Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Missing link" primate likely to stir debate

Scientists announce 47 million-year-old find

VIDEO: "Missing link" in human evolution? (5/19/09): discovery of 47 million-year-old fossil researchers say is the oldest evidence for human evolution

A discovery of a 47 million-year-old fossil primate that is said to be a human ancestor was announced Tuesday at a press conference in New York City.

Known as "Ida," the nearly complete transitional fossil is 20 times older than most fossils that provide evidence for human evolution.

It shows characteristics from the very primitive non-human evolutionary line (prosimians, such as lemurs), but is more related to the human evolutionary line (anthropoids, such as monkeys, apes and humans), said Norwegian paleontologist Jørn Hurum of the University of Oslo Natural History Museum. More>>

Human Search for Missing Link
The problem with understanding human origins has been a shortage of fossil evidence -- until now.
Darwin and a fossilized skull (news.sky.com)

Billions of humans and humanlike creatures have lived on this planet, but our knowledge of human pre-history is based on only about 5,000 individuals. And these finds have been scattered randomly through time, sometimes with gaps of hundreds of thousands of years -- and none of them look much like any of the others. Scientists say our own relatively short-lived civilization would be extremely unlikely to yield any fossil record at all. More>>

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