Evolution deniers have been blathering on about a so-called "missing link" since Darwin's brilliant insights began gaining wide acceptance as scientific facts, which they are. Creationists mainly, those who are mortified at the idea of Genesis being proven to be utter crapola, have hung their denial of the truth on an "argument" that says without an unbroken chain of fossil evidence linking early primates to modern humans, evolution can be nothing more than a "theory." Many suggest evolution should be taught side-by-side with intelligent design in our science classrooms, which is sort of like teaching astronomy alongside astrology.
With a mountain of fossil evidence already pointing clearly to evolution as the most obvious explanation for the rise of the human species, the idea of a "missing link" always struck me as a last gasp of the desperate. Not coincidentally, those who insist that an unbroke fossil chain must be found to validate evolution as legitimate science, are the same people who overlook the utter lack of any evidence at all in their own position on the subject. Is there any evidence AT ALL that the tale told in Genesis is anything more than a fable? No. None. Not a shred of evidence to suggest the earth, the stars, and the animals and plants existing on our planet are the end result of a six day creationgasm that took place about 6000 years ago.
Quite the contrary. ALL evidence gathered by scientists over the past, ohhhhh 700 years or so, has suggested strongly that the story told in Genesis is patently false, and in the last 150 years or so ALL evidence has pointed to Darwin's theory as correct.
And yet, those who cling to the bible's infallibility dismiss the science as "theoretical" and ask for even more evidence, apparently ignorant of the concept that says the longer a theory goes without being disproven, the stronger the theory becomes. Some very fine scientists, shown by their impartiality to be in search of truth, have tried to disprove Darwin, and failed. Honest scientists embark on such a quest not hoping to find Darwin right or wrong, but rather hoping to put stress on his theory in ways untried before. And the more they stress tested Darwin, the stronger Charlie's theory became. Simply put, Darwin's theory has withstood the test of time, and the challenges of its doubters. But still, creationists have held on to the slender thread. By insisting there is a link missing in the fossil record, they've been able to convince themselves that without said link, the entire theory of evolution is in doubt.
Well, now we have Ida.
Ida is a near perfectly preserved primate fossil found in the Messel Pit in Germany. Ida's fossil has been dated to roughly 47 million years ago, and scientists are calling Ida a transitional species showing showing some characteristics of the non-human evolutionary line (prosimians, like lemurs), but is more related to the human evolutionary line (anthropoids, like apes monkeys, and humans.) Opposable big toes and nails indicate she was a primate, and the presence of a talus bone in her foot indicate she is at or near the root of the tree of human evolution.
In this morning's press release, entitled simply "The Link", scientists are calling Ida one of the most important fossil discoveries of all time.
Philip Gingerich, Paleontologist from the University of Michigan is comparing Ida to the Rosetta Stone.
Dr. Jorn Hurum, from the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo has been secretly studying Ida's fossil for 2 years, and is of the opinion that Ida's picture will be in science textbooks for the next 100 years.
Dr. Jens Lorenz Franzen, from the Senckenberg Research Institute says that when their complete findings are published, it will be like an asteroid hitting the earth.
I never thought there really was much of a debate, but it seems like Ida's fossil should be able to snip the creationists' slender thread once and for all.
Some scientists are actually calling Ida....the Missing Link.