Laelaps

i-056bc38bebbfa5d741b21c567f02816d-darwinius-ida-sketch.jpg

A restoration of the extinct adapid Darwinius, known popularly as “Ida.” From PLoS One.
.

ResearchBlogging.org

So the big day is finally here. “Ida”, a 47-million-year-old primate skeleton from Messel, Germany has finally been unveiled on PLoS One and in a flurry of press releases, book announcements, and general media hubub. Under different circumstances I would be happy to see an exceptional fossil receiving such treatment, but I fear that Ida has become a victim of a sensationalistic media that values audience size over scientific substance.

Before I jump into my criticisms of the paper describing Darwinius masillae, Ida’s scientific name, I do want to stress how spectacular the fossil really is. The primate fossil record is extremely fragmentary, and if you want to know anything about fossil primates you are going to have to know your teeth. That’s usually all that is left of them. Ida, then, is a paleontologist’s dream come true. Not only is it a complete specimen but parts of the primate’s last meal were preserved inside its stomach and its body outline was marked by bacteria that fed on the decomposing carcass during fossilization. This is the first time a fossil primate has been found exhibiting such extraordinary preservation.

i-33cfa80bd8e9fb2c2b62f753459fef80-darwinius-ida-skeleton.jpg

The exceptionally preserved skeleton of Darwinius, known popularly as “Ida.” From PLoS One.
.

Most of the media reports about Darwinius have only mentioned this point in passing, though. What they are most interested in is its status as a “missing link” between anthropoid primates (monkeys and apes) and their ancient ancestors. As John Wilkins has pointed out the phrase “missing link” is woefully inaccurate, conjuring up images of life ranked in an unbreakable Great Chain of Being put in place by God, but that has not stopped media outlets from running with the idea. Even though the authors of the paper deny making any such statement, the promotional materials they are associated with (most notably the “Revealing The Link” website) play up this angle to a ridiculous degree.

So what is all the hubub about? Why is the History Channel falling all over itself to promote this fossil? It all goes back to a long-standing debate over the origins of anthropoid primates that, until now, has mostly gone on in academic journals and scientific meetings.

Scientists have long debated the question of what earlier primates the earliest anthropoids evolved from. There have been a number of hypotheses proposed, but they have generally centered around three groups: the adapids (an extinct group of lemur-like primates to which Darwinius belongs), the omomyids (an extinct group of tarsier-like primates), and the tarsiers (strange, large-eyed primates with living representatives). Each of these groups has been favored as the progenitors of anthropoids, but which one is the right one?

In order to solve his problem paleo-primatologists have been trying to figure out which of these groups is closest to the anthropoids. It might be impossible to identify a true anthropoid ancestor with certainty, but by figuring out the next closest related group (or sister group) scientists can create and test hypotheses about what an anthropoid ancestor might look like. These determinations are based upon shared derived characters, or particular traits shared by two groups and their common ancestor to the exclusion of other groups.

As outlined in the paper “Evolving Perspectives on Anthropoidea” (among others) included in the recent Anthropoid Origins volume, it presently appears that tarsiers and omomyids are the closest groups to anthropoids. This is based upon a combination of fossil, genetic, and morphological evidence. This makes the adapid primates, including Darwinius, a more distant side branch more closely related to living lemurs and lorises.

i-244ad5ad1e7a37d797cd9a26c22ff9dd-darwinius-ida-radiograph.jpg

Radiographs of the exceptionally preserved skeleton of Darwinius, known popularly as “Ida.” From PLoS One.
.

Not everyone agrees with this, however. Some researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to anthropoids than tarsiers and omomyids, and they rely on two tactics to make their case.

The authors of the paper try to frame their hypothesis in a historical manner. They claim that adapids have been barred from a close anthropoid relationship on the basis of soft-tissue characteristics that do not fossilize. This would mean that the association between omomyids, tarsiers, and anthropoids would hang by a nose, but this is not true. As reviewed in popular books like Chris Beard’s The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey and technical volumes like Anthropoid Origins, the relationship between omomyids, tarsiers, and anthropoids is based upon a wide array of fossil and neontological data. I can’t imagine why the authors of the new paper would suggest otherwise unless they were trying to construct a false historiography in order to show their fossil in a better light.

