What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.
No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way... To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.
The idea that one can go to the fossil record and expect to empirically recover an ancestor-descendant sequence, be it of species, genera, families, or whatever, has been, and continues to be, a pernicious illusion.
The phrase 'the fossil record' sounds impressive and authoritative. As used by some persons it becomes, as intended, intimidating, taking on the aura of esoteric truth as expounded by an elite class of specialists. But what is it, really, this fossil record? Only data in search of interpretation. All claims to the contrary that I know, and I know of several, are so much superstition.
Oaths are the fossils of piety.