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Name: ranger
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

Has there ever been a so-called "missing link" found that later was not rejected, and that could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the theory of evolution? What I mean is that over the years there have been numerous fossil finds, and they were supposed to be the missing link but they were all later rejected. One in particular I remember was an Ora.

The "missing link" refers to the gaps in the knowledge base of the sequence of what type of being existed between homo sapiens (smart man or modern humans) and the presumed beast from which we evolved (be it ape, monkey or orangutan). There have been a few anthropological finds that later were rejected as being a part of this evolutionary line but I think those are in the minority. The reason there is still a missing link is because as evidence is unearthed further back in time then we can start looking even farther back in time. Also (arguably) the gaps in the record get smaller with new finds. This is like much of science, there is always something that is unknown yet hypothetically knowable. In the case of human evolution, the unknown is referred to as the "missing link."


Yes there has been, many times. Perhaps the best account of all this you could read would be Stephen Jay Gould's book "Wonderful Life" about the finds in the Burgess Shale in Canada. At least two considerations make it hard to argue completely from the fossil record, though. First, fossils are not a random sampling of evolution, because they favor hard-bodied, or hard skeleton animals. Second, in Gould's theories, evolution may not always be gradual, but may proceed in many discrete leaps, so that the chance of finding transitional animals (missing links) may be low. The 747 analogy is not very good, because natural selection directs in some sense the fate of animals. All the failures die without reproducing, so the improbably successes survive and reproduce, even though the probability of getting them in the first place is low. Given enough time this works.


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