Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yet Another Gap Filled in the Fossil Record

It is a requirement of science that its discoveries be continually verifiable and verified. Even the obvious must be constantly checked as if some new discovery could overturn or modify what is already known beyond any reasonable doubt. So this latest discovery of transitional fossils in flatfish does not shock or surprise any scientist. It was predictable that such fossils might exist, although it was possible that none did or would ever be discovered. Not every animal or intermediate stage in evolution is recorded in the fossil record, only those whose deaths happen to have been preserved by the sedimentation process.

In this case, the lack of intermediate fossils to demonstrates the evolution of eye migration in flatfish had long been taken as one of those unfilled gaps in the fossil record. It is precisely the existence of such gaps (although they are fully expected and compatible with evolution theory) that is constantly trotted out by anti-evolutionists as a kind of "proof" that evolution cannot explain everything in nature. Yet the existence of such gaps also provides an opportunity. No evolutionist expects there to have been any historical gaps in real history, only in the imperfect recordings of that history by the fossilization process.

The fossil record leaves us with a kind of lengthy movie of the history of life on this planet, but a movie with many missing frames. So we see that "movie" as a kind of sped-up old-time film, a silent movie where the scenes and characters jump around. Yet the time-edited film itself stands as proof that real actors once played before that camera.

No comments: