Icthyostega: The Death of Creative License
In their effort to describe with fossil evidence the supposed transition from lobe-finned fish to amphibian tetrapods, evolutionist scientists have made concerted efforts to marry the earth's fossil record of life with Darwinian theory. The proposed transition from Celocanth, Sauripteris, Osteolepis, Panderichthys and Eusthenopteron to amphibian tetrapods such as Ichtyostega requires elements not found in extant examples of supposed transitional forms. While this is known to paleontologists and anthropologists, it is not discussed with the press or the public, or even university students, since it is counter-productive to the indoctrination of them into the faith that evolution is the explanation for life and it's diversity. This amazing fact sheds light on the culpability of evolutionist scientists who proclaim evolution to their students and the entire world. Every evolutionist scientist, be they a microbiologist, paleontologists, or practice any other specialty, lives a life of deception by proclaiming evolution as scientific fact supported by the fossils, when in fact evolution is not supported by science in any field, including the fossils. Despite this, and quite interesting, the majority of prominent evolutionist scientists have acknowledged in their own books that the fossil record of life does not show clear transition and that species appear fully-formed without intermediates. Evenso, the general public and students are told that the fossil record of life does in fact provide plentiful examples of evolutionary transition. This is of course utterly hypocritical and unscientific. It makes it clear that evolutionist scientists are unwilling to state emphatically that the fossil record of life shows transition when they are speaking to other scientists, yet when they are addressing students and the public, they claim the fossil record of life does in fact provide clear examples of transition. Without the faith of the public or a new generation of brainwashed students, they know that thier concept of evolution will become relegated to history and in the end, the biggest brunt of jokes in the history of world. Therefore, they keep the idea alive with hegemony, hypocracy, and brainwashing. Some, like Richard Dawkins and others, attempt to keep it alive by writing books and making motion pictures which depict religion as a dangerous fantasy.
Part of the motivation for presenting new examples of supposed transition to tetrapods from fish is to attempt to discredit the Noaich Flood, which roughly sorted animals by size, mobility, and their location at the time of their inundation. The evidence of the flood is overwhelming and irrefutable, as is testified to by many facts, including that the Earth is covered with an average of over 1 mile of sedimentary strata which are filled with countless rapidly buried creatures, the vast majority of which are characterized by particle size distribution, clear and distinct boundaries with each other, absence of erosion between them, and scant if not nearly absent bioturbation.
Evolutionists believe that if they can provide examples of transition, even if they must fabricate them from a scanty set of a just a few bones, that they can demonstrate that the layers of the Earth were laid down over many hundreds of millions of years instead of the single year of the Flood. Not surprising is the fact that evolutionists almost never offer an explanation as to precisely how the layers were create so deeply in the Earth, or how subduction or local floods could create coal at up to and beyond 1 mile deep around the world. In fact, coal has been discovered lying upon Cambrian bedrock. Regarding fossils found in desserts, prior to the 1970's the evolutionist's claimed that dust storms buried the carcasses of animals and fossils resulted over time. But this explanation is impossibly ridiculous, since mineralization requires the presence of water rich in mineral, and bone left unburied for an extended period of time disintegrates rapidly as a result of bacterial action and the destructive effects of oxidization, sunlight, and scavengers spreading the bones. Regarding the 'fossil record' in general, evolutionists have claimed that local subduction and slow burial is the mechanism which accounts for the fossils, but this idea is an overly complicated, and there is no evidence that countless subductions have occurred or could occur. Because they can neither accept or acknowledge that a single, world-wide cataclysmic flood has produced the majority of fossils, and regardless of the absurdity of their explanations, they must claim that countless local floods have produced the 'fossil record'. Yet that idea is absurd because no number of local floods could create global sediment to such depths as up to one mile deep without water being of similar height upon the continents globally, and because there are layers which are universal across the Earth, such as iridium and Cretaceous. Moreover, there have been human artifacts and fossil found in layers which evolutionists claim are up to hundreds of millions of years old.
The lineage proposed by evolutionist scientists between fishes and tetrapods centers upon the species Eusthenopteron (lobe-finned fish), Panderichthys (lobe-finned fish), Tiktallik Rosea (lobe-finned fish), Acanthostega (giant salamander), and Icthyostega (amphibian tetrapod). 1Unarguably, Eusthenopteron, Pandericthys, and Tiktaalik are fish. But evolutionists have done a dirty deed in presenting Acanthostega as a transition between fish and amphibian. It is not fish at all, nor is it a transitional form, but is in fact an extinct variety of giant salamander.
To support their assumptions evolutionists point to developing bones in embryos, which are flexible, soft material before fully forming as bone. The truth is, they were never cartilage, but merely developing bones. Today evolutionists propose a theory that is a mixture of the old Darwinian hypothesis that organisms change anatomically because they need to in response to environmental pressures with the newer idea that Natural Selection is the new environmental pressure applied to random genetic mutation. The Neo-Darwiniam theory claims that random mutation creates a slight advantage which becomes fixed in the genome of the population, which is then selected for by Natural Selection. Presumably over time this process continues until entirely new types of creatures are produced. It is a fantasy of astonishing proportion. Even more absurd is the 'Hopeful Monster' idea, in which evolutionists believe that creatures which are remarkably different from their population are born, representing a giant leap towards becoming an entirely different type of life so that relatively few leaps are necessary for entirely new types of life to arise. This idea is found within the idea of Punctuated Equilibrium, a theory proposed to explain away the absence of transitional forms in the fossils.
One assumption made regarding Acanthostega is that it's internal gills are evidence that the creature was transitional between fish and amphibian tetrapods. Regarding this assumption, Devonian times states "Evidence for internal gills include bony gill arches and post-branchial lamina on the leading edge of the shoulder girdle." However, some species of giant salamanders have internal gills as adults, and most species retain gill arches and brachial lamina as adults which are carry-overs from their adolescent stage of development. In simple terms, evolutionists have assumed that the evidence for internal gills in Acanthostega is evidence of transition, when in fact it is simply evidence that the animal was a giant salamander. The real difference between modern giant salamanders and Acanthostega is the number of digits. Adding to the confusion caused by evolutionist claims, some examples of Acanthostega had eight, whereas extant species of giant salamander have four or five depending upon the species.
