Friday, July 3, 2009

New Fossil Primate Challenges "Missing Link" Ida

Remember Ida? It's been just a month since the fossil primate made her debut on the History Channel where she was called a "missing link" between humans and primitive primates and a "revolutionary scientific find that will change everything." But Ida may be robbed of her claim to that title by a new fossil primate from Asia, published today. "It shows that Ida is out of the running as a [human] ancestor," says the fossil's discoverer, paleontologist K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Researchers have long searched for the earliest anthropoids, advanced primates that were the ancestors of humans, apes, and monkeys. Until recently, most scientists thought anthropoids arose in Africa, where the oldest widely accepted members of the group lived as early as 37 million years ago in the Fayum province of Egypt.

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