Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Ida the Missing Link?

Articles in The Guardian in London announced today a remarkably well-preserved fossil--named Ida--that is being interpreted as the "missing link" between the primate line that led to human beings and other mammalian species. The full scientific report is available at PLoSONE.

It is good to be cautious about such announcements until lots of folks have had the chance to examine the fossil and debate its significance. My suspicions are aroused by the elaborate media campaign associated with the announcement of this fossil.

But this does seem to one of the most complete primate fossils ever discovered. This reminds us of how skimpy the primate fossil record is. Still, this also reminds us that there really is a discoverable fossil record that provides a factual basis for Darwinian evolutionary theory.

In fact, the evidence for the evolution of the human species from ancestral primate species is so clear that even proponents of "intelligent design theory" like Michael Behe admit that here the evidence for human evolution is convincing.


Michael Caton said...

Hi Larry, great blog. We need more guys like you to save American conservatism from itself. In another post I was intrigued that you wrote of the two sides of conservatism's personality (Burke et al, vs Hume, Smith and Hayek). I'm solidly in Hume's company there, but I think your readers would be interested to see a post at some point on modern conservatives who are strongly pro-secular but still cite Burke as a strong influence - I have Andrew Sullivan in mind here.

Polichinello said...

Aha! Now there are two more gaps that need to be accounted for!

Larry Arnhart said...


What's your point?

Polichinello said...

It's a joke, Larry. Creationists complain about gaps in the fossil record. Well the beauty of that argument is that if you do find a fossil in the middle of a gap, it creates two more gaps.