Ida Not Human Ancestor

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Ida not human ancestor, according an article in ScienceNOW 21 October 2009 and Nature, vol 461, p1040, 22 October 2009. More scepticism about the highly publicised fossil nicknamed Ida has emerged after palaeontologists analysed another fossil primate. Erik Seiffert of Stony Brook University in New York and Elwyn Simons of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina have found the fossils of an extinct primate in sediments about 60 kilometres southwest of Cairo, Egypt. The fossils are dated at 37 million years old. The new fossil animal is named Afradapis longicristatus and the scientists say it lived on a diet of insects and fruit, and weighed about three kilograms, making it “the largest primate of the time.”

In order to determine where the new fossil fitted in the evolutionary tree Seiffert’s team examined more than 117 living and extinct primate species records, including Ida. Seiffert was able to examine the high resolution cast of Ida and claims it did not have the features that connect it with haplorhines, the sub-order of primates that includes monkeys, apes and humans. In particular, Seiffert was not impressed with the ankle bones that are supposed to be straight sided like the haplorhines. He said, “It is not possible to say this because the specimen is damaged and the bone obscured.”

Seiffert’s team’s analysis of primate fossils “not only defined the context for Afradapis, but put both Afradapis and Darwinius (Ida) in the adapiform lineage.” This makes Ida a possible ancestor for today’s lemurs or lorises, but not monkeys, apes or humans. Although Seiffert’s team claims to have found bones of about 40 Afradapis individuals its discovery will probably go unnoticed by the general public. As Nature puts it, “their animal doesn't have a nickname. No popular-science book has been published. And no film project is planned. It seems unlikely that Afradapis will get its own Google logo.” ScienceNOW suggested the new fossil study should “Pour more rain on Ida’s parade.”

Editorial Comment: Now that the publicity circus is over, Ida can be put back in her place – just another dead prosimian, and although the new fossil is not the subject of overblown claims, it can also be put in the same place. Furthermore, neither of them are evidence for evolution. They are separate, fully formed creatures that show no sign of being or becoming anything else. As both of them are now extinct they are evidence that there used to be more prosimians than there are now, which is evidence the living world is going downhill, not evolving upwards.

We are still waiting for Sir David Attenborough to publicly apologise for misleading the world because of his atheistic prejudice about Ida. (Ref.palaeontology, adapids, mammals)

Evidence News, 28 Oct 2009

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