nolo contendere*."
(Arthur Strahler's anticreationist book, Science and Earth History -- The Evolution/Creation Controversy Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1987)

Back to top

Amphibians:

"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)

"We had to wait nearly one hundred years before discovery of the Recent coelacanth. During that time many fossil coela-canths were described and, on the basis of osteological features, their systematic position as near relatives of the extinct rhipidistians and as tetrapod cousins had become part of "evolutionary fact", perpetuated today in textbooks. Great things were therefore expected from the study of the soft anatomy and physiology of _Latimeria_. With due allowance for the fact that _Latimeria_ was a truly marine fish, it was expected that some insight might be gained into the soft anatomy and physiology of that most cherished group, the rhipidistians. Here at last was a chance to glimpse the workings of a tetrapod ancestor. These expectations were founded on two premises. First, that rhipidistians are the nearest relatives of tetrapods, and secondly, that _Latimeria_is a rhipidistian derivative."
(P. L. Forey in_Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B_ (1980) 208:369)

"the modern coelocanth [a descendant of the supposed rhipistidian ancestors of amphibians] shows no evidence of having internal organis preadapted for use in a terrestrial enviornment. The outpocketing of the gut that serves as a lung in land animals is present but vestigial in Latimeria. The vein that drains its wall returns blood not to the left side of the heart as it doe in all tetrapods but to the sinos venosus at the back of the heart as it does directly or indirectly in all osteicthyans except lungfishes. The heart is characteristically fishlike..."
(Barbara Stahl, (1974) Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution, McGraw-Hill Book Co, New York, p. 146)

"[Acanthostega, Icthyostega, and Tulerpeton] had short but massive limbs of the basic pattern of subsequent tetrapods"
"no fossils are known that can be considered intermediate between these clearly aquatic [osteolepiform] fish and genera that are unequivocally classified as terrestrial verte-brates"
(Robert L. Carroll, "The Primary Radiation of Terrestrial Vertebrates," _Annual Review of Earth Planet Science_[1992] 20:47, 45)

"We have no intermediate fossils between rhipidistian fish and early amphibians."
(R. L. Carroll, Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, New York: W. H. Freeman and Co. 1988, p. 4)

"Although this transition [from fish to amphibian] doubtless occurred over a period of millions of years, there is no known fossil record of these stages."
(Kraig Adler, Encyclopedia of Reptiles & Amphibians, Equinox, Oxford, 1986, pg. 4)

"The limbs, of course, occupy pride of place in any analysis of tetrapod origins. The pattern of internal structure of the osteolepiform limb as in _Eusthenopteron_ [cite omitted] and _Sterropterygion_ [cite omitted] is clearly homologous with that of tetrapods with respect to the humerus/femur or ulna and radius/tibia or fibula, but little else. It would also be a mistake to exaggerate the extent to which osteolepiform fishes actually used their fins as arms and legs; the fins in the forms that we know are all small and feeble (compared even with the large fins of porolepiforms, coelacanths, and the modern lungfish _Neoceratodus_, which have a different internal structure). These fishes obviously could not live out of water because they would suddenly be unsupported and feel the force of gravity. "
"While we still do not have any really intermediate fossil forms between fishes and tetrapods (we are getting closer, with the description of _Panderichthys_ and _Elpistostege_; see later) we are free to argue vociferously about the identity of the group of fishes that must be the tetrapod ancestor. (This is like the joke about the baseball player who, although he was terrible at bat, couldn't field either.)"
(Keith Stewart Thomson [Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University, USA], in "The origin of tetrapods," _American Journal of Science_ (1993) 293-A:58, 39)

"It is not difficult to imagine how feathers, once evolved assumed additional functions, but how they arose initially presumably from reptilian scales, defies analysis..."
"The problem has been set aside, not for want of interest, but for lack of evidence. No fossil structure between scale and feather is known, and recent investigators are unwilling to found a theory on pure speculation."
"It seems, from the complex construction of feathers, that their evolution from reptilian scales would have required an immense period of time and involved a series of intermediate structures. So far, the fossil record does not bear out that supposition."
(Stahl, Barbara J. [Professor of Biology, Saint Anselm College, USA], "Vertebrate history: Problems in Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York, 1974, p349, 350)

