By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Many of the individuals I study and work with in the Hazard area are atheist in their worldview.
Often raised on a diet of Darwin’s evolutionary theory fed in the home, the school, and the media, and not having been acquainted with the scientific evidences of creationism found throughout the universe and the fossil record, they have come to the conclusion that God is a fairy tale or a myth.
Some-when presented with the facts-accept the truth and submit their lives to Christ Jesus. Others-perhaps due to willful and lingering unbelief, emotional issues with the Creator, or a desire to live a life free from moral restraint and in denial of personal accountability before God-often continue to cling to the fantasy of atheism, insulated in the false and numbing sense of security found in the pseudo-scientific deception of the general theory of evolution.
One of the tenants of evolution is the belief that land-dwelling lifeforms (tetrapods) actually are the descendants of ocean-dwelling fish and sea-creatures.
We are told that eons ago, fish-like creatures began to develop characteristics which would allow them to leave behind the oceans and live on the surface.
In this article, we are going to examine the fossil evidence of a creature which evolutionists claim is a transitional form between these sea creatures and tetrapods. The creature’s name is Tiktaalik.
The History And Significance Of The Find
In 2003-2004, scientists from the University of Chicago, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and Harvard University collaborated together to search for fossils on Ellesmere Island.
At the end of their 2004 expedition, they discovered the fossil remains of a fish which they believed had a limb structure which could support tetrapod adaptation (i.e., they believed that this fish may have been developing the ability to walk on land).
They named the creature Tiktaalik, which in the native tongue of the Inuit tribe means ‘freshwater fish.’
It was a truly incredible find for evolutionists.
Or was it?
Tiktaalik Was A Fish
There is no doubt that whatever else Tiktaalik may have been, it was definitely a fish.
How do we know this?
“Yet advocates admit it was clearly a fish. Why? Because it had gills and scales and fine, dominant fish traits, and lived in the water. Some think it could sporadically gulp air like a lungfish, but its gills were prominent. It was a fish.” (John D. Morris & Frank J. Sherwin, The Fossil Record: Unearthing Nature’s History Of Life, 1409 (Kindle Edition); Dallas, TX; Institute For Creation Research)
It is important here to notice that if Tiktaalik is an example of evolution, it is of microevolution.
Many evolutionists fail to recognize the distinction between “microevolution” and “macroevolution.”
If this creature had “legs,” (or other interesting features) would that necessarily make it a transitional form between fish and tetrapods?
Not at all!
Without other examples of transitional forms, it would simply be an example of a truly incredible fish.
It could be an instance of microevolution, but not necessarily of macroevolution.
Brad Harrub points out why this distinction is important:
“Microevolution is true-and is defined as small changes within limited parameters (ex. dogs bred for different traits). Macroevolution (or organic evolution) is false and has never been proven in a lab. According to the macroevolution model, the universe is completely self-contained. That is to say, the universe is all that exists and thus everything descended from a common ancestor-which itself came from an inorganic form. There is no ‘First Cause,’ no ‘superintending intelligence,’ no ‘divine guidance’ that is responsible for what we see around us. Organic evolution maintains that all life descended from a common ancestor (ex. dog to a fern or giraffe). Textbooks often teach the truth about microevolution, and then try to slip in macroevolution-that all species evolved from a common ancestor, something that has never been experimentally proven…Young people need to know the difference.” (Brad Harrub, Ph. D., Convicted: A Scientist Examines The Evidence For Christianity, 3493-3500 (Kindle Edition); Brentwood, TN; Focus Press)
The Alleged “Legs” Of Tiktaalik Weren’t Really Legs!!
We are told that what makes Tiktaalik the incredible ‘missing link’ is its’ purported ‘legs.’
