Skip to comments.'Missing Link' Ida Is Just Media Hype
Posted on 05/20/2009 7:58:38 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
Scientists and media outlets around the world are praising “Ida,” the primate fossil hailed as the long-sought-after “missing link” in the human evolutionary theory.
In a major public relations campaign, Ida was unveiled in New York City yesterday, May 19, 2009, and will make a stop in London May 26 before returning to its owners at the University of Oslo’s Natural History Museum. BBC1 will air a documentary based on the fossil the same day as its UK unveiling, and Little, Brown—publisher of the popular Twilight fiction series—put out a book about the find today. Even Internet search engine Google posted a special banner in Ida’s honor.
But despite the hype, a whirlwind of questions still surrounds the discovery. First, the environment in which the fossil was kept for 20 years is unclear. Ida, who bears the technical name Darwinius masillae in honor of this year’s 200th anniversary of British naturalist Charles Darwin’s birth, was found in 1983 by an amateur fossil hunter at Germany’s Messel Pit. He kept it in unknown conditions before deciding to sell it through a dealer two years ago.
Second, the purchaser’s stated motivation for obtaining the fossil seemed to emphasize business over research. University of Oslo paleontologist Jørn Hurum nicknamed the fossil “Ida” after his own small daughter and told UK news outlet The Guardian, “You need an icon or two in a museum to drag people in…this is our Mona Lisa and it will be our Mona Lisa for the next 100 years.”1 Hurum purchased the fossil for an undisclosed sum from the dealer based on seeing only three photographs and not the actual fossil, a “huge gamble” that suggests pressure to make some kind of return on the university’s investment.
Third, the fossil was hailed as humanity’s missing evolutionary link before the technical details of the find were published. This strategy effectively prevented the scientific community from evaluating the data and possibly calling a halt to the campaign on account of the fact that Ida has no transitional features and is therefore irrelevant to the evolutionary hypothesis of human development. Paleontologists are speaking out, but their voices are thus far being drowned out by the hype. Richard Kay from Duke University told Science that “the data is cherry-picked.”2
Ida, though an amazingly well-preserved fossil, will prove to be another Lucy, Java Man, Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, Pakicetus, and Eosimias. It will undoubtedly join the growing collection of fossils that were once thought to be missing links, but that upon further study turned out to be extinct creatures with no transitional features.
Look for more news soon on detailed analyses of Ida from ICR.
Image Credit: PLoS
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
I still think Joe Biden is the missing link
I caught the media part, but what scientist has had any part in this?
If it’s all media hype, how are you going to complain about the evil scientists?
“I still think Joe Biden is the missing link”
Nope... Donald Trumps’ hair is.
Thanks for the ping!
“If its all media hype, how are you going to complain about the evil scientists?”
For the second day in a row, I agree with you... this is getting a little annoying.
I was thinking the same thing here. It’s hard to have a rallyying cry around something that was never much of one in the first place... you guys have much stronger arguments for your side when the proof is more vague. This was obvious hype from the get-go. A neat little trinket; a fine piece of artwork, even a great little bit of history... but hype nonetheless.
One article I read had a quote saying this was a ‘great-great-grandaunt’ rather than a ‘great-great-grandmother.’ So they are already admitting it is not an actual transition form despite the sensationalized headlines. The trunk of the evolutionary tree is perpetually missing.
It is only a kangaroo skeleton, look at it closley.
The scientists don’t even agree on it being a “missing link”, so you can’t even get a good conspiracy theory going out of it.
From what I gather, there are some scientists pushing the idea the Ida is the “missing link.” But many are skeptical, and some of the scientists who aree involved in the team that is studying Ida have complained that they felt pressured by the media and Ida’s handlers to call it the missing link. As usual, this thing will blow up in their faces.
Thanks, I like AiG’s link because it goes into a bit more depth.
LOL...You can see why guys like him confuse the Evos!
Excellent point! Needless to say, this so-called missing link will blow up in their faces just like all the others.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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