According to Darwin, new species arise by gradual accumulation of incremental changes over long periods of time. That’s evolution in a nutshell. Can Darwin’s hypothesis be tested? To find out, we turn to the only real evidence we have of prehistoric life, our bone and shell guide to the past – the fossil record.
The critical question is: Does the fossil record support Darwin’s gradual change theory? What do you think would happen if we put evolution to a vote, allowing the fossils themselves to decide the outcome? Sounds fair, sounds reasonable; even sounds democratic, doesn’t it? Let’s give it a try. We can start with the oldest life form of all . . .
Bacteria: Taken from rocks dated 3,600 million years old, the oldest single-celled prokaryote is essentially the same as today’s variety. That is a remarkably long period of stability. They have not evolved. Bacteria vote no to evolution.
Peripatopsis: The South African “walking worm” genus of the Onychophora family. This creature has remained unchanged since the beginning of the Cambrian period. That is over 500 million years of stability. Consequently the peripatopsis votes no to evolution.
Lingula: Commonly called the lampshell due to it’s unusual shape, the Lingula is a genus of brachiopod. No fossils lead up to or away from the Lingula. This creature has remained unchanged since the Silurian period, 435 million years ago. The Lingula votes no to evolution.
Neopilina and Nucula: Two genera of marine animals both have retained the same forms their ancestors had over 400 million years ago. They too vote no to evolution.
Pyenogonum: A marine genus of fifty species which resemble spiders. They have not changed for 350 million years. These holdouts from the Devonian period vote no to evolution.
Hutchinsoniella: A marine bottom dwelling genus of the cephocardia family has remained constant for 340 million years. Another no vote for evolution.
Liphistius: Trap door spiders. Their ancestors are unknown. The first fossil remains were found in the Permian period 275 million years ago. Trapdoor spiders then were very similar to trapdoor spiders now. A wolf spider preserved in amber from the Eocene period, 55 million years ago, is identical to the modern day species. Again, we find creatures who appear suddenly in full form and stay the same to the present. Along with the bacteria, lampshells, and marine animals, spiders vote no to evolution.
Nautilus: A genus of mollusks which has defied evolution for 270 million years. One more no vote for evolution.
Anaspides: a Segmented genus of water bugs and Limulus: Horseshoe crabs both have fossil records extending back for 250 million years. Neither has changed over the centuries. Again, two more votes against evolution.
Latimeria chalumnae: A coelacanth, a species of tassel-finned fish has remained the same for 200 million years. No fossils lead up to or away from the Latimeria. This Triassic period survivor votes no to evolution.
Entemnotrochus: Another genus of marine animals having no known ancestors. It has a fossil record extending back 180 million years ago. They have not changed. Entemnotrochus votes no to evolution.
Ornithorhynchus anatinus: Duckbill platypus have stayed the same for 160 million years. They vote no to evolution.
Sphenodon punctatus: Usually called tuatara in English. This reptile has no known ancestors and no know descendants. And it has shown little change for 140 million years since the late Jurassic. It too votes no to evolution.
Leiopelma: An “archaic” frog genus in New Zealand. They are considered living fossils of the Cretaceous period. For 135 million years these frogs have resisted change. Once again, no evolution. Therefore, Leiopelma votes no to evolution.
Apteryx: Genus of kiwis, a flightless bird. Their fossils date back to the Cretaceous period 95 million years ago. The bird has not changed. Apteryx votes no to evolution.
Lepisosteus: Garfish; Lanthanotus boorneenish: A family of moderate sized lizards; and Didelphis: Opossums are all represented in the fossil record 70 million years ago. They have not evolved. Garfish, lizards, and possums all vote no to evolution.
Cheroptera: Bats. Once again, we see creatures make a sudden appearance in the shape we know them today. The oldest known bat, 50 million years old. is indistinguishable from modern bats. We have a continuous fossil record for these animals since the early Eocene period. No signs of evolving and their ancestors are unknown. Bats vote no to evolution.
Insects: Ants, mites, and plant lice were trapped together in oozing amber 35 million years ago. Their appearances have not changed. Insofar as evolution goes, all three insects have marked time since then. Where are the effects of mutations and natural selection? For 35 million years those forces have somehow bypassed ants, mites, and plant lice. instead of gradual change, we find three more indisputable examples of long-term stability. Ants, plant lice, and mites all vote no to evolution.
