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No. 19: Jan-Feb 1982

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African Fossil Sequences Support Punctuated Evolution

East of Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya, the geologist finds exceptionally fine sequences of fossil molluscs in old lake deposits. Williamson has scrutinized the distribution of some 190 faunas with high stratigraphic resolution; that is, he believes he has been able to sketch for the first evolutionary events on a fine time scale. Williamson underlines three important observations:

(1) Species seemed to arise suddenly, as predicted by the "punctuated evolution" model; (2) The formation of new species was accompanied by marked developmental instability in the transitional forms; and (3) All lineages were morphologically stable for long periods -- they did not change form!

The biological implications of this important study are summarized in the preceding item.

(Williamson, P.G.; "Palaeontological Documentation in Cenozoic Molluscs from Turkana Basin," Nature, 293:437, 1981.)

Comment. Evolutionists have often bewailed the obvious lack of transitional forms (missing links) in the stratigraphic record. According to Williamson's results, transitional forms would be few in number and display considerable morphological instability. In essence, this means that missing links may not exist in a practical sense. If this is true, one wonders whether those famous evolutionary family trees in all the textbooks, such as that of the horse, are really misleading.

From Science Frontiers #19, JAN-FEB 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

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  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

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  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987