Fossil Inventory: Surprises for Some
Everyone will remember those school textbook diagrams showing the ever-upward progression of living organisms, including man. We recall the horse series, found in textbooks and the museum displays showing the evolution of the horse – the first stage as a small mammal and, after several transitions, the modern horse. The claim that fossils in the rock layers show a progression from simple life in the lowest layers to the most complex life at the top accompanies these diagrams.
Recently, the journal Science, reported that paleobiologists who study these fossils reevaluated all the fossil-bearing rocks that have been found in the last 180 years. What was their reaction to the meaning of the fossil record after their new inventory? "We may have been misled for twenty years," said one scientist. Another commented, "For the first time, a large group of people is saying paleobiology has been making a mistake." Why are they reacting this way? They have had to conclude, on the basis of the fossil evidence, that there never was an ever-upward progression of complexity of life forms as they had expected. The species that are represented in the fossil record show no evidence of the classic evolutionary development traditionally found in school textbooks.
In short, the fossil record supports the biblical claim that all the kinds of animals appeared about the same time.