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Transition from primitive jawless fish to sharks, skates, and rays (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article

This article (Transition from primitive jawless fish to sharks, skates, and rays (Talk.Origins)) is a rebuttal regarding a supposed transitional form published by the Talk.Origins Archive under the title Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ.

Response to Transition from primitive jawless fish to sharks, skates, and rays

CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

  • Late Silurian -- first little simple shark-like denticles.
  • Early Devonian -- first recognizable shark teeth, clearly derived from scales.

So Talk Origins starts out with shark teeth. The first set are described a shark like but the description is vague. They could simply be malformed shark teeth, possible from a baby shark. The second set are clearly shark teeth. The claim about being "clearly derived from scales" is vague and is purely an unsubstantiated evolutionary interpretation.

So where are the the jawless fish? How can they call this a transition from jawless fish to sharks when they do not present any jawless fish, but start with toothed sharks instead? The fact that the teeth are recognizable as shark teeth indicates that they belonged to a shark, so Talk Origins starts their jawless fish to shark "transition", with a shark!

GAP: Note that these first, very very old traces of shark-like animals are so fragmentary that we can't get much detailed information. So, we don't know which jawless fish was the actual ancestor of early sharks.

Translation: there is no evidence sharks came from jawless fish at all. Evolutionists simply assume that they did. These remains must be really fragmented if even evolutionists cannot conclude anything with them.

  • Cladoselache (late Devonian) -- Magnificent early shark fossils, ...

Cladoselache already had jaws and teeth, so where is the transition?

  • Tristychius & similar hybodonts (early Mississippian) -- Primitive proto-sharks with broad-based but otherwise shark-like fins.

No information available on Tristychius, other than the fact that it was a shark.

  • Ctenacanthus & similar ctenacanthids (late Devonian) -- Primitive, slow sharks with broad-based shark-like fins & fin spines. Probably ancestral to all modern sharks, skates, and rays.

Note that Ctenacanthus is dated older than Tristychius; in fact, Ctenacanthus would be a contemporary of Cladoselache. So Tristychius and Cladoselache cannot be ancestors of Ctenacanthus, according to the evolutionists' own dating methods. These facts, however, do not stop evolutionists for placing Ctenacanthus after Tristychius in this so called transitional list. Furthermore, it is considered to be a shark.

Fragmentary fin spines (Triassic) -- from more advanced sharks.

This would seem to be more like a 'gaping chasm' than a 'gap'. There is really nothing to go on here.

  • Paleospinax (early Jurassic) -- More advanced features such as detached upper jaw, but retains primitive ctenacanthid features such as two dorsal spines, primitive teeth, etc.

Paleospinax is known only from teeth and a few impressions of jaws and vertebrae. So the above description is somewhat questionable.

  • Spathobatis (late Jurassic) -- First proto-ray.

Spathobatis is identified as a type of ray.

  • Protospinax (late Jurassic) -- A very early shark/skate...

Spathobatis and Protospinax are both classified as "late Jurassic" so they would have been considered contemporaries. Protospinax looks nothing like a skate. A skate's fins merges right into its head, but Protospinax just seems to have large fins; so it is most likely a large-finned shark.

The so-called "transition series" starts and ends with sharks, which at best would only suggest that all sharks are just varieties of the same created kind. However the available evidence is insufficient to show even this kind of relationship without assuming one from the start. Furthermore, throwing in a single type of ray will not prove a relationship between sharks and rays.