In 2008, Norwegian paleontologist Jørn Horum acquired the best preserved fossils to date that were discovered from the private collection of the Natural History Museum in Oslo. The magnificent fossil originated from the famous Eossen region (about 47 m.m.) in Germany and was named Darwinius marsillae But she became more famous under her pseudonym “Ida”. To fund an expensive purchase of the fossil (allegedly at $750,000), Hurum organized a unique publicity stunt that included a book with a sensational title. Link: Uncovering Our Early Ancestors (Tudge & Young 2009) and a television documentary for the BBC and The History Channel entitled missing link. Narrated by no less than the last Richard Attenborough and advertised with an ironic television ad, he even compared the significance of the discovery to events such as Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s assassination, and the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The massive media campaign led to global headlines that not only called the fossil the missing link but simply “The Link” or “The Eighth Wonder of the World” (Randerson 2009). In the original description the authors claimed it Darwinius is the long-sought missing link in the evolution of human beings, the group of primates that includes not only apes and apes but also us humans (Franzen and others. 2009). Early criticism focused on media hype, reckless study, and evidence that Ida could have been a lemur instead (Baras and Huber 2009And the Beard 2009And the Dalton 2009; see also Luskin 2009aAnd the 2009 bAnd the 2010).
Two new studies of the fossil published within a year Sefer et al (2009) And the Williams and others. (2010) He actually refuted the original bold claim and showed it Darwinius It belongs to the well-known Adapoid group, which is closer to lemurs than to human primates. The original authors tried to defend their point (Gingerich et al. 2010), but were hard-pressed to explain why their phylogenetic analysis based on a few characters and a few taxa outperformed opposing studies based on many characters and taxa, and thus a much broader database.
It seems that no one in the scientific community or even the media has swallowed this failed apology for an exaggerated fossil (see Wikipedia An article about Darwinius). Public opinion today is that Darwinius Not a missing link at all, not even a true ape, but just another representative of a relatively unimportant early side branch of primates.
- Barras C & Hooper R 2009. Q&A: Jorn Hurum on Ida, media hype and primate evolution. new world May 27, 2009. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17202-qa-jrn-hurum-on-ida-media-hype-and-primate-evolution/
- Beard C 2009. Why Fossil Ida Isn’t the Missing Link. new world May 21, 2009. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17173-why-ida-fossil-is-not-the-missing-link/
- Franzen JL, Gingerich PD, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, von Koenigswald W & Smith BH 2009. A complete primate skeleton from the middle Eocene Muscle in Germany: morphology and paleobiology. PLUS ONE 4(5): e5723, 1–27. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
- Dalton R. 2009. Fossil primates challenge Ida’s standing. temper nature 461, 1040. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/4611040a
- Gingerich PD, Franzen JL, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, and Smith BH: Darwinius masillae Ho Haplorhine – Reply to Williams et al. (2010). Journal of Human Evolution 59 (5), 574–579. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.07.013
- Luskin C 2009a. The Big Ida: The Rise and Fall of Another Missing Link and other media hype. Salvo . magazine 10. https://salvomag.com/article/salvo10/the-big-ida
- Luskin C 2009b. Evolution of Ida: Darwinius masillae Lower the classification of fossil from ancestor to pet. Evolution news October 24, 2009. https://evolutionnews.org/2009/10/the_evolution_of_ida_darwinius/
- Luskin C 2010. The Rise and Fall of the Missing Link Superstar “Ida”. IDEA Center. http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1503
- Randerson J 2009. The Hamburg bar deal led scientists to the fossil of Ida, the “eighth wonder of the world.” WatchmanMay 19, 2009. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/may/19/fossil-ida-missing-link-discovery
- Seiffert ER, Perry JGM, Simons EL & Boyer DM 2009. The convergent evolution of anthropoid-like adaptations in Eocene adaptive primates. temper nature 461 (7267), 1118–1121. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08429
- Tudge C & Young J 2009. Link: Uncovering Our Early Ancestors. Little Brown & Company, Boston (Massachusetts) 272 p. https://www.amazon.com/Link-Uncovering-Our-Earliest-Ancestor/dp/0316070084/
- Williams PA, KRF, Kirk EC, Ross CF 2010. Darwinius masillae is strepsirrhineda’s reply to Franzen et al. (2009). Journal of Human Evolution 59 (5), 567–573. DOI: