Quote: David Raup, Curator of Geology

In the Jehovah's Witnesses book Life: How did it get here? (and in many other places) we find the quote:

...we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information...

David M. Raup, Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin Vol. 50 #1 (January 1979) p. 25

I'm sure that Dr. Raup knew his fossils. But wait: just how did he finish that last sentence?
- what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic.
What Raup is actually talking about is the fact that several "simple" sequences have turned out to be complex sequences. His article in no way attacks evolution: he assumes throughout that all species have a single common ancestor. His point is that gradual change by natural selection is not the only mechanism of evolution. He actually spends much of the article proposing an additional mechanism, surname extinction.

Since he wrote this article, there have been breakthroughs in the study of microfossils. So, his comment about the shortage of fossil series is out of date.

Last modified: 10 January 1998

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