“Missing Link” unveiled! Darwinian theory of evolution proved!

(But wait—hasn’t it already been proved? Isn’t Darwinian evolution already an established fact with which no rational person can disagree? If it has only been proved now, doesn’t that mean that the Darwinians were lying to us for all these years when they kept declaring with utmost authority that it was already proved? See comments following main entry.)

The scientific enterprise, which once had a certain integrity and seriousness, has, like most everything else in the modern West, mutated into shameless self-promotion. Here is the incredibly hyped story at Sky News, with my interspersed comments in brackets. (Indeed, the hype—organized by the scientists themselves—is so extreme that even the New York Times has critically commented on it. The Times article is quoted further down in this entry.)

Scientists Unveil Missing Link

In Evolution

Breaking News
4:34pm UK, Tuesday May 19, 2009
Alex Watts, Sky News Online

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

This 95%-complete ‘lemur monkey’ is described as the “eighth wonder of the world”

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”.

[LA replies: but how are we supposed to respond to this, when science journalism almost every week presents us with a new finding which it tells us has “overturned everything we thought we knew”? If everything we thought we knew was overturned just last week, what is there left to overturn? Such is life in liberal society, in which there is no truth, but there must always be a truth to overturn.]

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.

[LA replies: Not true. If the fossil is real, it demonstrates that an ape-like creature tens of millions of years ago had certain human-like features. It does not demonstrate THAT human beings evolved from that creature, not does it demonstrate HOW human beings evolved from that creature. Darwin’s theory of evolution does not concern the fact that more complex species have succeeded less complex species on earth; it concerns HOW this evolution occurred. As always, the Darwinian establishment dishonestly conflates the general fact of evolution, which everyone except Young Earth Creationists accepts, with the Darwinian explanation of evolution, which is not proved, using the accepted truth of the former to “prove” that the latter is also true.]

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.

Pictures From Atlantic Productions

“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’.

[LA replies: But according to the Darwinian theory of evolution, we are not only descended from primates, we are descended from bacteria, since all life on earth is descended from a single cell. Therefore, by the Darwinians’ logic, it would be just as accurate to say: ‘okay we are bacteria, show us the link’. But they don’t say that, do they?]

“The link they would have said up to now is missing—well it’s no longer missing.”

[LA replies: Note that the expression “missing link” has always been very confusing. A link, as in a link in a chain, denotes a single link in a linear series of links, so that the expression “missing link” suggests to the most people that humans are directly descended from apes, and that a species coming between our ape ancestors and ourselves is missing. But that is not the idea at all. What is really meant by the expression missing link is the missing common ancestor of apes and humans. (However, I may be wrong about that. See below discussion between Gintas and me about the meaning of missing link.) In any case, if this new species is the missing link, in the sense of transitinal form, how can it be the missing link between animals and man if it lived 43 million years before the earlier man-like creatures? Every person who calls this fossil the missing link, should immediately be asked, “what is it a missing between?” They’ll be cut short, not knowing what to say, because they have simply been repeating phrases without thinking about what the phrase means or if it makes any sense in this context.]

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. [With her “human-like nails instead of claws”? In reality, ALL primates have nails instead of claws. See my further discussion on this here.]

Another important discovery is the shape of the talus bone in her foot, which humans still have in their feet an incredible 70 million 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.

This fossil is really a part of our history; this is part of our evolution, deep, deep back into the aeons of time, 47 million years ago.

Fossil expert Professor Jorn Hurum

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.

X-ray of Ida’s badly fractured left wrist

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 (£660,000)—ten times the amount even the rarest of fossils fetch on the black market.

Eventually, after six months of negotiations, he managed to raise the cash in Norway and brought Ida to Oslo.

Attenborough: The Link Is No Longer Missing

Prof Hurum—who last summer dug up the fossil remains of a 50ft marine monster called Predator X from the permafrost on Svalbard, a Norwegian island close to the North Pole—then assembled a “dream team” of experts who worked in secret for two years.

