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Darwinius Masillae


Holly Smith, University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology: "This skeleton is going to inform almost anything that we talk about in trying to determine the ancestor of higher primates."

During the proceedings at the American Museum of Natural History Dr. Hurum said:- "It is the scientific equivalent of the Holy Grail. This fossil will probably be the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next 100 years." 

Dr Jørn Hurum said, “It’s really, really hard to pinpoint exactly who gave rise to humans at that point, but this is as good as it gets, really.” According to ScienceNews, Hurum said, “This is the first link to all humans … truly a fossil that links world heritage.”

Dr Hurum said: 'We expected a challenge like this and it's interesting it has taken five months for the first attack to come. What we claim about Ida is really quite controversial. Seiffert and his team claim Darwinius didn't have much anatomical detail to study because it is so crushed, but none of the authors have ever seen the original specimen. She's not that crushed, there's a lot of information in the fossil. We really trust and stand by our interpretation.' 

David Attenborough, said:- "Now people say, 'OK, we are primates. Show us the link.' The link they would have said up to now is missing -- well, it's no longer missing." 



This is like finding the Holy Grail for paleontologists. This is the first link to all humans. j hurum science may 29 2009 p.1124


Dr. Hurum recalled: “I realized at first it’s a primate. It just screams primate: opposable big toes and thumbs, no evidence of claws. This is like the Archaeopteryx of primate evolution.”



Scientists believe they have unearthed the "missing link," an ancient primate fossil some 47 million years old and the ancestor to all monkeys, apes and humans....The discovery provides a major advance in filling in the evolutionary tree of primates, the group to which we ourselves belong.



I think that message really got through that we have ancestors way, way back in time, not only in Africa. I find it very nice that we have got that message out to people in the street. horum new scientist 6.6.09 p.25


Guardian newspaper featured a front-page article under Sir David Attenborough When we look round at the natural world, there is often an ulterior motive. We desperately want to know where we came from..." ...and later continued, as part of the layout of a special two-page spread about the discovery:- "...The more you look at Ida the more you can picture, as it were, the primate in embryo. She represents the seed from which the diversity of monkeys, apes and ultimately every person on the planet came..." 

Jens Franzen, former director of the Senckenberg Research Institute at the launch ceremony "the eighth wonder of the world". 

Philip Gingerich, a palaeontologist-from Princeton University in the US who worked with the Norwegian on Ida, described the latest assertion as 'puzzling', adding that the creature was almost certainly part of the lineage that led to monkeys, apes and humans.


Scientists have discovered an exquisitely preserved ancient primate fossil that they believe forms a crucial "missing link" between our own evolutionary branch of life and the rest of the animal kingdom.

The 47m-year-old primate – named Ida – has been hailed as the fossil equivalent of a "Rosetta Stone" for understanding the critical early stages of primate evolution.



Scientists say the cat-sized animal's hind legs offer evidence of evolutionary changes that led to primates standing upright - a breakthrough that could finally confirm Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.



ScienceDaily and a Discover magazine commentator praised Ida as our “47-million-year-old human ancestor.” Skynews told the public that “proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.”


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...

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.



"This specimen is like finding the Lost Ark for archeologists," lead scientist Jorn Hurum said at a ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History.

"It is the scientific equivalent of the Holy Grail. This fossil will probably be the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next 100 years."
IDA WAS just 58cm (23inches) long and nine-months-old when she died 47 million years ago, but scientists are confident the cat-like creature is the common ancestor of all primates.

“Ida already has a grasping hand over an opposable thumb. And she has flat nails like us today,” said Dr Jens Franzen of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, also involved in the analysis.
“So on the first look already you get the idea this is something not too far from ourselves. For me this is the eighth wonder of the world.”

Sir David Attenborough.
“This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of all the mammals,” he said to the ABC network in the US.
“Now people can say, okay you say we’re primates, like monkeys and apes, and that we came from simple generalised mammals. Show us the link; the link they would have said until now is missing. Well it is now no longer missing.”
It has been named Darwinius masillae and investigators claim it will finally confirm irrefutably Sir Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. 

Attenborough, who for 50 years has been the face and voice of the BBC's natural history programs popular in both the U.S. and U.K., has been a staunch advocate of evolutionary theory, calling it a historical fact "as certain as the fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066, except it's more certain."
Hurum states. "Ida is very comparable to some of the most significant fossils that have been described like Lucy, the Neanderthals, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Archaeopteryx. It's a really important specimen that will become an icon of evolution. So I think Darwin would be really happy about this specimen
The Link website devoted to publicizing the find. "Ida is an example of a transitional fossil between primitive primates and the prosimian and anthropoid branches, the latter of which eventually led to humans ... She is the earliest, and one of the most significant links, ever found."
"For Attenborough to come out and say, 'We have the missing link; it's no longer missing,' only admits they haven't had missing links before this time," Ham told WND.
"When you listen to Darwinists, they claim their theory is as well established as gravity," Wells told WND. "If that were really the case, we wouldn't be getting these startling announcements that we finally found the proof that we need. There wouldn't be any controversy. This would be like someone running up and saying, 'Stop the presses. I just saw another apple fall from the tree; Newton was right!' In the evolutionists' own framework, it's nonsense. It demonstrates their theory is not as well established as they claim."
"This will be the one pictured in the textbooks for the next hundred years," said Dr Jørn Hurum, the palaeontologist from Oslo University's Natural History Museum who assembled the scientific team to study the fossil. "It tells a part of our evolution that's been hidden so far. It's been hidden because the only [other] specimens are so incomplete and so broken there's nothing almost to study.

There is some discussion of her as a "transitional species" but that seems overstated because the evidence clearly puts her on the monkey/ape branch of the larger primate family tree. http://www.archaeology.org/online/reviews/ida_fossil.html

Ida is also be the focus of a one-off David Attenborough documentary called Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link, shown on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday May 26.
When we look around us at the natural world, there is often an ulterior motive. We desperately want to know where we came from. Sir David Attenborough 

This beautiful little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals: with cows and sheep, and elephants and anteaters. According to one of the scientists who has studied her, she is a "Rosetta stone" for understanding our early evolution.
The more you look at Ida the more you can picture, as it were, the primate in embryo. She represents the seed from which the diversity of monkeys, apes and ultimately every person on the planet came.
Those who doubt that very simple generalised mammals gave rise to the primates could always ask, "show us the link". Well that link is no longer missing.
To anybody who's interested in evolution, and the ultimate demonstration of the truth of evolution – the fact of evolution – this is a key discovery. And it is fitting that Hurum's team have chosen, in Darwin's 200th birthday year, to name the fossil after the father of natural selection. Ida's scientific name is Darwinius masillae.
It is really delightful that 150 years after Darwin first tentatively put forward the proposition that human beings were part of the rest of animal life, here at last we have the link which connects us. Ida is a link between the apes, monkeys and us with the rest of the mammals and ultimately the whole animal kingdom. I think Darwin would have been thrilled.













"There is no evidence that Darwinius shared these features with living haplorhines," says Kirk. "And if you can't even make that case, you can forget about Darwinius being a close relative of humans or other anthropoids."

article now available online in the Journal of Human Evolution



See also: Google News Archive

See also: Weak Link Fossil

See also: Calling Science to Account

See also: Piltdown

See also: Nebraska Man