On to the next example:
Reptiles to Birds
Another of the big ones, and also another of the favorites of the Irreducible complexity crowd. “What good is half a wing?” is a question you’ll see asked quite often in Evo/Creo discussions.
Well, let’s just see about that by taking a look at another illustration courtesy of talk.origins:
At the top we have Ornitholestes. A bipedal dinosaur found in the late Jurassic.
Below that we have the rather well known Archeopteryx, found at the very end of the Jurassic. Notice the forelimb skeletal structure is practically identical… the claws are a little more hooked, the second and third digits seem to have fused, the bones are just a slightly different shape… but Archaeopteryx is feathered. Apart from that it is clearly more reptilian than bird and there’s almost no chance it was capable of flight. At best it’s modified forelimbs provided it with some extra lift while leaping.
Below that we have Sinoris. An archaic bird from the Cretaceous. It had everything it needed anatomically to be fully flight capable. That’s right… that forelimb is an early version of a wing…. which still has the claws from when it used to be a forelimb on the end of it. I don’t exactly see a useless “half a wing” stage between those first three forms. Do you?
Below that is a modern chicken wing… which serves to demonstrate just how much a wing can change given 60 million years of evolutionary adaptation... but that’s a change between wing and wing so there’s hardly a need for a “half a wing” stage between those two. Unless of course, considering the rather unimpressive flight capabilities of the chicken, you consider them to have "half a wing".
And for the final example… us. Back to talk.origins yet again for a pretty picture (because they have so many great ones):
A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern
With the exception of the first skull, a modern chimpanzee for comparison purposes, all the skulls are arranged in chronological order. The blue pieces in the skulls are reconstructions, everything else is original fossil material. The progression should be obvious. Decreasing upper jaw protrusion, increasing brain cavity size, the changing brow ridges… on some other skulls (examples below) where dental records are more intact changing size of the canines is also evident.
I should also mention that the consensus view today I that the Neanderthal were not direct ancestors to modern humans but more like cousins. A very recent branch off of the hominid line which subsequently went extinct.
Now, if we were only to display B and N directly next to each other I doubt that there’s an anti-evolutionist on the planet who wouldn’t immediately declare something very like [I]“Well, one’s an ape and one’s a human. They’re obviously different. Don’t tell me you think we could have come from THAT”
But just put B and C next to each other and ask them if “microevolution” could change one into the other. I doubt they could deny it. And thus they would declare they were the same “kind” and this was only minor variation within kinds.
Only put C and D next to each other and ask.
Only put D and E next to each other and ask.
This is clearly a transitional sequence between a modern human form and an early primate form… exactly the thing it creationists are constantly claiming doesn’t exist.
For a better of view of some of these fossils click this link then follow the instructions below it:
Human Evolution: The fossil evidence in 3D
-Click on “Enter the Gallery”. Don’t have pop-ups disabled.
-Along the bottom of the window that opens click on the seconf last image that looks like a gorilla (it’s actually a chimp).
-If you click and drag on the skull that comes up you can rotate it through a full 360 degrees. This lets you get a much better look at the overall shape of the skull. Also, if you hold down the shift key then click and drag you can measure the skull since they aren’t displayed to scale
-After that move on and click on the picture of the human, the bottom sequence will zoom in to show a progression of fossil hominids. You can click on each of them and manipulate them the same way. They are also arranged in chronological order as they are dated and found in the column.
To sum up... the claim that "there are no transitional fossils" has been around for a very long time... and it has been completely wrong for a very long time.