Just a couple of short years ago, evolutionists lauded Tiktaalik, an extinct sarcopterygian, as a prime and expected example of transitional fossil showing the evolution of vertebrates from water creatures to land animals. To quote the Nature review article by Ahlberg and Clack, “it demonstrates the predictive capacity of paleontology.” Not only that, but it fit nicely into their picture of how it all transpired:
And like most finds of the sort, it was widely reported and lauded as proof of evolution.
Now comes the news that vertebrates were walking around some 18 million years before Tiktaalik was supposed to be making his first tentative steps onto land. Not only walking, but apparently they had the foot and leg structures to walk with their bodies clear of the ground, meaning that an actual transitional would have had to have existed significantly earlier. In addition to that, it seems to have been walking around on five or six toes, which represents quite a leap from the lobe fins found during the same time period.
Of course, as is typical with such finds, the news isn’t being reported with nearly the zest as the supposed transitional find. And evolutionists are already dissembling, acting as if this is ultimately no big deal.
But the question has to be asked, if Tiktallik was, as they claimed, a demonstration of the predictive capability of paleontology, then what does this new find represent if not a complete failure of paleontology to predict how organisms developed in the past?