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The Missing Link: Ida (darwinius masillae) - Our Common Ancestor? ... Missing Link In Human Evolution (Part 1): Ida (darwinius masillae) - Our Common Ancestor? --- Please SUBSCRIBE to Science & Reason: • • • --- Official Press Release (PDF): • Scientific Publication: • -------------------------------------------- Scientists Discover 'Missing Link' In Human Evolution (Sky News, May 19, 2009) Scientists say they have found a primate fossil that shows our connection with other mammals and our earliest human ancestor. These pictures are from the programme "The Link" by Atlantic Productions. -------------------------------------------- 47 MILLION-YEAR-OLD FOSSIL TOUTED AS 'MISSING LINK' Scientists believe they have found the "missing link," an ancient primate fossil some 47 million years old which is thought to the common ancestor to all later monkeys, apes and humans. The nearly perfect skeleton, classified as Darwinius masillae, was found in Germany. It's a she, about the size of a small cat, with four legs and a long tail and lived for about 9 or 10 months. The creature, which scientists nicknamed Ida after lead researcher Jorn Hurum's 6-year-old daughter, is not a direct ancestor of monkeys and humans, but it provides a good indication of what such an ancestor may have looked like, researchers said. • -------------------------------------------- Is fossil Ida a missing link in evolution? This 47m-year-old skeleton is one of the most significant primate fossil discoveries, hailed by some as 'the missing link' and by others, such as David Attenborough, as proof of evolution. Fossil Ida - The missing link in Evolution: • Sir David Attenborough David Attenborough on Ida: • The world of Ida: • -------------------------------------------- Primate Fossil Could Be Key Link in Evolution Scientists say a 47-million-year-old fossil found in Germany may be a key link to explain the evolution of early primates, and, ultimately, modern human beings. The fossil, of a young female that probably resembled a modern-day lemur, is described as "the most complete primate fossil ever found." It is small -- with a body about the size of a raccoon -- but it has characteristics found in later primates and in humans. It has, among other things, opposable thumbs, similar to humans' and unlike those found on other modern mammals. It has fingernails instead of claws. And by examining the structure of its hind legs (one of which is partly missing), scientists say they can see evidence of evolutionary changes that would eventually lead to primates standing upright. • -------------------------------------------- Who is Ida? Ida is a 47 million year old, perfectly preserved primate recovered from the Messel Pit in Germany. Ida is the most complete early primate fossil ever found, and scientists believe that she could be one of our earliest ancestors. She is a remarkable link between the first primates and modern humans and despite having lived 47 million years ago, her features show striking similarities to our own. For 150 years, scientists have debated the course of our evolutionary journey from tree-dwelling primate to modern Homo sapiens. When Darwin put forward the theory of evolution in his book "On The Origin of Species", he suggested that there were transitional species linking humans with the rest of animal life. Since Darwin's time, palaeontologists have made important discoveries of fossils that have begun to uncover our prehistoric ancestry. Best known of these fossils is Lucy, a hominid who lived around 3.2 million years ago at the time when our ancestors started walking upright. But before Lucy there are massive gaps in the fossil record, and scientists have only had fragments of fossils to study. Scientists have long hoped that the Earth might eventually yield an even more ancient fossil that links apes, man and all other primates to the earliest mammals on the planet. Now Ida is rewriting the history of our earliest origins. She is the most complete primate fossil ever found and has proto-anthropoid features, placing her at the base of the anthropoid branch which leads to monkeys, apes, and humans. • .
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