They included palaeontologist Dr Jens Franzen, Dr Holly Smith, of the University of Michigan, and Philip Gingerich, president-elect of the US Paleontological Society.

Researchers could prove the fossil was genuine through X-rays, knowing it is impossible to fake the inner structure of a bone.

Through radiometric dating of Messel’s volcanic rocks, they discovered Ida lived 47 million years ago in the Eocene period.

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.

[LA replies: Let us recall that in the Age of the Dinosaurs, the only mammals were small, rodent-like creatures. The dinosaurs and many other speces were wiped out in the Cretaceous extinction about 65 million years ago. Now, if within 15-18 million years of the extinction of the dinosaurs, mere rodents had evolved into whales, horses, and even primates, then that was almost as rapid and amazing an appearance of new life forms as occurred in the Cambrian explosion of 600 million years ago, when all the marine invertebrates popped into the fossil record—out of NOTHING—within five million years. Mice evolving into whales and primates with opposable digits in 15 million years doesn’t sound like agonizingly gradual Darwinian evolution by random accidental mutation and natural selection to me, it sounds like … but I tremble at using the “C” word.]

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.

This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals. This is the one that connects us directly with them.
Sir David Attenborough

“When Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859, he said a lot about transitional species,” said Prof Hurum.

“…and he said that will never be found, a transitional species, and his whole theory will be wrong, so he would be really happy to live today when we publish Ida. [LA writes: the quote is muddled. Hurum evidently means that Darwin said that if no transitional species were found, then his theory would be disproved, and therefore Darwin would be very happy about the discovery of Ida.]

“This fossil is really a part of our history; this is part of our evolution, deep, deep back into the aeons of time, 47 million years ago.

“It’s part of our evolution that’s been hidden so far, it’s been hidden because all the other specimens are so incomplete.

“They are so broken there’s almost nothing to study and now this wonderful fossil appears and it makes the story so much easier to tell, so it’s really a dream come true.”

[LA replies: Please note, throughout the Darwinian literature, the inappropriate emotionalism and enthusaism of these supposed scientists when expressing their feelings about evolution, giving away that Darwinism is not for them a search for scientific truth, but a means of emotional fulfillment, indeed a religion. I was just reading the leading biologist and founder of sociobiology E.O. Wilson’s 1998 book Consilience last night, and in his first chapter he makes it embarrassingly clear how Darwinian evolution was a more fulfilling substitute for the Suothern Baptist religion of his youth.]

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.

She was then our earliest known ancestor, and only 40% complete.

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.
Bishop of Worcester’s wife to Charles Darwin

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.

From this they concluded she was a leaf and fruit eater, and probably lived in the trees around the lake.

The absence of a bacculum (penis bone) confirmed she was female, and her milk teeth put her age at about nine-months-old—in maturity, equivalent to a six-year-old human child.

This was the same age as Prof Hurum’s daughter Ida, and he named the fossil after her.

The study is being published and put online by the Public Library of Science, a leading academic journal with offices in Britain and the US.

Dr Hurum also found Predator X

Co-author of the scientific paper, Prof Gingerich, likens its importance to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, an ancient Egyptian artefact found in 1799, which allowed us to decipher hieroglyphic writing.

One clue to Ida’s fate—and her remarkable preservation as our oldest ancestor—was her badly fractured left wrist.

The team believes this stopped her from climbing and she had to emerge from the trees to drink water from the 250-metre-deep lake.

They think she was overcome by carbon dioxide gas from the crater, and sunk to the bottom where she was preserved in the mud as a time capsule—and a snapshot of evolution.

But amazingly this final piece of Darwin’s jigsaw was almost lost to science when German authorities tried to turn Messel into a massive landfill rubbish dump.

[LA replies: It’s the final piece of Darwin’s jigsaw! Nothing more remains to be discovered! The scientific apocalypse has arrived.]

Eventually, after campaigning by Dr Franzen, the plans were rejected and the fossil-rich lake was designated a World Heritage Site.

But no doubt there would have been one person happy for the missing link to have remained hidden.

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.

[LA replies: And the proof that man is descended from apes is—what? That this 47 million year old creature had “human-like nails instead of claws, and opposable big toes.” In other words, any resemblance between some past creature and humans proves that humans were descended from that creature. But the latter doesn’t necessarily follow from the former. It is sheer assertion. There are insects with wings. Does that prove that birds are descended from insects? Analogous organs have re-appeared over and over again in unrelated life forms. What that proves is that life uses similar structures over and over, not that the various life forms are related to each other by descent.]

Ida’s discovery has been made into an Atlantic Productions’ documentary, presented by Sir David Attenborough.

[LA replies: Any project that involves David Attenborough—a brainlessly fanatical promoter of Darwinism—has already discredited itself.]

- end of initial entry -

Mark P. writes:

Supposedly, a missing link was found.

Civilization collapses.

Steve D. writes:

By now, you may already know about this. Just in case this is new to you, go to Sky News and watch the breathless video about the new fossil that will “debunk creationism” and possible “question religion itself.” It’s a small lemur-like animal that, supposedly, is an ancestor to primates. To those making the video—and apparently to those examining the fossil—finding a “transitional species that developed into a fully-fledged [sic] primate” is the same thing as proving that humans evolved from lower primates. Take note: this is not, supposedly, one of our “primate ancestors,” but an “ancestor to primates.” Darwinism is the world’s richest mine of intellectual dishonesty.

Ian B. writes:

I heard about this on the news today. “Hoo boy,” I thought, “Yet another so-called “missing link” finding being distorted.”

Pretty much all the news said was “Missing link!” and “47 million years old!.” I could already tell that there was a lot of b.s. involved, because 47 million years is far too old to be the “missing link” between apes and humans. [LA adds: Remember, “missing link” is a misleading term for common ancestor, so it’s not correct to say “missing link between apes and humans.” In any case, if common ancestor has any useful meaning, it means immediate common ancestor. So 47 million years is also way too far back in time for a common ancestor of apes and humans. If the common ancestor of apes and humans was that far back in time, then by that logic the first amphibian was the common ancestor of apes and humans, indeed, the first amoeba was the common ancestor of apes and humans.]

And whaddya know? When I get back to my office and check the web for more information, it turns out that they mean the “missing link” between primates and some lemur-like pre-primate ancestor, not the link between apes and humans, which is what the term “missing link” is usually taken to mean. But that salient fact was entirely missing from the news broadcasts.

In fact, the discovery doesn’t even establish the ancestry of primates. There is disagreement in scientific circles over whether primates split off more recently from lemurs or from tarsiers. Previously, the consensus favored tarsiers. This find may help to swing things towards the pro-lemur crowd.

A normal person, who simply doesn’t have the time or inclination to bone up on all the scientific facts surrounding the origins of man, would be completely misled. I can only describe this as gross, intentional dishonesty perpetrated by scientists and journalists. There really is no charitable way to interpret this kind of overt misinformation.

The worst part is these journalists and scientists (predictably) spinning this as some sort of clincher in confirming Darwin’s theory. What total bull. In terms of providing evidence for non-human ancestry of modern humans, this fossil accomplishes nothing that such proto-hominid finds as Australopithecus don’t already accomplish far better. That this dishonest tactic is resorted to each and every time a new fossil discovery is made really reflects poorly on the confidence that the people resorting to it have in their own views.

Scientists often complain that the public doesn’t trust science, or give them the deference they think they are due. Well, tough. If they don’t like it, they should clean up their act. When someone is lying to you on a regular basis, and like most people you have a life to live and lack the time, expertise, or desire to check up on each and every one of their claims personally, then the only rational course of action you can take is to simply disregard everything they say.