The anatomy or Acanthostega, including it's general form, the fact that they have similar skull bones, exceedingly similar skull shape and limbs, and ray fins demonstrate that Acanthostega was a salamander, and not fish nor a transitional form in any way. One must question how any paleontologist can examine the fossils of
Acanthastega and not realize they are looking at a giant salamander. What is not surprising however, is that evolutionists would be well aware of the extraordinary similarities between giant salamanders and Acanthastega and present them as if they were transitional forms between fish and amphibian tetrapods. Icthyostega is also an amphibian tetrapod, very similar to giant salamanders, and may have been an extinct variety of salamander, though somewhat unique because of it's broad, flat ribs. It's overall form is certainly indicative of salamander, and it's skeleton as well. Salamanders exist in quite a variety in size and shape. Even within giant salamanders, such as the Japanese and Chinese varieties, there are quite notable differences.
There must therefore, in the imaginations of evolutionist scientists, exist a workable model by which it can be demonstrated that these creatures have lineage, despite the great differences between the proposed humerus of lobe-finned fishes and the dermal shoulder girdle of amphibian tetrapods. Presenting animals which are amphibian tetrapods with a fish-like appearance fits the bill for evolutionists. For this, the giant salamander is a fine culprit, especially since there is considerable visual similarity between their varieties, which evolutionists use to promote speciation. So long as they can give an extinct variety of an originally created kind of life a specific taxonomic name, they can claim speciation and transition in one fell swoop.
In truth, had evolution occurred, transitional animals would have in the past and would still today outnumber fully-formed species by a ratio of many billions-to-one. Even so, Richard Dawkins has stated publicly that we should not expect to see living examples of transitional forms today; a statement which exemplifies the absurdity and hegemony of evolutionist propaganda. However, the fossils show no such transition, and there are no such transitional forms living today. By itself, this fact destroys evolution theory, whether by gradualism or Punctuated Equilibrium. Like the gross differences between the number of bones of the snout of lobe-finned fish varies considerably, so too the number of these bones varies between amphibian tetrapods. There is no apparent relationship between these animals in relation to these bones with the exception of similarity between the general locations of the roofing bones. However, as is exhibited by countless examples of animals living today, similarity is not evidence of evolution, proven by the fact that the homeobox (HOX) gene locations of countless animals of similar homology are in greatly different locations in their genome, and often in different chromosomes, as is the case with humans and primates. This fact alone proves humans and apes cannot be related.
The absurdity of assuming these animals proposed as transitional between fish and tetrapods is seen in the great differences which exist between the number of bones in the snout and roofing bones of lobe-finned fishes and those of amphibian tetrapods. It could hardly be said that there exists enough similarity between them to provide for an assumption of transition. As if this were not enough, the same problem exists with the supposed elongation of the frontals, shortening of them, and then elongation once more. The differences are great enough that to assume otherwise is less plausible than believing that complexity increases, then decreases, then increases once more in the process of the evolution of a single line of living creatures. This is especially true when comparing the great differences in bone numbers and locations between Osteolepis and Panderichtys, and the differences between Pandericthys and Icthyostega. The difference exists because comparison is being made between aphibian tetrapods (Acanthostega, Icthyostega) and lobe-finned fish (Eusthenopteron, Pandericthys, Tiktaalik).
As we have seen many times before, the evolutionist scientists propose, as they have with the supposed development of more bones in fins, to fewer, then to more again - the car that gets more parts then loses them and then gains them again on the way to becoming a truck; fully formed species once again described as "close" relatives despite insurmountable differences and a dance of gross acquisition and loss of complexity. By such logic, the DNA of such animals underwent a series of increasing complexity, then a loss of complexity, then increased again while on the path of evolution toward increased complexity. Such "progressions" in taxonomy defeat evolution theory, and provide for Special Creation. Nonetheless, such gross anatomical changes in lineages are presented as mere post-its to transition, as if we are to simply ignore the obvious dance of complexity and reduction of complexity and see only digits where there once were a host of individual bones.
The animals said to represent transition from water to land have exceedingly similar counterparts today with close to identical limbs. Yet these are not proposed as transitional largely because they are living fossils and thus cannot support evolution theory. The evolutionist answers this problem by claiming such animals experienced a mystical "stasis" in which, being well suited for their environment and without rivals in their ecological niche, no environmental pressures were experienced which would cause them to evolve, as if environmental pressures could share a role as the basic mechanism for evolution with genetic mutation by recombination error or solar radiation. The idea of stasis for animals is unsupportable, particularly for those which spend their lives anywhere except inside the earth or in deep water.
The proposed changes in the medial and lateral scapula are also questionable of supposed transitional forms. It has not been shown how new bones can arise by separations from existing bones through any kind of process, nor how such bones can develop, disappear, then develop again within any time frame. Even so, this is precisely what is proposed by evolutionist scientists with Punctuated Equilibrium largely because gradualism is not supported by the fossil record of life on earth - that bones which are extant in many current species separated and became new individual bones. The results of such assumptions have resulted in the proposed evolution of whales, now debunked by the understanding that the bones which attach to the anterior spine of female whales exist for the function of reproduction by holding the male's penis in place until copulation, and are not vestiges of legs (ie human coccyx-excrementory/movement precision, appendix-immune system/size unrelated to diet, etc).
