The talk.origins transitional fossil FAQ is basically a big, stupid lie, regardless of how impressive it might look on first glance. What they have is a collection of oddities, each with its own special little story, sort of like the freak show at the carnival.
Evolutionists have been combing the world frantically for intermediate form fossils for over 100 years now, and that's all they've got; that's nothing. Evolution requires that the vast bulk of all fossils should be intermediate forms. Every intelligent statement I have ever read on the subject refers to the lack of intermediate fossils as a major problem for evolution. The only esception to this I have ever seen is the talk.origins FAQ.
Stephen Gould, Eldredge, Mayr, and others have all been quoted to the effect that there are no real intermediate forms. Alexander Mebane (of Tampa Bay skeptics) notes wrt Gould's explaination for this:
But it may be questioned, on obvious probability grounds, whether this way of accounting for the observed absence of intermediates will really wash. Admitting that every intermediate stage "must have" a small population, we may nevertheless observe that there must have been a far greater number of them than of the stable, " finished" species known to us, since (according to the Darwinist picture) every species-transition must necessarily pass through several intermediate stages. That greater number would increase the likelihood that some intermediate forms, here and there, would chance to be preserved as fossils. And the dogma further requires that the larger transitions - between different genera, families, orders, classes, and even different phyla, must all have come about in just the same gradual and continuous manner, simply by a long- continued succession of normal species-transitions! We have all seen "genealogical trees" drawn by evolutionists, to show the order in which these taxonomic groups have all come into existence over a long period, by successive "branchings from a common root".Mebane's statement wrt the platypus that
But it must be asked: Where are all the fossils that should have been left by the many millions of species that this tree requires to have once existed on its trunk, boughs, and branches, before its final branchings took place? Why are none of these seen in the fossil record of the period during which the evolutionists' tree requires them to have lived? (That this perhaps surprising charge does not exaggerate the real situation will be seen under "First Taxonomic Disconfirmation", where the explicitly contradicts Darwinian testimony of the "transformed cladists" will be presented.)
Moreover, why have none of this great multitude of Darwinian intermediate species chanced to survive unchanged to our own time, among the considerable number of ancient life-forms that, as we know, have had the luck to do so? You may perhaps have read that that actually ts the case: the lungfishes, the monotremes (platypus) and the hoatzin, among others, were at one time said to show us "living fossils" of "primitive" life at a stage that was still intermediate to two different later forms, and ancestral to both of them. But those claims are no longer heard; for, on closer investigation, all of these creatures turned out to be curious "mosaic" constructions of a kind that could not rationally be seen as representing the real historical transitions between one group and another. (See Denton's book for a detailed exposition of these cases.) The recent discovery' of that living fossil par excellence, the coelacanth, was an exciting event for evolutionists, because these "lobe-finned" fish were supposed to have already begun to "evolve toward amphi- bians"; but when a well-preserved specimen was obtained, examination of its fins and its internal organs (previously unknown and only guessed-at) quashed that fond hope for some real confirmation of Darwin's ideas, and I think that you will no longer find coelacanths called "pre-amphibians".
should obviously be amended to read something like "...are no longer being heard from intelligent or honest people. Kathleen Hunt's intermediate fossil faq reads:
"those claims are no longer heard; for, on closer investigation, all of these creatures turned out to be curious "mosaic" constructions of a kind that could not rationally be seen as representing the real historical transitions between one group and another. (See Denton's book for a detailed exposition of these cases.)"
This is what I mean in saying that the stuff you read in the talk.origins FAQ system is only being put out by lesser lights and dead wood; nobody with brains or talent who follows this stuff any more believes any of it.
"Those wondering how egg-laying reptiles could make the transition to placental mammals may wish to study the reproductive biology of the monotremes (egg-laying mammals) and the marsupials. The monotremes in particular could almost be considered "living transitional fossils". [see Peter Lamb's suggested marsupial references at end]
Mebane writes of the Cenozoic mammals:
The most recent episode of great changes, the advent of the modern (Cenozoic) mammals after the death of the dinosaurs, is the one that we should expect to have left the best-preserved fossils of intermediate species. At the catastrophic end of the Cretaceous, 65 Myr ago, mammals were small nocturnal "tree-shrew"-like animals, none larger than cats; roughly ten million years later, we find essentially "modern" bats*, bears, and lions18. "All modern orders of mammals seem to have arisen independently and at about the same time": Wesson, p. 40, quoting Bonner 1988 and Carroll 1988.Mebane notes the recent ambulatory "whale ancestor" finds which, whatever they do turn out to be, will certainly not turn out to be thousands of missing cenazoic links which evolution requires.
If these vast changes really proceeded in the manner prescribed by Darwin, surely many hundreds (at the least!) of intermediate species in each lineage must once have lived during that protracted period of radical transmogrification. None of them have ever showed up in the fossil record.
And not only are all traces of intermediate species' missing, but anyone who seriously tries to imagine a believable sequence of viable intermediate animals between a tree-shrew and a bat-every one of which, according to Darwin, supplanted its predecessor by virtue of being "better adapted"! -wiII very soon be convinced that such a sequence is simply inconceivable: "What use is half a wing?" as everyone since Mivart (including even Gould) has asked. The reason we have found no trace of them is simply that they never existed, and the reason they never existed is that it would be impossible for them to have done so. It was this unavoidable conclusion that led Simpson in 1944 20 to publicly acknowledge his heretical conviction that these megaevolutionary" transformations, at least, must have occurred in some rapid and entirely non-Darwinian way. For this he was censured, and forced to recant, but it is safe to assert that no one has ever been able to sketch out, with even the slightest semblance of credibility, any Darwinian route to the already-" modern" bats that appear-twice over! in the early Cenozoic, roughly 55 million years ago.
There are in fact two distinct suborders of bats, the Microchiroptera and Megachiroptera, so pervasively different in structure that everyone agrees that they must have "evolved" quite independenty: Wesson, p.i82.