Tupaia: Treeshrews; Crytoprocta ferox: Mongoose; and Dicerorhinus sumatrensis: Rhinoceros all have fossil records for 30 million years. No noticeable changes have occurred. All three vote no to evolution.
Tipirus: Tapirs look the same as their 25 million year old ancestors. They too vote no to evolution.
These “living fossils” clearly demonstrate a fundamental flaw in naturalist theory. If impersonal, mechanistic evolutionary forces arbitrarily crank out a positive mutation for every 500 million or so individuals, then why have so many creatures in the fossil record remained unaffected by this process for such a very long time? Even more to the point, where are those creatures who do show a continuous series of positive mutations?
In his book, Adam and Evolution, Michael Pitman says that the ancestry of rodents, birds, reptiles, sheep, dogs, cats, cows, horses, sea cows, marsupials, sea lions, elephants, giraffes, whales, monkeys, apes, and man is uncertain. Consequently, they must abstain from voting on evolution.
Animal phyla, classes, orders, families and even most genera and species enter the fossil record like a bolt out of the blue. We see no obvious ancestors in underlying rock levels. Once established, they become stable and survive with little or no change for millions of generations. They don’t adapt; they don’t evolve. Many become rare and finally disappear. Others are still with us today in much the same unaltered form as when they first surfaced. This sequence is the rule, not the exception.
Plants and Paleontologists
Does the fossil record show gradual change over time in plants? Petrified plants do show different species at different times. Many are varieties of plants we have today. We see new species popping up and many going into extinction. But from their first appearances we can identify: algae, ferns, flowering plants, mosses, and pines in the fossil record. Furthermore, fungi, algae, mosses, ferns, peilopsids, horsetails, tree horsetails, club mosses, progymnosperms, seed ferns, ginkgo, cycads, conifers, and flowering plants each spring up with no known ancestor.
Angiopteris: A genus of Old World ferns has been found in the fossil record dating 180 million years old. They haven’t changed over this period.
Ginkgo biloba: The maidenhair tree has been in its present form for at least 160 million years.
Dipteris: A family of eight species of eastern Asian ferns have remained in the same form for 140 million years.
Matonia: A genus of terrestrial ferns has been found in the fossil record dating 140 million years. They too haven’t changed.
Araucaria: Tall evergreen tree genus native to the Southern Hemisphere which has been in its present form for 136 million years.
Cycas: Evergreen tree with pennate leaves which dates back 135 million years. Its the same today as it was in the Cretaceous period.
Sequoia: Tall deciduous evergreen genus native to North America. It hasn’t changed for 65 million years.
Stylites: Quillwort genus, an aquatic plant which has also persisted in the same form for 65 million years.
The plant kingdom like the animal kingdom, offers little or no support for Darwin’s theory.
Charles Darwin was aware of the problem. In the Origin of the Species, he wrote: “. . . intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory [of natural selection].”
David M Raup, former curator of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, wrote in the January 1979 edition of Field Museum Natural History Bulletin:
“Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, 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 [sic] change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information – what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic.”
Speaking at Hobart and Wilson Smith College in 1980, Stephen J. Gould, noted evolutionist writer and lecturer, remarked:
“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. They get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that is stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change it is not evolution so don’t talk about it.”
Professor Niles Eldridge of the Museum of Natural History also questions Darwinian evolution. In theory, natural selection produces a series of incremental changes slowly transforming one type of life into another. The problem has always been the fossil record. Intermediate fossils are missing. In the past, evolutionists simply dismissed the record saying it’s incomplete. That, points out Eldridge, is no longer the case.
Geologists have now studied rock layers representing the last five hundred million years, and the fossils remain the same. Those long sought transitional creatures are as illusive as ever. If the fossil record is not at fault, then it must be the theory.
Anyone can draw up an evolutionary chart; anyone can claim one life form evolved from another. But such stories are not science. There is no way to test or prove it. If fossils were allowed to vote, evolution would lose. Darwin could not count on a single vote.
Question to Consider: Scientists have now examined 100,000 specimen from around the world covering fauna from the past 3,500,000,000 years. Does this fossil record demonstrate evolution, or the stability of species?