Evolution Again: Story on Mammals Does Not Fit the Evidence
I noticed another article on Evolution in the pro-evolution "Science Daily" site. This one was head-lined "New Proto-Mammal Fossil Sheds Light on Evolution of Earliest Mammals". That was the headline, but was that really the story?
It turns out the have discovered the fossil of an animal dated to 165 million years ago which they said had both fur and an undercoat. This would push the origin of fur to long before the rise of the first true mammals, according to the story. The artist's reconstruction shows a vaguely possum-like creature, except for the lower jaw-line.
In addition to fur, the creature had fully mammalian detention (teeth) and jaw. It possessed a spur on it's hind feet, similar in appearance to those poisonous ones seen on the male platypus today. You might be wondering then, where is the evolution? I mean if the overall form, fur, teeth, and jaw are mammal-like, and if it even possesses a specialized feature (poison spurs) found on mammals today, then what is different?
Well, it had vertebrae and ankle bones which looked more like those of another group, the so-called "mammal-like reptiles". But the big feature they wanted to call attention to was that it's ear bones were still fused like in reptiles today. It did not have the more "advanced" mammalian ear with separate bones.
So, have they proved anything about the evolution of the mammalian ear? No. Because other groups, which pre-date this fossil, already possessed separated middle ear bones by this time. Why that happened is still a mystery. But the bottom line is, where is the evolution? There is a lot more mix-and-match of traits than there is real evidence for evolution. The fur of modern mammals could not have started with this group because, besides the fur showing up in its modern form with no intermediates, this group does not have the right ear bones to be the ancestors of today's mammals. Other groups that are a better fit regarding the ear bones existed before this one- but with no evidence they had fur at that time.
I see mix and match creatures. Some of the mixes and matches died out, and other groups lived on. But the distinguishing traits themselves all show up very early and with few exceptions (like the ear bone) fully formed. The "evolution" appears to be the sorting out of which of these traits survives in what combination, morso than the development of the new traits themselves.