Line Numbered Transcripts Index - P534-566
1 Q Are geologists able to tell whether folding or
2 faulting or some other geological process has disturbed
3 the initial strata?
A Yes. And I should say it is not done secularly by
5 finding of fossil sequences, and then assuming that only
6 because of that there must be a fold or a fault. We look
7 for direct evidence, of fold or fault.
8 There are two main ways of doing that. The first is
9 geological mapping, where you actually trace out the folds
10 and faults in the earth's strata.
11 In the others you can well imagine what there is. For
12 example, in thrust faulting, a large block or blocks has
13 literally been pushed over. In another, there would be
14 some disturbance of the boundary. That is, this heavy
15 block of rock has literally pushed over the other. But
16 you would get fracturing and folding of rocks from either
17 side of the so-called thrust plane, and we find this.
18 Q Could you please give an example of a thrust fault?
19 A Probably the most famous thrust fault that is known
20 in the United States is the so-called Lewis Overthrust in
21 Montana where rather ancient rocks of pre-Cambrian age,
22 that is current even before we have the first
23 invertebrates and the fossil record, are thrust over much
24 younger rocks of Cretaceous age that is coeval with the
1 Q What do creation scientists say about the Lewis
3 A They try to argue that it's a good example of why
4 the geological column is wrong, because of the sequence of
5 the mass and the sequence of fossils, and that it isn't
6 really an overthrust because they claim that the
7 sedimentary layers are in fact undisturbed, and that the
8 so-called thrust plane is really just a bedding plane, and
9 that it's a single calm sequence of the process of rocks.
10 Q Did they cite any evidence for that claim?
11 A Well, they certainly claim to. For example, again,
12 in the Genesis Flood that we referred to previously by
13 Whitcomb and Morris—
14 MR. NOVIK: That's Plaintiffs' Exhibit 126.
15 A —we find the following statement about the Genesis
16 flood. Whitcomb and Morris are here quoting from a
17 reputable source.
18 Q This is a statement about the Lewis Overthrust?
19 A Yes. A statement about the Lewis Overthrust from
20 an article by C.P. Ross and Richard Rezak quoted by
21 Whitcomb and Morris. And the quotation on page 187
22 reads: "Most visitors, especially those who stay on the
23 roads, get the impression that the Belt strata are
24 undisturbed" — the Belt strata is the upper strata of the
25 pre-Cambrian thrust, sorry — "that the Belt strata are
1 A (Continuing) undisturbed and lie almost as flat
2 today as they did when deposited in the sea which vanished
3 so many years ago."
4 And that would seem to indicate that it was just a
5 single sequence. It's rather interesting if you would go
6 back to the Ross and Rezak article and read the very next
7 statement, which Morris and Whitcomb did not cite, you
8 would find the following.
9 The very next statement, uncited by Whitcomb and Morris,
10 is as follows: "Actually," talking about folded rocks,
11 "they are folded, and in certain places, they are
12 intensely so. From points on and near the trails in the
13 park, it is possible to observe places where the Belt
14 series, as revealed in outcrops on ridges, cliffs, and
15 canyon walls, are folded and crumpled almost as
16 intricately as the soft younger strata in the mountains
17 south of the park and in the Great Plains adjoining the
18 park to the east," the younger strata being the Cretaceous
19 rocks below.
20 But that's certainly a good example of selective
22 THE COURT: Let me see if I've got both of those
24 MR. NOVIK: The second reference, your Honor, I
25 believe has been marked as Plaintiffs'—
1 THE COURT: Before you get to the second one, the
2 first one is—
3 A The first one, your Honor, is from The Genesis
5 THE COURT: That's Plaintiffs' Exhibit 126?
6 MR. NOVIK: That's correct, your Honor.
7 THE COURT: Page what?
8 MR. NOVIK: Page 187.
9 A The continuation, I'm citing from an article by
10 Christopher Weber called Common Creationist Attacks on
12 THE COURT: Is that an exhibit?
13 MR. NOVIK: It's Plaintiffs' Exhibit 127, your
15 THE COURT: From what page are you reading?
16 A That is on page 21, if I'm not mistaken. 21 and
17 22. It continues on 22.
18 Q Professor Gould, while the Court is making that
19 notation, if I might simply state, if you could slow down
20 your answers a little, the court reporter might be able
22 A I apologize. My father is a court stenographer,
23 and I should know better.
24 Q Professor Gould, you've talked about the first two
25 principles geologists rely upon to assign relative dates
1 Q (Continuing) to this stratigraphic record. What
2 is the third principle?
3 A The third principle is biotic succession, which
4 states that fossils occur in the same sequence everywhere
5 in the earth.
