07 The Fossil Record

7 The Fossil Record

7 The Fossil Record


In order to investigate the fossil record we must start with The Geological Column. This shows a sequence of rock layers with the oldest at the bottom, up to the most recent at the top. A complete sequence of layers does not exist anywhere in the world, so the column is made up from matching overlapping layers.


There are fossils in many of these layers which can be investigated, this is observation science. It shows life forms at the bottom, which were buried first, and a progression of creatures up to the most recent buried near the top of the sequence.

This exists, it can be seen, investigated & is accepted by all. The order of burial is not questioned. It is just in the time scale & the relevance where the argument arises.


The next step is where the controversy starts.

Palaeontologists (fossil scientists) examine the record & interpret it with respect to their world view.

1 Evolutionists claim that simple life forms were the first to form & as they existed before others are found at the bottom of the sequence. As life evolved & developed through time, more complex forms appeared, this is what is shown in the sequence.

2 Creationists believe all basic forms of life appeared at the beginning of time & interpret the rock sequences as a record of inundation, mainly by the global flood at the time of Noah. Sea floor dwelling creatures were the first to be covered by sediment resulting from the flood, then fish, followed by land dwelling creatures. Those living near the ocean shores were inundated first & then those further from the seas.


You may think that either of these alternative models, though very different, could be valid.


However the evolutionist model has a critical failure. If life forms developed from simple creatures, through countless stages and millions of years, there should be a clear record of one form changing into another. Instead there are missing links throughout the record. Every fossilised kind of creature appears fully formed, just as would be expected in the creation model. If evolution were true there should be evidence of single celled life developing into multicellular ocean dwelling shell creatures, & these developing into fish. There should be examples of fish growing limbs & emerging onto the land as amphibians. Evidence of amphibians should be exist showing a change into reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, mammals & eventually into humans.


Evolutionists claim that the fossil record is patchy & that creatures undergoing evolutionary changes were missed by fossilization, this is why we don’t find them.


Darwinwrote in his ‘Origins’ book that a lack of intermediate fossils would be a failing of his theory, but expected them so be discovered in the future. It is now 150 years since his publication. Although many millions of fossils have been discovered & identified, intermediates have still not been found.


BecauseDarwin’s slow & gradual changes are not evidenced in the fossil record a number of other forms of evolution have been proposed. Neo-Darwinism, Punctuated equilibrium, Hopeful monsters, Panspermia & Lamarkism have all been proposed to explain the supposed progression. These ideas are not based on their own merits but were derived to explain the lack of transitional fossils.


The evolutionist does not find support from the fossil record so has to argue from a lack of evidence.

The argument, we don’t see it, but ‘it must have happened’ is not science but a belief system, and that is what evolution really is.


I heard a notable quote from an evolutionist.

“No evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence for evolution”.

If evolution is progressing so slowly that we can’t observe it in the present, & there is no evidence in the past, why do people believe it?


Formation of fossils.

It is generally thought (& taught) that it can take up to a million years for a fossil to form. Sediments have to slowly settle around a dead creature, build up, set hard into rock & the creature is eventually preserved in fossil form.


This is actually nonsense. Ocean sediments build up at an average rate of cm’s/century. Just think how long it would take for a large creature to become entombed. In that time the carcass would be scavenged,  would decay, rot & generally fall apart.


What is needed for something to fossilize is: a) to be rapidly covered, b) remain in a location with a lack of oxygen, & c) be in the presence of dissolved minerals. Fossilization is not a slow, gentle process, it must be very rapid. Numerous examples of recent fossilisation have been documented.

Animals, plants & man made items have all been recently preserved in rocks.


1 The Tree of Life.

The evolutionary process is often portrayed as a tree model. In text books figures of this tree of life are often portrayed with different kinds of life supposedly branching off of the trunk over time. The twigs of this tree represent both the diversity of life we see today & the branches show what from fossils existed in the past.


The important thing to note is that the connections are always missing & lines of lineage have to be inferred. Where the structure of the tree is drawn look for the dotted lines of inference!


Interestingly, just this year an article appeared in the journal New Scientist claiming thatDarwin’s tree of life could be wrong. The fossil record, microbiology & information theory are all at odds with this idea.


2 The Lawn Model.

In the past Christians believed that all life seen around us originated in the creation week, species have never changed since the beginning.


3 The Orchard Model.

Modern creationists think that variations have occurred but are limited within created kinds. A new breed of dog or cat can be produced, but you will never find a dat or cog! Adaptations occurred in different environments (notably after the Flood).


Human fossils & Ape-Men.

It has been said that all of the supposed ape-man fossils would fit into one coffin; and that is the best place for them.


The discovery of an ape-man fossil to an evolutionary palaeontologist is like finding the Holy Grail. It would bring prestige, notoriety, accolades from the scientific community & generous survey funding.


It is therefore hardly surprising that any form of human or ape bones (sometimes not even just these) is looked upon as a possible ape-man missing link. This will not unnaturally affect the view of the researcher, and often people see what they want to see, find what they want to find.


It is important to note that over 95% of fossils are of sea creatures, next comes vegetation (trees & plants), all land dwelling animals comprise a tiny fraction of the total. Human fossils make up a minute fraction of the fossil record.







There are a number of examples of so called ape-men missing links. I will review some of these:


1 Piltdown Man. This fossil was found near Piltdown inWest Sussexin the middle of the last century. An ape-like jaw was found near a human skull. For 40 years this was presented as a classic missing link between apes & humans. Books were written about it, thesis were based on it & evolutionary models were made from it. This was Dawn Man, one of man’s first ancestors. This was the expected missing link that would cause all religious opposition to evolution to crumble!


2NebraskaMan.Englandhad a missing link,Americafound one. From a single fossilized tooth an ape-man, his family members & life style were portrayed in the media.


3 Java Man. A Dutchman went out to Java ‘to find a missing link’! Unsurprisingly he found one. He dug up an ape femur & part of a human skull. These he confidentially claimed were from the same body, so it must have been an ape man!


4 NeanderthalMan.We have all heard of this sub-human creature which is used as a slur or insult.


Realities about the finds:


1 When a closer examination of the bones was made it was found that the fossil was a fraud. Physical & chemical treatment was detected. The reason why it took 40 years to discover was that evolutionists did not want to find the truth if it challenged their theory.


2 Many reconstructions are made from flimsy fossil data. At a later stage more of these teeth were discovered – attached to a jaw bone of an extinct pig!

Darwinis said to have made a man out of a monkey. Here an evolutionist is made out of a pig.


3 This example also took some time before it was discredited. The leg bone was the same as giant gibbons found in the vicinity.


4 More recent constructions have been rather different. In these multicultural times it has been said that if a Neanderthal man had his haircut & dressed in a suit he wouldn’t stand out in western cities.

A couple of notes:

a) The size of their skulls were larger that of modern people & so possibly had a larger brain size.

b) They performed rituals & buried their dead.

c) Their bone structure was probably due to rickets as a result of sunshine.


Lastly, I will mention polystrate (many, layers) fossils. These fossils extend through different geological layers. The most obvious are fossilised tree trunks, which can extend through several layers, supposedly hundreds of thousands years apart. How a tree trunk could exist for such a time while the layers formed & hardened beggars belief.


Surely the best explanation for the fossil record is a number of catastrophic events, notably the flood at the time of Noah, plus other localised floods. Secular scientists are beginning to accept catastrophic flooding but stop short of anything consistent with the bible.

Stephen Martin