Back to top

Reptiles:

"The earliest known amniotes [i.e., the first reptiles] are immediately recognizable as members of this assemblage because of similarities of their skeleton to those of primitive living lizards."
"The early amniotes are sufficiently distinct from all Paleozoic amphibians that their specific ancestry has not been established."
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York. Pp 193, 198)

"Reptiles presumably evolved from amphibians that already laid a small number of large-yolked eggs beside the water. "
"Paleontology does not afford unquestionable annectent forms between generalized tetrapodous reptiles and typical snakes. The oldest known snake, Lapparentophis, reveals no information about the origin of snakes. Even Dinilysia, a well-preserved snake from the late Cretaceous is equally unavailing."
"In conclusion, both the origin of snakes and the relationship between snakes and lizards at this time remains unknown."
"Although snakes probably originated well before the Cretaceous, the oldest known snake comes from the early Cretaceous, and representatives of the group became comparatively frequent only in the uppermost Cretaceous sediments."
(Goin, C.J. and O.B. Goin. 1971. Introduction to Herpetology. W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco.; pgs. 74, 52, 53, 56)

"Snake fossils are usually preserved as vertebrae, and vertebral characters are almost the only data available for classifying and deriving phylogenies from fossils...Surprisingly, we still lack an adequate survey of vertebral morphology and variation for a single snake taxon (of either a lower or a higher category). This precludes a rigorous evaluation fo the value of vertebral characters in reconstructing phylogenetic relationships among snakes."
(Seigel, R.A., J.T. Collins, S.S. Novak. 1987. Snakes: Ecology andADVANCE \x468 Evolutionary Biology. Macmillan Publ. Co. NY. 529pp.; p. 83)

"the early reptiles were very different from amphibians and that their ancestors could not be found yet."
(Robert L. Carroll, Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, New York: W. H. Freeman and Co., 1988, p. 198. )

"There is no evidence of any Paleozoic amphibians combining the characteristics that would be expected in a single common ancestor. The oldest known frogs, salamanders, and caecilians are very similar to their living descendants."
(Edwin H. Colbert, M. Morales, Evolution of the Vertebrates, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1991, p. 99.)

"Unforunately, not a single specimen of an appropriate reptilian ancestor is known prior to the appearance of true reptiles."
(Robert L. Carroll, Problems of the Origin of Reptiles, Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, July 1969, pg. 393)

"The reptiles arose from amphibians of some kind, but the details of their early history are not clearly understood and current ideas about them are in a state of flux."
(Angus d'A. Bellairs, Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, Equinox, Oxford, 1986, pg. 60)

"no fossil amphibian seems clearly ancestral to the lineage of fully terrestrial vertebrates (reptiles, birds, and mammals)."
(Gould, Stephen Jay. 1991. Eight (or Fewer) Little Piggies. Natural History 100 (no.1, Jan.): 22-29.)

"Amphibians lay their eggs in water and the larvae undergo a complex metamorphosis before reaching the adult stage. Reptiles lay a hard shell-cased egg and the young are perfect replicas of adults ... [n]o explanation exists for how an amphibian could have developed a reptilian mode of reproduction"
(Darwin on Trial, Phillip E. Johnson, Intervarsity Press, 1993. Pg. 77, 81)

"... by the middle of the Triassic Period (about 175,000,000 years ago) its (turtle's) members were already numerous and in possession of the basic turtle characteristics. The links between turtles and cotylosaurs from which turtles probably sprang are almost entirely lacking"
((Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1971, v.22, p.418)

Back to top  

General Mammal:

"This is true of all thirty-two orders of mammals ... The earliest and most primitive known members of every order [of mammals] already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous sequence from one order to another known. In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed ... This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate...it is true of the classes, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous categories of plants."
(Simpson, G. G. (1944) Tempo and Mode in Evolution Columbia University Press, New York, p. 105, 107)

