Friday, May 22, 2009

Darwinius masillae

OK, a new fossil for a species that disappeared a very long time ago has been found . . . and it's caused a media circus. Part of the problem is the media is doing their typical job at sensationalizing things, and Creationists are eating it up.

What is Darwinius masillae? It is the most complete fossil found of a lemur-like primate dating back about 47 million years. It is a phenomenal find! It even contains the fossilized remains of it's last meal. I thought it was very appropriate to include Darwin in it's phylogenetic name.

What Darwinius masillae is not:

  • It is not THE missing link -- There is no such thing as a single link that will tie primate and humans. The changes were much more gradual. There are actually thousands of links, some missing and some not.
  • It is not in the direct primate to human family tree . . . more of an aunt than a great . . . great grandma
  • It is not the absolute proof of Evolution or Creationism. It is one more link in the chain that supports evolution.
The problem I am having is how many media stories have claimed this is the missing link, this is the one that will put a stake though the evangelicals heart, this is IT! And all that hyperbole is shadowing an immense achievement and actually doing more damage than good -- at least in the circles the non-scientist. PZ says Creationists are freaking out . . . John Rosenau is using it to discuss secrecy in science . . . John Lynch also discusses the media circus at Darwinius masillae gets out of control.

Like I said, it's a incredible find, but once the media dies down we are going to be listening to Creationists claim things like "I thought it was the missing link and now you are saying it's not!" I just wish the media would be more responsible . . . ROFL, did I really just say that? Please don't tell me what a pipe dream that is, I do know. But I an not without hope. Just ask my wife, she gave me a keychain with the word "Hope" on it so I would always have hope!

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