Quote: Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard paleontologist

Various Creationists have used the quote:

Stephen Jay Gould, a well-known evolutionist and professor of geology and paleontology at Harvard University, has stated, "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of the branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils."
This makes it sound as if Gould was saying that all the evidence is missing. But, that's not what he meant. "Rare" does not mean "nonexistent". A small fraction of millions can still be a large number.
"But paleontologists have discovered several superb examples of intermediary forms and sequences, more than enough to convince any fair-minded skeptic about the reality of life's physical genealogy."
Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, May 1994

"Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."
Stephen Jay Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, p.261

In fact, among vertebrates, there are thousands of transitional fossils. There are many series showing smooth transition from one species to another.

Last modified: 14 July 1997

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