"Gradualists and saltationists alike are completely incapable of giving a convincing explanation of the quasi-simultaneous emergence of a number of biological systems that distinguish human beings from the higher primates: bipedalism, with the concomitant modification of the pelvis, and, without a doubt, the cerebellum, a much more dexterous hand, with fingerprints conferring an especially fine tactile sense; the modifications of the pharynx which permits phonation; the modification of the central nervous system, notably at the level of the temporal lobes, permitting the specific recognition of speech. From the point of view of embryogenesis, these anatomical systems are completely different from one another. Each modification constitutes a gift, a bequest from a primate family to its descendants. It is astonishing that these gifts should have developed simultaneously. Some biologists speak of a predisposition of the genome. Can anyone actually recover the predisposition, supposing that it actually existed? Was it present in the first of the fish? The reality is that we are confronted with total conceptual bankruptcy."
(Schutzenberger M-P., in "The Miracles of Darwinism: Interview with Marcel-Paul Schutzenberger," Origins & Design, Vol. 17, No. 2, Spring 1996, pp.10-15.
"http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od172/schutz172.htm")

"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)

The proposed reptile-->mammal transition: Anapsidia (most primitive reptiles) --> Synapsida (Pelycosaurs (Sphenacodonts)) --> Synapsids (Therapsids) --> Synapsids (Therapsids (Cynodontia)) --> early Mammalia --> modern major Mammal groups:
Anapsidia (the most primitive reptiles) --> Synapsidia:
"The ancestors of mammals [synapsids as a group] are identified from the same horizon and locality as the earliest conventional reptile, Hylonomus"
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York, Pg. 361)
Synapsida (Pelycosaurs (Sphenacodonts)) --> Synapsids (Therapsids):
The transition between pelycosaurs and therapsids has not been documented."
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York, Pg. 397)
Synapsids (Therapsids) --> Synapsids (Therapsids (Cynodontia)):
"Two much more advanced groups of carnivorous therapsids, the therocephalians and cynodonts, appear in the Upper Permian of Russia and southern Africa. We have not established the specific origin and interrelationships of these groups. They may have evolved separately from primitive carnivorous therapsids."
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York, Pg. 377)
Synapsids (Therapsids (Cynodontia)) --> Mammalia
"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)
"[we] cannot yet recognize the specific [cynodont] lineage that led to mammals."
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York, Pg. 398)
Early Mammalia --> Modern major mammal groups:
"It is not yet certain when the malleus and incus became incorporated into the middle ear, but the grooves on the medial surface of the dentary that indicate their position of attachment in early Jurassic mammals are missing in Upper Jurassic genera [read: actual transition of reptilian jawbones into mammalian middle ear bones is undocumented]."
(Carroll, Robert L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman. New York, Pg. 395)
"Since the Theria [marsupials & placentals] and the Atheria [monotremes] separated from each other before the changes in the middle ear had taken place, these two major groups must have evolved mammalian auditory ossicles independently. This is a most surprising fact"
(Kermack, D. M. and K. A. Kermack. 1984. The Evolution of Mammalian Characters Kapitan Szabo Publishers. Washington, DC.)
"After describing the last part of this process, the adaptation of the bones linking the jaw to the skull into a chain of ossicles linking the eardrum to the inner ear, Ernst Mayr sweepingly remarks: 'Not all the steps in this process are yet entirely apparent, but I think little doubt is left as to the principle involved.' If by 'principle' one means merely progressive remodelling, the statement is a truism. But if 'principle' means that chance selection brought about these elaborate changes, then there must be very great doubt indeed. Like de Beer, Mayr does not seem to appreciate the elementary point that demonstrating the occurrence of a sequence of events does not explain why they happened."
(Taylor G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," [1983], Abacus: London, 1984, reprint, p.106)
"[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)

"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 (or 93?), No. 1295, 4 March 1982, pp.581-584, p.583).

