Educating Tong: Science Explains Pattern of Gaps
- Tin: A combination of the evolutionary
history of life and the basic scientific
principles of fossilization and geology
explain the nature of fossil gaps.
The following principles impact
the likelihood that any form of life
will fossilize and be found. OTHER
THINGS BEING EQUAL, the following explain
patterns of gaps in the fossil record
in general and Cambrian (relatively large gaps)
A. Fossilization is rare. Most life does not
B. Small physical size (contrast to hominids
for example). Fossil gaps are larger for
smaller organisms and smaller for large organisms
other things being
C. Lacking in hard parts (the fossil record
becomes almost instantly richer once shells evolve).
Fossil gaps are larger for organisms lacking hard
parts and smaller for organisms with hard parts
other things being equal.
D. Species that lived for a short
time are(some evolutionary transitions were
geologically brief, providing only a short
window for fossilization) . Other
things being equal there are fewer fossil
for life forms that lived only a short
E. Absence of fossilization conditions
(special circumstances are required for
fossilization to occur, the vast majority of
life is NOT fossilized). Some environments
are more conducive to fossilization than
others. Areas with frequent local floods,
tar pits, volcanic ash, or landslides
can inrease the chances of fossilization.
F. Destruction of fossils (plate tectonics,
erosion, human activity). Fossilization
that occurs near subduction zones may
result in the destruction of the fossils
G. Age: very old fossils are more likely
to be destroyed. Other things being
equal there are more gaps for ancient life
froms than more recent life forms.
H: Quantity of individuals. The volume of
individual organisms both horizontally
and vertically in the geologic column impact
the probability of life fossilizing and being found.
For example, bacteria live in large numbers, sometimes
clumped together, geographically diverse in locations
over billions of years.
Science and evolution EXPLAIN
fossil record pattern. ID never does.