Show Me Your Crocoduck

'Why doesn't the fossil record contain a fronkey?' Well, of course, monkeys are not descended from frogs. No sane evolutionist ever said they were, or that ducks are descended from crocodiles or vice versa. Monkeys and frogs share an ancestor, which certainly looked nothing like a frog and nothing like a monkey. Maybe it looked a bit like a salamander, and we do indeed have salamander-like fossils dating from the right time. But that is not the point. Every one of the millions of species of animals shares an ancestor with every other one. If your understanding of evolution is so warped that you think we should expect to see a fronkey and a crocoduck, you should also wax sarcastic about the absence of a doggypotamus and an elephanzee. Indeed, why limit yourself to mammals? Why not a kangaroach (intermediate between kangaroo and cockroach), or an octopard (intermediate between octopus and leopard)? There's an infinite number of animal names you can string together in that way.* Of course hippopotamuses are not descended from dogs, or vice versa. Chimpanzees are not descended from elephants or vice versa, just as monkeys are not descended from frogs. No modern species is descended from any other modern species (if we leave out very recent splits). Just as you can find fossils that approximate to the common ancestor of a frog and a monkey, so you can find fossils that approximate to the common ancestor of elephants and chimpanzees. Here is one called Eomaia, which lived in the early Cretaceous period, a little more than 100 million years ago.

As you can see, Eomaia was nothing like a chimpanzee and nothing like an elephant. Vaguely like a shrew, it probably was pretty similar to their common ancestor, with which it was roughly contemporary, and you can see that a lot of evolutionary change has taken place along both pathways from an Eomaia-like ancestor to an elephant descendant, and from the same Eomaia- like ancestor to a chimpanzee descendant. But it is not in any sense an elephanzee. If it were, it would also have to be a dogatee, for whatever is the common ancestor of a chimpanzee and an elephant is also the common ancestor of a dog and a manatee. And it would also have to be an aardvapotamus, for the same ancestor is also the common ancestor of an aardvark and a hippopotamus. The very idea of a dogatee (or an elephanzee, or an aardvapotamus or a kangaroceros or a buffalion) is deeply unevolutionary and ridiculous. So is a fronkey, and it is a disgrace that the perpetrator of that little witlessism, the Australian itinerant preacher John Mackay, has been touring British schools in 2008 and 2009, masquerading as a 'geologist', teaching innocent children that if evolution were true the fossil record should contain 'fronkeys'.

Atlas Creation
Eomaia

An equally ludicrous example is to be found in the Muslim apologist Harun Yahya's enormous, lavishly produced, glossily illustrated and fatuously ignorant book Atlas of Creation. This book obviously cost a fortune to produce, which makes it all the more astounding that it was distributed free to tens of thousands of science teachers, including me. Notwithstanding the prodigious sums of money spent on this book, the errors in it have become legendary. In the service of illustrating the falsehood that most ancient fossils are indistinguishable from their modern counterparts, Yahya shows a sea snake as an 'eel' (two animals so different that they are placed in different classes of vertebrates), a starfish as a 'brittlestar' (actually different classes of echinoderms), a sabellid (annelid) worm as a crinoid 'sea lily' (an echinoderm: this pair come not just from different phyla but from different sub-kingdoms, so that they could hardly be more distant from each other if they tried, while still both being animals) and -best of all - a fishing lure as a 'caddis fly' (see colour page 8).

But in addition to these gems of partisan risibility, the book has a section on missing links. One picture is seriously offered to illustrate the fact that there is no intermediate form between a fish and a starfish. I find it impossible to believe that the author seriously thinks evolutionists would expect to find a transition between two such differing animals as a starfish and a fish. I therefore cannot help suspecting that he knows his audience all too well, and is deliberately and cynically exploiting their ignorance.

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