Thanks for the intelligent, objective, non-combative post. I agree, the only possible exception being some of the progression characterization details. I think it's a matter of expression choice rather than content tho.<quoted text>
There is no "3-boned fish ear", certainly not any fish ear remotely like that found on mammals.
In the evolution of mammal-like reptiles, there is a very particular sequence of fossils showing the migration of the bones of the jaw to the rear and up into the ear. At the same time, first a double jointed jaw hinge and then the "abandonment" of the older reptilian hinge in favour of the new one, whilst allowing the further progression of the "jaw bones" into the ear itself resulting in an amplification of the ear's sensitivity.
This migration is only found on the pre-mammalian line (and is accompanied by other progressive changes from a "reptile" to a "mammal" general plan. It includes the appearance of fistula (holes) in the skull, the development of a double palate separating the nasal from the mouth cavity, and the appearance of specialised tooth types (canines, molars etc), all things peculiar to mammals.
(I wonder if its the unique sensitivity of the mammalian ear assembly that later enabled bats and whales to develop sonar, another feature birds, reptiles etc do not have.)
What I saying is its all (along with the independently corroborating genome evidence), slam dunk confirmation of COMMON ANCESTRY, at least as far back as all modern mammals to mammal-like reptiles. The fossils also take us back from there to early reptiles, then amphibians, then "fishapods" like tiktaalik, then lobe-finned fish. The lines of common ancestry are well mapped.
Now, if you want to argue that evolution alone could not accomplish that, well, that's another argument. I am saying we have ample evidence that the convergence of common ancestry happened. We can have a discussion about how novelty and progression can occur, with or without intelligent design, but I think its beyond question that novelty and progression DID occur on a large scale, and this counters arguments of "ex-nihilo creation of all types in 6 days more or less in their modern forms" which is what hard-core YECs try to claim.
BTW, I think you might find a vehicle "cladogram" quite enlightening.