Re: Don't forget about me!

Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 10:27:29 EDT

  • Next message: Hofmann, Jim: "RE: Darwinism Defeated"

    Bill Payne wrote:
    A second question along this same line is whether forms which appear to
    be transitional are truly so. The book _Of Pandas and People_ shows
    silhouettes of three skulls: a Tasmanian wolf, a North American wolf, and
    a dog. The cranial-cavity size increases as you go from the Tasmanian
    wolf to the dog, suggesting a transitional relationship. However, we
    know the Tasmanian wolf was a marsupial, while the other two are
    placental mammals. Convergent evolution can produce forms which look
    transitional but which we know are not, based upon soft-part anatomy,
    which of course is rarely fossilized. Is this factor just generally
    ignored by those inferring evolutionary relationships?

    One issue that occurs to me about transitional fossils is that they are
    just that, not long lived species. Almost by definition
    transitional fossils will be rare (or even absent) in the record, because
    there never will have been many of them. The
    liklihood of any particular creature being fossilized is small enough, the
    liklihood that the one that gets fossilized is the
    actual ancestor of all following creatures is practically zero. So we
    shouldn't be surprised that the transitions are hard
    to follow. The amazing thing is that we can follow it at all.

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