Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Can't They Ever Get It Right?

Once again, journalists demonstrate their lack of understanding of evolution by writing things like "Missing Link" every time a new fossil is found, I wrote a post about this last year when Ardi was discovered. The new fossil hominid discovered is an ancestor of Homo habilis, according to the article and is around 2.5 million years old, which would place this fossil on the border between the Australopithecus genus and the Homo genus. So while this is a fairly important stage in human evolution, it is by no means a "missing link". Palaeontologists have already discovered dozens and dozens of fossils from this time period, so in that respect it isn't even very notable. The only thing about this particular fossil that justifies writing a news article about is that it is possibly the most intact fossil of this kind ever found.

After establishing that it is by no means a missing link because we already knew it existed and that we already have numerous partial fossils of this same species........
and that the term missing link is deceptive........

If it is confirmed as a missing link between the two groups, it would be of immense scientific importance, helping to fill in a gap in the evolutionary history of modern man.

Fill a gap in the evolutionary history of modern man? Now that is just not true... Do these journalists not know when to shut up and just let the facts talk for themselves? Do they really have to pad out the article with ignorant statements like this one?

Anyway, Wikipedia has an excellent list of fossils related to human evolution, which I highly recommend anyone interested in the topic go and check out


  1. In a case like this, I like to pretend that the journalist is acting silly to appeal to the audience, speaking their language or sharing the same views they have. AKA blabbering about missing links or gaps in the theory.

    Since the majority of the adult American population doesn't "believe" in evolution (and it follows they may not know much about it) the writer may just be appealing to masses, which we all know is scientifically and philosophically illiterate -- at best.

    This illusion is fragile, please don't break it KJ.

  2. Actually I'm pretty sure a fair few of the journo's writing this stuff are just doing dumb. There is a huge shortage of science journalists out there who actually know about, you know, science.