6 For example, if we go to one place and examine a
7 sequence of strata, and we find — Well, they don't have
8 to be organisms — suppose we found bolts, nuts, and
9 screws. Bolts in the oldest rocks, nuts in the rocks, on
10 top of them, and screws in the rocks on top of them. By
11 the principle of biotic succession, we would find that
12 same sequence anywhere on earth.
13 If we went to another area, for example, we would find
14 bolts at the bottom, rocks in the middle, and screws on
15 top. And we use that to predict.
16 Suppose we go to another area and we find only one
17 sequence with only nuts in it, we would predict that in
18 rocks below that, if we dug, for example, we would
19 probably find bolts, and then screws would be in rocks
20 found on top of that.
21 Q And is that what you find?
22 A Yes, indeed.
23 Q Everywhere in the—
24 A Except when the sequence has been altered by
25 folding or faulting, and we could determine that on other
1 A (Continuing) grounds.
2 Q In order to assign relative dates based on the
3 sequence of fossils, is it necessary to assume that the
4 fossils in the higher strata evolved from the fossils in
5 the lower strata?
6 A Certainly not. It's merely a question of preserved
7 sequence. You don't have to assume any theory or process
8 at all. It could literally be bolts, nuts, and screws.
9 If they compared the same sequence everywhere, we could
10 use them.
11 Q So is the creation science claim that the
12 assumptions of evolutionary theory are essential to the
13 relative dating of the stratigraphic record correct?
14 A No. It's a red herring. The stratigraphic record
15 is established by observation and superposition.
16 Q When were those relative dates first established?
17 A In broad outline, the geological column was fully
18 established before Darwin published The Origin of
19 Species. And I might add, was established by scientists
20 by the most part who did not believe in evolution, didn't
21 even have the hypothesis available.
22 In fact, some of the scientists who first worked on the
23 geologic problem didn't even believe that the fossils they
24 had been classifying were organic. They really did see
25 them as so many nuts, bolts and screws, and yet recognized
1 A (Continuing) that you could date rocks thereby.
2 Q And is that knowledge of when the relative dates
3 were first assigned widely known?
4 A Indeed.
5 Q Do creation scientists refer to that at all?
6 A Not that I've seen.
7 Q Is there any other evidence in the fossil record
8 which is inconsistent with flood geology?
9 A Yes. I think the outstanding fact of the fossil
10 record is the evidence of several periods of mass
11 extinction during the history of life. And by mass
12 extinction, your Honor, I mean that you will find at a
13 certain level in the geological column, a certain strata
14 in rocks of the same age, the simultaneous last occurrence
15 of many forms of life; that you would never find any of
16 them in younger rocks piled on top of them.
17 The two most outstanding such extinctions are the one
18 that marked the end of the Permian Period, some two
19 hundred twenty-five million years ago when fully fifty
20 percent of all families of marine invertebrates became
21 extinct within a very short space of time.
22 The other major extinction, not quite as tumultuous, but
23 in effect was more famous, was the one that occurred at
24 the end of the Cretaceous, some sixty-five million years
25 later. The dinosaurs became extinct then, as well as
1 A (Continuing) several invertebrate groups,
2 including the amniotes. That posed a problem for the
3 creation science literature I've read, because they want
4 to see the entire geological column as the result of this
5 single flood of Noah, and they are expecting a more graded
6 sequence. Due to hydrodynamic sorting or differential
7 intelligence, you wouldn't expect these several episodes
8 of mass extinction.
9 Q How do creation scientists explain away the
10 evidence of repeated episodes of mass extinction?
11 A In the literature that I've read, in a most
12 remarkable way, considering that this is the outstanding
13 fact of the geological records paleontologists study.
14 Simply by not referring to it.
15 In Scientific Creationism, by Henry Morris, again, what
16 he does is merely to cite from a newspaper report coming,
17 at least from a science newspaper, a secondary news
18 journal, not even from the primary literature, one single
19 citation in which he misquotes a scientist to the effect
20 that perhaps these extinctions don't take place.
21 And he then argues, `You see, there weren't any such
22 extinctions anyway,' which I think makes a mockery of
23 hundreds of volumes of scientific literature devoted to
24 the study of mass extinctions and their causes.
25 Q Is the flood geology proposed by creation
1 Q (Continuing) scientists a new idea?
2 A No, it isn't. It was proposed more than a hundred
3 and fifty years ago, tested and falsified. It was, in
4 fact, the subject of intense geological discussion in
5 England in the 1820's. It was assumed by many of the
6 early geologists particularly the Reverend William
7 Buckland, the first professor, the first reader of geology
8 at Oxford University— Now, he didn't try to claim the
9 whole geological column was the result of this single
10 flood, out he did try and argue that all the upper strata
11 were products of a single flood. And indeed, he wrote a
12 book called The Reliqwae Deluviavi, or the relics of the
13 flood, in 1820 to argue that.
