googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: The Fossil Record

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Fossil Record

Have you ever heard an evolutionist say something like, “If creation is true, then what about all the fossils?” Most often this is spoken by lay-people who have been told all their lives there is something intrinsically “evolutionary” about the fossil record. The not so subtle implication is there is some simple-to-complex progression of evolution observed in the fossil record: bacteria at the bottom and people (and everything else) at the top.

Have you ever found a fossil? If you haven’t, you probably haven’t been looking very hard because fossils are everywhere. If you’re interested in finding one, just look anywhere some rocks have been dug up and you’re likely to find several. If you’ve ever found a fossil, let me see if I can guess what it was: //RKBentley thinking// It was a shell! Am I right? Of course I am.

Here are some interesting facts about the fossil record:

>95% of all fossils are marine invertebrates, particularly shellfish.
>Of the remaining 5%, 95% are algae and plant fossils (4.75%).
>95% of the remaining 0.25% consists of the other invertebrates, including insects 0.2375%).
>The remaining 0.0125% includes all vertebrates, mostly fish.
>95% of the very few land vertebrates found consist of less than one bone. (For example, only about 1,200 dinosaur skeletons have been found.)

So, in the fossil record, we have mountains of shellfish. Only a tiny fraction of fossils are of terrestrial vertebrates - and most of them are represented by a single bone. Yet it is from this tiny fraction of fossils that evolutionary scientists have constructed their imaginary progression of life from simple to complex.

Now, in all fairness, there are trillions of fossils. So even a tiny fraction represents a lot of bones. But these are simply a handful of bone pieces thrown in among mountains of shells. If you look at the shells in the fossil record from top to bottom, there has not been any evolution at all. Many living shelled creatures are identical to their fossil ancestors, which are supposedly hundreds of millions of years old.

As a side note, if I looked at a world covered with fossils of marine animals (shells are even found on the tops of mountains), I would likely surmise that the earth was perhaps covered with water at one time. Of course, the Bible does indeed say the earth was once completely covered with water so I would say the fossil record is a testimony to the truth of the Bible.

But as scientists constructed the evolutionary tree of life, they picked their way through all the marine fossils and found those tiny few they could fit into their theory. So a lot of the theory of evolution is built on the most minuscule part of the fossil record. I think Mark Twain summed it up best when he said, “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

1 comment:

The Palaeobabbler said...

I'm still looking for trace fossils.

There is something intrinsically evolutionary about the fossil record, especially when we "zoom out" and look at the overall pattern (an increase in the spread of complexity over time). When we zoom in close, things get a little sketchy, but not contradictory. Your shell example is a good one for this, because shell morphology can remain static for a while. Additionally, have a really close look at those shells, really study them. You might notice that there are subtle differences and that if you do some fine stratigraphical collection, you can observe evolution in those shells to a high degree.

I found it amusing that you declared yourself correct for guessing it was a shell. It is a good guess, because they are the most common body fossils, but not always accurate. I could show you plenty of non-shelled fossils without relying on a museum or university (and do things like crinoids and echinoids count as shelled?).

In selecting some small examples which show no change (you didn't actually really give any examples) you are ignoring the abundant examples which do show change. Evolution in the fossil record is not based on terrestrial vertebrates, but on the fossil record in its entirety. One of the best studies on evolution in the fossil record was done on trilobites for example.

Marine fossils unequivocally show evolution, which is handy, as marine environments are more conducive to fossilisation, not to mention, they are the most common environments on the planet.

The most common fossils are marine microfossils (just look at any chalk cliff, which defies creationist explanation, as those are almost completely composed of coccolithophorids). Guess what, they show evolution too, and on a very fine scale. Thank you for presenting evidence for evolution.