This shoddy scholarship is matched by a weak attempt to show that Darwinius has more anthropoid-like traits than tarsiers or omomyids do. In order for the authors of the paper to make a convincing case they would have to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of the anatomy of Darwinius in comparison to other primates, yet they did not do this. Instead they combed the literature for 30 traits that might help ascertain the placement of Darwinius in the primate family tree and filled in whether each trait was present or absent in Ida’s skeleton.

From what has been presented in the popular press, the authors claim that there are two primary traits that more closely link Darwinius to anthropoids. It appears that Ida did not have a tooth comb (a set of forward-facing incisors) or a grooming claw (a special claw on the foot), two characteristics of living lemurs and lorises (strepsirrhine primates). Since anthropoids lack these traits, too, the authors suggest a close connection, but they have not sufficiently shown that Darwinius is not just showing a case of convergence.

i-761c5e83a2fc23b64d00dc66dc0cd206-darwinius-ida-haplorrhine.jpg

A simplified cladogram placing “Ida” as the sister group to haplorrhine primates, including anthropoids. From PLoS One.
.

What the authors do, then, is a little tricky. They say that Darwinius (and hence other adapids) are haplorrhine primates, the group that presently contains tarsiers and anthropoids. By moving the adapids into the haplorrhine group they can then make the claim that anthropoids evolved from the adapid stem and not tarsiers or omomyids. The problem is that they are using just one genus, Darwinius, to change the placement of an entire group without using any cladistic analysis! This is not good science.

The bottom line is that the hypothesis that Darwinius is closer to anthropoids than tarsiers or omomyids does not have strong support. Even though the authors of the paper constructed a very simple cladogram they did not undertake a full, rigorous cladistic analysis to support their claims. I am baffled as to how they could stress the significance of this fossil without undertaking the requisite research to support their hypothesis.

Is Darwinius important to understanding primate evolution? Of course! It is an exceptionally preserved specimen that could do much to aid our understanding of adapid evolution and paleobiology. The grand claims about it being our ancestor, though, can not be upheld as true. The researchers simply did not do the work to support their case, and even if their language was more reserved in the technical paper they have gone hand-in-hand with the History Channel to create an aura of sensationalism around the fossil. I hardly think this is a responsible way to conduct or communicate science, flooding the media with poorly supported claims, but as reported in the New York Times some of this paper’s authors care more about marketing than about good science;

“Any pop band is doing the same thing,” said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. “Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.”

This is a shame. I would have hoped that this fossil would receive the care and attention it deserves, but for now it looks like a cash cow for the History Channel. Indeed, this association may not have only presented overblown claims to the public, but hindered good science, as well. As Karen James has suggested, the overall poor quality of the paper and the disproportionate hyping of the find make me wonder if this research was rushed into publication so that the media splash would occur on time. The paper tried to cover so much, so quickly, and contained so many shortfalls that I honestly have to wonder why it was allowed to be published in such a state. Perhaps we will never know, but I am sickened by the way in which a cable network has bastardized a legitimately fascinating scientific discovery, with the scientists themselves going along with it every step of the way. I can only hope that Darwinius will eventually receive the careful analysis it deserves.

Franzen, J., Gingerich, P., Habersetzer, J., Hurum, J., von Koenigswald, W., & Smith, B. (2009). Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology PLoS ONE, 4 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005723

Comments

  1. #1 Zach Miller
    May 19, 2009

    And with all due respect, I think rush-job papers like this, with questionable conclusions and obvious axe-grinding, undercut PLoS ONE’s ethos as a serious scientific journal. One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders.

    Convergence is one possibility–another is that Darwinius is below or very low on the lemur/loris branch (haven’t read the paper yet, though). Toothcombs and grooming claws are great, but obviously, the common ancestor of prosimians and anthropoids LACKED these features, which means they are derived features, and the lack of them is plesiomorphic for the group.

    Plesiomorphies are hardly useful for establishing relationships. I can prove that humans are more closely related to certain geckos than horses if I only use two characters to do so, two: pentadactyl hands & feet and reduced caudal series.

  2. #2 Jared
    May 19, 2009

    Thank you for the research paper, I could not find it. You seem to have done a fairly decent dissection of the paper, though. My only question is: why didn’t the reviewers stop this paper from going forward?

  3. #3 MAL
    May 19, 2009

    Excellent post, Brian. This whole thing will make an excellent scientific good practices discussion for a class I’m teaching this summer – thanks for providing your thoughts on the paper. It’s tough in an era of ever-shrinking funding to find ways to make your work relevant and known to the public at large, but sacrificing good science to do so is sinking a bit lower than feels comfortable.

  4. #4 Steve
    May 19, 2009

    A reason for the hype?:

    My heart started beating extremely fast,” said Hurum, “I knew that the dealer had a world sensation in his hands. I could not sleep for 2 nights. I was just thinking about how to get this to an official museum so that it could be described and published for science.” Hurum would not reveal what the university museum paid for the fossil, but the original asking price was $1m. He did not see the fossil before buying it – just three photographs, representing a huge gamble.

    From the Gaurdian.

  5. #5 Dave C
    May 19, 2009

    Dumb question: will “Darwinius” be made available to other researchers who can then do a more thorough job of researching its anatomy and proper placement in the primate order?

  6. #6 BrianR
    May 19, 2009

    Fantastic summary. Thanks for gettin’ on it so quick :)

    That quote from Hurum near the end of you post made me physically cringe and utter a disapproving “give me a break” out loud in my office.

    I’m all for getting results out quickly and I’m all for creating buzz, but not at the expense of good science. The normally outstanding TED blog just had a post with the title “Darwin validated: Missing link found”.

    Let the escalation of bad/overhyped science reporting begin … this should be a fun few days. I’ll stay tuned to Laelaps for full coverage.

  7. #7 BrianR
    May 19, 2009

    quick addition to my post above — thankfully, the New York Times has a better headline than others – “Skeleton Sheds Light on Primate Evolution”. IMO, that’s an appropriate (and exciting) headline.

  8. #8 seksi
    May 19, 2009

    A reason for the hype?:

    My heart started beating extremely fast,” said Hurum, “I knew that the dealer had a world sensation in his hands. I could not sleep for 2 nights. I was just thinking about how to get this to an official museum so that it could be described and published for science.” Hurum would not reveal what the university museum paid for the fossil, but the original asking price was $1m. He did not see the fossil before buying it – just three photographs, representing a huge gamble.

    From the Gaurdian.

  9. #9 sevişmek
    May 19, 2009

    A reason for the hype?:

    My heart started beating extremely fast,” said Hurum, “I knew that the dealer had a world sensation in his hands. I could not sleep for 2 nights. I was just thinking about how to get this to an official museum so that it could be described and published for science.” Hurum would not reveal what the university museum paid for the fossil, but the original asking price was $1m. He did not see the fossil before buying it – just three photographs, representing a huge gamble.

    From the Gaurdian.

  10. #10 Drew
    May 19, 2009

    When scientists have to walk back the extravagant media claims on this thing, creationists are going to have a field day propagandizing the thing. Which is a real shame, given that this is indeed yet another fossil that fills in an allegedly suspicious gap, and yet another set of matched traits appearing right in the fossil record as we would expect if common descent were true. Whether or not it’s anyone’s common ancestor really isn’t anywhere near as interesting, but it’s all the media seems to care about these days.

  11. #11 David Marjanović
    May 19, 2009

    And with all due respect, I think rush-job papers like this, with questionable conclusions and obvious axe-grinding, undercut PLoS ONE’s ethos as a serious scientific journal. One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders.

    PLoS ONE (mind you: just the ONE one, not its sisters) deliberately has rather superficial peer-review. The ideas are 1) to get potentially controversial stuff published so it can be discussed in the open and 2) to have the review happening on the journal’s website — you can log in and leave comments like on a blog, AFAIK.

