But how good is the geological record? I have already mentioned that the ordinary viewpoint of evolution held by most paleontologists favours gradual incremental change. The fossil record, they say, is too incomplete to take seriously. And, they say, you cannot prove a gap.
But of course you can prove a gap, especially if clines occurred. If there is a break in the record it must be possible to detect the break. The main point about breaks is that, if they were really random, as proposed by Darwin, they must have been plugged by one hundred and fifty years of work. But the gaps have not been plugged. They still persist; yet authorities still plead the cause of failure of preservation. Such authorities forget that if there is a million to one chance of one specimen of a population, and then if that species lived 5–15 m.y., we therefore get 5–15 times the population fossilized. The trouble may perhaps have lain more truthfully in our failure to find or describe the material. It is special pleading to rely upon gaps, and it is special pleading to propose inadequate preservation. We would do better to look at what the record really says.
(Click image to enlarge)
From the inagural lecture by J.B. Waterhouse.
Assistant Prof. Geol. QLD University