Ida the Lemur-like creature, has had some high praise from leading Darwinists. David Attenborough announced with confidence that the missing link ‘is no longer missing,’ but the way the evidence has been presented and handled has raised questions about media manipulation, especially from the London Times science correspondent Mark Henderson; he seems quite miffed.
More on Ida: overblown claims and a worrying precedent
Mark Henderson reports that doubts have arisen now that others have finally been given access to the fossil and suggests that Ida is related to ‘nothing that exists today.’ Although Ida is an important fossil, he writes that ‘she isn’t all that’ and complains that the researchers haven’t provided sufficient evidence to justify their claims. He argues that this is…
‘…especially serious given the publicity blitz behind Ida…a popular book, a documentary, a website and an exhibition have been launched on the back of this find, before it has received full scientific scrutiny.’
Henderson comments that the researchers appear to have rushed their work ‘to fit with the media schedule.’ Rights were sold to some media outlets, including the BBC, and this has shaped the way the evidence has been conducted and presented. Science journalists without that privileged access to data were given insufficient time to properly evaluate the story. Henderson writes;
‘Is it really right that full embargoed access to important and controversial research findings should be restricted on the say-so of the authors, to media that best suit their publicity strategy? Especially when money has changed hands?’
Henderson ends by correcting a previous statement;
‘there was an unfortunate error in the graphic accompanying my piece in the paper. An early draft was printed by mistake. Darwinius masillae is not a direct ancestor of both lemurs/lorises and apes/monkeys. It seems to lie on the ape/monkey branch, after the last common ancestor of both groups, and it may well be a direct ancestor of nothing at all that exists today.’ (emphasis added)