Ida, not even a close relative

When Darwinius masillae, nicknamed Ida, was revealed to the world back in May amidst a massive PR campaign, the discovery was claimed as a “missing link” in human evolution. This lemur-like creature, discovered in Germany, was billed as an ancestor of us all.  Scientists promised a debate over this discovery, even your very own SexyArchaeology.org indicated there would be controversy.  Sure enough, as the Times Online indicates, Ida’s place in our family tree has been reevaluated.

A second new adapid named Afradapis longicristatus, closely related to Darwinius, is described in Nature by a team led by Erik Seiffert, of Stony Brook University in New York state. And analysis of the two fossils indicates strongly that neither is an anthropoid. Both Darwinius and Afradapis appear to be members of a group more closely related to lemurs and lorises than to monkeys, apes and people, which has left no known modern descendents. The scenario advanced to promote Ida as “the Link” appears to be wrong.

Head here to read all of what Erik Seiffert has to say.

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