“At the very end of the 2004 field season, the scientists found what they were looking for….Most important, its front fins had one large bone connected to two smaller bones connected to a jumble of bones at the end, which is the same arrangement as the bones in our own arms. Biologists call this arrangement ‘epipodial’ and ‘propodial.’ Your epipodialia connect to your feet and to your hands; in your legs, your epipodialia are called the tibia and fibula, and in your forearms they are called the radius and ulna. Your propodialia connect your epipodialia to the rest of your body. In humans the propodialia are the femurs of your legs and the humeruses of your arms. The fossil found on this Arctic expedition was fishlike in always every way. But its limb structure was very suggestive of the earliest-stage terrestrial vertebrates and was not fishlike at all. The scientists named the fossil Tiktaalik, which means ‘freshwater fish’ in the language of the native Inuit. Tiktaalik is a perfect example of a transitional fossil between two evolutionary lineages.” (Greg Graffin & Steve Olson, Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, And Bad Religion In A World Without God, 34-35 (Kindle Edition); HarperCollins e-books)
So, we are told that this alleged transitional form showed a fish that was evolving to walk on land.
However, is this true?
Not at all!
“Indeed, Tiktaalik’s fins that were supposed to have become legs were not connected to the main skeleton, so could not have supported its weight on land. The discoverers claim that they could have helped to prop up the body as the fish moved along the sea bottom, but evolutionists had similar high hopes for the coelacanth fin. However, when a living coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) was discovered in 1938, the fins turned out not to be used for walking but for deft maneuvering when swimming. Thus all the claims about Tiktaalik are mere smokescreens, exaggerating mere tinkering around the edges while huge gaps remain unbridged by evolution.” (Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., Refuting Evolution 2: What PBS Television And Scientific American Don’t Want You To Know!, 2405-2411 (Kindle Edition); Powder Springs, GA; Creation Book Publishers)
These fins on Tiktaalik were not legs!
“Before we get into Tiktaalik’s ‘legs,’ it might be instructive to consider an old trick question. If we call our arms ‘legs,’ then how many legs would we have? The answer, of course, is two legs-just because we call our arms ‘legs’ doesn’t make them legs. The same might be said of the bony fins of Crosspterygian fish-we may call them ‘legs’ but that doesn’t necessarily make them legs….Not only are the pelvic fins of all fish small, but they’re not even attached to the axial system (vertebral column) and thus can’t bear weight on land…Even the smaller endochondral bones in the distal fin of Tiktaalik’s are not related to digits. Ahlberg and Clack point out that ‘although these small distal bones bear some resemblance to tetrapod digits in terms of their function and range of movement, they are still very much components of a fin.” (Dr. David N. Menton, ‘Is Tiktaalik Evolution’s Greatest Missing Link?’ in Ken Ham, The New Answers Book 3: Over 35 Questions On Creation/Evolution And The Bible, 3618-3654 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
These fins were not connected to the primary skeleton of Tiktaalik, so could not have supported its’ body weight.
Interestingly enough, there are other examples of aquatic creatures that have small back fins with bones not connected to the primary skeleton.
Tiktaalik is hardly unique in this regard.
They simply share these characteristics with other fish and sea creatures.
The Testimony Of The Fossil Record
The story of Tiktaalik should not be considered in isolation from the vast fossil record around the world; instead, we must also consider this vast storehouse of information at our disposal in our interpretation of the facts regarding Titktaalik.
So, what does the evidence of the fossils actually show?
One of the world’s foremost paleoanthropologists, Richard Leakey, acknowledged on a PBS documentary:
“If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy…If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving.” (www.wasdarwinright.com/earlymanf.htm>)
Late evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould freely acknowledged:
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tops and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” (Stephen Jay Gould, ‘Evolution’s Erratic Pace,’ Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, pp. 12-16, May 1977, 14).
David Kitts candidly proclaimed:
“The fossil record doesn’t even provide any evidence in support of the Darwinian theory except in the weak sense that the fossil record is compatible with it, just as it is compatible with other evolutionary theories, and revolutionary theories and special creationist theories and even historical theories.” (David B. Kitts, ‘Search For The Holy Transformation,’ review of Evolution Of Living Organisms, by Pierre-P. Grasse, Paleobiology, vol. 5; 353-354)
Former evolutionary professor, Gary Parker, discusses the powerful evidence of the fossil record in support of creationism.
“It’s now well over a century since Darwin made that statement, and we’ve unearthed thousands of tons of fossils from all over the world. What does all this massive amount of evidence show? Have we found the ‘missing links’ required to support the theory of evolution, or have we merely unearthed further evidence of variation within the created kinds? David Raup reviewed the evidence for us when he was curator of the famous Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. That museum houses 20 percent of all fossil species known, so Raup was in a position to speak with considerable knowledge about the fossil evidence. The title of his article in the Field Museum Bulletin is ‘Conflicts Between Darwin And Paleontology,’ and the thrust is repeated and expanded in a second article, ‘Geology And Creationism.’ Raup starts by saying that ‘most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument made in favor of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.’ He then quotes the same passage from Darwin that I did, and points out that Darwin was ’embarrassed’ by the fossil evidence. He goes on to say that we now have a rich body of fossil knowledge, so that we can no longer blame the conflict between evolutionary theory and the fossil facts on the ‘imperfection of the geologic record.’ He mentions also, as I did, that Darwin expected those gaps in his theory, those missing links, to be unearthed by future discoveries. Then Raup summarizes those discoveries: ‘Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded…Ironically, 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 (emphasis added).’ What a statement! Darwin said that the fossil evidence was perhaps the most obvious and serious objection against his theory. Raup is saying that 120 years of research have made the case for Darwinian evolution even worse. Raup says we have ‘even fewer examples’ now, since new evidence has forced evolutionists to change their minds about examples, like the horse, that were once used…Raup’s words still eloquently summarize the fossil evidence.” (Gary Parker, Creation Facts Of Life: How Real Science Reveals The hand Of God, 2208-2231 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
John Ashton provides this powerful testimony:
“The sudden appearance of fully formed species in the fossil record without apparent evolutionary ancestors and mutant intermediate species is a major problem for evolutionists. For example, Dr. David M. raup, curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and past president of the Paleontological Society, observes that present-day geologists do not actually find the gradual unfolding of life in the geological record. Instead they find species appearing in the geological sequences very suddenly, showing little or not change during their existence, and then they are no longer found. What Dr. Raup is reporting is that geologists find fossils preserved in the rocks of the past, which do not change in form across the successive rock strata. They do not show signs of evolution up the rock layers. In fact, as I discuss later in this chapter, we find fossils of organisms that are identical to present-day organisms, yet are supposedly many millions of years old. That is, we observe from the fossil record that organisms do not evolve into new species-they stay the same.” (Dr. John F. Ashton, Ph. D., Evolution Impossible: 12 Reasons Why Evolution Cannot Explain The Origin Of Life On Earth, 1938-1945 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
The facts are clear that the fossil record supports the creation model, and refutes the theories of Darwin and his disciples.
Many who claim that Tiktaalik is a transitional form confuse the fossils of Tiktaalik with the biased evolutionary drawings and renditions of Tiktaalik.
A Former Evolutionist Weighs In
Dr. Stephen T. Blume was once a devout believer in Charles Darwin’s theory of macroevolution.
Being raised in a very conservative “Christian” home, he recalls Bible study with his family at meal time and compulsory church attendance during his childhood.
As time went by, he found himself extremely skeptical of Christianity and when the time came to go off to college, his doubts had grown exponentially. His education and credentials are quite impressive. In his undergraduate studies in college, he excelled in the study of the sciences.
“In my undergraduate studies in college, I majored in biological sciences. The courses I took as a pre-dental student, along with the courses I took in dental school, gave me enough science units so that I could have attained a master’s degree in biology. I didn’t bother to actually get one, as it would not have been helpful for me as a dentist. It would have been just another plaque on the wall. But now that I know how all of nature formed, now that I was so empowered, my biological courses were even more fascinating…After my experience with the gray-bearded professor of anthropology in college and subsequent studies in the remainder of my pre-dental and dental courses, I became a staunch, dedicated supporter and fan of evolution and Charles Darwin.” (Stephen T. Blume, Evo-illusion: Why IID Trumps ID And Evolution, 15-16 (Kindle Edition); Xilbris LLC)
Being enamored with Darwinism, he continued to investigate the claims and alleged proofs of the theory.