LA replies:

Thank you for this powerful statement. Like the rest of the elite of the contemporary West, the science establishment has shown itself to be a bunch of whores, out for money, fame, and ideology. You may remember that when I called Richard Neave’s “reconstruction” of the “first European” as an African Negro a fraud, a reader strongly objected, saying how dare I make such a serious charge about a reputable scientist? That reader was still living in some past world where scientists could be trusted to have a minimal degree of intellectual probity. Well, if the scientists want people’s respect, they will have to earn it back.

Even the New York Times is noticing. Its piece on the 47 million year old fossil did not deal with the science, but with the unprecedented degree of orchestrated media hype accompanying the announcement of this finding:

Seeking a Missing Link, and a Mass Audience
Published: May 18, 2009
It is science for the Mediacene age.

On Tuesday morning, researchers will unveil a 47-million-year-old fossil they say could revolutionize the understanding of human evolution at a ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History.

But the event, which will coincide with the publishing of a peer-reviewed article about the find, is the first stop in a coordinated, branded media event, orchestrated by the scientists and the History Channel, including a film detailing the secretive two-year study of the fossil, a book release, an exclusive arrangement with ABC News and an elaborate Web site.

“Any pop band is doing the same thing,” said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. “Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.” [LA replies: Imagine that, a “scientist” bragging that he is following the example of a pop music band in promoting his discovery, and saying that all scientists should do the same. Whatever scientific organizations Hurum belongs to should condemn his statement and his behavior if they want to keep a shred of integrity.]

The specimen, designated Darwinius masillae, is of a monkeylike creature that is remarkably intact: even the contents of its stomach are preserved. The fossil was bought two years ago in Germany by the University of Oslo, and a team of scientists began work on their research. Some of the top paleontologists in the world were involved in the project, and it impressed the chief scientist at the Natural History museum enough to allow the press conference.

“We would not go forward with this, even in a hosting capacity, unless we had a sense of the scientific importance,” said Michael J. Novacek, the provost of science at the museum.

But despite a television teaser campaign with the slogan “This changes everything” and comparisons to the moon landing and the Kennedy assassination, the significance of this discovery may not be known for years. An article to be published on Tuesday in PLoS ONE, a scientific journal, will report more prosaically that the scientists involved said the fossil could be a “stem group” that was a precursor to higher primates, with the caveat, “but we are not advocating this.”

All of this seems a departure from the normal turn of events, where researchers study their subject and publish their findings, and let the media chips fall where they may. But this campaign is only the latest example of the scientific media blockbuster, of which the National Geographic Society has become perhaps the most successful practitioner. It often gives grants to researchers, with National Geographic gaining the rights to produce television shows and magazine articles related to any discoveries….

[end of Times excerpt]

A reader writes:

No. Serious people have not said that Darwinian evolution has already been “proved.” Indeed, serious people note that it is a “theory,” one that has remarkably strong predictive power but without a proof. Rational people are routinely encouraged to come up with a better alternative theory, but in the meantime, science relies on Darwin because it works. [LA replies: You write: “serious people note that it is a ‘theory,’ one that has remarkably strong predictive power but without a proof.” LA replies: You write: “serious people note that it is a ‘theory,’ one that has remarkably strong predictive power but without a proof.” This is not true. As circumstances and self-advantage dictate, the Darwinian promoters constantly veer back and forth between saying that Darwinism is just a theory with high predictive power but not proved, and saying that Darwinism is the established truth and that anyone who disagrees with it has shown that he is intellectually incompetent and even insane. In the present circumstances, you’re are seeing just the Darwinian good cop. But the Darwinian bad cop is always there as well.]

The hype of this is something else again, and a perfectly reasonable subject of discussion. Perhaps you haven’t yet seen this morning’s NYTimes … if you can stomach ever to see the NYTimes.