    It’s still a failure of peer-review. I’ll read the acknowledgments and look for the reviewers’ names. (Empty threat, because I almost certainly don’t know them, not being in that field, but still.) And then I’ll keep wondering how Wighart von Koenigswald got into this embarrassing situation.

    I’m also quite disappointed by the quotes by Jørn Hurum, who has done serious, detailed, thorough work on dino- and plesiosaurs.

    <slow headshake>

  12. #12 Karen James
    May 19, 2009

    …to make a convincing case they would have to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of the anatomy of Darwinius in comparison to other primates … [snip] … The problem is that they are using just one genus, Darwinius, to change the placement of an entire group without using any cladistic analysis! … [snip] … Even though the authors of the paper constructed a very simple cladogram they did not undertake a full, rigorous cladistic analysis to support their claims.

    It might help your readers if you were to explain what a ‘full, rigorous cladistic analysis’ entails. Obviously from what you’ve written, you do not think that ‘[combing] the literature for 30 traits that might help ascertain the placement of Darwinius in the primate family tree and [filling] in whether each trait was present or absent in Ida’s skeleton’ is enough, but not everyone reading this will know what sort of treatment would be considered adequate.

    Now, if they had scored enjoyment of being tickled as a synapomorphy, they would have found that slow lorises are our closest living relatives.

  13. #13 Karen James
    May 19, 2009

    p.s. As David notes, PLoS ONE encourages post-publication discussion by enabling comments, ratings and track-backs. This would seem a good opportunity to take them up on that facility.

  14. #14 John Scanlon FCD
    May 19, 2009

    I haven’t looked at the paper yet, but it sounds rather a disappointment. Hype and marketing are now to be expected, but should not displace science from the paper itself, which seems to more of a paid advertisement for the forthcoming books and vids. It’s sad for authors like Gingerich, Koenigswald and Hurum to be doing this.
    And by the way, you have an OMG missing link just after the one for Chris Beard’s book (“technical volumes like ,”).

  15. #15 Eric Dolha
    May 19, 2009

    Ah well, Guess we’ll have to keep combing the sites for the true ancestor.

    Still I’d agree that Darwinius is a very cool creature and with excellent remains to boot. Another great example of reality being cooler than fiction.

    What I mean by that last paragraph is that the reallity of Darwinius being a modified Adapid is a lot cooler than the fiction of it being the true primate ancestor.

    Anyway keep up the good work Brian.

  16. #16 Nick Gardner
    May 19, 2009

    “One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.

  17. #17 BrianR
    May 19, 2009

    “Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.”

    I don’t think that’s what he was saying … rigorous peer-review doesn’t *guarantee* top-notch science, but it’s been a process that has, generally, been effective.

  18. #18 John Hawks
    May 19, 2009

    This shoddy scholarship is matched by a weak attempt to show that Darwinius has more anthropoid-like traits than tarsiers or omomyids do. In order for the authors of the paper to make a convincing case they would have to undertake a careful, systematic analysis of the anatomy of Darwinius in comparison to other primates, yet they did not do this. Instead they combed the literature for 30 traits that might help ascertain the placement of Darwinius in the primate family tree and filled in whether each trait was present or absent in Ida’s skeleton.

    There are rather few traits that you can observe on a fossil skeleton that are synapomorphies of the haplorhines or (contrariwise) strepsirhines. A list of 30 is quite exhaustive. (Perhaps you have some additional ones in mind?)

    I think your discussion of the paper puts words in the authors’ mouths (figuratively speaking). To their credit, the authors did not claim that Darwinius is closer to anthropoids than are omomyids or adapids. They suggest that the fossil presents a large number of synapomorphies with the haplorhine clade, and that its similarities with adapids suggests that these may also be haplorhines rather than early strepsirhines. Haplorhines include tarsioids and anthropoids, so clearly they have not excluded tarsiers (or omomyids, if they are tarsioids) from the anthropoid stem. Otherwise, their phylogenetic interpretation is very restrained:

    Consideration of adapoids to be Haplorhini, as tarsioids are, helps to explain why the earliest representatives of both groups are so similar and sometimes confused. Note that Darwinius masillae, and adapoids contemporary with early tarsioids, could represent a stem group from which later anthropoid primates evolved, but we are not advocating this here, nor do we consider either Darwinius or adapoids to be anthropoids.

