A "missing link" is any gap in the fossil record between any animal and its supposed evolutionary ancestor. The fossil record is the collection of all fossils found all over the world. Missing links are placeholders used when a transitional fossil cannot be found to fill in the "tree of life," a visual representation of the evolutionary process showing relationships between species. For example, for vertebrates to move out of the water on to land, as evolutionists suppose they did, there must be an animal which first developed lungs and four legs. If there is no fossil proof for such a transitional species, its place is marked as "missing" on the tree—the assumption being that such a species must have existed in order for evolution to be true.
What is the missing link, and has it been found?
Evolutionary scientists don't rely on the direct-descendent tree of life as much as they used to. Instead, they tend to use a "cladogram," which sorts physical characteristics (such as feather coloration) and then infers an evolutionary relationship from those characteristics (birds of a feather must be related). With cladograms, there are fewer missing links, since cladograms use data we have instead of fabricating a diagram of what we think we should have.
In popular culture, "missing link" refers to a perceived gap between, for instance, apes and humans. Evolutionary scientists rarely if ever use the term, for a couple of reasons: first, saying "the" missing link implies that there is a single key to make everything fit, something no scientist believes. Second, the evolutionist likes to suggest that he's found all of the transitional species, thus "proving" evolution. The idea of anomalies in the fossil record runs counter to his attempt to tie up loose ends. Nevertheless, every time a new fossil is unearthed, some hail it as "the missing link" and try to discount the biblical creation story. Here are a few examples:
Archaeopteryx: Evolutionists have long taught that birds evolved from reptiles. This proved hard to support, however, because of a big "missing link"—there was no transitional animal between dinosaur and bird. If only they could find a triceratops sprouting feathers! Then they found archaeopteryx and immediately put it forward as the reptilian-avian link. Archaeopteryx was bird-like, having feathers, wings, and a bill; and it was lizard-like, having teeth, claws, and an unfused backbone. Unfortunately for evolutionists, many reptiles don't have teeth, ostriches do have claws on their wings, penguins have an unfused backbone, and platypuses have bills and lay eggs. So, those characteristics of the archaeopteryx prove nothing. In addition, scientists have yet to find a fossil bearing any kind of a transitional state between scales and feathers; all fossils of feathers are fully formed. Common sense says that archaeopteryx was just a bird.
Lucy: This may be the most famous "missing link." "Lucy" is the name given to a skeleton found in Ethiopia in 1974. Originally, the few bone fragments were thought to be a transitional species between ape and man. The more the bones are studied, however, the more they appear to be simply those of an extinct ape.
Java man: In the late 19th century, a Dutch physician trekked through the jungles of Java in Indonesia and found part of a skull cap, three teeth, and a thigh bone. Despite the facts that the skull and the thigh bone were found fifty feet apart, and there were human skulls in the area, the findings were compiled and (with the help of a talented artist) presented to the world as Homo erectus—a transitional species between man and ape. More likely, the skull fragment is from an extinct ape, and the thigh bone belonged with one of the human skulls. Even evolutionists now admit that specimens of Homo erectus are most likely just variations on normal humans.
Ida: It's still unclear why this nearly complete fossil found in Germany is causing such a stir. "Ida" appears to be the fossil of a lemur, lacking only a grooming claw and a row of fused teeth. Evolutionists have declared these minor disparities to be proof that humans descended from lemurs.
The Bible says nothing about "missing links." The creation story found in Genesis does not rely on macroevolution (species-to-species change); therefore, no "links," missing or otherwise, are needed. Instead of a single tree encompassing all animals, the genetic diagram of the Bible is more like a field of bushes. God created many different animals. The cats God made branched into a "bush" of different breeds or varieties through the minor changes of microevolution. Dogs did the same, and then chased the cats.
Atheistic evolutionists claim that their theory "proves" God isn't necessary for the development of life. The Bible says the opposite: evolution isn't necessary for the development of life. God is all that is necessary for life (1 Timothy 6:13). God created the world, and all its animals, in six days. Attempts to explain God's creation without God will always leave missing links.
Irreducible complexity - What is it?
Is theistic evolution biblical? What is theistic evolution?
Intelligent Design Theory - What is it?
What does it mean that humanity is created in the image of God?
Creation vs. evolution - What does the Bible say?
Truth about Creation