Yesterday there was a full on media blitz over the latest evolutionary “missing link discovery”. Piling on with the likes of Lucy, Archeopteryx, Selam, etc., it’s pretty obvious that this has absolutely nothing to do with new evidence of a “missing link”. Instead, it’s a media marketing blitz to sell books and videos and other crap. Hurry! Get your missing link Lemur monkey beer koozy’s while they last! They even trotted out David Attenborough for goodness sake. That guy is about 10% scientist and about 90% gameshow host. But, I’m getting sidetracked. Let’s actually look at what they found and see if it matches the claim.
The claim is that this lemur monkey fossil is “the missing link in human evolution.” That’s the claim, and that’s what should be evaluated. It doesn’t matter if it’s a really cool fossil, or if it’s “almost complete”, or any of that. What matters is whether or not it is clearly and distinctly a transitional form between ape and man, as the headlines are blazing it. What you will see, rather, is just a mega-hyped version of the usual stuff. I’ll show you here how to read one of these articles properly. I’ve read so many missing-link articles over the years that I have it down to an art form. I could analyze one and make a sandwich at the same time. Let’s look at the article [my comments in brackets]:
The search for a direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has taken 200 years – but it was presented to the world today at a special news conference in New York. [already re-defining the criteria]
[the next 11 paragraphs are just one-liners from various people about how AMAZED! they are]
Scientists say Ida – squashed to the thickness of a beer mat by the immense passage of time – is the most complete primate fossil ever found. [complete primate fossil. congratulations. i find complete arrowheads in my backyard sometimes.]
With her human-like nails instead of claws, and opposable big toes, she is placed at the very root of human evolution when early primates first developed features that would eventually develop into our own. [human-like nails: which primates still have. this is not transitional. just more darwin branch-theory fairy tale story. opposable big toes: same.]
Another important discovery is the shape of the talus bone in her foot, which humans still have in their feet millions of lifetimes later. [talus bone: no details given about just what that shape is. it says the shape is the key thing, then says that humans have talus bones. yeah, but are the shapes the same? many primates have talus bones. what matters is the design, which they don’t mention.]
[a few paragraphs about the back story.]
But in 2006, Ida came into the hands of private dealer Thomas Perner, who presented her to Prof Hurum at the annual Hamburg Fossil and Mineral Fair in Germany – a centre for the murky world of fossil-trading. [lol. here we go with the James Ossuiary and the Jesus tomb all over again.]
[the next 10 paragraphs talk about the lead scientists emotions and some more back story.]
Through radiometric dating of Messel’s volcanic rocks, they discovered Ida lived 47 million years ago in the Eocene period. [LOL!! radiometric dating is a total crapshoot beyond a few thousand years, but they were able to nail this one down to 47 million. sure.]
This was when tropical forests stretched right to the poles, and South America was still drifting and had yet to make contact with North America. During that period, the first whales, horses, bats and monkeys emerged, and the early primates branched into two groups – one group lived on mainly as lemurs, and the second developed into monkeys, apes and humans. [i included this as a fine example of a typical morph into darwinian fairy tale that is common in these stories. they can’t possibly know any of this. it’s pure speculation passed off as fact.]
The experts concluded Ida was not simply a lemur but a ’lemur monkey’, displaying a mixture of both groups, and therefore putting her at the very branch of the human line. [and now we get to the heart of the issue. she’s not transitional. rather, she’s "branchiable". being at the so-called branch, is meaningless unless you already buy into the fairy tale story. a true transitional form, on the other hand, requires no back story. it would be hard proof in and of itself. but that’s not what this is.]
[5 more paragraphs of feelings and darwin quotes]
Up until now, the most famous fossil primate in the world has been Lucy, a 3.18-million-year-old hominid found in Ethiopia in 1974. [LOL!! #2. lucy is a joke.]
She was then our earliest known ancestor, and only 40% complete. [40% complete is a stretch]
But at 95% complete, Ida was so well preserved in the mud at the bottom of the volcanic lake, there is even evidence of her fur shadow and remains of her last meal. [preserved in sediment. again, the idea of a global flood never crosses their minds.]
[more endless paragraphs of backstory and feelings.]
When Darwin famously told the Bishop of Worcester’s wife about his theory of evolution, she remarked: “Descended from the apes! My dear, let us hope that it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known.” Now, it certainly is. [and we end with a gratuitous slam on religion. good form.]
So, there we have it. An entire article about the missing link discovery with only 3 short paragraphs about why it’s actually the missing link. And those paragraphs are just your usual Darwinian fairy tale story turned into science. And looking at the stupid marketing website it becomes really obvious what this is all about and why David Attenborough is so involved:
The UK premiere of Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link will be shown on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 26th May. The version of the film made for the BBC is written and narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
David over at Crev has a good writeup on it today as well. What a load.