Friday, October 23, 2009

Missing Link ... Not so Much

A 47 million year old fossil thought to be the missing link is not. The creature was not even on our branch of the 'primate family tree'.

"It was billed as one of the most important fossil finds in history, a “missing link” that would challenge everything we knew about human evolution.

Darwinius masillae, the primitive primate that was unveiled to the world with huge fanfare and a Sir David Attenborough documentary in May, seems now to have been less of a missing link than an evolutionary dead end. Far from being an ancestor to humans, the lemur-like creature from 47 million years ago belongs to an entirely different branch of the primate family tree that has left no known descendants, research has indicated.

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