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Darwinius masillae: The Missing Link!/Greatest Find in History or Every Day Science May 25, 2009

Posted by rationalskeptic in Fossils.
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Darwinius masillae, the recently published 47 million year old primate fossil, aka Ida, has been all over the news in recent days, but is the media hype justified?

Ida

Ida

Well, Ida is a 95% intact fossil (which is nearly ideal, obviously), and she is 47 million years old. The skin and fur has left a dark outline around her body, and this has given researchers a look into the primates muscle structure. Also, the contents of her last meal have been preserved, which is another extremely cool aspect of this fossil, her last meal were leaves and fruit.

The media has jumped on this opportunity, and there are already a few documentaries on the discovery. The headlines have been over the top, “The Missing Link in Human Evolution!”, “The Great Scientific Discovery”, “Evolution proved right!”, and so on. This kind of hype is completely unjustified because of one major point; transitional forms are discovered among different species every day! So, reporting about a missing link skews the public understanding of evolution, and will inevitably cause the intelligent design proponents to capitalize on it.

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