14 That proposition was extensively tested throughout the
15 1820's and falsified, because scientists, including
16 Buckland, who came to deny his previous assertion, found
17 that all the strata that they assumed were the same age
18 and a product of a single flood, were in many cases
19 superposed, and, therefore, represented many different
21 Now, we know today that they, in fact, represent the
22 remains of glacial ages, not floods, and that there were
23 several ice ages.
24 Indeed, in 1831, the Reverend Adam Sedgwick, then
25 president of the Geological Society of London, read in his
1 A (Continuing) presidential address, his recantation
2 of the flood theory. And I'd like to read it, because to
3 my mind it's one of the most beautiful statements ever
4 written by a scientist to express the true nature of
5 science as a tentative and correctable set of principles.
6 Adam Sedgwick, in the 1831 address, first of all, writes
7 that the theory is falsified, and says, "There is, I
8 think, one great negative conclusion now incontestably
9 established, namely, that the vast masses diluvial gravel"
10 — That's the name they gave to this strata they were
11 trying to attribute to the flood — "scattered almost over
12 the surface of the earth, do not belong to one violent and
13 transitory period."
14 Then he makes what is one of my favorite statements in
15 the history of science. He writes, "Having been myself a
16 believer, and to the best of my power, a propagator of
17 what I now regard as a philosophic heresy, and having more
18 than once been quoted for opinions I do not now maintain,
19 I think it right as one of my last acts before I quit this
20 chair" — that is the chair of the Geological Society of
21 London — "thus publicly to read my recantation. We
22 ought, indeed, to have paused before we first adopted the
23 Diluvian theory" — that was the flood theory — "and
24 referred all our old superficial gravel to the actions of
25 Mosaic flood. In classing together distant unknown
1 A (Continuing) formations under one name and giving
2 them a simultaneous origin, and in determining their date
3 not, by the organic remains we have discovered, but by
4 those we expected hypothetically hereafter to discover in
5 them, we have given one more example of the passion with
6 which the mind fastens upon general conclusions and of the
7 readiness with which it leaves the consideration of
8 unconnected truths."
9 Q Professor Gould, in your professional opinion, has
10 the flood geology theory required by a literal
11 interpretation of Genesis been falsified?
12 A Yes, it has, more than a hundred and fifty years
13 ago. Nothing new has occurred since then.
14 Q Is it consistent with a scientific method to
15 persist in a theory that has been falsified?
16 A Certainly not.
17 Q Professor Gould, have you read Act 590's definition
18 of creation science, as it relates specifically to
20 A Yes. Item 2.
21 Q What does Act 590 provide with regards to
23 A It states explicitly that there are changes only
24 within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants
25 and animals, and then explicitly states there must be a
1 A (Continuing) separate ancestry for man and apes.
2 Q Have you read the creation science literature
3 relevant to paleontology?
4 A Yes, I have.
5 Q Are Sections 4 (a), subdivisions 3 and 4 of the
6 Act's definition of creation science consistent with that
7 creation science literature?
8 A Yes. The main point that that literature makes is
9 how the existence of so-called gaps in the record — and
10 by `gaps' we mean the absence of transitional forms
11 linking ancestors and descendants — but the gaps in the
12 record are evidence for the changes only within fixed
13 limits of created kinds.
14 Q Is that a scientific theory?
15 A In its formulation, certainly not, because it calls
16 again upon the suspension of natural law and the divine,
17 or the creation by miracle, by fiat, of new forms of life.
18 Q How does the creation science literature deal with
19 the fossil evidence in this regard?
20 A By selected quotation, by overstating the extended
21 gaps, by not mentioning the transitional forms that do
22 exist in the literature.
23 Q Are there natural law explanations for these gaps
24 in the record?
25 A Yes, there are. Though there are gaps, and I don't
1 A (Continuing) mean to say that every aspect within
2 them has been resolved. But there are two major natural
3 law explanations, the traditional one, and one proposed
4 rather more recently, in part by myself.
5 The traditional explanation relies upon the extreme
6 imperfection of the geological record, and the other
7 explanation argued that the gaps are, in fact, the result
8 of the way we expect evolution to occur. It's called the
9 theory of punctuated equilibrium.
10 Q Let's turn first to the imperfection in the fossil
11 record. Would you please elaborate upon that explanation?
12 A Yes. The fossil record is a woefully incomplete
13 version of all the forms of life that existed. Some tiny
14 fraction of one percent of all the creatures that ever
15 lived have any opportunity of being fossilized. In most
16 areas of the world rocks are not being deposited, but
17 rather are being eroded.
18 Lyell expressed it in a famous metaphor, usually known
19 to historians as the "metaphor of the book." Lyell argues
20 that the fossil record is like a book of which very few
21 pages are preserved, and of the pages that are preserved,
22 very few lines, of the lines that are preserved, few
23 words, and of the words, few letters.. We can well imagine
24 that in such a book you would not be able to read a
25 particularly complete story.
1 Q Given the infrequency of fossilization, would
2 scientists expect to find a complete record of the
3 evolutionary process?
4 A No, you would not.
5 Q Would you please briefly explain the theory of
6 punctuated equilibrium?
7 A The theory of punctuated equilibrium, which is an
8 attempt to explain gaps as the normal workings of the
9 evolutionary process, begins by making a distinction
10 between two modes of evolution. First, evolution might
11 occur by the wholesale or entire transformation of one's
12 form, one's species into another.
13 We maintain in the theory of punctuated equilibrium that
14 that is, in fact, not a common mode of evolution, but what
15 normally happens, the usual way for evolutionary change to
16 occur, is by a process called speciation or branching.
17 That it's not the whole transformation of one entire
18 species into another, out a process of branching, whereby
19 one form splits off. In other words, a small group of
20 creatures may become isolated geographically from the
21 parental population, and then, under this small isolated
22 area, undergo a process of accumulation of genetic
23 changes to produce a new species.
24 The second aspect of the theory of punctuated
25 equilibrium— The first one is—
1 THE COURT: Did you say equilibrium?
2 A Equilibrium. I did leave out a point there.
3 That most species, successful species living in large
4 populations, do not change. In fact, are fairly stable in
5 the fossil record and live for a long time. The average
6 duration of marine invertebrate species was five to ten
7 million years. During that time they may fluctuate mildly
8 in morphology, but most of them — I don't say there
9 aren't exceptions — most of them don't change very much.
10 That's what we would expect for large, successful,
11 well-adapted populations. And that's the equilibrium part.
12 By punctuation, we refer to those events of speciation
13 where descendent species rather rapidly in geological
14 perspectives split off from their ancestors. And that's
15 the second point.
16 First, that evolutionary changes accumulate, not
17 through the transformation of entire population, but
18 through events of slipping, branching, or speciation.
19 Then we have to look at the ordinary time course, how
20 long the event of speciation takes. And it seems to be
21 that it occurs probably on the average — there is an
22 enormous variation — in perhaps tens of thousands of years.
24 Now, tens of thousands of years, admittedly, is very
25 slow by the scale of our lives. By the scale of our
1 A (Continuing) lives, ten thousand years has been
2 deceptively slow. But remember, we're talking about
3 geological time. Ten thousand years, in almost every
4 geological situation, is represented by a single bedding
5 plane, by a single stratum, not by a long sequence of
7 And therefore the species forms in ten thousand years,
8 although that's slow by the standards of our life, in
9 fact, in geological representation, you would find all of
10 that represented on a single bedding plane. In other
11 words, you wouldn't see it.
12 What's more, if it's a small, isolated population that's
13 speciated, then the chance of finding the actual event of
14 speciation is very, very small, indeed. And therefore, it
15 is characteristic of the fossil record that new species
16 appear geologically abruptly. This is to my mind a
17 correct representation of the way in which we believe the
18 evolution occurs.
19 Q Professor Gould, would it assist you in your
20 testimony in explaining punctuated equilibrium to refer to
21 a chart?
22 A Yes. I have a chart that I presented to you. What
23 we see here, your Honor—
24 MR. NOVIK: Professor Gould, let me state for the
25 record, I am handing to you Plaintiffs' Exhibit 101 for
1 MR. NOVIK: (Continuing) identification.
2 Q Does that exhibit contain a chart illustrating
3 punctuated equilibrium?
4 A Yes. I have two charts here. The first, your
5 Honor, illustrates the principle of gradual-
6 Q What page would that be?
7 A That is on page 642. -illustrating the slow and
8 steady transformation of a single population.
9 The next page, page 643, illustrates punctuated
10 equilibrium in which we see that in geological
11 perspectives, though remember, we're talking about tens of
12 thousands of years, that in geological perspective,
13 species are originating in periods of time that are not
14 geologically resolvable and are represented by single
15 bedding planes and, therefore, appear in the record
17 I might say at this point, if I may, that there are two
18 rather different senses that would turn gap into record.
19 The first one refers to an existence of all interceptable
20 intermediate degrees. And to that extent, those are gaps,
21 and I believe they are gaps because indeed, evolution
22 doesn't work that way, usually. They are gaps because
23 that is not how evolution occur.
24 There is another sense of gaps in the record claiming,
25 in other words, there are not transitional forms
1 A (Continuing) whatsoever in the fossil record.
2 It's, in fact, patently false.
3 Indeed, on page 643, if you consult the chart, we do
4 display an evolutionary trend here on the right, and
5 evolutionary trends are very common in the fossil record.
6 Punctuate equilibrium does not propose to deny it. By
7 evolutionary trends, we mean the existence of intermediate
8 forms, structurally intermediate forms between ancestors
9 in the sense that we don't have every single set, and we
10 find transitional forms like that very abundant in the
11 fossil record.
12 But the theory of punctuated equilibrium says that you
13 shouldn't expect to find all interceptable intermediate
14 degrees. It's not like rolling a ball up an inclined
15 plane, it's rather, a trend is more like climbing a
16 staircase, where each step would be geologically abrupt.
17 In that sense that are many transitional forms in the
18 fossil record.
19 I might also state that when the geological evidence is
20 unusually good, that we can even see what's happening
21 within one of these punctuations.
22 Q Within one of these bedding planes, as you refer to
24 A What is usually bedding planes, but in very rare
25 geological circumstances, we have finer geological
1 A (Continuing) resolution. Those ten thousand years
2 may be represented by a sequence of deposits, and we can
3 see what is actually happening within that interval of
4 tens of thousands of years.
5 MR. NOVIK: Your Honor, I'd like to move that
6 Plaintiffs' Exhibit 101 for identification be received in
8 THE COURT: It will be received.
9 Q Professor Gould, you have testified that in some
10 rare instances you can find actual evidence of
11 punctuation; is that correct?
12 A Yes.
13 Q Can you give us an example of such?
14 A There is one very good example that is published in
15 Nature magazine by Peter Williamson. It concerns the
16 evolution of several species of fresh water clams and
17 snails in African lakes during the past two million
18 years. At two different times water levels went down and
19 the lakes became isolated.
20 Now, in lakes you often get much finer grained
21 preservation of strata than usual, so you can actually see
22 what's happening within one of these punctuations.
23 So the lakes become isolated, and we can see in the
24 sequence of strata the transformation of ancestors and
25 descendants within a period of time that is on the order
1 A (Continuing) of tens of thousand of years.
2 I have submitted three photographs-
3 Q Would it assist you in your testimony to refer to
4 these photographs?
5 A Yes, it would.
6 Q Let me state for the record, Professor Gould, that
7 these photographs have been previously marked as
8 Plaintiffs' Exhibit 123 for identification.
9 A In the first photograph, marked number one, you
10 see, your Honor, on your left is the ancestral form. It's
11 a snail that has a very smooth outline, and on your right
12 is a descendant form that comes from higher strata. You
13 notice that the outline is stepped, more like the Empire
14 State Building, in a way.
15 The second photograph shows the actual sequence of
16 intermediate forms. Again, on your left is the ancestor,
17 on your right is the descendant. The three or four snails
18 in the middle are average representatives from a sequence
19 of strata representing tens of thousands of years.
20 And the third, which is the most remarkable that we
21 actually have evidence for the mechanism whereby this
22 transition occurred, we have three rows there. The top
23 row represents a sequence of representative series of
24 snails from the lowermost strata, in the ancestral form.
25 And you'll note that there's not a great deal of
1 A (Continuing) variability. They all look pretty
2 much alike.
3 On the bottom row are the descendant forms, the ones in
4 the uppermost strata in this sequence, and they all,
5 again, look pretty much alike, but they are different
6 forms. These are the ones that have the stepped like
8 In the middle row, notice that there is an enormous
9 expansion of the variability. Presumably, under
10 conditions of stress and rapid evolution, there are
11 enormous expansions of variability. There you have a much
12 wider range of variation. There are some snails that look
13 smooth in outline, there are some that look pretty much
14 stepped, and there are all intermediate degrees.
15 Here is what happened, you get a big expansion of
16 variability, and the natural selection or some other
17 process eliminated those of the ancestral form. And from
18 that expanded spectrum and variability, only the ones that
19 had the stepped-like outline were preserved.
20 And in the sequence, we, therefore, actually see the
21 process of speciation occurring. So it's not true to say
22 that punctuated equilibrium is just an argument born of
23 despair, because you don't see transitional forms. When
24 the geological record is unusually good, you do, indeed,
25 see them.
1 Q Professor Gould, how does creation science deal
2 with the theory of punctuated equilibrium?
3 A From the literature I've read, it's been very badly
4 distorted in two ways. First, it's been claimed that
5 punctuated equilibrium is a theory of truly sudden
6 saltation, that is, jump to a new form of life in a single
7 generation. That is a kind of fantasy.
8 The theory of punctuated equilibrium doesn't say that.
9 It merely says that the correct geological representation
10 of speciation in tens of thousands of years will be
11 geologically instantaneous origin.
12 The second distortion is to claim that under punctuated
13 equilibrium we argue that entire evolutionary sequences
14 can be produced in single steps. In the transition from
15 reptile to mammal or from amphibian to reptile might be
16 accomplished under punctuated equilibrium in a single
17 step. That's manifestly false.
18 The punctuations in punctuated equilibrium are in much
19 smaller scale record the origin of new species. And we
20 certainly believe that in the origin of mammals from
21 reptiles that many, many steps of speciation were
23 Again, as I said, it's like climbing a staircase. But
24 believers and those who advocate the theory of punctuated
25 equilibrium would never claim mammals arose from reptiles
1 A (Continuing) in a single step. And yet that is
2 how it's often depicted in the creation science literature.
3 Can I give an example?
4 Q Certainly. Let me offer you Plaintiffs' Exhibit 57
5 pre-marked for identification.
6 A The Fossils: Key to the Present, by Bliss, Parker
7 and Gish.
8 On page 60 we have a representation of punctuated
9 equilibrium which distorts it exactly in that way. The
10 diagram implies that the transition from fish to amphibian
11 and from amphibian to reptile and from reptile to mammal
12 and from mammal to man occur, each one, in a single step.
13 And that, therefore, there are no transitional forms.
14 The theory of punctuated equilibrium does not say there
15 are no transitional forms. When we're talking about large
16 scale evolutionary trends, there are many transitional
18 MR. NOVIK: Your Honor, at this point, before we go
19 on, I'd like to offer Plaintiffs' Exhibit 123, the
20 photographs, in evidence.
21 THE COURT: They will be received.
22 Q So the charts from creation science literature on
23 which you are relying suggests that punctuated equilibrium
24 would require great leaps from-
25 A Yes. Single step transitions, in what we, in fact,
1 A (Continuing) believe are evolutionary trends in
2 which ancestor and descendent are connected by many
3 intermediate steps. But again, they are not smooth,
4 gradual transitions, because evolution doesn't work that
5 way. It's more like climbing steps.
6 Q And that's not what the theory suggests at all?
7 A No.
8 Q Does the fossil record provide evidence for the
9 existence of transitional forms?
10 A Yes, it does.
11 Q Are there many such examples?
12 A Yes, there are.
13 Q Could you give us one example?
14 A One very prominent one is the remarkable
15 intermediate between reptiles and birds called
16 Archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx is regarded as an
17 intermediate form because it occurs, first of all, so
18 early in the history of birds. But secondly, and more
19 importantly, is a remarkable mixture of features of
20 reptiles and birds.
21 Now, I should say that we don't expect evolution to
22 occur by the slow and steady transformation of all parts
23 of an organism at the same rate; therefore, we find an
24 organism that has some features that are very birdlike and
25 some that are very reptile-like. That's exactly what we
1 A (Continuing) would expect in an intermediate form,
2 and that's what we find in Archaeopteryx.
3 Archaeopteryx has feathers, and those feathers are very
4 much like the feathers of modern birds. Archaeopteryx
5 also has a so-called furcula or wishbone, as in modern
7 However, in virtually all other features of its anatomy
8 point by point, it has the skeletal structure of a
9 reptile; in fact, very much like that of small running
10 dinosaurs that presumably were their ancestors.
11 For example, it seems to lack the expanded sternum or
12 breastbone to which the flight muscles of birds are
13 attached. It has a reptilian tail. And detail after
14 detail of the anatomy proves its reptilian form.
15 Most outstandingly, it possesses teeth, and no modern
16 birds possessed teeth. Archaeopteryx and other early
17 birds possess teeth, and the teeth are of reptilian form.
18 I can also say, though this is not the opinion of all
19 paleontologists, but many paleontologists believe that if
20 you study the arrangement of the feathers and the inferred
21 flight musculature of Archaeopteryx, that it, in fact, if
22 it flew at all, and it may not have, was a very poor flier
23 indeed, and would have been intermediate in that sense, as
25 Q How do creation scientists deal with this evidence
1 Q (Continuing) of a transitional form?
2 A Again, mostly by ignoring it. And using the
3 specious argument based on definition rather than
4 morphology -
5 Q What do you mean by morphology?
6 A Morphology is the form of an organism, the form of
7 the bones as we find them in the fossil record.
