Fossil find provides 'missing link' in human evolution


Endangered Species
Fossil find provides 'missing link' in human evolution - Times Online

A missing link in human evolution may have been filled by a remarkable fossil that could be the common ancestor of all apes and monkeys, including our own species.

Darwinius masillae, a small lemur-like creature that lived 47 million years ago, illuminates a critical chapter in the human story when the primate family tree split into two branches, one of which led ultimately to us. The fossil could even mark the point at which the evolutionary lineage of humans, apes and monkeys diverged from that of more distant primate cousins such as lemurs, lorises and bushbabies. Its anatomical features suggest that it lies close to the origin of the human branch and that the creature, or something like it, could be an ancient ancestor of humans.


Ida’s importance stems from her anatomical characteristics, which appear to mark her out as a transi- tional form between two types of primate. Modern primates are divided into two suborders: the strepsirrhines, or “wet-nosed” primates, include lemurs, bushbabies and lorises; the haplorrhines or “dry-nosed” include monkeys, apes and humans.
While some of Ida’s features are similar to those of strepsirrhines, she lacks two key characteristics of modern lemurs: a grooming or “toilet claw” on the second digit of her foot, and a fused row of teeth on the lower jaw known as a toothcomb. The absence of these traits is typical of haplorrhines such as human beings.
This is a really important and extremely rare find that may give us a few more answers to origin of species. Its fascinating that its fur and stomach contents have been preserved over such a long period of time.


The Hierophant
Regardless of this find, I don't believe humans evolved from apes or monkeys.
Like Snap said, we didn't evolve from apes and monkeys. If this is the missing link, it'll actually prove that we're closer to lemurs than monkeys.

But I think this is an absolutely amazing find. I can't wait til Monday when the History Channel airs the documentary about it.


Son of Liberty
I got some bad news for you, Sunshine.

we are apes.
hahaha I love how some people hate to recognize that even though we're more advanced than the standard monkey... we're still in the "Order of Primates" or even our "Superfamily" of Hominoidea. In all honesty it doesnt surprise me, I mean in my opinion we're no better than any other critter on this planet outside of the fact that we're to smart for our own good :hah:

The find is amazing. I think the thing that blows my mind more than the find itself is that we claim to be masters of our planet... but yet we're still picking up on monumental finds like this in our own backyard almost yearly!


Staff member
My theory on this is simple. There wouldn't be just ONE missing link. In fact, at the rate it supposedly took species to evolve into new species, there'd be hundreds of thousands of missing links, all slightly different than each other. We're talking about micro evolution over a period of tens of thousands of years. That's how macro evolution supposedly happens. So instead of one link, we'd need to find a few thousand. You don't go from 1 to 100 with a missing link of 50. You'd need the rest of the steps as well, as minute as they are.

Right now all this proves is that another species once existed that looked like the fossilized creature.


Endangered Species
But Hybrix it is not just a link it is a link in the chain of links that unfurl the story of primate evolution. The problem being is finding the links and the further you go back in time the less likely the links are of surviving or even being found.

The last 1-2 million years we have hundreds and hundreds of links, then as we go further back in time they get more and more sparce. What is so important about this link is its age, at 47 million years old it is one of the oldest pieces of the order that we humans are a part of. It is basically the oldest link we have found.

Using your 1-100 analogy we have complete links for 80-100 already, we also have a handful in the 70's, a couple in the 60's , 1 or 2 in the 50's and now we have this one to put all the way back in the 40's. It is a monumental find.