DUBAI //The fossil of a polar bear from the Miocene period sits among the preserved remains of other sea creatures dating back millions of years in an exhibit at Zayed University.
But Dr Cihat Gundogdu, a member of the Harun Yahya organisation, insisted yesterday that the ancient remains were simply evidence against the theory of evolution. The organisation promotes a belief in divine creation, as outlined in the Quran.
"Can chance lead to complexity and a variety of species? What are the odds of a single protein forming by chance?" Dr Gundogdu asked an audience of mostly students during a lecture at the university.
During the presentation, Dr Gundogdu used quotes and clips from various evolutionists to point at what he claimed were gaps in their theories. Instead, he said, species were simply created as they are.
Images of various fossil forms were shown, but Dr Gundogdu claimed no transitional forms of species, for instance half-starfish and half-fish, ever been found.
The event was organised by the office of student life at Zayed University, with co-operation from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.
John Burt, assistant professor of Biology at New York University - Abu Dhabi, who did not participate in the event, agreed that there were gaps in the fossil record.
However, he stressed: "We don't have every possible transition for every possible species, but this should come as no surprise given the rare conditions that are required for fossilisation of tissues.
"In addition, radiocarbon dating of fossils that do exist show clear chronological sequences that match expectations provided by the fossil record and the various other lines of evidence. This would not be expected if life were 'created' all at once."
He said: "The theory of evolution underpins all aspects of the biological sciences, from genetics to ecology, and is widely considered to be among the ten most important ideas in the history of the sciences."