Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ
[Last Update: March 17, 1997]
FAQ as a reference for answering the "there aren't any transitional fossils"
statement that pops up on talk.origins several times each year. I've tried to
make it an accurate, though highly condensed, summary of known vertebrate fossil
history in those lineages that led to familiar modern forms, with the known
transitions and with the known major gaps both clearly mentioned. Version
6.0 of the FAQ has been almost entirely rewritten, with:
- A completely rewritten introduction & conclusion, discussing what
"transitional" means, why gaps occur, and what the fossil record shows.
- A greatly expanded list of "chains of genera" for most groups, especially
- References for documented species-to-species fossil transitions, mostly
- Explicit mention of the notable remaining gaps in the fossil record.
If you have questions about this FAQ or want to send email to the author, click
has FISHES TO FIRST MAMMALS & BIRDS:
are there gaps?
of creationism & evolution
in this FAQ
from primitive fish to sharks, skates, rays
from primitive fish to bony fish
from fishes to first amphibians
from amphibians to first reptiles
from reptiles to first mammals (long)
from reptiles to first birds
has transitions among mammals (starting with primates), including
numerous species-to-species transitions, discussion, and references. If you're
particularly interested in humans, skip to the primate section of part 2, and
also look up the fossil hominid FAQ.
of the Cenozoic
(rabbits & hares)
(first hoofed animals)
(whales & dolphins)
(horses, rhinos, tapirs)
(dugongs & manatees)
(pigs, hippos, deer, giraffes, cows, etc.)
transitions from other miscellaneous mammal groups
- A bit of historical background
- The major features of the fossil record
- Good models & bad models: which theories match the data best?
- The main point.
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