Ami Bangladeshi

Ami Bangladeshi

Ami Bangladeshi

Early Skeleton Sheds Light on Evolution

By MALCOLM RITTER

NEW YORK (May 19) – The nearly complete skeleton of a small 47 million-year-old creature found in Germany was displayed Tuesday by scientists who said it would help illuminate the early evolution of monkeys, apes and humans. About the size of a small cat, the animal has four legs and a long tail. It's not a direct ancestor of monkeys and humans, but it provides a good indication of what such an ancestor may have looked like, researchers said at a news conference.

Scientists on Tuesday unveiled the skeleton of this 47 million-year-old creature from Germany that could provide clues into the early evolution of primates. While the well-preserved creature is not a direct ancestor of humans, it may provide an indication of what that ancestor may have looked like, experts said.

Because the skeleton is so remarkably complete, scientists believe it will provide a window into primate evolution. PhotobucketThe animal was a juvenile female that scientists believe died at about 9 or 10 months. "She tells so many stories. We have just started the research on this fabulous specimen," said Jorn Hurum, of the University of Oslo Natural History Museum, one of the scientists reporting the find.

The creature is nicknamed Ida after Hurum's 6-year-old daughter.
The unveiling, at New York's Museum of Natural History, was promoted by a press release for the cable TV show History, which called it a "revolutionary scientific find that will change everything."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among the speakers at the news conference, called it an "astonishing breakthrough." The story of the fossil find will be shown on History, which is owned by A&E Television Networks. A book also will be published.
Hurum saw nothing wrong with the heavy publicity which preceded the research's publication Tuesday in the scientific journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) One.
"That's part of getting science out to the public, to get attention. I don't think that's so wrong," Hurum said.