"Further, there is always the possibility that groups, such as the mammal-like reptiles which have left no living representative, might have possessed features in their soft biology completely different from any known reptile or mammal which would eliminate them completely as potential mammalian ancestors, just as the discovery of the living coelacanth revealed features in its soft anatomy which were unexpected and cast doubt on the ancestral status of its rhipidistian relatives."
(Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (London: Burnett Books, Ltd., 1985), p. 182)

"Nor is there any fossil evidence of any consequence about their [the echidna and platypus] ancestor. So we have virtually nothing to help link these creatures to any group of fossil reptiles"
(David ttenborough, Life on Earth: A Natural History, Reader's Digest/Collins, London, 1980, pg. 238)

"Because of the nature of the fossil evidence, paleontologists have been forced to reconstruct the first two-thirds of mammalian history in great part on the basis of tooth morphology"
(Barbara J. Stahl (St. Anselm's College, USA) in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution, McGraw-Hill, New York, p. 401)

Back to top

Rhodents:

"The origin of rodents is obscure...no transitional forms are known."
(A.S. Romer, "Vertebrate Paleontology," 1966, page 303.)

"The most puzzling event in the history of life on earth is the change from the Mesozoic, the Age of Reptile, to the Age of Mammals. It is as if the curtain were rung down suddenly on the stage where all the leading roles were taken by reptiles, especially dinosaurs, in great numbers and bewildering variety, and rose again immediately to reveal the same setting but an entirely new cast, a cast in which the dinosaurs do not appear at all, other reptiles are supernumeraries, and all the leading parts are played by mammals of sorts barely hinted at in the preceding acts."
(George Gaylord Simpson, Life Before Man, New York: Time-Life Books, 1972, p. 42.)

"Most of the living mammals belong to the subclass Theria and have descended from a common ancestor of the Jurassic period some 150 million years ago....The geological record of during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods is fragmentary, in large part because the mammals of these periods were creatures the size of a rat or smaller, with fragile bones that fossilized only under the most ideal circumstances. " During the early Jurassic period, one of two things happened. Either a single, phyletic line of therapsid reptiles gave rise to early mammals, or two or more therapsid lines of independently aly achieved the mammalian grade of organization (p. 47)....The question persists because of different interpretations of a fragmentary and incomplete fossil record."
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and F.M. Hickman. 1988. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, St. Louis, MO. 939 pp.; pg. 565, 48. Please note: again, an excuse for the lack of transitional forms. Is it valid? Circumstantical once again?)

"'The fossil record is not picking up things we know are there'" (emphasis added)
(Peter Waddell, phylogeneticist at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics in Tokyo, "New Views of the Origins of Mammals," by Dennis Normile, Science, August 7, 1998 Vol 281, Pg. 775.(this was made in reference to the lack of fossil evidence for the origins of various mammal groups, and what I want to know is, how do they know the fossil evidence is there?))

Back to top

The Horse:

"It would not be fitting in discussing the implications of Evolution to leave the horse out of the discussion. The evolution of the horse provides one of th 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 beign told. In fact one could easily discuss the evolution of the story of the evolution of the horse."

"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. Please note: This quote also found above in the general qoute collection)
(Prof. G. A. Kerkut (Dept. Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Southampton) in Implications of Evolution, Pergamon Press, London, 1960, pp. 144-145)

"I admit that an awful lot of that [fantasy] has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs [in the American Museum of Natural History] is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared fifty years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now, I think that that is lamentable, particularly because the people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we've got science as truth and we have a problem."
(Dr Niles Eldredge, Palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

"An evolutionary moment is frozen in time. Complete skeletons of the horse Pliohippus verify the transition of a primitive three- toed variety (above) to the one-toed type (top) ten million years ago."
(Voorhies M.R., "Ancient Ashfall Creates a Pompei of Prehistoric Animals," National Geographic, Vol. 159, No. 1, January 1981, pp.67-68,74 [This is the caption below pictures of fossil hooves of a one-toed and a three-toed horse respectively. Both horses were entombed at the same time in the one volcanic ashfall! - Stephen E. Jones])

