Possible Missing Link in Human Evolution Found

Human origins is a very exciting field of study.  New discoveries are being made all the time, and, of course, anyone who has followed developments over the last couple of decades knows that the introduction of DNA evidence has dramatically affected the debate over where and when Homo sapiens originated, with most scientists now supporting an African origin of perhaps 300,000 years ago.     

Anyway, taking things back quite a bit further in the evolutionary chain, here’s a neat article about a 47,000,000 year old primate fossil, introduced in New York earlier this week, which may “be a transitional animal that gave rise to the anthropoids and, ultimately, to us.”  However, some scientists remain skeptical about its status as a possible “missing link” and think the find is overhyped, as this piece from MSNBC explains.  If you don’t mind the jargon, the online journal PLoS One has a really wonkish article on the skeleton.

Found in Germany in 1983 but only recently brought to the attention of paleontologists, the skeleton is if nothing else an extraordinary fossil, so well preserved in fact that even its fur and last meal can be seen.  It has been nick-named “Ida” after the daughter of an Oslo University paleontologist who has studied the specimen, but its scientific name is Darwinius masillae.

If you’re interested in reading more about primates and the study of human origins, try some of these books from Greensboro Public Library’s collection:  The Primate Family Tree:  The Amazing Diversity of Our Closest Relatives by Ian Redmond; Jane Goodall:  The Woman Who Redefined Man by Dale Peterson; Primates and Philosophers:  How Morality Evolved by Frans de Waal, edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo and Josiah Ober; Parenting for Primates by Harriet J. Smith; The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey:  Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans by Chris Beard; The Human Odyssey:  Four Million Years of Human Evolution by Ian Tattersall; The 10,000 Year Explosion:  How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending; The First Human:  The Race to Discover our Earliest Ancestors by Ann Gibbons; Adam’s Tongue:  How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans by Derek Bickerton; The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE by Ian Tattersall; Seven Million Years:  The Story of Human Evolution by Douglas Palmer; Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project by Spencer Wells; The Real Eve:  Modern Man’s Journey Out of Africa by Stephen Oppenheimer; Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade; The Complete World of Human Evolution by Chris Stringer and Peter Andrews; Y: The Descent of Men by Steve Jones; and Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins by Carl Zimmer.


5 Responses

  1. […] If you’re interested in reading some of Greensboro Public Library’s recent books on human evolution, check out this previous post.  […]

  2. […] reading more on human origins, check out some titles from Greensboro Public Library listed in this previous post. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Majority of British Men Descend from Near East […]

  3. […] At any rate, if you’d like to read more about human evolution, try some of the books from this previous post. […]

  4. […] If you’d like to read books about human evolution owned by Greensboro Public Library, check out this previous post. […]

  5. […] You can find a list of some of Greensboro Public Library’s books on human origins at this previous post. […]

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