A fine example of the creative license evolutionist scientists allot themselves may be seen in Per Ahlber's reconstructive analysis of Elginerpeton's femur medial and lateral scapula, wherein Ahlberg has insisted that a single bone actually represents many. He has in effect pulled a rabbit from a hat. Examples from prior evolutionist claims, some of which are now known to history as fraudulent hoaxes discredited by evolutionists themselves, such as brow ridges, skull caps, knee joints, and bone fragments come to mind. To this list must now be added femurs. Despite the fact that it has not been demonstrated how a single bone can become many, Ahlberg's assertion seems to go far beyond reason. It could be compared, using a simple analogy again, to the wheel of an automobile comprised of a singular piece of solid metal mysteriously becoming a tire, wheel, wheel cover, and lug nuts. According to Palaeos.com, regarding Per Ahlberg's reconstruction of Elginerpeton's femur, I quote:
"Several parts of Ahlberg's paper on the subject [A98] have a Cuvier-like magical quality to them. In particular, his reconstruction of almost the entire pelvic girdle from a little nubbin of broken bone is like watching a magician pull a living temnospondyl out of a hat. One is tempted to gasp and applaud, even when he explains, very clearly, just how the trick is done. Its an incredible performance, particularly since the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society doesn't permit one to use bikini-clad "assistants," deceptive lighting, and similar distractions. The section on the femur is almost as good. However, there is a limit to what human reason can do with one badly abraded example of the middle one third of a single femur."
It must be questioned how defining locations on a single bone, such as what is called the "reconstruction of the femur" of Elginerpeton, is in any way a reconstruction. Such terminology as "reconstruction" gives more credit than is due to the process of defining locations on a bone. Nonetheless, Ahlberg's "reconstruction" of the ventral and anterior femurs is stated as "reconstruction of almost the entire pelvic girdle from a little nubbin of broken bone", which conveys my sentiments about what is presented to the public precisely, and reminds me of the numerous "reconstructions" of entire creatures said to be pre-human "hominids" from a single pig's tooth (Nebraska Man hoax), piece of skull cap, or brow ridge. From such bone fragments, evolutionist scientists commission the modeling of an entire animal which is then presented to the public as an ancestor of man. Examples include Piltdown Man, Java Man, and Nebraska Man, which were all proven to be complete hoaxes and did not represent any such creature as was modeled from bone shards or a pig's tooth. Worse, they and others since are published in school textbooks where they have remained in some cases for decades, and children and college students are "educated" about these creatures as having been their ancestors - all from a single bone or pig's tooth. All the while, the theory of intelligent design is kept out of public schools. When a pig's tooth can be used as representing a human ancestor but the concept of intelligent design, which far better explains the stupefying complexity of life, particularly micro biological life, is not allowed to be taught, you know that something is more than wrong with the system. Such reconstructions constitute indoctrination into evolution theory rather than education. It represents the pressing of the religious faith of Darwinism into the minds of students and society in general.
Ahlberg has done on a smaller scale with these femurs what was done with those examples: "reconstructed" an entire pelvis from a bone shard. This is a perfect example of how the public is in the end presented with models of entire creatures fashioned from almost nothing and then told that this animal, which nobody really knows what it is, is a transitional form. I have no doubt that the femurs of "Elgineperton" exist, if one could call them femurs, but modeling an entire pelvis based upon a femur bone, considering the variety of such bones in various species of fish, goes far beyond science into the realm of science fiction, imagination, and faith. Evolution theory is the only field of science that I know of where such creative license is considered acceptable amongst scientists. The motive behind such acceptability amongst evolutionist scientists is of course to create artistically that which the fossil record of life does not provide.
Similar controversy surrounds Ahlberg's assertions regarding the processes of the partial pectoral girdle of the medial and lateral of Elginerpeton (The early evolution of the tetrapod humerus Ahlberg, PE 2004) about which Paleos.com stated was "completely out of line with what we know of other early humeri" and an abandonment of accepted terminology (Romer's). Such fervor existed between Ahlberg, Coates, and others to describe the supposed transition between Elginerpeton's humerus and it's evolutionary relationships that a kind of one-upmanship has resulted in chaos in regards to terminology, assessment, and gross discrepancy between the analysis put forth by each. Several assertions were presented at press, some of them in virtually complete contradiction to each other. This is not surprising however, as evolutionist often play this game at the expense of what is factual, and the the winner is often the one who makes the loudest noise or handles the material first and gets their assertions to press first, thereby "branding" the bone or fossil find with their name in textbooks and professional periodicals and journals. The universities or other institutions who employ them are often catalysts in this fervor as such branding is associated with them and therefore brings them academic prominence. The more branding they can obtain, the more the name of the institution becomes associated with prominence. Thus the public is often provided with information in the media about supposed this or that despite inaccuracy or complete fallacy in many cases. While the university or other organization is footing the bill for travel expenses, there is incentive to be competitive, and evolutionist scientists feel free to dash around the world attempting to be the first or best at describing any new fossil find and getting their name and their employer's name in publications.
One must wonder, why if such scientists understand the physiology of known examples and the proper terminology to describe them, could there be such complete contradiction in their assertions regarding a single animal proposed as transitional, or even a single bone for that matter, all the while those competitors are after the same motivation with liberal financial backing: to prove with money and fervor the evolution of all life kinds from a single kind. One must also wonder how such contradicting opinions about the locations of proposed bone separations within a single bone could possibly be scientific at all and not sheer speculation about an event which has never even occurred. In their rush to be the first to lay claim to defining these bony transitions, each has proposed something which contradicts the other and abandons terminology. I can imagine each of them rushing to the airport at taxpayers expense to be the first to get their hands on a bone and see how long they can keep, in the face of repeated complaint from counterparts, before providing it to another for examination. Jarvic played this game far too long with Icthyostega, keeping the specimen in his possession until his lengthy work was completed, but at least adhered to accepted terminology. However, times have changed, evolutionists are under far greater pressure from creationist scientists to provide the evidence for evolution that they have yet to provide, and publication of the employer's name is more important in having a greater student body now that ever before. In the end, what is provided as scientific fact is hardly acceptable, consistent, and varies so much that one has to question if any evolutionist scientists finds more credibility in his imagined transitional forms than in physical evidence. The history of paleontology is rife with not only error, but fabrication. It could be said that there is a point at which error, whether made in earnest, zeal, or disregard for accepted methodology becomes fabrication based upon imagination, wishful thinking, and ambition to lay one's name upon a bone for time eternal. If the history of disproved assertions were any indication, they would both seem more closely related than the proposed relation between various bones or spiracles.
