Pop or Primate?

Referred to as “the most significant scientific discovery of recent time,” Darwinius masillae also referred to as “Ida” has created quite a media frenzy. “The Missing Link,” Ida is a 47-million-year old female adapid primate discovered in the well known Messel deposits in Germany. The discovery has resulted in a flurry of promotional activity beginning with an elaborate event at The American Museum of Natural History, as well as a History Channel documentary, book release, and a web site. A television teaser’s slogan proclaims, “This changes everything!” and has compared the discovery to landing on the moon. Ida has also been referred to as the holy grail of paleontology, the lost ark of archeology and has even been compared to the Rosetta Stone.

“Any pop band is doing the same thing,” said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. “Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.” While Hurum may think the extensive media coverage is positive, many in the science field disagree.


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