quote:Transitional fossils (popularly termed missing links) are the fossilized remains of intermediary forms of life that illustrate an evolutionary transition. They can be identified by their retention of certain primitive (plesiomorphic) traits in comparison with their more derived relatives, as they are defined in the study of cladistics. Numerous examples exist, including those of primates and early humans.
According to modern evolutionary theory, all populations of organisms are in transition. Therefore, a "transitional form" is a human construct of a selected form that vividly represents a particular evolutionary stage, as recognized in hindsight. Contemporary "transitional" forms may be called "living fossils", but on a cladogram representing the historical divergences of life-forms, a "transitional fossil" will represent an organism near the point where individual lineages (clades) diverge.
Thus all fossils that show intermediate characteristics between ancestral forms and descendant forms are by definition transitional. Thus whenever we see a clear lineage of fossils from an ancestral form (plesiomorphic) to derived descendant form (apomorphic), and thus they are transitional fossils.
Transitional fossils will be intermediate in form between ancestral forms and descendant forms, and they will share some, but not all, traits with both ancestors and descendants, and some traits shared by ancestors, the transitional fossil and descendants may themselves be shown in intermediate stages of development, between the ancestral and descendant forms of the traits.
(2) There should be billions of transitional fossils
The lack of transitionals that Gould was talking about was small-scale, ie between what would be considered very similar species, neighbours on the tree of life.
And this is prcisely what we should see in the fossil record in abundance. Darwin was certain that future fossil finds would support his theory. They didn't. So now neo-Darwinists harp on about fossils being "extremely rare", and "difficult to form".
What a load of parrot droppings. Take a look around. Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans everywhere. Daily tides. Frequent droughts and floods. Fossils are being formed by the ton as we speak, all over the world. And this process has been going on for (supposedly) millions of years. If the theory of evolution was true, we would be up to our necks in transitional fossils, each tiny darwinian step lovingly catalogued in the strata.
The lack of transitional fossils can only -only- be explained by a lack of transitional species.
This thread is intended to discuss and answer this issue.
ps - I will also add 3 responses as subthreads, which will cover my initial response at Message 20, so please let me complete those before promotion.