Stephen J. Gould, perhaps the most famous paleontologist of the 20th century, wrote:
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed.
Lest I be accused of quote mining you can find Gould discussing it in more detail in Gould’s book The Richness of Life, pages 263 and 264, found in its entirety on Google Books.
So what did Texas mandate? The following is to be included in the evolution section of biology textbooks beginning this year. Since Texas is the second largest purchaser of textbooks in the nation what it buys usually becomes what all the other states buy too because mass production makes the Texas selection the least expensive one.
7B: Describe the sufficiency or insufficiency of common descent to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of the fossil record.
This is one small step for honest teaching of evolutionary theory and one giant leap for intelligent design.