"The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature."
(George Simpson, palaeontologist and Evolutionist, made in reference to the commonly discussed evolution of the horse)
"We are in the dark concerning the origin of insects."
(Pierre-Paul Grasse (University of Paris and past-President, French Acadamie des Sciences) in Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, pg. 30)

"Although the fossil evidence for organic evolution of a few organisms, such as certain molluscs and the horse, is fairly substantial, other fossil evidence is very fragmentary.
(Stern, K.R. 2000. Introductory Plant Biology. McGraw Hill, NY. 527pp.; (p. 265))

"The family tree of the horse is beautiful and continuous only in the textbooks. In the reality provided by the results of reserach it is put together from three parts, of which only the last can be described as including horses. The forms of the first part are just as much little horses as the present day damans are horses. The construction of the horse is therefore a very artificial one, since it is put together from non-equivalent parts, and cannot therefore be a continuous transformation series"
(Prof. Heribert Nilsson, Synthetische Artbildung, Verlag CWE Gleerup, Lund, Sweden, 1954, pp. 551-552)

"Moreover, within the slowly evolving series, like the famous horse series, the decisive steps are abrupt and without transition: for example, the choice of the middle finger for further transformation, as opposed to the two middle fingers in the evolution of the artiodactyles; or the sudden transition from the four-toed to the three-toed foot with predominance of the third ray."
(Goldschmidt, Richard B. [Prof. of Genetics and Cytology, University of California] (1952), "Evolution, As Viewed By One Geneticist", American Scientist, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 84-94)

"The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running- wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line. Moreover, within the slowly evolving series, like the famous horse series, the decisive steps are abrupt, without transition: for example, the choice of the middle finger for further transformation, as opposed to the two middle fingers, in the evolution of the artiodactyls; or the sudden transition from the four-toed to the three-toed foot with predominance of the third ray."
(Goldschmidt, Richard B., [late Professor of Genetics, University of California, Berkeley], "Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist," American Scientist, Vol. 40, January 1952, p.97)

Back to top

Bats:

"To be sure there are still major groups whose origins remain enigmatic. Bats, for example, have the poorest fossil record of all major vertebrate groups despite their numerical abundance in the world today. ... There are some remarkably well preserved early Tertiary fossil bats, such as Icaronycteris index, but Icaronycteris tells us nothing about the evolution of flight in bats because it was a perfectly good flying bat.
(Godfrey, L. R., "Creationism and Gaps in the Fossil Record", Scientists Confront Creationism, W. W. Norton and Company, 1983, p. 199

"The fossil record of bats extends back to the early Eocene ... and has been documented ... on five continents ... [A]ll fossil bats, even the oldest, are clearly fully developed bats and so they shed little light on the transition from their terrestrial ancestor."
(Hill, John E. and Smith, James D. (1984), Bats: A Natural History London: British Museum of Natural History, p. 33)

"Unfortunately no fossils have yet been found of animals ancestral to the bats."
(Richard E. Leakey, Footnote in The Illustrated Origin of Species, abridged by R. E. Leakey, Faber and Faber Ltd, London, 1979, pg. 128).

"...all fossil bats, even the oldest, are clearly fully developed bats and so they shed little light on the transition from their terrestrial ancestor."
(John E. Hill and James D. Smith, Bats: A Natural History, Rigby Publishers, Adelaide, 1984, pg. 33)

Back to top

Primates and Humans: (Please see also our Alleged Human Evolution Quotes Collection

"In spite of recent findings, the time and pace of origin of order Primates remains shrouded in mystery."
(Elwyn L. Simons (Dpt of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, USA and Co-Editor of Nuclear Physics), 'The origin and radiation of the primates'. Annals New York Academy of Sciences,vol. 167, 1969, p. 319)

"There are no fossils available as plausible ancestors of the primates, leaving the primate tree without a trunk."
(Martin, R. D., 1993. Primate Origins: plugging the gaps 363:223-233)