What is even more absurd about all of this jostling and zeal which results in profound discrepancies and individualized terminology, is the fact that macroevolution itself is false and has been proven so by numerous creationist scientists, and illuminates only limited speciation and which points to special creation. After all, botanists encountered the limitations of speciation with flowering plants in the 19th century (as Gregor Mendel's work typifies) in the same way that dog breeders have with dogs and agricultural researchers have in the 20th century by experimentation with cattle, pigs, sheep, corn, wheat, alfalfa, beans, peas, potatoes, fruits, and countless other plant and animal species, all in the effort to produce the most prolific, most resistant, fastest growing, and physically largest varieties possible. The results were, understandably, severely disappointing and limited, prove in themselves the limitation to the variety within the kinds, and is the reason why we do not have 3,000 lb. cattle, 1800 lb. hogs, 400 lb. sheep, or ears of corn two feet long.
The greatest anatomical difference between what are proposed by evolutionists to be "early" tetrapods is clearly the size and shape of the head. Some are short, others long, some are flat-ish, others rounded. Some which are long are rounded (Elginerpeton) while others which are rounded are short, while some which are flat-ish are long and others which are flat-ish are short (Tiktaalik). There is no clear relationship to the size or shape of these animals heads and their limbs, nor is there a clear relationship between the shape of their head and the design of their limbs. Furthermore, the size of these animals varies considerably from 1 1/2 feet to 9 feet. It is the evolutionist which gets to pick-and-chose which examples determine transition, based upon those which seem structurally most alike and the most visually acceptable examples, leaving those which are not chosen to be placed into a different clave so as to separate them from their imagined transition. Despite the fact that the size of the heads and overall lengths of some species which are said to be older than others, such as Elginerpeton's head is by far larger than Panderichtys, evolutionist scientists tend to deflate this problem by choosing which clave to place them into, allowing them to decide, and therefore selectively drop or add species to any particular proposed lineage, despite greater similarities in other bony structures. In other words, if it does not fit the lineage in their mind because of one feature, it is left out even if it is more similar in those features which are proposed as transitional. This is because the overall anatomy of the animal is too dissimilar and difficult to accept as a transition between examples they feel fit a better visualization of transition. Evolutionist scientists discovered long ago that the visual perception of transition is important if they are to convince the public that transition has occurred.
Without clear evidence of transition from lobe-finned fishes to amphibian tetrapods, evolutionist scientists have become desperate to find evidence by reevaluating existing examples. This has led to controversy and questionable assertions regarding what evidence is visible or not visible and whether a reconstruction is even logical, much less supported by comparisons with other known material and living animals of similar anatomies. In the case of the supposed branching of new bones from existing ones, I refer to Elginerpeton and the proposed branching of sarcopterygian stem (Ahlberg). Of particular importance is the method of locomotion of supposedly early tetrapods. Since the structure of the spine and neural arches of Icthyostega prevent a walking gait which is similar to the side-to-side motion of the spine seen in fishes, it is clear that Icthyostega was a rather rigid animal, despite it's head lacking some of the bony structures which promote the side-to-side movement of the head. This rigidity of the spine is further complicated by the fact that it's ribs are wide and form a tight, barrel-like enclosure of the abdomen. Since fish have considerably flexible spines capable of great lateral motion, icthyostega cannot be closely related to fishes. This is a problem for paleonologists who wish to show that Icthyostega represents the end of the transition from water to land. If fishes can move their spines in this way, then surely their successors could? There is no doubt that Jarvik's model of Icthyostega was lacking in detail and his work, although precursor, does not define key points. Nonetheless, Icthyostega is represented by more than sufficient material to clearly define the animal from head to toe using the collective material of hundreds of finds. The resulting animal is not unlike those amphibian tetrapods which are said to have come after it or were contemporaries: flat ribs close together, a barrel-like rib formation, and a linear vertebrae size relationships.
Prior to his reconstruction of Icthyostega, Per Ahlberg expressed that the change in locomotion between lobe-fined fishes and amphibian tetrapods were adaptations of the forelimbs which improved movement in water. This was the only explanation that could be had, since amphibian tetrapods such as Icthyostega were laterally rigid and fishes are laterally flexible. Unless it were possible to show that Icthyostega and other supposedly early amphibian tetrapods had greater lateral flexion and were capable of moving their head with more flexibility, it could not be said that they represent transition of fish to amphibian tetrapods, and it would not be credible for Icthyostega to be included in a representation of such a transition. After all, the fact that such animals were rigid would reduce their effectiveness as hunters on land, allow them to be agile only in water, inconsistent with current reptile and amphibian skeletal designs, and could therefore only be represented by Special Creation. In the minds of evolutionists there had to be a presentable connection, since Icthyostegids supposedly represent the best example of the fish-to-land scenario, despite the lack of lateral flexion. Surely since the fossil record of life is void of animals which represent this crucial example of evolution, Icthyostega must be it, and there must be a way of showing it.
Like Icthyostega, Tiktaalik also has broad ribs and vertebrae design which prevent reasonable lateral motion of the spine, thus separating it from fishes and preventing a land-based carnivorous life-style. Worse yet, the shoulder girdle, if such could be called one in a lobe-finned fish, of Tiktaalik was dermal (connected to the spine by soft tissues only) and not endochondral (connected to the spine by cartilege and tendon), which means it was unable to support it's weight out of water any better than any other lobe-finned fish, and yet is is claimed to be a transitional form between fish and amphibians. If fish were evolving into amphibians, they would not have developed ribs which cause rigidity great enough to severely limit locomotion. The ribs of amphibian tetrapods defy evolution theory. Furthermore, in this imagined scenario of fish-to-amphibian tetrapod, the inexplicable loss of dorsal ribs is never addressed, as it prevents a problem. There are no representations in fossil form which show this gradual loss of dorsal ribs. Either animals have them, or they have none. Haemal arches and spines are present in these animals, but are not remnants of dorsal ribs. This makes it clear that these animals are not transitional. Evolutionist scientists avoid discussion of this matter because it stands in the way of their imagined transitions.
