“Increasing diversity and multiple transitions seem to reflect a determined and inexorable progression toward higher things. But the paleontological record supports no such interpretation.. There has been no such steady progress in the higher developments of organic design. We have had instead, vast stretches of little or no change and one evolutionary burst which created the whole system.”
S.J. Gould, Natural History, 85(6): 1976
Gould was a paleontologist with the American Museum of Nat’l History in Chicago.
” We are forced to the conclusion that most of the really novel taxa that appear suddenly in the fossil record, did in fact originate suddenly.”
Ayala and Valentine, Evolving: The Theory and Process of Organic Evolution, pp.266-267
Back in the thirties, Clark of the Smithsonian Institute was already saying..
“There can be only one interpretation of this entire lack of any intermediates between groups of animals….If we are willing to accept the facts we must believe that there never were such intermediates, or in other words that these major groups have from the very first borne the same relationship to each other that they do today.”
Austin Clark, The New Evolution: Zoogenesis, Baltimore, Williams and Wilkins, 1930, 168,189
In other words we see the same gap between the various kinds of animals in the fossil record that can be seen between them now on earth. Obviously paleontologists have known about this trait of the fossil record for a long time.