He was shocked by what he ultimately learned.
In his book, Evo-illusion: Why IID Trumps ID And Evolution, Blume documents some very fascinating insights into Tiktaalik.
While his words are powerful (and in many ways shocking in their scope), it is also important to realize that this gentleman is not an advocate of scientific creationism or intelligent design.
“…If you’re looking for a book that boosts religion in any way, this book is not for you. I am a person who was an avid fan of Charles Darwin…If you are a religious creationist, or simply a skeptic like me who thinks that the search for the origins of living organisms is far from complete, I hope my book will help support your skepticism.” (Stephen T. Blume, Evo-illusion: Why IID Trumps ID And Evolution, 7 (Kindle Edition); Xilbris LLC)
He describes “Intelligent Design” as “completely simplistic,” and a term which is “humdrum mind-numbing.” (p. 34)
This is not a supporter of Intelligent Design!
This makes his testimony all the more intriguing!
This is a man who cannot be accused by the evolutionary community of bias in favor of creationism since he is clearly not a creationist.
With this introduction in mind, let’s consider what he says regarding Tiktaalik:
“Tiktaalik had stubby little ‘forefins.’ These stubs were shown as proof that fish grew legs to become land animals. Again, there is absolutely no proof that earlier fish morphed into this ‘fish-o-pod’ or that the ‘fish-o-pod’ morphed into another species. Why would it take 170 years since Darwin hatched his ideas to find one fossil that supposedly displayed fish to land animal evolution? Shouldn’t they be common finds? Since there are and have been trillions of land animals over the eons, there should be a plethora of fish showing the growth of proto-limbs gradually morphing into full limbs. Again, there are none, and Tiktaalik isn’t one. The only place you see the evolution of limbs is in the renderings done by evolution artists who probably get prizes for exaggerating body parts of fossils to make evolution look valid…Take a look at the photo of the actual fossil of Tiktaalik (left) and compare it to the artist’s renderings of Tiktaalik. The renderings were made to fool the viewer into thinking Tiktaalik is a quadruped, on a line of species evolving from fish to land animals. Again, notice the healthy hind legs on the artwork. The ‘forelegs’ of Tiktaalik in both renderings are four to five times longer than the foreleg stubs on the actual fossil. There is no possible way Tiktaalik could have walked on those stubs displayed on Shubin’s find. But the imaginary stubs on the renderings would be great for slithering along on land. Tiktaalik’s fin-legs weren’t connected to its main skeleton, so it couldn’t have supported its weight out of the water…The true evolution of the evolutionists is done by evolution artists, not by random mutations and natural selection. The artist themselves evolved Tiktaalik into a quadruped and walker. So many artists’ renderings show the hind end of Tiktaalik with two healthy limbs, which don’t exist on the fossil itself. They are guesses, and those guesses are somehow always favorable to evolution. Imagine if all of the renderings were done with Tiktaalik shown with a fish tail, or without hind limbs. The fossil would be dead, as would Shubin’s fame and his book Your Inner Fish. If you have any doubt about the exacerbated artwork of evolution, go to Google Images and search for Tiktaalik. You will see dozens of renderings of highly evolved Tiktaaliks with the back half and half limbs and all, many crawling out of the water. Just think, all of that evolution occurred after the fossil was found on Ellesmere Island. Of course, the artwork that shows Tiktaalik as a quadruped crawling out of the waters will be placed in students’ textbooks to make Tiktaalik more believable as a transitional species. My bet is pictures like this are already in textbooks. I wonder if ABC News made these artists ‘Artists Of The Week”? See how evolution works? The only place evolution can actually be observed is in evolution art.” (Stephen T. Blume, Evo-illusion: Why IID Trumps ID And Evolution, 161-162 (Kindle Edition); Xilbris LLC)
Blume points out that the artwork done by the evolutionary scientists completely exaggerates the reality of the actual evidence.
