Missing Links

What about the standard links we are all familiar with? Let's take a quick run through those that are most commonly cited and see how they fare under closer scrutiny.

A Bird With Bite

The classic example of a transitional form always cited in books, especially for children, is the Archaeopteryx, the "reptile-bird". Archaeopteryx did possess certain features unusual for a bird: teeth, a long tail, claws on its wings, a shallow breastbone, etc. However, the question is, do these features make it truly transitional between reptiles and birds?

Surprising as it may seem, every one of the Archaeopteryx's unusual features may be found in true birds. Although it is not a commonly known fact, many birds have claws on their wings. The embryos and newly-hatched offspring of most poultry have claws. Likewise for most birds of prey, waders, and swimming birds. The ostrich has three claws on its wings, just like Archaeopteryx did, and nobody considers it transitional. The hoatzin of South America and the touraco of Africa have claws almost identical to Archaeopteryx, and are fully birds, living today.

Archaeopteryx had teeth. Does this prove it was reptilian? The trouble is, not all reptiles have teeth (think of the turtle). Therefore, teeth are not diagnostic of reptiles. And on the other hand, many extinct birds did have teeth. Seventeen species of extinct birds had teeth. So the possession of teeth does not signal that the Archaeopteryx was reptilian; it was a common feature of ancient birds.

Most telling are the feathers that Archaeopteryx sported. An intermediate should have only partly-developed feathers: forelimbs in the process of developing into wings, scales in the process of developing into feathers. But not so Archaeopteryx. Both wings and feathers are fully developed and as capable of powered flight (not mere gliding) as any modern bird.

Of course, this kind of examination of Archaeopteryx's features is passed at this point, since true birds have now been found in younger strata. In 1971, James Jensen discovered a fully-formed bird in the same level of rock as Archaeopteryx, discrediting it as an ancestor of birds (an ancestor must live earlier, not at the same time). Then, just last year, researchers from Texas Tech University announced their find of a creature which had even more decisively bird-like characteristics than Archaeopteryx, yet is found in a rock stratum dated at 75 million years younger than Archaeopteryx.1

Horsn' Around

The evolution of the horse is considered to be an important pillar of evolutionary theory. It seems to provide a beautiful graded sequence that is incontrovertible support of Darwinian evolution. Is it?

The horse series is actually beset by numerous weaknesses, which are not usually admitted in text books or museum displays. First, the fossils are nowhere found in the "proper" order anywhere in the rocks. All the different kinds of horse fossils have actually been found in surface formations, not one buried neatly on top of the next. The sequence has been artificially arranged from fossils found all around the world. Taken at face value, the various horse types may just as well have been living at the same time in different localities.

Assuming the evolutionary dating system is accurate, even then there is no smooth line from the small Eohippus to modern horses. The size and number of toes moves erratically up and down.

Most damaging, Eohippus, the small creature that begins the horse series, may not be a horse at all. When it was first found as a fossil, it was not considered to be one. In fact, it is remarkably similar to a shy, fox-sized African animal called a daman that is alive and well and not a horse at all. According to Francis Hitching, in ‘The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong', Eohippus is identical skeletally to the daman. The daman, on the other hand, is not at all like a horse, either morphologically, in habitat, or in manner of life.2

Finally, modern-type horse fossils have now been found alongside Eohippus fossils. So, whatever Eohippus may have been, it certainly was not the ancestor of the modern horse.

Source: 'Creation Ex-Nihilo' 

  • 1. See BSA Newsletter, November 1986
  • 2. See Francis Hitching, ‘The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong' (NY: Ticknor and Fields, 1982), pp. 30-32