Missing link is found


Remember all those stupid arguments you had regarding evolution with your uncle? He kept asking you “well, if we come from monkeys, where’s the missing link?” Well, you can now tell him the missing link is currently in Oslo, Norway. Ida, as the fossil is called, is perhaps one of the greatest fossil finds of our time. The previously oldest fossil of our ancestors was Lucy, who clocked in at roughly 3.4 million years old, and even she was only 40% complete. Ida, on the other hand, is 47 million years old and is 95% complete!

The species, dubbed Darwinius masillae in honor of Darwin’s 200th birthday, is a type of lemur that eventually split off into the familiar species we know of today. Ida is the most well preserved fossil from the Eocene era, so much so that scientists were able to analyze her last meal, and even what her fur must have been like.

I can already hear creationists preparing their response to such an earth shattering discovery. Here is undeniable proof of our ‘lowly’ origins, but even the missing link won’t be enough to deter religious wackos from declaring this must be a test from God or something. Can’t they just accept the fight is over? We won, bitches.

Comments (11)

  • avatar

    Lifer

    This isn’t really a missing link.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    explain yourself sir

  • avatar

    Karla

    Agreed with above commenter. I read an article this morning where a scientist said it’s not really a missing link, but rather another branch in the complex evolutionary tree. A great-great-great aunt rather than a great-great-great grandmother sort of thing.

    Still cool, though!

  • avatar

    Lifer

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/darwinius_masillae.php

    “She’s being called the “missing link in human evolution”, which is annoying. The whole “missing link” category is a bit of journalistic trumpery: almost every fossil could be called a link, and it feeds the simplistic notion that there could be a single definitive bridge between ancient and modern species. There isn’t: there is the slow shift of whole populations which can branch and diverge. It’s also inappropriate to tag this discovery to human evolution. She’s 47 million years old; she’s also a missing link in chimp evolution, or rhesus monkey evolution. She’s got wider significance than just her relationship to our narrow line.”

    As much as I would love for it to be so, it’s no reason to run around saying, “Problem solved!”

  • avatar

    LB

    Chalk up one more win for science.

  • avatar

    Lifer

    Was my explanation sufficient?

  • avatar

    mamoru

    The whole “missing link” concept is a ridiculous oversimplification anyways.
    I pretty much only ever hear denialists and journalists looking to catch eyeballs use it.

    Really cool fossil though.

  • avatar

    Taupo

    Hey Jacob,

    I think it is fair that you acknowledge the fact that Karla, Lifer and marmoru actually taught you something fundamental about evolutionnary science: speaking of “missing link” is as bad as misplacing Sudan on a world map, if you know what I mean…
    Christie Lynn made a fair job about explaining why it is not scientific to mention missing-links and you might want to check this link too:
    http://observationsofanerd.blogspot.com/2009/05/oh-ida.html

    I think it’s really important that atheists have robust knowledge about evolution because Ida’s missing link story depicts exactly how bad things can go when scientific discoveries are oversimplified by the media: it weakens the overall public comprehension of the theory of evolution. Now a lot of people are reassured in their belief that there is some kind of direction to evolution that gave rise to humans, missing the point that there is not such a trend: if Ida was really our ancestor (and it is probably more a cousin than an ancestor), then it’s our shared ancestor with all extant primates too, chimpanzees included!

    It’s a sad hype buzz story, and I think atheists should be the first to complain about it!

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    I’ve been reading the actual paper on Darwinius masillae, but I’ll tell you right now that trying to fight this whole “missing link” label is pointless. This little lemur is more than our simple “cousin”. A lot of the bone development present is making us rethink when the “split” occurred between the “lower” and “higher” primates.

    Is it as bad as confusing the location of Sudan on a map? hells no. Besides, let’s let the creationists fall over one another concerning this issue. Oh, and if I’m totally wrong, so is David Attenborough (so give me a bit of a break here!)

  • avatar

    Taupo

    Come on Jacob, be the bigger man here!
    Why would you think so many scientists are enraged by the announce if it was not that important :
    http://network.nature.com/people/primatediaries/blog/2009/05/22/breaking-the-chain
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/darwinius_masillae.php
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/05/19/darwinius-it-delivers-a-pizza-and-it-lengthens-and-it-strengthens-and-it-finds-that-slipper-thats-been-at-large-under-the-chaise-lounge-for-several-weeks/
    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/05/everything_changes.php

    It is very important that people start fighting this “missing link” misconception and I would thought you (and David Attenborough for that matter) should know better. Saying that fight this whole “missing link” label is pointless is like saying that we should not provide the general public with the true arguments of evolution because they understand false arguments better.

    About the fact that I don’t want to call Ida an ancestor and say that it is more a cousin is exactly the same problem that arose when we prematurely considered Neanderthals as ancestors: like Christie Lynn observed in the article I linked previously, it is almost impossible to find a fossil that is a direct ancestor of extant species and more probable to find one that is characteristic of a parrallel branch i.e. a cousin…

    You’re right when you say that a lot of the bone development present is making us rethink when the “split” occurred between the “lower” and “higher” primates, but it exactly the kind of information that was lacking the media buzz and the title of your article…

    Don’t be upset: you have the opportunity of learning something essential about evolution here and be able to say that you don’t fall to the pitfalls David Attenborough fell into…

  • avatar

    Quizzle

    I agree. We’re probably never gonna find a perfectly blended human/monkey, and even so, there’s no real “half-way” point.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to top