I thought this was a rather telling remark on Tiktaalik posted over on Dembski's blog. We're treated to an excerpt of the pre-transformation version of the DI's original response that goes:
I especially like Crowther’s last sentence which I present in its original form (bold type included): “There’s a problem with the Darwinist position that runs even deeper than this, however: If Darwinian evolution is an undisputed fact, as its chief defenders routinely claim, why is this fossil find being billed as such an crucial piece of evidence?”What I love even more is all this rhetoric and absolutely no reference to the actual fossil material. So, I'll take that as meaning that these guys have nothing to say about its transitional status. The real icing on the cake is all this puff and no real substance.
Icing on the cake! I love it!!!
Unfortunately, the media's response to the discovery is not quite the same as the palaeontological community's interpretation of it. Therefore, by responding to these articles, creationists and their ilk are just blowing smoke. The importance of Tiktaalik has nothing to do with proving the fish-tetrapod transition. That's pretty much taken care of by a wealth of data from the past 100 years.
I would support this with a longer statement or references, but creationists are kindly providing the background for this fact by talking about Acanthostega and Ichthyostega as though we used to believe that were transitional forms and now somehow don't. All these clowns are doing is neatly summarizing growing list of "transitional forms" and making themselves look like asses in the process. These taxa are all still very much there, playing a critical role at the forefront of these reports on Tiktaalik:
From Daeschler et al. 2006
Most of the features used to support this grouping, however, are also seen in early tetrapods such as Acanthostega, Ichthyostega and Ventastega.
Tiktaalik retains primitive tetrapodomorph features such as dorsal scale cover, paired fins with lepidotrichia, a generalized lower jaw, and separated entopterygoids in the palate, but also possesses a number of derived features of the skull, pectoral girdle and fin, and ribs that are shared with stem tetrapods such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega.
From Shubin et al. 2006
The glenoid [shoulder joint] is oriented posteroventrolaterally and partially exposed in lateral view, which is intermediate between the posterior orientation of the glenoid in Eusthenopteron and the lateral orientation of Acanthostega and other basal tetrapods
In both Acanthostega and Tiktaalik the appendage projects ventrolaterally from the body wall.
The endochondral bones [internal bones] of the pectoral fin of Tiktaalik combine features of Eusthenopteron and Acanthostega, and in some aspects are intermediate.
Need I continue?
If these folks had actually read the papers, they would've seen how comparisons with these early tetrapods figure so prominently in how we actually recognize what Tiktaalik is.