3. FOSSIL RECORD
Charles Darwin stated, in his Origin of Species, "The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory."
Now, 130 years and billions of fossils later, we can rightly reject the view of an incomplete fossil record or of one "connecting together all . . . forms of life by the finest graduated steps."
Out of the millions of fossils in the world, not one transitional form has been found. All known species show up abruptly in the fossil record, without intermediate forms, thus contributing to the fact of special creation. Let's take a look at Archeopteryx, a fossil that some evolutionists claim to be transitional between reptile and bird.
Archeopteryx is discussed in evolutionist Francis Hitching's book, The Neck of the Giraffe - Where Darwin Went Wrong. Hitching speaks on six aspects of Archeopteryx, following here.
(The following six points are quoted from Luther Sunderland's book, Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, pp. 74-75, the facts of which points he gathered from Hitching's book.)
1. It had a long bony tail, like a reptile's.
In the embryonic stage, some living birds have more tail vertebrae than Archeopteryx. They later fuse to become an upstanding bone called the pygostyle. The tail bone and feather arrangement on swans are very similar to those of Archeopteryx.
One authority claims that there is no basic difference between the ancient and modern forms: the difference lies only in the fact that the caudal vertebrae are greatly prolonged. But this does not make a reptile.
2. It had claws on its feet and on its feathered forelimbs.
However, many living birds such as the hoatzin in South America, the touraco in Africa and the ostrich also have claws. In 1983, the British Museum of Natural History displayed numerous species within nine families of birds with claws on the wings.
3. It had teeth.
Modern birds do not have teeth but many ancient birds did, particularly those in the Mesozoic. There is no suggestion that these birds were transitional. The teeth do not show the connection of Archeopteryx with any other animal since every subclass of vertebrates has some with teeth and some without.
4. It had a shallow breastbone.
Various modern flying birds such as the hoatzin have similarly shallow breastbones, and this does not disqualify them from being classified as birds. And there are, of course, many species of nonflying birds, both living and extinct.
Recent examination of Archeopteryx's feathers has shown that they are the same as the feathers of modern birds that are excellent fliers. Dr. Ostrom says that there is no question that they are the same as the feathers of modern birds. They are asymmetrical with a center shaft and parallel barbs like those of today's flying birds.
5. Its bones were solid, not hollow, like a bird's.
This idea has been refuted because the long bones of Archeopteryx are now known to be hollow.
6. It predates the general arrival of birds by millions of years.
This also has been refuted by recent paleontological discoveries. In 1977 a geologist from Brigham Young University, James A. Jensen, discovered in the Dry Mesa quarry of the Morrison formation in western Colorado a fossil of an unequivocal bird in Lower Jurassic rock.
This deposit is dated as 60-million years older than the Upper Jurassic rock in which Archeopteryx was found. He first found the rear-leg femur and, later, the remainder of the skeleton.
This was reported in Science News 24 September 1977. Professor John Ostrom commented, "It is obvious we must now look for the ancestors of flying birds in a period of time much older than that in which Archeopteryx lived."
And so it goes with the fossil that many textbooks set forth as the best example of a transitional form. No true intermediate fossils have been found.
In a letter to Luther Sunderland, dated April 10, 1979, Dr. Colin Patterson, of the British Museum of Natural History, wrote:
"...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?"
Just think of it! Here is a man sitting amidst one of the greatest fossil collections ever and he knows of absolutely NO transitional fossils. So convincing I believe this quote to be that it will sum up this discussion on fossil evidence.