This should not surprise us: this same propensity of evolutionists has been amply demonstrated in the past.
For example, Nebraska Man renditions are quite detailed; but they were created from a single tooth! (Of course, it was later discovered that the tooth was from a pig; no missing link there!)
How about Heidelberg Man?
When you look at a picture of this fellow on the Internet, you get the definite impression that we must have a very good idea what he looked like.
However, what we are often not aware of is the fact that these elaborate drawings were based on nothing more than a jawbone!
(Isn’t it interesting that today, scientists recognize that the jawbone of Heidelberg Man was actually the jawbone of a human being, not an ape-man?)
One author has pointed out the real facts behind these “artistic renderings” that evolutionists are so fond of:
“No tool has been as successful in promoting human evolution as have been the pictures and reconstructions of our ancient ancestors. Since no one has ever seen these ancient ancestors, the abilities of the artists who constructed them have been nothing short of miraculous. It gives the term ‘science fiction’ a whole new meaning. David Van Reybrouck has studied the pictures and drawings of fossil humans and their reconstructions, starting with those of the original Feldhofer Neandertal. Writing in the journal Antiquity, he states that these pictures, drawings, and reconstructions: (1) always go beyond the archaeological data; (2) always involve the speculations and prejudices of the fossil discoverers, who advise the artists; (3) always involve interpretations that are theory laden; (4) always are nonobjective but are trusted as being accurate; (5) are used so extensively because they sell evolution so effectively. He concludes, ‘A good drawing is like a Trojan horse; to be rhetorically effective, its interpretation must be hidden inside.’ Whether or not the field of paleoanthropology has standards with its own profession, it is obvious that when communicating its message to the general public, anything goes. Evolutionists will stop at nothing in attempting to influence the public toward human evolution and against creation. From a scientific point of view, their drawings and reconstructions are outrageous.” (Marvin L. Lubenow, Bones Of Contention: A Creationist Assessment Of Human Fossils, 38 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; BakerBooks)
Years ago, James C. King clearly described the basis of these “artistic reconstructions”:
“The flesh and hair on such reconstructions have to be filled in by resorting to the imagination. Skin color; the color, form and distribution of the hair; the form of the features; and the aspect of the face-of those characteristics we know absolutely nothing for any prehistoric men.” (James C. King, ‘The Biology Of Race,’ 1971, p. 135, 151)
Science Digest had the same message:
“The vast majority of artists’ conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence…Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it.” (Science Digest, ‘Anthro Art,’ April 1981, p. 41)
However, evolutionists certainly recognize the importance of these drawings: not in advocating the truth, but in deceiving the public!
“These alleged restorations of ancient types of man have very little if any scientific value and are likely only to mislead the public…So put not your trust in reconstructions.” (Earnest A. Hooton, ‘Up From The Ape,’ 1931, p. 332)
So, let me get this straight:
the fossil record actually demonstrates that human evolution from primitive forms of life to our “advanced” state did not occur;
indeed, the fossils actually point to the conclusion that mankind suddenly arrived.
The fossil record clearly supports creationism;
yet-as a result primarily of the fertile imaginations of biased evolutionary artists-
the vast majority of people have been conned into buying the nonsense of Charles Darwin?!
Yep, that about sums it up.
Tetrapods Were Traipsing Around Long Before Before Tiktaalik!!
We are told that Tiktaalik was a transitional form between sea-creatures and land-dwelling animals.
However, how can Tiktaalik be a transitional form between sea-creatures and land-dwelling creatures if land-dwelling creatures existed before Tiktaalik?
