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The Missing Link in Human Evolution

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Azure_Knight, May 19, 2009.

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  1. Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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    Interesting article that I found about a new find that may fit somewhere in the evolution of humans detabe.

    The missing link in human evolution may have been found.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Wor...liest_Ancestor

    Scientists have unveiled a 47-million-year-old fossilised skeleton of a monkey hailed as the missing link in human evolution.

    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. The discovery of the 95%-complete 'lemur monkey' - dubbed Ida - is described by experts as the "eighth wonder of the world". They say its impact on the world of palaeontology will be "somewhat like an asteroid falling down to Earth".

    Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and the then radical, outlandish ideas he came up with during his time aboard the Beagle.

    Sir David Attenborough said Darwin "would have been thrilled" to have seen the fossil - and says it tells us who we are and where we came from. "This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals," he said. "This is the one that connects us directly with them. "Now people can say 'okay we are primates, show us the link'. "The link they would have said up to now is missing - well it's no longer missing." A team of the world's leading fossil experts, led by Professor Jorn Hurum, of Norway's National History Museum, have been secretly researching the 1ft 9in-tall young female monkey for the past two years.

    And now it has been transported to New York under high security and unveiled to the world during the bicentenary of Darwin's birth. Later this month, it will be exhibited for one day only at the Natural History Museum in London before being returned to Oslo.

    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. 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.

    Another important discovery is the shape of the talus bone in her foot, which humans still have in their feet millions of lifetimes later. Ida was unearthed by an amateur fossil-hunter some 25 years ago in Messel pit, an ancient crater lake near Frankfurt, Germany, famous for its fossils.
    She was cleaned and set in polyester resin - and incredibly, was hung on a mystery German collector's wall for 20 years.

    Sky News sources say the owner had no idea of the unique fossil's significance and simply admired it like a cherished Van Gogh or Picasso painting. 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.

    Prof Hurum said when he first saw the blueprint for evolution - the "most beautiful fossil worldwide" - he could not sleep for two days. A home movie records the dramatic moment.
    "This is really something that the world has never seen before, this is a unique specimen, totally unique," he says, clearly emotional.

    He says he knew she should be saved for science rather than end up hidden from the world in a wealthy private collector's vault. But the dealer's asking price was more than $1 million (
     
  2. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Paleontology is so excitning.
     
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  3. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    It's a great find, but it has nothing to with the "missing link," and it won't put an end to the arguments over evolution. Really, there is no one missing link that would prove evolution; we're finding more transitional forms all the time, but people can still complain about the missing transitional forms between those that we have already found. Until we can account for virtually every species in the history of the world, there will still be complaints about gaps in the record.
     
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  4. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    I love how every time a new fossil along the line is discovered they throw around the term "missing link." It's gotta be one of the most abused terms out there. And yea, even if they somehow discovered every sort of possible fossil that traced a direct line back, people would still argue.
     
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  5. Reon

    Reon Midnight's Garden

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    I have to agree, the 'missing link' is a red herring, it really doesn't matter because people will simply believe what they want to when it comes to this subject.
     
  6. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    I'm the last great missing link.
     
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  7. OP
    Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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    That's just how science works (I assume you are talking about the scientists). As for the public, how much importance do you place on whether they agree with what science teaches?

    @quinlan - Be careful... they might take you away to Oslo and put you on display. Scientists would love to get their hands on the last great missing link XD

    While there is no one missing link that proves evolution, there is a body of evidence to support Darwin's idea of transitional forms. I agree though, there are many forms that have not yet been discovered (if they ever are for that matter). But that is the nature of science; one works with what one is given. I once asked one of my professors if there was absolute truth in science, and he gave me quite a look. He told me that there is never perfect certainty, and that we will always be looking for answers.

    What fun is there is you already know everything about everything?
     
    #7 Azure_Knight, May 20, 2009
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  8. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Of course, but the "creation scientists" tend to ignore that. They will just point to the lack of transitional forms between this one and those we had earlier, and add this fossil to their collection of those that "can't be explained by Darwinism."
     
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  9. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    That's why I hide in the deepest, darkest forests and mountains.
     
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