Today, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a revolutionary discovery — one that will stand as a milestone for paleontologists and evolutionists everywhere — was announced. Scientists based at the University of Oslo have discovered “Ida,” also known as Darwinius masillae, a 47-million-year-old fossil that has been proclaimed the “missing link” in connecting human skeletal structure to early mammals.
Scientists found Ida in Messel Pit, Germany and soon found out that she is about twenty times older than most fossils related to human evolution. What makes Ida so special is that despite her classification as an early prosimian (lemurs), she has certain undeniable human characteristics such as forward facing eyes and even an opposable thumb.
This is an exciting and validating day for scientists everywhere. Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said: “This little creature is going to show us our connection with all the rest of the mammals.”
Head on over to The Link for pictures, video and more information about Ida and the team of researchers behind her. Also don’t miss what’s up at the open source journal PLoS One to read about the scientists’ findings.
In the mean time, please enjoy these TEDTalks relating to fossils and evolution (be sure to comment and relate them to this recent news!):