Mike Renzulli

More About: Science, Medicine and Technology

Another Transitional Creature Fossil Found

Back in mid-May, scientists unveiled a 47 million year old fossil, now named Ida, that is another transitional creature. The fossil is of a prehistoric juvenile female monkey creature and demonstrates human-like features on its hand.
Rather than having claws the creature has human fingers with fingernails.
The fossil was originally extracted by private collectors in 1983 from the Messel Shale Pit, near Darmstadt, Germany, that has yielded many fossils of life, including other primitive primates.
The delay in releasing it was due to a section of the fossil being in private hands until two years ago when it was sold by its owner to scientists at the University of Oslo, respectfully.
According to Anthropologists, about 50 million years ago two ape-like groups existed. One known as the tarsidae, a precursor of the tarsier, a tiny, large-eyed monkey-type creature that lives in Asia and Ida seems to resemble. Another group known as the adapidae, an ancestor of today's lemurs that exist in Madagascar.
The most well known transitional creature discovered and unveiled in 2006, called Tiktaalik roseae, demonstrates that prehistoric creatures living in shallow waters were beginning to rely less on resperation utilizing its gills and developed neck bones and a middle ear enabling it a moveable head and hearing.
What is unique about this new discovery is that it further confirms the existence of transitional creatures that were originally hypothesized by evolutionary scientists.
However, Ida's discovery demonstrates transitional creatures existed on land, while Tiktaalik demonstrates transitional creatures emerged from prehistoric bodies of water.
Both fossils confirm Darwin's theory of natural selection that in order to further survive, creatures will evolve and take on unique features that give them the ability of longer survival in existing or new habitats.
Yet Intelligent Design (ID) scientists and supporters would state that because of the so-called gaps in evolution due to the lack of transitional creatures among species invalidated the findings of Darwinian evolution.
The strategy of the ID movement has been to argue for the inclusion of their irrationally-based, pseudoscientific theories on the baseless claim that there are a few cases in which we don't yet know the full story of evolution.
The argument of Intelligent Delusion ...er... Design proponents goes something like this: we don't fully know how humans fully evolved, therefore its not clear Darwin was right, therefore the only thing that can explain these scientific gaps is the supernatural.
They further allege that life on earth is simply too complex to explain life's origins or intelligence. It is only the intervention of a designer that can explain what is not explainable by science.
By there being a designer he, she, it would not be subject to further observation and experiment. Essentially shutting all scientific inquiry down.
Fortunately, this latest discovery puts a further damper on the efforts of ID supporters and all they can do now is whine and complain.
With this latest fossil discovery and research of Tiktaalik, ID supporters claims become even harder to justify or take seriously.
The debate between ID proponents and evolutionary scientists would make a great subject for intellectual history, but in the scientific realm only theories based on facts and evidence and not fiction deserve attention.

5 Comments in Response to

Comment by
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Busy calling Intelligent Design ideas "ridiculous," Mr. Renzulli failed to disclose to readers that the scientific community's PR machine had horribly overstated the importance and meaning of "Ida." 

(Or maybe being an atheist evolutionist means never having to say you’re sorry.)

Chris Beard, the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, responded to the unwarranted media splash.  Mr. Beard indicated "Ida" may or may not be a missing link at all, and certainly that "Ida" has practically nothing to do with neo-Darwinian evolution of humans.

Mr. Beard wrote in the magazine, New Scientist, on May 21, 2009:

Why Ida fossil is not the missing link

Unbridled hoopla attended the unveiling of a 47-million-year-old fossil primate skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on 19 May. Found by private collectors in 1983 in Messel, Germany, the press immediately hailed the specimen as a "missing link" and even the "eighth wonder of the world."

Google's homepage evolved, incorporating an image of the new fossil – nicknamed Ida – into the company's logo. Now that the first description of the fossil has been published, the task of sifting through the massive public relations campaign to understand the true significance of the new fossil can begin.


What does Ida's anatomy tell us about her place on the family tree of humans and other primates? The fact that she retains primitive features that commonly occurred among all early primates, such as simple incisors rather than a full-fledged toothcomb, indicates that Ida belongs somewhere closer to the base of the tree than living lemurs do.

But this does not necessarily make Ida a close relative of anthropoids – the group of primates that includes monkeys, apes – and humans. In order to establish that connection, Ida would have to have anthropoid-like features that evolved after anthropoids split away from lemurs and other early primates. Here, alas, Ida fails miserably.

So, Ida is not a "missing link" – at least not between anthropoids and more primitive primates. Further study may reveal her to be a missing link between other species of Eocene adapiforms, but this hardly solidifies her status as the "eighth wonder of the world."




Comment by Ed Price
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The evolutionary scientists are having one great success, though. Their politics have pervaded our whole lifestyle. Many people have succumbed to their smooth talk which is funded by one-world business operations that benefit from the dumbing down of the common American.  

Comment by Anonymous
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This so called transitional species proves nothing, except that there were other species that had some things in commong with humans, just like current apes do.  So the stupid fossil had a hand with fingernails, so what?  Current apes can stand upright and be trained to do things that humans do.  It is another animal that went extinct.  We find thousands of dinosaur fossils that supposedly existed millions of years before humans, but we just can't seem to find EVEN ONE definate transitional, part human, species, that supposedly lived long after dinosaurs.  Wouldn't you think that their fossils would be just as plentiful, if not more plentiful, than the dinosaurs?  That's science for you.  

Comment by Ed Price
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Makes for a really neat science fiction story, though.

Comment by Ed Price
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At best, all that the "transitional creature fossils" prove is that the Intelligent Designer created loads and loads of unique creatures, the majority of which have gone into extinction because of sin entering into the world through man's misuse of his freedom. At worst, the whole "transitional creature fossil" thing is a complete fabrication created by sinners who can't prove anything that happened "millions of years ago." If they could, they would be able to look into the future at least a day or two, so that they could become rich off the horse races, or the stock market, or the Forex, or at least "something," besides fabricating lies about fossils when they know that they really know nothing at all.

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