Potentially one of our earliest ancestors? 'Ida' is a fossil dating to 47 millon years ago, at the juncture of anthropoids (monkeys, apes, humans) and prosimians (includes lemurs). The find is documented in this Attenborough written and narrated documentary (Watch until 9:59pm Tuesday 2nd June 2009, UK only). (For those outside the UK, some news here, clip from film here.)
But this this also makes for a nice open access story, because the find was documented in PLoS One, an open access journal. So you can read the original article here http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005723, and (under CC-By) you're free to reuse parts of the article, e.g. to post images from the article, such as this one:
provided that you acknowledge them: Image source: Franzen JL, Gingerich PD, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, von Koenigswald W, et al. 2009 Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5723. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
More about Ida at http://www.revealingthelink.com, which states:
The scientific publication of Ida has been carefully timed so that the film, book and website can be launched at the same time. The scientists see this as a new way of presenting science for the 21st century, where a major scientific find becomes available to everyone, wherever they are in the world at the same time. Ida connects to us all, and we can all share in understanding her. As Jørn Hurum explains, 'I really like the idea that it's now possible for people to look at the website or to see the film or read the book at the same time as the scientists read the scientific paper. You can get many different levels of understanding, but you get out the important messages in different ways at the same time. Humans are not special - we're related deep in time to more primitive mammals. And the best way to tell this story is Ida, and this, I hope, will be the message that will come out.'
There's a nice timeline here.
Further links related to human evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution http://anthropology.si.edu/HumanOrigins/ha/ances_start.html http://anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html
2009-05-29 | Back to blog