According to many sources (including National Geographic) the missing link in human evolution has finally been found. The finding was unveiled yesterday at a ceremony held at the American Museum of Natural History. The discovery has been also reported by prestigious online scientific journal PLoS One.
If true, this is good news for scientists and researchers who have tried to prove that human evolution, from primates, did occur. Also, this finding will probably spur the ongoing controversy between those who believes humans came from an act of good (creationists) and those who believe that evolution was a natural biological process (evolutionists).
The newly found fossil looks like a cat. However, the 47 million-year-cat-looking fossil may represent, according to the scientists who found it, the long-lost missing link between humans and primates. Its official scientific name is Darwinius masillae. The discovery was announced with much fanfare and was carefully publicized with a well-defined publicity campaign. Even, Google has made an interesting logo celebrating this discovery.
Why this cat-looking fossil is so important? Well, according to scientists who work in this field of science, it is because it has “opposable thumbs” (just like we, humans) and fingernails instead of claws. Basically, this fossil seems a cat but it has human-like characteristics. So it should be classified as primate (ape) instead of a member of cats.
This is not the first time that this kind of announcement has been made. In fact, many of similar news on “missing link found” are all over and usually they have not been scientifically validated. Some of them have been elaborated scams perpetrated by scientist who are looking for fame and recognition. I am hoping this not the case this time. I am also expecting a slew of comments from creationists defying the possibility of this being a true scientific evidence of evolution.
Science is about finding facts that may help accept or reject a theory. Darwinian Theory of evolution has been always controversial because it touches a nerve in our cultural and religious background. However, nobody can deny that a complex biological process has occurred. Finding ways to prove that humans came from inferiors forms of live has been difficult. The finding of the Darwinius masillae may be the most objective fact that may help understand evolution and may prove Darwinian Theory on evolution.
Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology