part one

  Consider sedimentary rocks for a moment. You have a large number of sand-sized particles that settle in an area and eventually become cemented together-a sedimentary rock. If some organism were to be in that deposit, it would become part of it. Many sedimentary rocks last millions of years, whereas the existence of others is erased from the geological record, usually by erosion. Other sedimentary rocks get very deformed especially in mountain building episodes, in which case any evidence of lifeforms can get very distorted. In short, this record is incomplete because parts of it are continually being reworked or even removed from our planet. Because of this, the fossil record is also incomplete. In addition, we do not have the remains of every organism that has ever lived, as most decompose before they even have a chance to become fossils.

Fossil fish of Eocene age recovered in shale from Fossil Butte, Wyoming. Photo by author.

The Colorado river has carved out a great swath of sedimentary rocks, allowing us to see life from past ages. Photo by author.
  So although the fossil record is often criticized for having missing links, it should be pointed out that there are many transitional fossils. Incomplete? Yes. Useless? Far from it. It does show a transitional progression from one species to another. Creationists often point to the lack of fossil evidence as proof of their point of view, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; besides, there are a lot of fossils, so in this particular case evidence is not absent at all--in fact there is a great deal of fossil remains.