"...the transition from insectivore to primate is not documented by fossils. The basis of knowledge about the transition is by inference from living forms."
(A. J. Kelso (Professor of Physical Anthropology, University of Colorado), "Origin and evolution of the primates", in Physical Anthropology, J. B. Lippincott, New York, second edition, 1974, pg. 142)

"Modern apes, for instance, seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans--of upright, naked, toolmaking, big-brained beings--is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter."
(Lyall Watson (anthropologist), 'The Water People,' Science Digest, Vol 90, May 1982, pg. 44)

"[P]erhaps generations of students of human evolution, includ- ing myself, have been flailing about in the dark; . . . our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather, the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about our past. Paleoanthropology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about."
(David Pilbeam, "Book Review of Leakey's Origins," 66 _American Scientist_ (1978): 379 [cited in Bird, 1:226]).

Back to top

Whale:

"Given a simple little rodent like animal as our starting point, what does it mean to form a bat in less than ten million years, or a whale in little more time ... If an average chronospecies lasts nearly a million years ... then we have only ten or fifteen chronospecies to align, end -to-end, to form a continuous lineage connecting our primitive little mammal with a bat or a whale. This is clearly preposterous ... A chain of ten or fifteen of these might move us from one small rodent like form to a slightly different one ... but not to a bat or a whale!"
(The New Evolutionary Timetable by Steven Stanley, Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, 1981. Pg 93-94)

"...we have no certain knowledge of their origin [the cetaceans], for the earliest-known fossils from the Eocene are already unmistakably whales, and we can only guess at their evolutionary history by inference."
(L. Harrison Matthews, The Natural History of the Whale, Columbia University Press, New York, 1978, pg. 23)

"We are ignorant of their terrestrial forebears [cetaceans and sirenians] and cannot be sure of their place of origin."
(Alfred Sherwood Romer, Vertebrate Paleontology, University of Chicago Press, 1974, pg. 339)

"Researchers who learn how living animals are related by studying their DNA have tended to group cetaceans ... with even-toed ungulates, or artiodactyls. By some analyses, hippos are the closest living whale relatives. But to paleontologists, who study fossils, that conclusion has long been anathema. Instead they contend that cetaceans descended from an extinct hyena-like mammals called "mesonychians" [which were NOT artiodactyls]."
"...Thewissen thinks the morphological evidence, although mixed, opens the door to some kind of relation between the whales and the ungulates. He adds that there is now "considerable doubt" that cetaceans are closely related to mesonychians. That conclusion got a thumbs up from paleontologists at the meeting. For example, John Allroy of the National Museum of National History in Washington, D.C, says pulling the mesonychians out of the picture makes a closer cetacean-artiodactyl link plausible. But O'Leary says "it's [still] difficult to connect hippos with whales in the fossil record." The molecular camp, for its part, viewed Thewissen's conclusion as just a first step toward ultimate vindication. As Norihiro Okada, a molecular biologist at Tokyo Institute of Technology, put it: "I think paleontologists may discover more [features common to early cetaceans and early hippos] in the near future."
(Normile D., "New Views of the Origins of Mammals," Science, Vol 281, 7 August 1998, pp.774-775)

Back to top

Birds:

"The origin of birds is largely a matter of deduction. There is no fossil evidence of the stages through which the remarkable change from reptile to bird was achieved."
(W.E. Swinton [British Museum of Natural History, London], 'The Origin of Birds', Chapter 1, in Biology & Comparative Physiology of Birds, A.J. Marshall (editor), Academic Press, New York, Vol. 1, 1960, pg. 1)

"Feathers are unique to birds, and no known structure intermediate between scales and feathers has been identified."
(J. Alan Feduccia, The Age of Birds, Harvard University Press, 1980, pg. 52)

"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 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," [1984], Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p89)

