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There are gaps between amphibians and reptiles (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (There are gaps between amphibians and reptiles (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC213:

No unambiguous transitional fossils have been found between amphibians and reptiles. Distinguishing transitionals between these two groups is problematic because their bone structures are similar. Just because it is hard to tell whether a fossil is reptile or amphibian does not mean it is transitional between the two.

Source:

  • Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 83.
  • Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, p. 73.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

The main character that separates amphibians (primitive tetrapods) from reptiles (amniotes) is possession of an amnion, which does not fossilize. We have a lot of Permian creatures; some are early amniotes and some likely are not. There are no unambiguous intermediates between the two groups like Acanthostega between fish and tetrapods, or Morganucodon between reptiles and mammals. However, the same uncertainty means there is no clear gap between the amphibians and reptiles, either.

This entire statement is nothing short of Talk.Origins admitting that the claim is 100 percent correct. They do so in a roundabout fashion, but it all boils down to the fact that the claim is correct. Talk.Origins states, "the same uncertainty means there is no clear gap between the amphibians and reptiles, either." It shows that Talk.Origins does not understand creationist references to gaps. In this case the only gaps that creationists need to look for are those that would suggest boundaries between created kinds, and they do exist.

Furthermore, Talk.Origins misses the real significance of this ambiguity. What it shows is that our classification system for life is not God's classification system for life. It shows that God created organisms that don't fit perfectly within the boxes we have made for them. Finding animals of one group with traits of another should be no surprise to creationists.

Talk.Origins mentions two so-called intermediate forms:

  • Acanthostega fish - tetrapods (amphibians).
Acanthostega seems to have been nearly totally an aquatic amphibian, so finding some fish-like traits is no surprise. Both reptiles and mammals have totally aquatic kinds, so it should not be unexpected to find totally aquatic amphibians as well.
  • Morganucodon reptiles - mammals.
Morganucodon was clearly a mammal. The claim that it was transitional is based on it having a reptilian-like jaw joint, though the three bones are smaller than found in reptiles. Creationists agree that there are some reptiles with a few mammal-like traits and some mammals with a few reptile-like traits but that does not make them transitional. The designation of an intermediate form is based on selected skeletal traits, while ignoring other differences . Now some of these differences do not show up in fossils, but that just shows the problem with dealing only with skeletons.
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