Friday, October 23, 2009

"Ida" Is Not Even Close To Being a Human Ancestor

From a Washington Post AP story, Ida is not so amazing after all:

Remember Ida, the fossil discovery announced last May with its own book and TV documentary? A publicity blitz called it "the link" that would reveal the earliest evolutionary roots of monkeys, apes and humans.

. . .

In fact, Ida is as far removed from the monkey-ape-human ancestry as a primate could be, says Erik Seiffert of Stony Brook University in New York.

. . .

The new analysis says Darwinius does not belong in the same primate category as monkeys, apes and humans. Instead, the analysis concluded, it falls into the other major grouping, which includes lemurs.

Experts agreed.

"This is a rigorous analysis based on many features," said Eric Sargis, an anthropology professor at Yale.

I'm ready for the media blitz that will correct the misinformation generated by the original media blitz. I won't hold my breath.

From a Guardian article:

The Ida fossil, which was found in the Messel Pit on the outskirts of Frankfurt, was revealed to the public in what amounted to the greatest publicity coup in modern science. The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, appeared alongside the fossil, wearing a T-shirt carrying the TV tie-in logo, "The link." A book about Ida was already coming off the presses.

Ida was an immediate media sensation. The fossil received blanket coverage around the world and newspapers hailed her as the "missing link" between humans and animals. The Guardian even gave away free wallcharts of "humanity's long lost ancestor."

My previous posts and commentary on the Ida hoopla (with analogy to Britney Spears) are here and here.

So it goes . . .

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home