Just because the find is being hyped like a rock star or athlete, doesn’t tell us whether the science is good or bad. Whatever our opinion of hyping a scientific finding, even a scientific break-through, the science stands on its own and is subject to the objective processes and testing of any scientific finding.

How Sky News chooses to position the finding (did Sky fall for hype?) does not tell us whether this is good science or bad. As soon as there’s good science with a better explanation of the development of species than Darwin’s, let me know. [LA replies: Even after having the read the New York Times article, you don’t seem to realize that the hype came from the scientists themselves. It doesn’t seem to occur to you that a scientific discovery advanced by means of such hype is already deeply suspect and compromised.]

Karl D. writes:

But wait! Next we will be told that “Ida” was not a monkey indigenous to Europe, but an African monkey proving once and for all that whites have no claim to the continent. I am only half joking.

Gintas writes:

One thing has always puzzled me about “missing links.” They always look for these fossils, but where are the living, breathing links? At the left end of the timeline is an ape. At the right end is man. There are supposedly x number of transitional beings in between. Where are they? Are they so unstable that none of them has survived? The ape has survived, why couldn’t they? If they couldn’t, what made them “more fit” than the ape to begin with? Why can’t we suppose that we should see a continuum of beings—right here, right now—from ape to man, other than that falsifies Darwinism in less than a New York minute?

LA replies:

First, everyone keeps missing the point that “missing link” is not a link between species A and species B, but the most recent common ancestor of species A and species B.

Once we’ve cleared up that confusion , your point about the missing transitional species has been made many times.

You write: “The ape has survived, why couldn’t [the transitional species between ape and man survive]?”

First, there is no known ape ancestor of man. There was, presumably, a common ancestor of the apes and man, but it’s missing. Therefore human evolution doesn’t serve the purpose of your question. For the purpose of illustration, then, let’s assume a hypothetical in which a distant ancestor of a species is known, but not the in-between ancestors. Let’s say that the fish is believed to be the ancestor of the frog. We know fish, and we know frogs, but there’s nothing in between. Why are the transitional forms missing?

The Darwinians would say that the initial genetic and morphological change that started the process that led ultimately to the frog was triggered by some environmental change (a draught for example) that affected some members of the ancestor fish species but not others. The ancestor species continued on, while a sub group of that species, separated in a different ecological niche, evolved. Then it evolved further, and further, and further, leading to … the frog. So we have the distant ancestor of the frog, and we have the frog, but no transitional species in between. I think the Darwinian explanation would go something like that.

But the problem, as mentioned above, is that missing transitional species are not the exception to the rule, they are the norm throughout the fossil record. The fossil record is not just somewhat inconsistent with what the Darwinian theory says it should be; it is, as Ann Coulter devastatingly argued in Godless, the complete opposite of what the Darwinian theory says it should be.

LA continues:

Here’s why the above Darwinian scenario that I presented is flawed. Let’s say that there were (conservatively) 100 transitional stages between fish and frog. As the Darwinians are always telling us, it’s not a whole species that changes into a new species, but one subgroup of that species. So, for each transitional species to change into the next one, a subgroup of the main species has to get separated into a different environmental niche where there are new selective pressures. The subgroup evolves, while the main group, remaining in the familiar niche where it was well adapted, remains as it was. There should therefore be 100 transitional species still extant between fish and frog. In reality, there aren’t any transitional species. So that explanation fails.

An alternative scenario is that the environment for the entire transitional species changes, leading to the survival of the few individuals who are more “fit” in the new environment. In this scenario, there would be no leftover extant transitional species, because they each would have died out as only the most “fit” individuals of each species evolved. Ok, so the missing transitional forms have been explained and Darwinism is now in the clear, right? Not quite. For the scenario I’ve just given to be true, the environment would have had to change constantly and constantly become fatal to the species which up to that moment had been perfectly adapted to that environment. Furthermore, to explain the total absence of transitional forms between fish and frog, this fatal change of environment would have had to occur for each of the 100 transitional forms or species between fish and frog, This is so implausible as to be dismissed.