“…Scientists keep things interesting. When I was re-writing this book, a recent discovery of tetrapod tracks (land animal tracks) in Poland were discovered and are ‘older’ than Tiktaalik, showing, from an evolutionary view point, that land animals existed before Tiktaalik. ‘These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals,’ stated Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University. The front page news, whopper of a story, about Tiktaalik in 2003, received a hushed exit in 2010.” (Brad Freckleton, The Great Creation Debate; How To Scientifically Win A Young Earth Argument-It’s Surprisingly Easy, 2151-2159 (Kindle Edition)
Examining the significance of these finds, Jonathan Sarfati comments (while quoting various sources on the impact of said discoveries):
“Tracks of footprints found on the surface of large limestone slabs from Zachelmie Quarry in the Holy Cross Mountains of Poland have turned the paleontological world upside down. This is because they are evidence of a 2-metre-long four-limbed walking creature ‘dated’ at 397 million years old. This predates all the alleged fish-to-tetrapod transitional forms, including the now-famous Tiktaalik, and the more fish-like Panderichthys, and is 12 million years older than the undoubted fish Eusthenopteron. Other evolutionists were equally shocked, including the Tiktaalik enthusiasts of Ref. 32: ‘They force a radical reassessment of the timing, ecology and environmental setting of the fish-tetrapod transition, as well as the completeness of the body fossil record.’ ‘It will cause a significant reappraisal of our understanding of tetrapod origins.’ ‘We thought we’d pinned down the origin of limbed tetrapods. We have to rethink the whole thing.’ ‘These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals.’ ‘They could lead to significant shifts in our knowledge of the timing and ecological setting of early tetrapod evolution.’ ‘That’s surprising, but this is what the fossil evidence tells us.’…This all goes to show that grand claims and story-telling pass as evolutionary ‘science’ and just one small fossil discovery can undo years of ‘rock-solid’ evidence for evolution.” (Jonathan Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax On Earth? Refuting Dawkins On Evolution: A response To The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution, 3398-3421 (Kindle Edition); Powder Springs, GA; Creation Book Publishers)
Let’s summarize what we have discussed by noticing what evolutionists claim and what the facts actually reveal.
Evolutionists claim that Tiktaalik was a transitional form between fish and land-dwelling creatures (i.e., tetrapods).
The facts show that Tiktaalik was actually a fish.
An interesting fish?
But still a fish.
Further, the evidence is clear that tetrapods existed before Tiktaalik.
As such, Tiktaalik could not be a transitional form between sea creatures and tetrapods since tetrapods were already around before Tiktaalik!
Evolutionists claim that Tiktaalik is an example of macroevolution-change between species.
The facts show that if Tiktaalik is a product of evolution, it is of microevolution (change within a species, not change between a species).
Evolutionists claim that Tiktaalik had primitive legs.
The facts show that these “legs” were nothing more than fins.
They are found in other species of aquatic life, and could never have supported its’ body weight for walking.
Evolutionists claim that Tiktaalik’s fossil remains provide ample evidence that the theory of evolution is true.
The facts show that the fossils of Tiktaalik show it was simply a fish, and not a transitional form.
Furthermore, it is the fanciful imaginations of biased artists which provide the transitional ‘evidence’ of Tiktaalik, and not the fossil remains of Tiktaalik itself.
What do we have, therefore, in Tiktaalik?
A simple and fascinating fish.
Is it an example of macroevolution?
Is it a transitional form between sea creatures and tetrapods?
In no way.
It is simply another example of the alleged evidence of evolution falling far short of the boastful affirmations of its’ adherents which are completely unfounded and unsupportive of naturalistic theories, and is at the same time a tribute to the creative Intellect of the Creator of the universe.
The “missing links” are still missing! The theory of evolution is just as invalid today as it has always been.
Look to the solid Rock to which the evidence clearly points.
There is a God, and He loves you and has revealed Himself to you through this creation. He wants to save you from sin, which is what the Gospel of Christ is all about (please read I Corinthians 15:1-8, and learn about the atoning death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day).
He calls believers to come to Him in repentance and baptism by the authority of Christ for the remission of sins, and that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38). Please turn to Him today.
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.