    One advantage of publishing in PLoS ONE is the unique opportunity to provide 27 pages of primary text and figures. Are commenters seriously claiming they would see a more thorough treatment of the fossil in Science or Nature? I suggest reading through the paper and deciding which 21 pages you would cut to make the length requirement.

  19. #19 F. Bunting
    May 19, 2009

    Thank you for this critique! I was home sick today and got an interesting glimpse of how this story is playing out. Here was a particularly BAD example (Sky News): Scientists Unveil Missing Link In Evolution. Quoting the article:

    Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the then radical, outlandish ideas he came up with during his time aboard the Beagle.

    The peer review will not be kind to the paper, and the same media shouting the old “Missing Link Found!” headline, will follow with “Missing Link Challenged!” … and the Creationists will happily misinterpret this as “Aha! Missing Link Debunked Again!”

    Overselling a discovery is BAD for science.

  20. #20 Zach Miller
    May 19, 2009

    Nick, what BrianR said.

  21. #21 Drew
    May 19, 2009

    “The peer review will not be kind to the paper, and the same media shouting the old “Missing Link Found!” headline, will follow with “Missing Link Challenged!” … and the Creationists will happily misinterpret this as “Aha! Missing Link Debunked Again!”

    Exactly. You can almost hear Drudge snorting with glee as he prepares these followup headlines. When I first saw the promotional website, I was torn, because it really is important to put work into explaining complex science to a lay audience. But the sloppy extravagant claims being thrown around by the media, undo any possible good that could come from those efforts.

  22. #22 Drew
    May 19, 2009

    Btw, big props to CNN. Their headlines on this issue? “Scientists hail fossil as important find: Scientists piece together human ancestry”

    Sounds like their science editor actually knows something about science!

  23. #23 Allen Hazen
    May 19, 2009

    Why is the pine straighter on plate B? Cutting and pasting (either of actual slab or of partial images)?

    The preservation, though spectacular by the standards of early mammals (“the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth”) looks fairly typical of Messel.

    As for the dubious phylogenetic claims, my sense is that it is part of the culture of paleontology to allow the authors of a paper a paragraph of wild speculation, PROVIDED the rest of the paper is good descriptive work. (Or maybe just that it ought to be.)

    And: what John Hawks (post #18) said in his last paragraph.

  24. #24 ~L.K.
    May 19, 2009

    It’s a marvel in this day and age not to have cable TV. While you may miss much culture jokes, you also are greatly relieved of false science claims when you leave History Channel or Discovery on just because you’re bored.

    In order to make people interested in something is usually to spice it up and make it more tantalizing or special than it is. In some cases, like this, it truly is special. It’s wonderful to find stomach contents. (I remember when there was that flurry over the content of a velociraptor’s lunch–at least if I remember the dinosaur correctly. I was in middle school at the time.) But as my astrobiology teacher noted, nobody gets excited over an alien amoeba or bacteria. People want space ships. They want another technological Earth, not biological. Finding bacteria on Saturn’s moons would be extraordinary to astrobiologists. Finding a humanoid on Europa would excite the world.

  25. #25 J.J.E.
    May 20, 2009

    PLoS ONE intentionally has very loose standards. I’ve reviewed for them before, and if I wanted to kill a paper I considered to present flat out wrong interpretations, I’d have little recourse as long as the presentation of the data and methods was honest and met minimum standards of scholarship.

    In fact, I find it difficult to interpret why they picked PLoS ONE. On the one hand, they probably could have written a paper (perhaps even with 30 pages of supplement) for Science or Nature that would have been accepted. So, this speaks favorably of the authors, that they’re willing to publish something in a forum where the articles are considered preliminary by many of their peers. Are they inviting a thorough dissection, something they think would have been hindered in a science porn mag like Science or Nature?