"No fossil series has yet been discovered that links Archaeopteryx to the ancestral reptiles from which it must have emerged."
"Most authorities now agree that both dinosaurs and birds arose from a suborder of small bipedal thecodont reptiles known as the Pseudosuchia......No fossil intermediate between the pseudosuchians and Archaeopteryx has come to light..."
"Compared with the fossil record of other vertebrates, that of birds is disappointingly incomplete and fragmentary."
"Accordingly, there are many large gaps in the fossil history of birds, and even in the relationships between many avian orders are still obscure because of these breaks in the continuity of the record."
"Unfortunately, most of these rich deposits contain relatively recent fossils which tell little, if anything, about the descent of birds from reptiles. "
(Welty, J.C. 1975. The Life of Birds. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA. 623 pp. g. 500, 501, 502, 502, 502. Please note: once again: excuses? or...)
"Archaeopteryx lithographica, as the fossil was named, was an especially fortunate discovery because the fossil record of birds is disappointingly meager. "
(Hickman, C.P., L.S. Roberts and A. Larson. 2001. Integrated Principles of Zoology. McGraw Hill, NY. 899pp.; pg. 583)

"Every feature from gene structure and organization, to development, morphogenesis and tissue organization is different [in feathers and scales]. "
"feathers appear suddenly in the fossil record, as an 'undeniably unique' character distinguishing birds"
(A.H. Brush, "On the Origin of Feathers" Journal of Evolutionary Bioglogy, vol.9, 1996, s.132)

"Well, I've studied bird skulls for 25 years and I don't see any similarities whatsoever. I just don't see it... The theropod origins of birds, in my opinion, will be the greatest embarrassment of paleontology of the 20th century."
(Alan Feduccia as quoted in Pat Shipman, "Birds Do It... Did Dinosaurs?", p. 28.)

"To tell you the truth, if I had to support the dinosaur origin of birds with those characters, I'd be embarrassed every time I had to get up and talk about it.
(Larry Martin as quoted in Pat Shipman, "Birds Do It... Did Dinosaurs?", p. 28)

"'Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur,' Feduccia says. 'But it's not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of 'paleobabble' is going to change that.'"
(Allan Feduccia, Professor of biology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms", Science, Vol. 259, 5 February 1993, p. 764)

"For use in understanding the evolution of vertebrate flight, the early record of pterosaurs and bats is disappointing: Their most primitive representatives are fully transformed as capable fliers."

"Paleontologists continue to assess homology a posteriori from cladistic analysis of multiple synapomorphies and to explain discrepancies by mechanisms such as the frameshift hypothesis. In spite of developmental evidence that overwhelmingly supports a II- III-IV bird hand, in contrast to the I-II-III theropod hand, paleontologists will do whatever is necessary to accommodate the cladogram."
(Comments; Accommodating the Cladogram; by Alan Feduccia found in Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Posted May 25, 2001 - Issue 103. Please note: If this quote makes no sense, it is regarding the debate over the fact that the digits of the three fingers of the hand in theropods (I, II and III), differs from that of birds (II, III and IV). This is a major point against the camp that says that birds came from theropod dinosaurs.)


(Sereno, Paul C., The evolution of dinosaurs, Science 284(5423):2137-2147 (quote on p. 2143), June 25, 1999)

"Archaeopteryx is on the whole a point for Darwinists, but how important is it? Persons who come to the fossil evidence as convinced Darwinists will see a stunning confirmation, but skeptics will see a lonely exception to a consistent pattern of fossil disconfirmation."

Back to top

Further Links:

• Back to Problems with Evolutionary Explanations for the Fossil Record

• On to the Origins and Complexity of Life Quote Collection

• On to the Quote Collection on the General Evolution of Life (with focus on biological mechanisms of evolution)

• On to the Quotes on supposed Human Evolution collection

• On to the Philosophy of Evolution Quote Collection

• Cosmology and Physics Quotes

• Nonfunctional Intermediates

• The Impotence of 'Molecular Evolution', Bad Trees, and "Convergence"

• Some Proposed Tests of Evolutionary Theory

• Evidence of the Design of the universe through Anthropic Principles

Back to the Intelligent Design Theory Resources Main Menu Page

Copyright © IDEA 2001. All Rights Reserved. Web Page Created and Maintained by Casey Luskin and Reid Hankins.
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Psalm 118:1)