Darwinism thus has no plausible explanation for the total absence of transitional forms.

LA continues:
The Darwinians will reply that I’ve completely misunderstood their theory. There is nothing so dramatic as a fatal change in the environment, they will say, but rather a constant survival of the slightly more fit in each generation, resulting in the slow but constant spread through the species population of the slightly more fit allele, resulting in the extremely slow but constant disappearance of the most recent transitional form.

Unfortunately for the Darwinians, this notion is incompatible with the radical environmental and morphological changes that would be required to lead from fish to frog. To acquire a pelvis, or even to acquire the supposed transitional stages that supposedly lead to a pelvis, some dramatic change in the ordinary environment of that species would be needed. Slightly improved swimming techniques or eyesight or ability to breathe efficiently among a fish species that is already perfectly adapted to its environment would not be enough to select a mutation leading to a radical change in form, let alone to a thousand-step series of such selections of such mutations.

Gintas writes:

You wrote:

“First, everyone keeps missing the point that ‘missing link’ is not a link between species A and species B, but the most recent common ancestor of species A and species B.”

I see what you mean by missing link, and I plead guilty to misunderstanding it. However, mine seems to be the common (mis)understanding.

It’s strange that I haven’t heard the argument I made anywhere else. I always wondered why no one ever brought it up!

LA replies:

It’s just one of those things. A phrase, a slogan, which does not describe reality correctly, enters the language, and once it’s entered the language it becomes “fixed” and is repeated by everyone ad infinitum, with no one ever thinking about what it actually means or is supposed to mean. We could compile a list of such phrases.

In this case, “missing link” is a colorful phrase that captured everyone’s imagination, but the phrase does not convey the idea that it was originally meant to convey and so leads everyone to misunderstand the subject under discussion. Now there are missing links, i.e., the missing transitional forms, and if used in that sense the phrase is not nonsensical. However, THE missing link which is constantly referred to, including in the Sky News article, is not a transitional form between ape and man, it is the common ancestor of ape and man.

As for your argument about missing transitions, I think it has been made many times, but maybe I’m wrong about that.

LA continues:

But get this. In Wikipedia’s discussion of the term “missing link,” there is no reference to the meaning of common ancestor of apes and humans. It means transitional form. Here is Wiki’s article on transitional forms. But of course there are many transitional forms, missing and otherwise. In what sense, then, would today’s newly announced discovery, Darwinius masillae, be “the” missing link? If they don’t mean “the” missing link as the common ancestor of apes and man, then they mean “the” missing link between animals and man. But Darwinius masillae lived over 40 million years before the first man-like creatures appeared. So what is D. masillae “the” link between? Confusion still reins.

Now, as I said, the term missing link would be ok, if it were used simply in the sense of a transitional form. Wiki mentions that the term missing link got a boost from the discovery of Australopithecus afarensis, a missing link between ape ancestors and man. But there is always the overlay of the missing link, which, in my understanding (not backed up by Wikipedia) goes back to the idea of the missing common ancestor of ape and man.

Wiki also says that missing link is a popular phrase, which scientists avoid using because of its inexactness of meaning.

[(ADDED May 20: The point is, even if missing link simply means a link between an ancestor and a descendant, its use in this case is completely wrong, because, as even the scientists are admitting, “Ida” is not an ancestor of the human race. Yet David Attenborough and mainstream nespapers, not to mention blogs, are calling her the missing link.)

LA continues:

The article states:

“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.” [Italics added.]

And David Attenborough is quoted:

“This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals. This is the one that connects us directly with them.” [Italics added.]

But how is a 47,000,000 year old lemur like creature a direct connection between “us” and anything? “We” (Homo sapiens) did not exist for another 46,800,000 years after this creature.

Maybe the name of our species should be changed to Homo hypeans.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 19, 2009 01:17 PM | Send

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