Fossils against evolution
Why should not Nature have taken a leap from structure to structure? On the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand why she should not; for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps.
Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? ... why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?
What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.
There is a problem looking for this missing link because you must already be committed to the idea that a missing link exists. This is an important observation because all analysis of early hominids are based on certain assumptions. The search assumes the truth of evolution, and it assumes, because of evolution, that if there are morphological similarities that these similarities imply a biogenetic relationship and ancestry. That is why the article says that there are some similarities here in facial features, jaws, ears, canine teeth with apes; but there are characteristics that look like men - they walked upright, for example. Therefore this is seen to be a link in the evolutionary chain between the two particular kinds of creatures that this fossil seems to be similar to. There is the conclusion that this must be a link between the two because of the presumption of evolution when the similarities to apes and humans to a certain degree are observed. Virtually all of these kinds of assessments start with the belief that evolution is true.
John Reader - Is it possible to discover 'the missing link'?
In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.
The fossil record is very incomplete and will vary greatly for different groups of organisms. The record of most important evolutionary events was never in the fossil record. Many events that were recorded in fossils have since been lost. Many fossils remain as of yet undiscovered and uncatalogued by science.
The adequacy of the fossil record is hard to assess, as the various contributions in this book indicate. In a strict sense, it will never be possible to assess the adequacy of any segment of the fossil record, since the true picture will be forever unknown. Perhaps there have been whole phyla, or even kingdoms, of extraordinary organisms that lived at different times in the past, but which have left no fossil indications. One could imagine whole tribes of giant purple worms with bodies 100 metres long, squirming around on Carboniferous forest floors, or an entirely unknown kingdom of photosynthesising organisms that lived in Cambrian seas and moved by means of floppy wheels made from protoplasm. Such organisms are not impossible, but they are unlikely. The unlikelihood increases day-by-day as ever more palaeontological effort fails to turn up any hint of such unknown major groups of macroscopic organisms.
By the aid of fossils palaeontologists can now give us an excellent picture of the life of past ages.
All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. Gradualists usually extract themselves from this dilemma by invoking the extreme imperfection of the fossil record.
This diagram illustrates the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. The vertical axis represents time, and the horizontal axis represents "morphology" (body structure of an organism). Darwin's theory (a) predicted that fossil transitions between different body types would be found. When transitions were not found, evolutionists proposed hypothetical model (b), punctuated equilibrium, where the transitional forms were not fossilized. Model (C) represents the actual fossil record with regards to the origin of the major types (phyla) of animals. Many types of organisms suddenly appear in the "Cambrian" period. This "Cambrian Explosions", combined with the Avalon Explosion and the sudden appearance of Angiosperms (Frohlich and Chase, 2007) provide good examples of the many explosions challenging those seeking evidence for evolution in the fossil record.
Insects are the most diverse lineage of all life in numbers of species, and ecologically they dominate terrestrial ecosystems. However, how and when this immense radiation of animals originated is unclear. ... Rhyniognatha has derived characters shared with winged insects, suggesting that the origin of wings may have been earlier than previously believed.
Lazarus taxon El Hierro giant lizard
A Lazarus taxon is a taxon that disappears from one or more periods of the fossil record, only to appear again later.
Living fossil Coelacanth
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species of organism which appears to be the same as a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives. These species have all survived major extinction events, and generally retain low taxonomic diversities.
John Reader - Can scientists draw firm conclusions from fossil finds?
I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another, but that I believe that this view in the main is correct, because so many phenomena can be thus grouped together and explained.