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Transitional Forms, the Fossil Record & Expectations

Fish to tetrapod "transitions" including Tiktaalik: Illustration 36698001 © Lukaves - Dreamstime.com

Did you know scientists have been puzzled about why they can’t find any undisputed transitional forms in the fossil record for over 150 years? Even the prodigious numbers of transitional fossils Wikipedia lists leaves them struggling to draw undisputed connections between fossil groups. Paleontologists have been searching hard for fossils showing one type of organism turning into another for 150 years.

Why can’t they find obvious transitions?

With a proper understanding of the fossil record, the answer is clear. To reach it, we need to begin with a subject that seems unrelated:

Are there any undisputed transitional forms in the current biosphere?

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At the beginning of chapter six of  The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin dealt with several objections to his theory. He wrote,

“First, why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?”

Thus, he confirmed and lamented the lack of transitional forms in the biosphere of his day, which should have been there if his ideas were true.

Today it’s obvious that we still haven’t found any such organisms or they would be found pictured in every biology text in the chapters on evolution. Their absence from the textbooks is a silent admission of the truth.

Today paleontologists propose a few candidates for transitional fossils, such as Archaeopteryx, Pakicetus, Tiktaalik and Pezosiren portelli. They have developed stories to explain how this handful of creatures are examples of transitioning types of creatures.

But they don’t want to remind us that Darwin and others had been expecting “innumerable transitional forms.”

Darwin even wondered in this quote why descriptive biology was even possible if his hypothesis of evolution were true. Indeed, descriptive biology with the classification of plants and animals into separate species would be impossible if Darwinian evolution were true.

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This makes an excellent question to bring up with someone who believes in evolution. Give them the opportunity to come up with something that is currently, in real time, evolving from one type of creature to a new one (such as a fish to tetrapod) and see if they come up with anything.

What do Creationists expect to find?

Think about the biosphere in the days of Noah. There would be no transitional forms in that biosphere because Genesis Chapter one stated 10 times that plants and animals reproduce after their own kind. It would have included creatures with fully developed features just as in Darwin’s day and today.

Furthermore, most of the fossil record is the result of the year-long flood of Noah’s day. It would then have fossilized only plants and animals that were living at that time.  Therefore, there would be no transitioning creatures to bury in the fossil record, and that’s what we observe!

Interpretation

The problem with the evolutionary understanding is the misinterpretation of the fossil record as a film strip with various frames (as in the illustration at the beginning of this article) reflecting the supposed hundreds of millions of years. But in reality it is a geological snap shot of the biosphere in the days of the Noah.

The evolutionists’ misinterpretation of the record, as a result of suppressing the truth¹ and rejecting the true history of the world, has resulted in a futile searching for transitional forms which never existed.

Conclusion

There is no need for creationists to use weasel words, like “uncontested” or “unconfirmed”, to soften the truth. There are no transitional forms in the biosphere or the fossil record. Both good science and the Bible say such creatures never existed!

1. Romans 1:18-22

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Walter Sivertsen

Written by Walter Sivertsen

Walt is the President of Midwest Creation Fellowship, and has avidly studied the creation/evolution controversy for several decades. His career in chemistry and his certification in quality engineering make him particularly knowledgeable about how science operates, and when it is not literally the scientific method that is operating. Since junior high school, he has been an amateur astronomer. For entertainment, he studies astronomy, calculus, thermodynamics, and all things related to the creation/evolution issue.

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