8 In that sense, Archaeopteryx had feathers, and since
9 feathers are used to define birds, that, therefore,
10 Archaeopteryx is all bird, thereby neglecting its
11 reptilian features. The question of definition is rather
12 different from a question of the assessment of morphology.
13 For example, Duane Gish, in Evolution: The Fossils Say
15 MR. NOVIK: That's Plaintiffs' 78 for
16 identification, your Honor.
17 A -says on page 90, "The so-called intermediate is
18 no real intermediate at all because, as paleontologists
19 acknowledge, Archaeopteryx was a true bird - it had
20 wings, it was completely feathered, it flew. It was not
21 a half-way bird, it was a bird."
22 And then for the most part just ignoring and not talking
23 about all the reptilian features of Archaeopteryx, or by
24 using another specious argument to get around the most
25 difficult problem, namely, the teeth of Archaeopteryx.
1 A (Continuing)
2 Gish writes on page 92, "While modern birds do not
3 possess teeth, some ancient birds possessed teeth, while
4 some other did not. Does the possession of teeth denote a
5 reptilian ancestry for birds, or does it simply prove that
6 some ancient bird had teeth while others did not? Some
7 reptiles have teeth while some do not. Some amphibians
8 have teeth, out some do not. In fact, this is true
9 throughout the entire range of the vertebrate subphylum -
10 fishes, Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves," - that is birds -
11 "and Mammalia, inclusive."
12 That, to me, is a specious argument. It's just a
13 vaguely important question. Yes, it's true, some reptiles
14 have teeth and some don't. But the important thing about
15 the fossil record of birds is that the only birds that
16 have teeth occur early in the history of birds, and those
17 teeth are reptilian in form. Thus, you have to deal with
18 not just the issue of some do and some don't, and that is
19 not discussed.
20 Q Professor Gould, you have just talked about a
21 transitional form, Archaeopteryx. Could you give an
22 example of an entire transitional sequence in the fossil
24 A Yes. A very good example is that provided by our
25 own group, the mammals.
1 Q Would it assist you in your testimony to refer to
2 an exhibit?
3 A Yes. I have a series of skulls illustrating the most
4 important aspect of this transition.
5 Now, in terms of features that would be-
6 Q Let me state for the record, Professor Gould, I
7 have just handed you Plaintiffs' Exhibit 125 for
9 Please continue.
10 A Yes. In terms of the evidence preserved in the
11 morphology of bones which we find in the fossil record,
12 the outstanding aspect of the transition from reptiles to
13 mammals occurs in the evolution of the jaw.
14 The reptilian jaw, lower jaw, is composed of several
15 bones, and the mammalian lower jaw is composed of a single
16 bone called the dentary.
17 We can trace the evolution of those lineages which gave
18 rise to mammals a progressive reduction in these posterior
19 or back bones of the jaw, until finally the two bones that
20 form the articulation or the contact between the upper and
21 lower jaw of reptiles becomes smaller and smaller and
22 eventually becomes two or the three middle ear bones, the
23 malleus and incus, or hammer and anvil, of mammals.
24 And you can see a progressive reduction in the charts
25 I've supplied. The first animal, Dimetrodon, is a member
1 A (Continuing) of a group called the pelycosaur,
2 which are the ancestors of the so-called therapsids or the
3 first mammal like reptiles.
4 And then within the therapsids you can trace the
5 sequence of the progressive reduction of these post
6 dentary bones until - and this is a remarkable thing -
7 in advanced members of the group that eventually gave rise
8 to mammals, a group called the cynodonts. In advanced
9 members of the cynodonts, we actually have a double
10 articulation, that is, a double jaw joint. It is one
11 formed by the old quadrate and articulate bones, which are
12 the reptilian articulation bones, the ones that become the
13 malleus and incus, the hammer and the anvil, later.
14 And then the secondary articulation formed by the
15 squamosal bone, which is the upper jaw bone of mammals
16 that makes contact with the lower. And at least in these
17 advanced cynodonts, it seems by a bone called the
18 surangular, which is one of the posterior post-dentary
19 bones, and then in a form called Probainognathus, which is
20 perhaps the most advanced of the cynodonts, you get, in
21 the squamosal bone, the actual formation of what is called
22 the glenoid fossa, or the actual hole that receives the
23 articulation from the lower jaw.
24 And in Probainognathus, it's not clear. Some
25 paleontologists think that the dentary was actually
1 A (Continuing) already established, the contact. In
2 any event the surangular seems to be in contact.
