Scientists have found the missing link! Again!
“The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week. The new discovery could help to rewrite the history of human evolution by filling in crucial gaps in the scientific knowledge.”
Wait, I’m confused. Didn’t they find the missing link a few months ago in Messel Germany, claiming she lived 47 million years ago and named her Ida? She was supposed to re-write history.
Wow! And, here I foolishly thought that when scientists found Ida and called HER the missing link that history would be rewritten for the final time! But this new skeleton, only two million years old, apparently is the real missing link. Or maybe not:
Here is a history of previous missing links that weren’t, and this is NOT a comprehensive list:
1894, Java Man
But Dubois had found his ‘missing link’ and it eventually became widely accepted as such, in spite of the fact that a leading authority had identified two of the teeth as those of an orangutan, and the other as human. ‘Java man’ was trumpeted around the world as indisputable proof of human evolution.
1912, Piltdown Man
The “Piltdown Man” is a famous paleontological hoax concerning the finding of the remains of a previously unknown early human. The hoax find consisted of fragments of a skull and jawbone collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, a village near Uckfield, East Sussex, England. The fragments were thought by many experts of the day to be the fossilised remains of a hitherto unknown form of early man and the missing link. Note: it was FORTY YEARS until they discovered the hoax. And they discovered the hoax because the scientists moved on to new discoveries such as the Taung Baby and the Peking Man, the new missing link flavor of the month.
Taung Baby, 1924
In 1924 Dart excavated fossil bones of what later became known as the “Taung baby” or “Taung Child.” He named it Australopithecus africanus, or Southern ape from Africa, publishing this find in an article in Nature. The discovery was initially praised in the scientific community as the “missing link” between apes and humans, but later was rejected as simply an ape.
1928, Peking Man
Peking man was identified as a member of the human lineage by Davidson Black in 1927 on the basis of a single tooth. [Does that seem like good science to you?]
1956, ‘Missing Link’ no longer is, says expert
A decade’s study of apelike creatures who roamed South Africa was advanced today by a scientist in support of his theory that the “missing link” between man and ape had been found.
1958: EXPERTS FIND APE, NOT MISSING LINK;
Fossil Dug Up in Africa Was a Tree-Swinging Primate, London Parley Is Told
Fossil-hunters have found the hand of an East African ape that nearly became a man about 30,000,000 years ago.
1970: Fish Fossil found in Montana may prove to be the missing link
A geology professor has discivered a fish fossil which he says may prove to be the missing link in the evolutionary scale of all animals with backbones, including man.
1974: Missing link to human still not found
The missing link in human evolution is still missing, says University of Chicago scientist
1982: Kenyan fossil may be missing link
8 million years old, paleontologists have discovered the fossilized jawbone of an early ancestor of man that could be a key link…
2006: Scientists Call Fish Fossil the ‘Missing Link’
Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought “missing link” in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land.
Meet “Ida,” the small “missing link” found in Germany that’s created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins.
Oops! Fossil not missing link after all, It’s just 2 animals squashed together, Utah museum says
“Oops. A Chinese fossil proclaimed last year as the long-sought missing link between dinosaurs and birds — brought to the public by the Dinosaur Museum of Blanding in San Juan County — is actually a composite of two different animals squashed together in rock.”
That’s kind of an embarrassing mistake, if you ask me. Anyway, from this list, I gather that the missing link may be a fish, an ape, or a lemur, it may be anywhere from 30 million to two million years old, and it may have been discovered in locations as varied as Montana to Germany to France to Africa. That the missing link has been found, lost, found, lost, hoaxed, found, disputed, and lost many times since Darwin first proposed his erroneous version of the age of humans. And in 2010, 116 years after the fist “missing link” of Java Man was proclaimed, we have yet another missing link. All righty then.