We’ve found the “missing link?” Not so fast. NBC News:
There is no question that this is an important scientific finding. The fossil purchased by scientists at a market in Europe is exceptionally well preserved. But the documentary is titled “The Link: This Changes Everything,” and the press kit for the event declares that reporters are about to “witness the most important find in 47 million years.”
So I phoned Dr. Tim White at the University of California, Berkeley. White is a renowned paleontologist who played a key role in the discovery of “Lucy,” the first ape-like creature to stand erect and many other important findings about the evolution leading to humans.
”Three words,” he said. “Over the top.”
The people who promoted this event make a big deal out of the possible place this newly discovered fossil plays in the evolution leading to humans. But if you read their actual scientific paper in a respectable peer-reviewed scientific journal (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005723) the scientists make no such claim.
So, why the hype? Because there’s already a History Channel special on the monkey set to air on May 25.