You cannot "look back at the fossil record", we can only look at fossils in the present and put our
interpretation on them. If a bone is found in the dirt, all you know for sure is that something probably
The number of fossil species discovered is estimated at about 250,000, while there are about 3 million
living species (depending on classification).
Approx. 95% of the fossils discovered are shallow marine organisms (such as corals and
Approx. 95% of the remaining 5% are algae and plants.
Approx. 95% of the remaining 0.25% are invertebrates, including insects.
The remaining 0.0125% are vertebrates (mostly fish). Approx. 95% of the land vertebrate fossils
consist of less than one bone i.e. just a part / parts of a bone, or in a lot of cases just a tooth!
The huge exhibits of dinosaurs that often greet you in large museums are just models, based on a
relatively small number of fossilised remains.
So, the fossil record is limited and doesn't show a complete history of every species. There are
different opinions about the formation of fossils. One of the glaring omissions within the discovered
fossils are any intermediate links or
transitional fossils, much to the consternation of Darwin and
Typically, when a fossil is discovered, the question is asked "What type of rock was it found in?" and
then the fossil is dated according to the
Geologic Column (by inference). Similarly, if a new strata of
sedimentary rock is uncovered containing fossils, the question is asked "What type of fossils does it
contain?" and then the rock is dated according to the Geologic Column (by inference). Clearly this is
circular reasoning, without any direct measurement of dates. Frequently fossils are found in the
"wrong layer", or layers of rocks are in the wrong order, but the basis is rarely questioned.
For example, Coelacanth fossils are found in marine deposits below dinosaurs and in other marine
layers about the same as dinosaurs. It was thought that the coelacanth became extinct about 70
million years ago, because fossils are not found higher than this. However, in 1938 living populations
were found in the Indian Ocean!
The "Cambrian Explosion" is another difficulty for evolution - fully-formed "modern" life forms appear
"instantly" in Cambrian rocks, with few, if any precursors. Of course, this observation is consistent
with a Creation model.