Evolution is a truly remarkable theory. How many other theories have compelling evidence that you can literally dig out of the ground? And then mount on your wall! Not very many!
Paleontologists have brought us some of the best known and compelling evidence of evolution. Suppose that we had no evidence for evolution other than the evidence provided by fossils. We would still be entitled to consider evolution proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
As we dig deeper into the Earth, we are digging further into the past. Deeper layers of Earth contain earth laid down further and further into the past. As we dig deeper and uncover increasingly older fossils, we see a clear pattern. The further back in time we go we find increasingly more primitive forms of life. And we see fewer and fewer of the organisms we now know came later in history.
Not only that, we find many fossils which are clearly of groups of beings which are ancestral to the groups we have today.
If we dig in earth laid down around 3 billion years ago, all we find are simple single-celled organisms such as bacteria. If we dig in earth laid down about 750 million years ago, the only animals we find are primitive animals such as sponges. We then find evidence of the first chordates arriving around 61o million years ago.
And as we go forward in time from the very oldest days of the Earth, we find entire groups of organisms coming into being as developmental offshoots of early groups. We find species within groups becoming more and more advanced. And sometimes branching off into sub-groups of their own. All of this clearly indicates that evolution is happening.
We can also study transitional fossils which show species which have the essential traits of one group of beings. As well as the traits of a descendant group.
That is, fossils which show one species evolving into another!
Despite what Creationists would have us believe; we have an abundance of such fossils. As a result, we know how whales evolved from land mammals. We know some of the steps taken by the evolution of the first land animals. That is not all, we also have fossils showing how some dinosaurs are becoming birds (while remaining dinosaurs)!
We have excellent transitional fossils of dinosaurs with relatively few bird-like features but which were able to fly. Dinosaurs with very bird-like features. And very primitive birds which retain a few non-avian dinosaur features.
We have excellent fossil records of human species that are gradually walking more and more upright and becoming taller. And generally becoming more and more like our own species of humanity, homo sapiens.
We have the fossil record of land mammals which spent more and more time in the water. Until their descendants adapted to aquatic life. They lost their back limbs almost entirely, leaving only vestigial hind limbs and became whales!
Click here to return to the full article.