Oops, We Goofed Again - No Missing Evolutionary Links

The search for the evolutionary missing link continues. It’s funny how those “missing link” proclamations receive big attention, but what happens they’re found out to be false? Have you heard archaeopteryx and Ida aren’t what they were originally claimed to be? Probably not.

The feathered creature called archaeopteryx, easily the world’s most famous fossil remains, had been considered the first bird since Charles Darwin’s day. When researchers put its celebrity bones under the microscope recently, though, they discovered that this icon of evolution might not have been a bird at all.

An examination of its bone cells revealed for the first time that the 150-million-year-old creature had the slow growth rate of a dinosaur, not a bird, an international research team reported this month. Comparing it with other early fossils, the researchers concluded that the telltale physiology of modern birds likely didn’t emerge until 20 million years or so after archaeopteryx flapped its broad wings across primordial lagoons.

“They didn’t grow like a modern bird,” says Mark Norell at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a senior author of the research paper published in the online journal PLoS One. “They grew like typical nonavian dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx was not so special. There were lots of animals just like it.”

Archaeopteryx frequently comes up as proof of transitional forms and so on. But now they discover it’s nothing like what they originally claimed. Oops. And what about Ida? It’s not as bad as the disaster of piltdown man, but it turns out in the quest to accept any evidence these two are not what they hoped for — the holy grail of evolution, the missing link between species.

Controversial German specimen is related to lemurs, not humans, analysis of an Egyptian find suggests

A 37-million-year-old fossil primate from Egypt, described today in Nature, moves a controversial German fossil known as Ida out of the human lineage.

Teeth and ankle bones of the new Egyptian specimen show that the 47-million-year-old Ida, formally called Darwinius masillae, is not in the lineage of early apes and monkeys (haplorhines), but instead belongs to ancestors (adapiforms) of today’s lemurs and lorises.

Whenever new “evidence” appears heralding the dawn of final proof of evolution — no, this time we really mean it — give the new discoveries a few decades, as these two pieces of history don’t really conform to what they were proclaimed to be after discovery. And of course, evolution remains susceptible to the piltdown man hoax, where “scientists” lose their objectivity and desperately cling to anything which “proves” what they hope for — classic cases of confirmation bias.

Once again, the hopes and prayers of evolutionists are dashed against the cold hard rocks of reality. Keep digging guys. The truth is out there. Honest.

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