Do we have fossil evidence of diverging families in evolution?

I was listening to an anti-evolution Christian debating a scientist on a podcast and he kept saying, "show me where a canine became a non-canine." The scientist didn't know, but he was a physicist, not a biologist.

As someone who studied biology at a GCSE level, I know that canine means Canidae and what he actually needed to be shown was where the fossil record shows families diverging into another family. I don't know if this has happened in canines, but do we have any examples of a family becoming another family through evolution?


I'd like to add that I do believe in evolution and I am an atheist. I am not asking specifically to see evidence of a canine becoming a non-canine, I'm asking if we have observed one family splitting into two different ones. This could even be in bacteria or something, not necessarily Animals.

6 Answers

  • 3 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Do we have a continuous sequence that shows descent, generation by generation over tens of thousands or perhaps many millions of years? Of course not.  More like having a few frames of a long movie, but we know the order that the snippets come in, so we can sort of figure out what the movie is about and what happened.  Does that prove we are right? Of course not.  But what we propose to explain what we see is definitely a good possibility or it would not fit all of the evidence.

    All we have is snippets in time, and over time, there is a progression that we can follow.  There are definite gaps.

    Originally, the grouping in biology was by physical features, similar structural and functional features.  Some of those interpretations have had to be modified from genetic evidence, but a lot of the interpretations are supported by genetics.

    If creationists have a better explanation for what we actually observe, they are free to offer it up.  one of what they offer even come close to being consistent with what we observe.  They simply complain about what we have not (yet, perhaps never) observed as if that makes all the observations have no value.  It does not.

    Is it possible that we misinterpret what we observe? Absolutely.  this is why we keep observing and testing.  the more we learn that is consistent with our explanation, the more it supports that the explanation is likely correct.  It only really takes one very obvious inconsistency to make the explanation wrong, so if it were wrong, evidence to the contrary will come out.

  • 3 months ago

    Transitional fossils are known from even higher levels than families.  The best example might be Tiktaalik roseae, an intermediate form between fish and tetrapods.  However, we can catch only the briefest glimpse of such a transition taking place in real time, the reason being that it takes tens to hundreds of millions of years.

  • 3 months ago

    That was a bad question to ask.  Canines haven't yet become non-canines. 

    Look back the other way.  Canines are descended from non-canines.  So are pinnipeds (seals etc), cats (felines etc), weasels.

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  • 3 months ago

    The evidence is in the genetic legacy of different species. The DNA shows their relatedness and, since the rate of changes in DNA is fairy well know, the likely time difference between branching events.

  • 3 months ago

    He definitely lacks proper education in science. That kind of evolution takes hundreds of millions of years, if not billions, because we are talking about the development of an entirely never existed before specimen that requires creating a new family category which then branches into genus and then species. Whereas there is evidence of species of canidae branching off into new a genus and then species, such as the african hunting dog which is the only one of its kind in the entire canidae family.

    What religious diehards and even many others often ignore is that bones don't always fossilize, instead decay, and the survival of a complete fossilized skeleton over time is actually rare. If you asked an evolution denier how the process of a bone turning to stone works, I doubt they could answer it. Plus, we have only excavated a mere fraction of the planet to look for fossils. Looking at how big cities like LA, NYC, and Chicago are, no doubt there are fossils located under them. But we'll never find them because be built over them.

    Well yeah there's proof that's living, but not necessarily fossil evidence for the reasons I gave above. Look at everything alive today. Penguins are a type of bird, but not even remotely comparable to the mourning dove. Compare the hominidae family to other families within the primate order. We're all primates, but us and gorillas belong to a different family than the gibbons monkey, lemurs, etc. So to put it obviously simple, there was likely just one primate that was dominant and over time adaptation and mutation led pockets of it from different areas to evolving into new forms that led to new suborders > infraorders > families. If a non-believer in evolution denies the resemblance between the countless primates, they are just ignorant.

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