Further absurdity of the idea of evolution is seen in the fact that fish have basal stumps to which their ribs attach, whereas tetrapods have parapophyses and diapophysis (bicipital). If dorsal fins were lost because of evolution, basal stumps would have either disappeared or migrated dorsally and become bony flanges to protect the vertebrae. Yet vertebrates already have these flanges and basal stumps as well. Therefore, basal stumps could not have migrated from dorsally to ventral to become diapophysis in anticipation of bicipital ribs, nor would there have been an incentive to, since the bony flanges would already be present and the ribs would not have already had tuberculum or capitulum waiting for attachment. Since those animals which are considered to be the "earliest" tetrapods have bicipital ribs, it is preposterous to assume that they could have had basal stumps, then developed parapophyses and diapophysis. While there are fish with only ventral ribs, these are attached to basal stumps and do not possess parapophyses or diapophysis. The imagined transition from basal stumps and accompanying development of tuberculum and capitulum in the ribs and parapophyses and diapophysis in the vertebrae presents an impossible account of the evolution of the spine, since it requires the migration of dorsal basal stumps towards the underside of the vertebrae for attachment to ribs which would presumably evolve to possess tuberculum and capitulum in anticipation of parapophyses and diapophysis. Evolutionist scientists would propose that such a migration is the result of an animal moving from land to water, but this is not possible, since ribs would become dysfunctional if they developed tuberculum and capitulum without the presence of parapophyses and diapophysis already in place. Transition from one design to the other requires that either the vertebrae or the ribs would become dysfunctional during this transformation. There is no scenario by which this could occur, nor any known process by which an animal's DNA could change by the introduction of new information to facilitate such transformations. Furthermore, if evolution could have occurred to adapt to greater weight-bearing ribs, there is no scenario by which the development of bicipital ribs and parapophyses and diapophysis would develop in response to greater force being applied to basal stumps. All examples of vertebrates exhibit fully-developed spines, and there are no intermediate vertebrae or ribs known. It has not been shown how such change could occur because it could not. The ribs of Icthyostega for example, show significant weight-bearing qualities because of their breadth and thickness and because they are fully of the land-dwelling design with tuberculum and capitulum. In this proposed transition from water to land, there would exist intermediates in fish, yet Pandericthys and Eusthenopteron for example, have single basal stumps, as do all fish, and is therefore not transitional any more than any other fish.
The similarities between Icthyosaurs are considerable, and may be seen in the shape of their vertebrae, (dish shaped) ridges, and parapophyses and diapophysis. While variation exists and is expected within all separate kinds of life, between known species the vertebrae do not markedly change in form. In Icthyosaurs, the first sixteen ribs are typically bicipital. In fish, including examples said to be intermediates such as Eusthenopteron and Pandericthys, there are no bicipital ribs. This ofcourse shows that the proposed transition from fishes to amphibian tetrapods is not supported by the fossil record of life, since there are no intermediates showing the evolution of bicipital ribs. Furthermore, icthyosaurs have "dish shaped" vertebrae, whereas in fishes, only sharks are known to have such vertebrae, and all other fishes have "hockey puck" shaped vertebrae. This of course eliminates icthyostega from being a decedent of fishes.
Without far better side-to-side motion, it would remain a water-based animal feeding on aquatic life. There would be little incentive and no benefit to walking around on land if eating could only be done effectively in water. Two possible method of locomotion could be exhibited by such an animal, according to Clack. It could have a side-to-side gobbling gait like relatively few animals today by moving it's left side or right side limbs together, or it could have used both front, then both rear limbs together in an "inchworm" manner of locomotion as proposed by per Ahlberg. Neither however would provide the animal with enough flexibility, agility, or speed to be a worthwhile land predator, particularly the ridiculous "inchworm" type of locomotion - something not exhibited by any of today's tetrapod amphibians of similar anatomy or relative size.
The biggest problems percieved with depicting Icthyostega as representing transition from fishes to amphibian tetrapods lies with it's skeletal structure, which did not afford it much lateral flexion, and the fact that it's body shape is completely amphibian and not fish-like with the exception of ray-fins on it's tail. Conceiving a solution to this, Ahlberg stated in an interview with LiveScience, "On the one hand, it could have ‘walked’ with the body held rigid and the limbs moving in alternating diagonal sequence – front left and hind right, front right and hind left. The forelimbs were robust with bent elbows and could probably lift the front part of the body off the ground, but the hind limbs were more flipper-like so the pelvic region probably dragged on the ground."
There must then, according to evolutionist scientists, have been a way to show Icthyostega as a successful land predator if it were to be considered the glory of the transition from water to land and if it were such an apparently successful species that hundreds of specimens have been found where so precious little material is known of it's supposed ancestors. After all, even Gili Dasami, Gili Motang, Komodo, Rinca, Padar, and small lizards move their limbs in a 1-3/2-4 manner with far greater lateral flexion, and if Icthyostega were not capable of this, it could only be said to have an aquatic lifestyle and could not represent transition from water to land because it could not succeed in catching smaller, more agile prey on land. Furthermore, like the Celocanth claim now disproved by living examples, it is claimed that Icthyostega had both lungs and gills, whereas the fossil specimens do not show this material. Also, neural arches in Icthyostega are poorly ossified.
Per Ahlberg has stated, "What we conclude from this is that the earliest tetrapod limbs had a high number of digits, probably 8/8, and that this number had been reduced to 5/5 or 4/5 in the last common ancestor of modern tetrapods. Icthyostega may represent an intermediate state."
