Friday, October 02, 2009

Ardi: "The Pelvis Looked Like an Irish Stew"

From the Time magazine article about the new "Ardi" fossil ("Ardipithecus ramidus"):
Deducing such details of social behavior is, admittedly, speculative — and several researchers are quick to note that some of the authors' other major conclusions need further discussion as well. One problem is that some portions of Ardi's skeleton were found crushed nearly to smithereens and needed extensive digital reconstruction. "Tim [White] showed me pictures of the pelvis in the ground, and it looked like an Irish stew," says [Alan] Walker. Indeed, looking at the evidence, different paleoanthropologists may have different interpretations of how Ardi moved or what she reveals about the last common ancestor of humans and chimps.

Casey Luskin is having some fun with the quality of the new fossil ("Ardipithecus ramidus") here and here:
So what do we have with “Ardi”? We have an extremely crushed “Irish stew” fossil that has undergone extensive reconstruction in order to become part of a PR campaign to make bold claims of ancestral status to the human line, even though at base its qualities are very similar to previously known fossils, and there's a lot of skepticism about the claims being made. In other words, we have the typical media circus that we find every time a new "missing link" is found.

I read the general media articles and I wonder: What ever happened to good ol' enlightenment skepticism? Casey Luskin is one of the few to hold on to some.

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At October 02, 2009 3:52 PM, Blogger Buster Dog said...

In sooo many ways the Media has become a player, rather than just a reporter.


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