Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Missing Link (to Lemurs?) Found!

Well, it appears the true missing link has been discovered--in Germany of all places. This is a surprise to be sure since most pre-homosapien fossils are found in North or East Africa. No matter, the real surprise is perhaps that we're more related to lemurs than we thought, which if you weren't aware, only hail from one place on Earth--Madagascar.

From National Geographic

The fossil, he says, bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as lemurs.

"This is the first link to all humans," Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, said in a statement. Ida represents "the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor."

Ida, properly known as Darwinius masillae, has a unique anatomy. The lemur-like skeleton features primate-like characteristics, including grasping hands, opposable thumbs, clawless digits with nails, and relatively short limbs.

"This specimen looks like a really early fossil monkey that belongs to the group that includes us," said Brian Richmond, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study.


Ida has her own website too.

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