Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ida and the Importance of Fossils

Jasmine Williams of the New York Post has a piece on Ida and also how fossils form and why they are important. She write:
Fossils can be found all over the world and range in size from the largest dinosaur bones -- more than 10 feet in length -- to plant spores that are a few 100ths of an inch across. The Earth's landscape is always changing and driving up long-buried fossils. While you may not find an Ida or Lucy, traces of ancient life are all around.
She also partakes in the kind of nonsense that generates problems for all concerned:
Until this discovery, the oldest known fossil linked to humans was that of Lucy, a 3-million-year-old adult female discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. However, Lucy was just 40 percent intact.
Ida lived 47 million years ago. She isn't a link to humans. She might not even be a link to modern-day lemurs and lorises. For crying out loud, we don't even know for sure which Miocene ape is the link to humans, and they lived within the last 10-15 million years. Ida is a neat fossil that tells us a great deal about EARLY primate evolution. It tells us zip about where humans came from.

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