Uneasily the leaves fall at this season, forgetting what to do or where to go; the red amnesiacs of autumn drifting thru the graveyard forest. What they have forgotten they have forgotten: what they meant to do instead of fall is not in earth or time recoverable the fossils of intention, the shapes of rot.Al Purdy: 1962 Poems forAll theAnnettes,'Pause' (revised1968).
Language does not leave fossils, at least not until it has become written.Richard Brautigan: 1967 Trout Fishing In America,'Prelude to the Mayonnaise Chapter'.
Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without them, no one would have ever dreamed that there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe.georges cuvier: as quoted from "Discourse on the Revolutionary Upheavals on the Surface of the Earth".
Why don't we see gradual transition in the sequences of fossils? According to Darwin, and the current neo-Darwinists, the fossil record has gaps in it because of the haphazard way in which fossilization occurs it is bound to be an imperfect record of the history of life. But is it? Is the jerky and abrupt nature of the record really just due to 'gaps', or does it reflect the way evolution actually happened? There is a strong feeling among leading palaeontologists that the punctuated history shown by fossils reflects the way life has evolved in leaps and bounds rather than in gradual transition. There is also a growing sense that there is much more to understanding 'macroevolution' the large-scale picture one gets from the fossils than the simple idea of natural selection can alone explain.Brian Leith, The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism, (Collins: London, 1982) p. 23.
On occasion, we find within w:Sedimentary rocksedimentary rock “ephemeral markings” - these are imprints/impressions that are made in mud and or sand that is rapidly hardened into stone with the impressions still in tact. Such ephemeral markings are also known as “trace fossils” or “ichnofossils”. These can include things like bird tracks or wave ripples or other types of evidence of movement that would normally be left within a soft surface. This usually occurs through some form of flood catastrophe (usually the laying down of a lot of water rapidly)In Fossils and Ephemeral Markings
Results rarely specify their causes unambiguously. If we have no direct evidence of fossils or human chronicles, if we are forced to infer a process only from its modern results, then we are usually stymied or reduced to speculation about probabilities. For many roads lead to almost any Rome.Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda's Thumb (1980), "Senseless Signs of History".
And is there no possibility that there was a period, and several periods, when man existed, and yet was not an organic being therefore could not have left any vestige of himself for exact science? Spirit leaves no skeletons or fossils behind, and yet few are the men on earth who doubt that man can live both objectively and subjectively. At all events, the theology of the Brahmans, hoary with antiquity, and which divides the formative periods of the earth into four ages, and places between each of these a lapse of 1,728,000 years, far more agrees with official science and modern discovery than the absurd chronological notions promulgated by the Councils of Nice and Trent.Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: Chapter IX (Volume II)
When serious scientists with huge beards aren't looking, I jocularly refer to these fossils as my alien goldfish. Picture the scene: the giant spaceship is parked on a wide beach, and kicking pebbles Commodore Grafnik is in a filthy mood. Yet another planet with hundreds of millions of years to go before intelligence evolves, not even at the zorkquaan stage, for Threga's sake! And as for his pet vlantans!! Purchased at huge expense, all they do is feed voraciously and then fall asleep. Still fuming, Grafnik carries the bowl down to the lagoon edge and (contrary to every regulation in the AIPC [Access to Inhabited Planets Code]) tips the vlantans out. They dart away and several months later enter the fossil record of a planet where they have no right to be.simon conway morris: Astronomy and Geophysics: Vol. 46, No. 4: "Aliens like us?"
We don’t need fossils – the case for evolution is watertight without them; so it is paradoxical to use gaps in the fossil record as though they were evidence against evolutionRichard Dawkins: (p. 164) (The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2009))
If it's really true, that the museum at Liberty University has dinosaur fossils which are labelled as being 3000 years old, then that is an educational disgrace. It is debauching the whole idea of a university, and I would strongly encourage any members of Liberty University who may be here... to leave and go to a proper university.Richard Dawkins: At Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, 2006-10-23Broadcasted by C-SPAN2
Steve was one of seven or eight second-year students in Columbia University's graduate program in paleontology. I was a senior at the college, eager to hang out and glad to be included in the mix. We had a ball, eating Southern food at an extravaganza of a church cookout and collecting some of the most gorgeous fossils on Earth. But Steve, at least in my eyes, totally stole the show: of the thousands of specimens of the snail Turritella plebeia lying around, he found the only aberrant specimen one that was to figure in one of his earliest papers. The guy had eyes. My usual rap on Steve is that I have never met a smarter person who works as hard as he does. That's as true now as it was back in the late 1960s, when my wife and I went up to Cambridge to visit the Goulds and the fabulous collection of trilobites that Steve's predecessor, Harry Whittington, had left in Steve's Harvard office. Dinner over, the evening getting late, we went to bed, but as I was dropping off, I heard the sound of Steve's by-now-famous manual typewriter as he wrote a review (I think it was of a new publication of the letters of Charles Lyell). Man, that guy could put the time in.stephen jay gould: Niles Eldredge, "This view of Stephen Jay Gould" Natural History 108 (Nov. 1999): 50.
If we make this readjustment to view Homo sapiens as an ultimate in oddball rarity, and life at bacterial grade as the common expression of a universal phenomenon, then we could finally ask the truly fundamental question raised by the prospect of Martian fossils. If life originates as a general property of the material universe under certain conditions (probably often realized), then how much can the basic structure and constitution of life vary from place to independent place?stephen jay gould: "War of the Worldviews", p. 352
I am particularly fond of [Emmanuel Mendes da Costa's] Natural History of Fossils because this treatise, more than any other work written in English, records a short episode expressing one of the grand false starts in the history of natural science and nothing can be quite so informative and instructive as a juicy mistake.stephen jay gould: "The Clam Stripped Bare by Her Naturalists, Even", p. 93
Results rarely specify their causes unambiguously. If we have no direct evidence of fossils or human chronicles, if we are forced to infer a process only from its modern results, then we are usually stymied or reduced to speculation about probabilities. For many roads lead to almost any Rome.stephen jay gould: "Senseless Signs of History", p. 34
Hovind disregards all fossil evidence, claiming "no fossils can count as evidence for evolution," because "all we know about that animal is that it died," and we do not know that it "had any kids".kent hovind:
This is an extraordinary time in the history of science, in that we cannot only theorize about the beginning of the universe, but actually study the celestial fossils of how it happened.john moffat: Chapter 16, The Eternal Universe, p. 220
Books, books, books! I had found the secret of a garret room Piled high with cases in my father's name; Piled high, packed large, where, creeping in and out Among the giant fossils of my past, Like some small nimble mouse between the ribs Of a mastodon, I nibbled here and there At this or that box, pulling through the gap, In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy, The first book first. And how I felt it beat Under my pillow, in the morning's dark, An hour before the sun would let me read! My books! At last, because the time was ripe, I chanced upon the poets.Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh (1856), Book I, line 830.
Hovind disregards all fossil evidence, claiming "no fossils can count as evidence for evolution," because "all we know about that animal is that it died," and we do not know that it "had any kids".
Geologists have discovered many unaltered Precambrian sediments, and they contain no fossils of complex organisms.Salvador E. Luria, Stephen Jay Gould and Sam Singer, A View of Life, p. 651.
To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time—Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life, pp. 116-117.
The intervals of time that separate the fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent.Henry Gee, In Search of Deep Time—Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life (1999), p. 23.
There are a hundred million fossils, all catalogued and identified, in museums around the world.Porter Kier, Smithsonian Institution scientist, New Scientist, January 15, 1981, p. 129.