If it may have represented an intermediate, why is it repeatedly depicted in a list of animals as the crest of their transition, such as in the image on the right? Isn't this like placing a dollar bill at the end of a line of coins and claiming that the bill represents a clear transition from coins to bills, particularly since Icthyostega, like the dollar bill, is hardly fish-like and is considered by the body of paleontologists as an amphibian tetrapod and not a fish or "half-fish"? In the minds of evolutionist scientists, may have often constitutes does or did. Ahlberg went on to say, "Nobody is claiming that Eusthenopteron is a direct ancestor of Pandericthys". Again, if this is so, why is it depicted artistically as an intermediate and this is then put forth to the public as scientific fact in publications and in the media? I understand that he meant that Eusthenopteron is not necessarily a direct ancestor of Pandericthys, but instead perhaps one of it's contemporaries or an animal which came "shortly" thereafter. However, this does not excuse it being depicted artistically as though it is. In fact, if there existed another animal which were thought to be more closely related, it would not only be depicted in this supposed lineage, but it would be included instead of replacing Pandericthys. Evolutionists rarely remove anything from their assertions, but instead add to them. Rest assured it would be included as opposed to replacing another, and whatever minor differences it may have would then be presented as further 'evidence" of evolution between these animals. After all, the same could be said of each of these species and yet they are nonetheless depicted together as visual evidence of evolution for the general public to preview in publications. These illustrations are not made for evolutionist scientists, but for the public to see. I can't speak for others, but looking at this image, I see a line of strange fish with a lizard at the top.
Icthyostega is depicted as being far bulkier than any others depicted in the supposed lineage. Why would then an animal evolve to have such a thick and weighty body that it would have to drag itself along on it's stomach if it was evolving to live on land, since gravity and body weight would be primary factors in such development and the animal would logically develop less underside body mass for locomotion on land? This is contrary to the proposed process of evolution. Developing such locomotion and body mass would be counterproductive for an animal which would be evolving to walk upon land, particularly since the proposed ancestors of Icthyostega are depicted as having far less body mass! Could it be just another example of artistic license to promote the impression of these animals still evolving to land? Other animals living today have virtually identical anatomies to icthyostega but do not have such body mass and do not have to drag their undersides along on land. This is contrary to common sense and animals which live today. If Icthyostega is said to have limbs capable of supporting it on land, why would it them move along by dragging it's underside on the ground? Evolution theory is true when evolutionist scientists want it to be, and speculation when it is questioned.
Ahlberg stated in his email to national Geographic News, "Icthyostega’s complete skeleton was first described by Erik Jarvik in 1955, but many aspects of its anatomy remained unknown, making it difficult to determine how it moved on land." The article further states, "Ahlberg and his colleagues made a few changes in this construction, mainly in the rib cage, neck, and shoulder regions. Then they played around with this reconstruction to figure out how the animal might have moved. "We arrived at the overall functional interpretation by drawing together our functional interpretations of the different parts of the skeleton – forelimb, hind limb, backbone, and so forth – and trying to figure out how they could all make sense in one animal," Ahlberg said."
One must question how Jarvik's reconstruction of Icthyostega left "many aspects of it's anatomy" to be unknown when all of the animal's bones have been discovered, there are hundreds of Icthyostegid finds to be used as reference, and thier arrangement in the earth provides clear assesment of thier general arrangement, particularly in light of the host of other amphibian tetrapod species which provide reference, such as Seymouria Baylorensis, Utegenia Shpinari, Ariekanerpeton Sigalovi, Temnospondyli Cochleosauridae, Solenodonsaurus Janenschi, and others. Are we to believe that Icthyostega varies from these tetrapods so much that it's ribs are clustered and grossly overlapping in contrast to all known tetrapods? Are we being fed science or creative license? If Ahlberg's reconstruction is so far removed from all known tetrapods, it is not more conceivable that what he has fashioned is a creative model that fits his interpretation of it's locomotion in comparion to the locomotion of fishes as opposed to a reconstruction of the fossil. Reconstruction does not provide for redesign.
Ahlberg clearly states that the reconstruction was created to make the fossil conform to his, and I quote, "functional interpretation". We must ask ourselves, is it science to apply interpretation to a reconstruction of an animal for which the arrangement of bones is well documented by numerous examples? If such interpretation were applied to all fossil reconstructions, evolutionist scientists could reconstruct fossils in virtually any manner they chose according to their personal interpretation of how the animal moved, or even how they wish to believe the animal moved, rather than how the creatures bones were arranged as they were found in the earth. Let's do a little literary reconstruction of our own by replacing that last sentence to see if we can create with words what Ahlberg has done with bones. Let us replace Ahlberg's statement, "trying to figure out how they could all make sense" with "trying to figure out how to make the animal look more like what it must to fit into the lineage and present the impression of tetrapod evolution." In so doing, we can with words reconstruct the concept of "making sense of" the fossil by "making it conform" to our need to have it appear more transitional. This reconstruction of words would seem every bit as appropriate as Ahlberg's reconstruction in light of the fact that the arrangement of Icthyostegid bones is well known from many examples which have been recovered, and they do not provide the arrangement that was assembled by Ahlberg in his fossil reconstruction.
Ahlberg's statement in our debate illustrates the anti-religion motivation of evolutionists; "Gosh! (There doesn't seem to be a "glowing with embarrassment" graemlin available, so you'll have to imagine one...) To receive such plaudits from the Vorlon Ambassador AND the illustrious author of "Well, that just about wraps it up for God" and other blockbusters is almost too much! Seriously, I've been consistently impressed with this site: you are doing a great job."
Further illustration of this motivation comes from his statement in the BBC program The Missing Link (BBC2 9.00pm Thursday 1st February 2001) wherein Ahlberg stated, "What would happen if they [creationists] won, if they truly won is that we would descend into another Dark Age. It's an unimaginably dark prospect."
