Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The term "missing link" sends shudders through anthropologists. THere cannot be one missing link in any fossil tree - evolution is far too messy and meandering for that. Rather, there are missing puzzle pieces. One was filled in by a primate 47 million years old and the size of a small cat. At a gala unveiling in New York worthy of a newly discovered Picasso, the remarkably preserved skeleton of Darwinius masillae met its public. The animal does not solve the mysteries of primate evolution, but it gives us a breathtakingly good look - down to fingernails and stomach contents - of a creature near the base of the primate family tree.