3 And then in the first mammal, which is called
4 Morganucodon, the dentary extends back, excludes the
5 surangular and you have the complete mammalian
6 articulation formed between the dentary of the lower jaw
7 and the squamosal of the upper jaw.
8 Now, Morganucodon, it appears the old quadrate
9 articulate contact is still present, the bones that go
10 into the middle ear, although some paleontologists think
11 that, in fact, that contact may have already been broken,
12 and you may have this truly intermediate stage in which
13 the quadrate and articular are no longer forming an
14 articulation, but are not yet detached and become ear
16 I might also state that if you look at the ontogeny of
17 the growth of individual mammals and their embryology,
18 that you see that sequence, that the malleus and incus,
19 the hammer and anvil, begin as bones of the jaws. And in
20 fact, in marsupials, when marsupials are first born, it is
21 a very, very undeveloped state that the jaw articulation
22 is formed still as in reptiles, and later these bones
23 actually enter the middle ear.
24 Q Now, Professor Gould, you've used a lot of
25 technical terms here. If I understand you correctly, the
1 Q (Continuing) point of this is that this transitional
2 sequence for which we have good evidence shows the
3 transformation of the jaw bones in reptiles to become the
4 ear bones in mammals; is that correct?
5 A Yes. We have a very nice sequence of intermediate
6 forms. Now again, it's not in perceptible transition
7 through all intermediary degrees, because that's not the
8 way evolution works.
9 What we do have is a good temporally ordered structural
10 sequence within the intermediate forms.
11 Q How does creation science deal with this evidence?
12 A For the most part simply by not citing it, as they
13 usually do, or by making miscitations when they do discuss
14 it. For example, again, Duane Gish, in Evolution: The
15 Fossils Say No-
16 MR. NOVIK: Plaintiffs' Exhibit 78 for
18 A -gets around the issue by discussing only a single
19 form, a form called Thrinaxodon. Now, Thrinaxodon is a
20 cynodont; that is, it is a member of the group that gave
21 rise to mammals within the therapsids, but it is, in fact,
22 a primitive cynodont. It is not close within the
23 cynodonts of the ancestry of mammals, and, therefore, it
24 does not have many of these advanced features.
25 Mr. Gish discusses only Thrinaxodon in his discussion
1 A (Continuing) and writes, "Even the so-called
2 advanced mammal-like reptile Thrinaxodon," that's an
3 interesting point. Thrinaxodon is an advanced mammal-like
4 reptile because all the cynodonts represent an advanced group.
5 But within the cynodonts, it is a primitive member
6 of that group, and therefore, would not be expected to
7 show the more advanced features.
8 "Even the so-called advanced mammal-like reptile
9 Thrinaxodon, then, had a conventional reptilian ear." We
10 are quite simply not talking about the more advanced
11 cynodonts who have the double articulation.
12 Q He does not discuss the example you have just
13 testified about at all?
14 A Not in this book published in 1979. It was
15 published long after this information became available.
16 Q And the example he does use is, in your opinion,
17 irrelevant on this point?
18 A Yes. He discusses only the genus Thrinaxodon, which
19 as I have stated, is a primitive member of the cynodonts.
20 Q Professor Gould, is there evidence of transitional
21 sequences in human evolution?
22 A Yes. It's rather remarkable that the evidence is as
23 complete as it is, considering how difficult it is for
24 human bones to fossilize.
25 Q Why is it so difficult for human bones to fossilize?
1 A Primarily for two reasons. First, there weren't
2 very many of us until rather recently. And secondly,
3 creatures that lived in fairly dry terrestrial
4 environments where rocks are more often being eroded than
5 deposited, are not often preserved as fossils.
6 Q What does the fossil record indicate with respect to
7 human evolution?
8 A A rather well formed sequence of intermediate
9 stages. The oldest fossil human, called Australopithecus
10 afarensis, or often known as "Lucy", is one of the most
11 famous specimens and a remarkable specimen is forty
12 percent complete, so it's not just based on fragments.
13 Lucy is an animal that is very much like Archaeopteryx
14 and contains a mixture of some rather advanced human
15 features with the preservation of some fairly apelike
17 For example, based on the pelvis and leg bones of
18 Australopithecus afarensis, we know that this creature
19 walked as erect as you or I and had a fairly so-called
20 bipedal gait. Indeed, we've even found fossil foot prints
21 that indicate this bipedal gait.
22 On the other hand, the cranium of Australopithecus
23 afarensis' skull, in many features, is a remarkably
24 apelike cranium and perhaps it is scarcely if at all
25 larger than the ape, with a comparable body size in the