The Missing Link 05.21.09   Search

Scientists discover "Ida," 47-million-year-old Human Ancestor

Chelsea Pflugh, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Josh Stipanovich, NEWS EDITOR

A fossil of an animal the size of a small cat has made a huge stir in the field of science and evolution.

Darwinius masillae, or "Ida", is a 47-million-year-old fossil discovered in a mine about 25 miles southeast of Frankfurt, Germany, on a continent important in primitive evolution theory. "Ida" was discovered by paleontologist Jorn Hurum of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, orway. Hurum suggests Ida is the missing link genus in the theory of primitive evolution.

Ida is a four-legged animal with a long tail, clawless nails and hands with opposable thumbs. Ida is comparable to the skeleton of that of a lemur, and is believed to resemble the early-fossil species that theoretically evolved into humans, such as monkeys. Ida was incredibly preserved, a trait unseen from fossils of this era, and the fossil was even discovered with hair.

National Geographic quoted Hurum in a statement saying, "This is the first link to all humans." Hurum also stated that Ida is "the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor."

However, there is much speculation about using Ida to prove "the missing link" of evolutionary theories, and researchers say the discovery is far from a breakthrough at this moment.


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