Thursday, April 06, 2006

The evidence accumulates.

Are there gaps in evolution? Apparently. From that the fundamentalist Right has, as normal, jumped to unwarranted conclusions. Take some of these comments from the Institute for Creation Research:

“If some type of fish evolved into some type of amphibian, there should have been distinct steps along the way of 90% fish/10% amphibian; then 80% fish/20% amphibian; etc., leading to the 100% amphibians we have today.”

They are quite adamant that no “missing link” could exist because every species was separately created by a god of some sort. As they put it creationism “says they never existed.”

The recent find of the Tiktaalik roseae seems to say otherwise. This extinct species, af first, looked like a fish. But on closer inspection they found much more. In the forward fins they found the beginnings of limbs. Other aspects of the fish also resembled those of four-legged animals more than those of fish. Nature magazine says this is clearly a “link between fishes and land vertebrates.”

Numerous skeletons of this species were uncovered in that last few years. And it appears that the appendages in the fins could be used for motion on solid surfaces. It is thought the species may have spent brief times out of water. It also had a neck that allowed the head to move in ways that fish could not do but a trait common in land animals.

That humans have not found all the various species that evolved over hundreds of millions of years is no surprise. We don’t even know how many species exist in the world today. But what we do find continues to support evolution as a plausible explanation of how life came to exist. And it is far, far more consistent with the evidence than the idea that all of life is only around 7,000 years old.


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