Ida, One More Time
Do you recall all of the fanfare a few months ago surrounding the little lemur-like animal, dubbed Ida (pronounced Ē-da), which supposedly is one of our great-great-great...grandparents from 47 million years ago? Do you remember how one scientist referred to it as “the eighth wonder of the world” (as quoted in Scally, 2009), because “it will finally confirm irrefutably Sir Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution” (Leonard, 2009, emp. added). And what about how the world’s most popular search engine (Google) incorporated an illustration of the animal into its logo? The media turned Ida into a star overnight. Millions of people were “reminded” once again how certain scientists are that “we evolved” from lower mammals.
Just one thing: since the time of Ida’s unveiling to the world in May of 2009, as additional facts have come to light, more and more people, including many evolutionists, have flatly rejected earlier claims that Ida is a missing link (cf. Butt, 2009). One of the most recent evaluations of Ida was done by evolutionist Richard Kay of Science magazine. After working his way through the pro-Ida book titled The Link by Colin Tudge and Josh Young, Kay penned an article titled “Much Hype and Many Errors,” in which he referred to the claims by the pro-Ida authors as “entertaining,” “sensational,” “disturbing,” “inaccurate,” and “misleading” (2009, 325:1074). “Why are there so many errors?” Kay asked. “Perhaps because the book had no scientific editor to check facts or demand reviews that would have uncovered these inaccuracies. The book was rushed out, and the whole project from purchase of the fossil up to the media blitz was cloaked in secrecy” (Kay, p. 1074)
Kay even dared to address how “Ida is a reprise of the seamier side of paleontology” (Kay, p. 1074). What side is this? Only “the exploitation, with the complicity of major museums, of our natural heritage for profit. The rising commercial value of fossils in recent years...has dampened scientists’ efforts to find more and better fossils” (Kay, p. 1074, emp. added). The fact is, a mere lemur fossil will make no one world famous, nor will it bring in large amounts of revenue. So, when the University of Oslo, Norway’s Natural History Museum, purchased the Ida fossil for $750,000, they had to find some way to get a financial return. The leadership of this museum and the scientists who worked closely with them chose to sensationalize the story: just claim Ida to be a link, a 47-million-year-old ancestor of humans, and think of the revenue that could be accumulated. According to Kay, Ida represents such shameful exploitation.
How sad it is that so much misinformation regarding Ida and human evolution was parroted only a few short months ago. Yes, as many evolutionists have learned: “Ida is a lemur” (Kay, p. 1075), just a lemur. Indeed, the idea “that Ida is our ancestor, is fallacious” (Kay, p. 1075). We did not evolve from lemurs, anymore than we evolved from lions, lambs, or lady bugs. The first person no more came from a primate than from a pecan. We “are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29).
Butt, Kyle (2009), “Following Up on a Messy, and Still Missing, Link,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240171.
Kay, Richard (2009), “Much Hype and Many Errors,” Science, 325:1074-1075, August 28.
Leonard, Tom (2009), “Scientists Unveil Stunning Fossil,” Telegraph, [On-line], URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5351315/Scientists-unveil-stunning-fossil.html.
Scally, Derek (2009), “Fossil Ida a Crucial Finding for the Understanding of Early Human Evolution,” Irish Times, May 21, [On-line], URL: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0521/1224247034331.html.