Regarding Icthyostega, British paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Henry Gee stated,
"A statement that Icthyostega is a missing link between fishes and later tetrapods reveals far more about our prejudices than about the creature we are supposed to be studying. It shows how much we are imposing a restricted view on reality based on our own limited experience, when reality may be larger, stranger, and more different than we can imagine."
Since icthyostegids had a rigid spine and fairly limited side-to-side flexion, Ahlberg set out to reconstruct the fossil in such a manner as to create an arangement of bones which would allow for far greater flexion, as is seen in land-dwelling tetrapods. To accomplish this, Ahlberg regionalized the spine to create the appearance of transition by closer association with lobe-finned fishes. National Geographic News states, "The team's reconstruction differs from all previously published reconstructions of the animal. Unlike in other reconstructions, the vertebrae that make up the backbone in Ahlberg's rendering are regionalized: They have different shapes in different parts of the column. Therefore, different parts of the backbone flexed in different ways, Ahlberg speculates."
The article further states, "While regionalization of the backbone is fairly common in living land vertebrates, it's not seen in the lobe-finned fishes from which Icthyostega is thought to have evolved. Lobe-finned fishes have thick, fleshy fins, as opposed to the delicate fins of most fish. Only two types of lobe-finned fishes survive today, coelacanths and lungfishes. "Icthyostega is actually the first example of such a regionalized vertebral column in the vertebrate fossil record," Ahlberg said."
The truth is that Ictyostega had such flexion only after Ahlberg's reconstruction which rearanged the locations of vertabrae from what is known of countless examples, and as these bones have been discovered in their locations in the earth. What Ahlberg has done is fashioned a new spine to promote the appeatrance of transition by giving the animal greater flexion. This departure from the established knowledge of hundreds of Icthyostegid examples is perposterous to say the least.
Furthermore, Ahlberg has moved lumbar ribs to the caudal section of the spine, turned them at what appears to be 180 degrees, as with all of the ribs in his reconstruction, and laid them nearly flat against the caudal vertebrae. Such a ridiculous arrangement of ribs does not exist in any animal either living or in fossil form. This represents a gross misrepresentation of the actual creature and the numerous Icthyostegids which have been discovered. There is not one amphibian tetrapod living or in fossil form that complies with this arrangement. If this kind of disregard for what is known of fossil creatures were performed to the entire fossil record of life on earth, evolutionist scientists could fashion completely new creatures from a host of bones and claim them as transitional forms. So long as the public does not know how the bones have been rearranged, they are none the wiser. Such reconstructions move beyond creative licensee, which is unacceptable in itself, to the world of hegemony and speudoscience. It is a common ploy of evolutionists to provide the general public which perceptions based loosely upon assumption and speculation. What Ahlberg has done however, is push this freedom afforded him by an unknowledgable public and a lack of criticism by peers until it is completely outside the scope of science.
Not only has Ahlberg rearanged the ribs, but completely rearranged the spine of the fossil to afford it the kind of locomotion he envisioned for an animal which could be perceived as more like a transition between lobe-finned fishes and land-dwelling tetrapods. His desire and goal from the onset of the reconstruction was to create the impression of an animal which seemed more transitional than known Icthyostegids, and he acheived this by maximally extending the precaudal column. Despite that it is contended that there are at least three known species of Icthyostegids which are examples of variety within the kind (stensioei, eigili, and watsoni), six specific samples of Icthyostega were selected from the hundreds available. In our debating, Per Ahlberg never mentioned which bones from which species of Icthyostegids were used in his reconstruction. Taking into account the history of hoaxes, falsification, and lies of evolutionist scientists, one must wonder why this reconstruction is unlike anything seen before. Ahlberg is not forthcoming with this information. It's rib cage is admittedly unlike any known animal living or in fossil form. This alone tells us that it does not conform to what even scientists know of Icthyostega or any other animal. Since Ahlberg admitted that the purpose of the reconstruction was to solve what he perceived as problems with it's locomotion not being enough like the fishes from which it is claimed to have come, it is then obvious that the reconstruction is outside the scientific method of seeking a cause for the animal. Yet Ahlberg has done the opposite; he has sought an animal for a cause. He has rearranged the bones of an animal well known by previous and widely accepted reconstructions, and created one that does not exist from a collection of Icthyostegid bones.
What can be easily discerned from the three "reconstructions" of Icthyostega is a transition in reconstruction, and not an animal that represents a "transitional form". Thus, evolutionists do what they have always done, and what Ahlberg has done with both Icthyostega and femurs or other tetrapods: transitioned fossils, conglomerate bone shards, fashioned complete animals from bone fragments, or created imagine animals to fit their faith that evolution should show the evolutionary transition from one kind into another that the world-wide collections of fossil animals does not show. Notice in the illustration that the pelvic bone of the animal appears much larger than that of known reconstructions. Did Icthyostega suddenly grow a larger pelvis for Per Ahlberg? Did it suddenly grow a completely different spine for him alone? It is missing other bones as well. Clack has done something just as dastardly in her own reconstruction; she has turned the back legs of the animal backward to present a new animal which is not capable of walking, as so many similar tetrapods are known to have been able to do, to create the impression that the animal is more fish-like and unable to walk since it's legs pointed backwards and could only be used as pedals in swimming. Thus we understand Ahlber's unplausible contention that Icthyostega moved on land in an "inchworm" manner by dragging itself along with it's front legs. This is completely preposterous. Even modern alligators and crocodiles, which have legs exceedingly similar in form and proportion are capable of walking on land with all four legs. Jennifer Clack, Per Ahlberg and Henning Blom then went about attempting to reconstruct the animal to solve these insurmountable problems. These materials were gathered together for analysis, and according to Clack, the neural arches of new samples of Icthyostega pointed at different angles in four different sections of the spine, which supposedly had not been seen before in previous material. One must wonder how, with hundreds of examples, such "obvious" relationships between neural arches had not been "seen before".
