Posts Tagged ‘human ancestor’

Ida Fossil Fiasco

 

“This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of all the mammals; with cows and sheep, and elephants and anteaters,” said Sir David Attenborough who narrated the BBC documentary in May 2009. “The more you look at Ida, the more you can see, as it were, the primate in embryo.”

“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”, said Dr Jørn Hurum, the paleontologist from Oslo University’s Natural History Museum who assembled the scientific team. The fossil findings were released to the world at a press conference in New York, simultaneously with online publication of the paper in Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE) on May 19, 2009.

At the opening press conference, the fossil was described as the “missing link” in human evolution. “This fossil rewrites our understanding of the evolution of primates… It will probably be pictured in all the textbooks for the next 100 years”, claimed the Ida investigative team. Ida was interpreted as our “human ancestor”—the first and only one known.

The fossil had even been formally named Darwinius masillae in honour of Darwin’s 200th birthday year during 2009.  

The widely publicized Darwinius paper was released along with a book entitled The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor, a DVD entitled The Link, This Changes Everything,  a History Channel documentary, and an exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History. At a news conference attended by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the authors unveiled the nearly complete Darwinius masillae fossil found in Germany. The New York Daily News noted,

“The unveiling of the fossil came as part of an orchestrated publicity campaign unusual for scientific discoveries.”

As the Darwinian celebrations were sinking into the sand by the end of 2009, however, so was the “missing link” status of Ida as scientists continued to analysis the fossil. By October 2009, the BBC retracted their position running ran an article entitled “Primate Fossil ‘Not an Ancestor’”, stating,

“The exceptionally well-preserved fossil primate known as “Ida” is not a missing link as some have claimed.”

The sand-sinking fossil fiasco was finalized following the March 2010 article in the Journal of Human Evolution by paleontologists Blythe Williams, Richard Kay, Christopher Kirk, and Callum Ross confirming initial suspicions that the original description of Darwinius which appeared in the journal PLoS One was fatality flawed.

The updated analysis by Williams and team members painted a damning picture of the original Darwinius study. The team reports that the features of bones in the skull teeth, and limbs clearly demonstrate that Ida is not even a primate—certainly not a human ancestor.

In March 2010 news editor for the NewScientist, Rowan Hooper, published the article entitled Confirmed: Fossil Ida is Not a Human Ancestor stating – “About a year ago we were stunned in the New Scientist offices to learn of a beautiful, 47-million-year-old primate fossil which was being hyped as the ancestor to all humans. Nicknamed ‘Ida’, The Guardian newspaper hailed it as “the eighth wonder of the world… Now an independent team has examined the fossil in detail. In a paper in the Journal of Human Evolution they strongly argue that Darwinius is not one of our ancestors.”

The Ida fossil announcement in PLoS ONE followed the same pattern as the Archaeoraptor fossil disaster announcement in National Geographic magazine in 1999. This pattern follows a strict evolutionary paradigm approach where ideology drives the interpretation. Ida serves yet another example how the evolution paradigm distorts and stifles scientific investigation and undermines the credibility of the modern scientific establishment.

Ida and Archaeoraptor join a long line of fossil fiascos, including Archaeopteryx, Java Man, and the Piltdown man. Fossil fraud and deception by the evolution industry continues to pervade the history of evolutionary, perhaps because the fossil record evidence continues to contradict the Darwinian theory of evolution.

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long”, pines Niles Eldredge, evolutionary paleontologist, “It seems never to [have] happen[ed].”

Douglas Futuyma, president of the Society for the Study of Evolution and the American Society of Naturalists, editor of Evolution, abandoned Darwinism stating,

“The supposition that evolution proceeds very slowly and gradually, and so should leave thousands of fossil intermediates of any species in its wake, has not been part of evolutionary theory for more than thirty years.”

Ida fossil highlights again the reasons why evolution remains a theory in crisis—the fossil record evidence continues to contradict the Darwinian theory of evolution.