|Regarding the discontinuous fossil record:|
Gaps in the fossil record are time intervals with no fossils of a taxonomic group after the group first appeared and before it went extinct. As Ed points out, this needs to be beyond schoolyard taunting of the simpleminded.
Nearly all of the gaps in the fossil record of the theropod dinosaur group that includes birds - the Coelurosauria - are between species, because most of these species occur only at a single time in the fossil record. These gaps are implied by the presence of some, but not all, of the groups of coelurosaurians in the Late Jurassic.
Humans have a fossil record extending back over 5 million years (perhaps over 6), whereas chimpanzees - our closest relatives - have no recorded fossils older than a few thousands of years (gorillas have a similarly poor fossil record).
James M. Clark
Ronald Weintraub Associate Professor of Biology
Systematics and Paleontology of Dinosaurs and Crocodylomorpha
Department of Biological Sciences
George Washington University
A.B. (University of California, Berkeley, 1978)
M.S. (University of California, Berkeley, 1985)
Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 1986)
Post-Doctoral Work: Zoology Department, U.C. Davis (1987-1989), National Museum
of Natural History (1989-1991), American Museum of Natural History (1991-1994).
Gaps in the Rock and Fossil Records and Implications for the Rate and Mode of Evolution.When you consider that in our time, certainly since World War II, science has generally been controlled by government directly and by public education in general you always have to consider everything de novo. You cannot just buy into everything that passes for "science" on the grounds that it is against "religion." Christians claim that Darwinian evolution is flawed. That is true. They do claim that. It is also true that the theory of Darwinian evolution is flawed. To admit the latter fact is not to attend church with the former group.
Smith, Grant Sackett
Journal of Geological Education, v36 n3 p143-46 May 1988
Examines three types of gaps in the fossil record: real gaps, imaginary gaps, and temporary gaps. Reviews some recent evidence concerning evolution from the paleontological record of microfossils, invertebrates, and vertebrates in order to make some general conclusions regarding the manner in which life evolved on earth. (CW)
EJ378004 - (Not available via ERIC)
The earliest possible choristodere (Diapsida) and gaps in the fossil record of semi-aquatic reptiles
STORRS G. W. ; GOWER D. J. ;
Univ. Bristol, dep. geology, Wills memorial building, Bristol BS8 1RJ, ROYAUME-UNI
New fossil material of the problematic reptile species Pachystropheus rhaeticus from the uppermost Triassic (Rhaetian) of England, and re-examination of other specimens, demonstrate that it may be the earliest known example of the Choristodera, a poorly understood group of semi-aquatic diapsid reptiles. As a result, the fossil record of choristoderes is extended back in time by approximately 45 million years and a significant gap in the fossil record of these reptiles is highlighted. Failure of the record to reveal the evolutionary histories of those reptilian taxa that are most prone to fossilization (i.e. semi-aquatic and aquatic forms) emphasizes the need for rigorous, character-based studies in phylogenetic analysis of tetrapod lineages, rather than reliance upon stratigraphical position as an indicator of phylogenetic branching sequence
Journal of the Geological Society (J. Geol. Soc.)
1993, vol. 150 (6), pp. 1103-1107 (40 ref.)
You have think outside the box. Of course, most things are pretty much as they seem to be. However, as I said in another post, no matter where you stand on Earth, it appears flat and infinite. So, common sense -- and everyone else's opinions -- must yield to your own empirical rational judgment.
The Oxygen Gap
based on an University of Washington release
A new book by Peter Ward suggests dinosaurs became dominant because they developed efficient respiratory systems.
Vertebrate creatures first began moving from the world's oceans to land about 415 million years ago, then all but disappeared by 360 million years ago. The fossil record contains few examples of animals with backbones for the next 15 million years, and then suddenly vertebrates show up again, this time for good.
The mysterious lull in vertebrate colonization of land is known as Romer's Gap, named for the Yale University paleontologist, Alfred Romer, who first recognized it. But the term has typically been applied only to pre-dinosaur amphibians, and there has been little understanding of why the gap occurred.
Now a team of scientists led by University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward has found a similar gap during the same period among non-marine arthropods, largely insects and spiders, and they believe a precipitous drop in the oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere is responsible.
Information and discussion groups devoted to Extrasolar life; Extreme life; Life and Giant Planets; Mars Life; Meteors, Comets, and Asteroids; Missions; New Planets; Stellar Evolution; Terrestrial Climate History; Terrestrial Origins.
More information is available at
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-Ames Research Center (ARC)
Site affiliated with NASA's Ames Research Center.
Basically, the answer is, "I don't know... but I keep trying to find out."