Such claims are not new. The same claim about the ribs of Icthyostega was made about a more recent find, Tiktaalik, by yet another evolutionist scientist:
"And Tiktaalik's lungs, which evolved from the air bladders fish use for respiration and buoyancy control, are housed in a sturdy overlapping rib cage, the better to buttress the animal's weight against gravity. No other fish in the world either living or dead has overlapping ribs." - Harvard University zoologist Parish Jenkins.
Obviously, someone is wrong, thought it seems both are wrong, since Ahlberg made this very claim about Icthyostega recently and a little over a year later Jenkins made this claim about a newer find named Tiktaalik. It seems that everyone in the evolutionist circle wants to make the claim of the year, often unaware that another evolutionist scientist has already done so, and I presume as well, oblivious to real scientific fact. Again, one must wonder about the validity of anything coming from the mouth of any evolutionist scientist. Credibility is something which evolutionist scientists do not seem to possess.
When I questioned Mr. Ahlberg in our debate about the tiny lumbar ribs of his reconstruction, he responded, "the posterior half of the spine is not ribless. There is a complete series of ribs, but the posterior ones are short and lack expanded overlapping flanges. [he] simply failed to spot them in the drawing."
Devonian Times illuminates this reconstruction further: "During the 1990s, studies by Jennifer Clack, Michael Coates, Per Ahlberg, and H.C. Bjerring substantially revised Jarvik's reconstruction. Ichthyostega was now considered to be a primarily aquatic tetrapod, although one that may have hauled itself onto the shore. The hind limbs were smaller than previously depicted and may have served as paddles rather than legs."
Clearly Ahlberg has redesigned the animal, not reconstructed it. So much so, that instead of conforming to the known skeletal structure of Icthyostegids and other amphibian tetrapods, the reconstruction depicts an animal which is primarily aquatic and not primarily amphibian, furthering the illusion that Icthyostega was more akin to lobe-finned fishes and thus more easily perceived as transitional. Ahlberg has in effect created a new creature with the reconstruction and attempted to change the animal from amphibian to primarily aquatic by moving lumbar ribs in the caudal section of the spine, rearranging the vertebrae to change the animal's flexion for improved locomotion in water, lowered the animal to the ground, congested it's rib cage into a grossly overlapping package, and turned it's ribs at an unnatural angle. It is reasonable to believe that this reconstruction becomes, in his mind and the minds of those involved, a transitional form where none existed. It would seem that this was the intention of the reconstruction from the start. This falls just short of claiming the creature to be a fish. How much farther from science can a reconstruction go than this? I can only imagine that had the creature's legs been slightly shorter, Ahlberg might have attempted to create a lobe-finned fish from the bones.
While Ahlberg was the driving force of this erroeous fabrication, he was not the only culpable person involved, as Devonian Times states: "This work would not have been possible without the assistance of Ted Daeschler and Walt Cressler. Ted Daeschler, who is the lead researcher at Red Hill, co-discoverer of Tiktaalik, and the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Academy of Natural Sciences, was the driving force behind the second and third editions. He provided leads, literature, fossil images and scientific guidance. Walt Cressler, who has conducted the most extensive paleobotanical investigations of Red Hill, also provided leads, literature, fossil images, and scientific guidance. I also want to thank Jennifer Clack, Stephen Scheckler, and Heather Wilson for their assistance."
It seems utterly preposterous, particularly since it is much more than likely that all vertebrae are known through these hundreds of examples. The reconstruction resulted in an animal which had four distinct areas of it's spine which were capable of moving in different ways - something not seen in lobe-finned fishes. This is also supported by Ahlberg. Furthermore, their vertebrae are representative of mammals, which is also supported by Ahlberg. Could this be anything like the zeal over a femur? It would seem to be an obvious attempt to produce what has not been found from select bones of hundreds of examples in effort to create an animal that is not as it was found in the earth and which is so clearly different from lobe-finned fish that it could not represent the crest, or any crest, of transitional forms. The end result of this reconstruction is an animals which, in my opinion, has never existed and has characteristics which were never present. it is upon examination and comparison with other known Icthyostegids, a creation and not a reconstruction. it is a completer fabrication void of reason, physiological, anatomical, and visual likeness to what is known of Icthyostegids.
Ichtyostega is simply one of many varieties within it's kind. It is a lizard with an unusually rigid bicipital spine and ribs, not too much unlike today's Gila Monster but with more rigidity. There is no basis whatsoever for turning it's ribs at an angle from the torso, as this is not seen in any animal of this kind living or in fossil form, or any of the other manipulations which are inconsistent with it's natural form and relation to similar tetrapods, whether their ribs were as broad and flat as Icthyostega's or not. Other examples also have broad, flat ribs and are fairly rigid, yet these have not been manipulated so much because they do not fit what evolutionist scientists, at least those mentioned here, consider features which would tie them in with fishes and create a more congruent anatomy and featural lineage of supposed transition. The lengths to which evolutionist scientists continuously go to provide evidence for their assertions where none exists is surprising at times, as is the case with Ahlberg's reconstruction of Icthyostega. The extinct Icthyostega is no more related to a fish than it is to a mammal, as are none of the proposed transitions, as science proves and common sense assures.
The question is often put to creationists, "Why aren't you skeptical of creation theory?". However, considering the utter lack of evidence for evolution, the history of hoaxes and imaginative reconstructions from bone fragments and complete artistic renderings of unknown animals which defy known scientific data, a better question would be, "Why aren't you skeptical of evolution theory?" Evolutionists claim to be skeptical of all scientific evidence, yet evolution theory is so completely lacking in evidence that it is obvious that these scientists are not skeptical of evolution because it is their faith: they believe with all their hearts and minds that evolution has occurred and are not willing therefore to be skeptical of it. They are unable to accept that there is a creator who has set moral and ethical standards and who is above the human being who thinks because of his gnostic humanist philosophies that he represents the highest known order of life, and there is none above himself. It is a form of self-worship; the creation is worshiped while the creator is ignored.
name="1"1.The origin of tetrapods