What could have been a unique opportunity to communicate science has quickly developed into a fiasco. Science proceeds through discovery and debate, and hypotheses do not become accepted by flooding the media with press releases. Scientific scrutiny of Ida has only just begun, and regardless of who her closest living relatives are, I hope the debate surrounding her will not sink away from sight. She truly is an amazing find, but for now I think that she has taught us more about science communication than our ancestry.
It seems to me one of the issues with “missing links” is that they reinforce the Great Chain of Being which is implicit in the public’s understanding of evolutionary processes.