Media Blog

Hyping the Monkey Fossil

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. 

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More