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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Palaentology » Uneven fossil record

Uneven fossil record

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1 Uneven fossil record on Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:07 am


Uneven fossil record

Yet another interesting finding concerning petrified trees , is that many of them extend vertically through millions and millions of years of sedimentary rock.  How can this phenomenon be explained?  A common explanation is that these do not represent areas of the standard geologic column, but areas of rapid local flooding and sedimentation.  Therefore, the layers that these trees pass through do not represent thousands and millions of years.  However, the pictures shown to the right are of a petrified tree (located near Katherine Hill Bay  next to Flat Rocks Point, Australia) extending up through many sedimentary layers and  through two separated coal seams (See Video Below).4  The tree itself is twelve feet tall, and was uncovered by a coal mining company.   If the two separated coal seams represent long periods of time, how could this tree be extending between them both?  It seems to me that this is a difficulty for the current understanding of science.  Notice also that the layers themselves show no weathering between one layer and the next even though each layer was supposedly the surface of the earth for thousands if not millions of years.  These combined mysteries are more easily explained by rapid underwater burial with quickly forming sediments.  The theory that each fossil bearing layer in the geologic column represents eons of time seems inadequate to explain such problems that are easily explained by a quick catastrophic event.

David Raup, paleontologist
Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin's time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it is not always clear, in fact it's rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors.   In other words, biological improvement is hard to find.

Stephen J. Gould, paleontologist
All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.  

Simon Conway Morris, evolutionary biologist
William Buckland knew about it, Charles Darwin characteristically agonized over it, and still we do not fully understand it. “It”, of course, is the seemingly abrupt appearance of animals in the Cambrian “explosion.”

Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker
The Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 500 million years, are the oldest ones which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.

“There’s something damn funny about the stratigraphical record’. The record is spasmodic and ridiculously incomplete, with particular strata and fossils extremely widespread, but separated by vastly longer gaps than anything that is preserved. The same strata and fossils, though to all intents and geological purposes synchronous (laid down at one time), must have spread diachronously (laid down through multiple exposures). Traditional ideas such as gentle, continuous sedimentation (and perhaps similarly continuous evolution) are not adequate to explain what we see. Nor is the idea of the ‘stratotype’ satisfactory as a means of establishing and international stratigraphical language. The record is spasmodic and must be treated as such. The ‘layer cake’ analogy just will not do". 1971 a secular geologist, Derek Ager, in particular a specialist in stratigraphy (studies of sedimentary rocks) wrote the book, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record.


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2 Re: Uneven fossil record on Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:01 pm


Disparity preceding Diversity graphic on Cambrian Explosion from ‘Darwin’s Doubt’

"As Whittington analyzed the Cambrian fauna at the Burgess [in the 1960s], he realized that Walcott (before 1917) had grossly underestimated the morphological disparity of this group of animals. Many of the creatures in the assemblage featured unique body designs, unique anatomical structures, or both. Opabinia, with its five eyes, fifteen distinct segments, and claw at the end of a long proboscis exemplified the unique forms on display at the Burgess. But so did Hallucigenia, Wiwaxia, Nectocaris, and many other Burgess animals. To this day, paleontologists describing Nectocaris, for example, can’t decide whether it more closely resembles an arthropod, a chordate, or a cephalopod (a class of mollusk)".
Stephen Meyer - 'Darwin's Doubt' (pp. 52–53).

Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
"In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution."
Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology

Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion Part 1 – video
Part 2 – video

The Ham-Nye Creation Debate: A Huge Missed Opportunity - Casey Luskin - February 4, 2014
Excerpt: "The record of the first appearance of living phyla, classes, and orders can best be described in Wright's (1) term as 'from the top down'."
(James W. Valentine, "Late Precambrian bilaterians: Grades and clades," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 91: 6751-6757 (July 1994).)

In Explaining the Cambrian Explosion, Has the TalkOrigins Archive Resolved Darwin's Dilemma? - JonathanM - May 2012
Excerpt: it is the pattern of morphological disparity preceding diversity that is fundamentally at odds with the neo-Darwinian scenario of gradualism. All of the major differences (i.e. the higher taxonomic categories such as phyla) appear first in the fossil record and then the lesser taxonomic categories such as classes, orders, families, genera and species appear later. On the Darwinian view, one would expect to see all of the major differences in body plan appear only after numerous small-scale speciation events. But this is not what we observe.

"The sweep of anatomical diversity reached a maximum right after the initial diversification of multicellular animals. The later history of life proceeded by elimination not expansion."
Stephen J. Gould, Harvard, Wonderful Life, 1989, p.46

Darwin's evolutionary theory would have us believe that we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes. These following timeline graphs highlight the loss of phyla through time:

Origin of Phyla - The Fossil Evidence - Timeline Graph

The unscientific hegemony of uniformitarianism - David Tyler - May 2011
Excerpt: The pervasive pattern of natural history: disparity precedes diversity,,,, The summary of results for phyla is as follows. The pattern reinforces earlier research that concluded the Explosion is not an artefact of sampling. Much the same finding applies to the appearance of classes. These data are presented in Figures 1 and 2 in the paper.

Disparity precedes diversity - graph

Creation and Evolution: The Biological Evidence - Dr. Marc Surtees - Disparity precedes Diversity - video (7:20 minute mark)

“Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas."
James W. Valentine - as quoted from "On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine" - video

Disparity preceding diversity is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion but is found after it as well. In fact, in the following paper, some Darwinists tried to argue that since Disparity preceding Diversity is a consistent pattern in the fossil record after the Cambrian Explosion then, by their reasoning, that means the Cambrian Explosion wasn’t that special after all:

Cambrian Explosion Solved? - October 2010
Excerpt: Looking at the big picture, though, they argued that the Cambrian explosion was really not all that special; other parts of the fossil record show similar patterns: “the observation that disparity reaches its peak early in a group’s history seems to reflect a general phenomenon, also observed in plants (Boyce, 2005), the Ediacara biota (Shen et al., 2008), Precambrian microfossils (Huntley et al., 2006), and within many individual animal clades, such as crinoids (Foote, 1997), gastropods (Wagner, 1995), and ungulates (Jernvall et al., 1996). Although of significant interest, this high disparity soon after a group’s appearance is not unique to the Cambrian,” they said.

Well, despite what the preceding researchers would like to believe, Disparity preceding Diversity is NOT what Darwinian Evolution predicts (But such a pattern is what ‘top down’ design predicts):

Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head - July 30, 2013
Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: "This pattern, known as 'early high disparity', turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn't a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.",,,
Author Martin Hughes, continued: "Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: "A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,

“The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

“It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century

“Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” –
Ernst Mayr-Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

“What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

“In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

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