Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Overhype--It Burns!

Surely you've all heard of Ida the Adapid by now. She has, perhaps, been oversold. She is not the "Holy Grail" of paleontology, nor does she cure cancer, though you wouldn't know that based on the mainstream media, who is going apeshit insane over this relatively vanilla fossil (save for its awesome preservation). No time right now to comment further, but read all those links and this one too for a pretty complete picture of the animal's relevance.

3 comments:

Metalraptor said...

"apeshit insane"

Incredibly lazy pun.

Trish said...

Funny I should read this after seeing one of the fluffy-puff morning news programs mention poor Ida (I was in the waiting room for a doctor's appointment). The level of basic biology failure the two hosts displayed completely blew my mind.

Then they went on to slap people with oak leaves. So yeah.

Nima said...

Great post! I think it's just nuts how the media went crazy over this fossil - it's not a "missing link" - it is 100% monkey. It doesn't "prove" man evolved from apes - with that long tail, it's not even a true ape. It doesn't fill any real gap in paleo-history. It neither "proves" evolution nor disproves creationism. The only remarkable thing about it is that it's a complete, unbroken skeleton. Most primate fossils are very fragmentary and there's usually a lot of speculation involved in reconstructing them.

Now the news media made a big logical fallacy: pristine monkey fossil = MISSING LINK. Highly unscientific. And I'm sure the Creationists are ecstatically jumping all over this paleo-PR fiasco as more ammo for future ad hominem attacks.