Double Your Ark Encounter Donation Impact

Fossil Gap Closes More Missing Links

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on March 10, 2012
Share:

Natural Environment Research Council: “Fossil discoveries fill crucial gap in land animal evolutionThe gap closes but transitions are still lacking.

Evolutionists have long noted “Romer’s gap,” an absence of terrestrial fossils in 15 million years worth of rock in the geologic column above the Devonian mass extinction of aquatic animals. A trove of terrestrial fossils in Scotland discovered by Stanley Wood and Jennifer Clack “is forcing archeologists the world over to do some rewriting of their history books.”1

Evolutionary paleontologists have pondered whether there really was a multimillion year gap (from 360 million years ago to 345 million) after the death of so many aquatic creatures before evolution could march forward. Perhaps they just hadn’t found enough fossils yet. The gap used to be 30 million years when vertebrate paleontologist Alfred Romer first noticed the hole in the fossil record. Since then, fossil finds have supposedly partially filled it in. With Clack and Wood’s discoveries, the gap disappears.

Romer’s gap, if it contained any fossils, should in the evolutionary view reveal transitions between aquatic and terrestrial animals. As Clack explains, “'The break has been frustrating, because you wouldn't expect evolution to jump from simple aquatic creatures to complex, terrestrial animals without something in between.”

They include the “oldest”—actually the deepest—known five-toed foot, trumping previous finds by twenty million years in conventional dating.

The fossils found in Scotland include vertebrates and invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic. They include the “oldest”—actually the deepest—known five-toed foot, trumping previous finds by twenty million years in conventional dating. “These fossils are already revealing that the pentadactyl limb, which features five fingers or five toes, evolved a good 20 million years earlier than we thought,” Clack says. “This suite of fossils from Scotland now gives us a fuller picture of events at the start of the Carboniferous, when animals left the water and started colonising the land.” Furthermore, she adds, “'The sequence of fossils over the crucial period should be able to say something about the rate at which animals evolved at the end of the Devonian mass extinction.”

Despite Clack’s confidence that closer examination of the fossils will yield the secret of “how primitive animals at the end of the Devonian evolved into complex Carboniferous animals,” they do not provide the missing transitions. Her expectation is based on belief that terrestrial animals evolved from aquatic animals. Clack has written elsewhere, “Although humans do not usually think of themselves as fishes, they nonetheless share several fundamental characters that unite them inextricably with their relatives among the fishes. Tetrapods did not evolve from sarcopterygians [lobe-finned fishes]; they are sarcopterygians.”2 Thus, Clack semantically denies the necessity of finding transitional forms by imagining a smooth continuum of development. However, the Genesis account of creation of all kinds of creatures about 6,000 years ago with the ability to reproduce after their kinds is consistent with the non-evolutionary findings in biology: organisms do reproduce after their kinds.

Furthermore, Clack’s expectation of discovering the rate of evolution across this gap is based on the assumption that evolution of new kinds of creatures actually happened as well as the assumption that the dating of the rock layers is reliable. Actually those dates are based on a number of unverifiable assumptions. Interpretations of the evidence are based on the assumptions one accepts without proof.

These fossils do fill in a gap in the rocks, but not in “deep time.” Many supposed millions of years are accounted for by the single year of the global Flood. The fossils in the geologic column represent not evolution of life over millions of years but the record of death, mostly during in the global Flood. The order of creatures in the geologic column reveals the order in which organisms were rapidly buried, with the aquatic organisms occupying the lowest portions having been the first to be overwhelmed and buried. Creatures more capable of temporarily escaping rising floodwaters would generally be found in higher layers, as the researchers found here. Romer’s gap would represent both an artifact of sampling inconsistencies as the authors suggest as well as a possible layer in which much sediment was deposited while most mobile animals were still scrambling away with temporary success. The Bible explains the findings here and elsewhere in the geologic column.


Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

(Please note that links will take you directly to the source. Answers in Genesis is not responsible for content on the websites to which we refer. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.)

Footnotes

  1. www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-fossil-romer-gap.html
  2. The Fossil Record of 'Early' Tetrapods: Evidence of a Major Evolutionary Transition?

Recommended Resources

Newsletter

Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

See All Lists

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more