    On the other hand, they seem to have kept the fossil secret for two years and have published in a journal where the authors almost certainly can ensure that the secret was revealed at a time of their choosing (mainly because the turn-around time for PLoS ONE can be super fast and its standards of rigor can be lower than other journals). Combined with the tie-in documentary, I can potentially see great conflicts of interest, where the buzz factor is more important than whether the preliminary conclusions are as accurate as possible.

    In the end, unless they horde the fossil and never provide it for outside scrutiny (unlikely, I guess), then it doesn’t really matter. Their media strategy (for I think that this is what it is, a strategy) will only delay a more transparent and rigorous accounting of this exciting find. It is annoying, but ultimately, it probably shouldn’t matter too much in the long run.

  26. #26 cromercrox
    May 20, 2009

    The reason this wasn’t in a top flight journal is that the referees would almost certainly have demanded more thorough revisions including a proper phylogenetic analysis. But there was no time for this as the publicity machine had the release date fixed before the scientists even began, so they had to accept the paper no matter what. This leads to bad science getting into the literature. What would have happened had Plos One been around when Archaeoraptor was rejected by the major journals, leaving egg on face at National Geographic?

    A second serious problem I’m amazed nobody’s addressed is that formal taxonomy in an online only journal is not scientifically valid according to the rules set out in the Code of the ICZN. This means that the name Darwinius has no scientific validity.

  27. #27 J.J.E.
    May 20, 2009

    @26: “This means that the name Darwinius has no scientific validity.”

    Well, no. This means that the name Darwinius hasn’t been established as code-compliant through the nomenclature conventions outlined by the ICZN. Nothing more and nothing less. It has nothing whatever to do with “scientific validity” and everything to do with establishing a consistent nomenclature system.

  28. #28 cromercrox
    May 20, 2009

    @27 Fair enough, but because the name Darwinius isn’t ‘code compliant’ it means that anyone is free to rip off the description and diagnosis, get it into print with another name, and claim priority.

  29. #29 astrounit
    May 20, 2009

    It’s a shame that this kind of fluffery gets an automatic nod from PLoS ONE (although, to be sure, it’s happened with them frequently before…with plenty of items of lesser import).

    That problem really stands out now, doesn’t it, just because a big and incontestibly important find calls extra attention to it.

    All of which makes more grist for the creationist cretin mill to grind.

    Magnificent job, PLoS ONE and the authors.

    PLoS ONE: you didn’t mind how loose you were with the “freedom” of posting papers about stuff that wasn’t earth-shattering, and it sure didn’t prevent you from cleaning up your act (in an effort, say, to abstain from rectifying the problem which allows such an easy way for people to submit “science”), but now that something remarkable strikes, your grabbing ways show.

    To the authors: just plain shame on you. ’nuff said on that.

    It is truly hard to imagine how such an outstanding find could possibly have been screwed up more. But you guys managed it beautifully.

    And with the aplomb of gory hype onto the media yet…

    Very very impressive.

    And when a DECENT cladistic interpretation of this amazing find is eventually accomplished, I bet it won’t be featured in PLoS ONE.

    Let the grown ups do the job. You guys evidently can’t hack it.

  30. #30 astrounit
    May 20, 2009

    J.J.E. says, “It is annoying, but ultimately, it probably shouldn’t matter too much in the long run.”

    That’s precisely what I like about science.

    In the meantime, however, there’s no reason for having precipitated such a ridiculous farce with such a spectacular find in the first place.

    Some bones are gonna roll, and it ain’t Ida’s.

  31. #31 johannes
    May 20, 2009

    Doing cladistics with two traits (lack of combed incisors and the grooming claw), both plesiomorphies? Do we live in 1981?
    -hums Tainted Love-

  32. #32 Richard Carter, FCD
    May 20, 2009

    Thank you, Brian for the timely and well-reasoned analysis. And thank you to (most of) the commenters for continuing in the same vein. Whenever anyone tells me how rubbish the blogosphere is, I will point them to this post as an example of what can be achieved when it’s done properly.

    I suspect the timeliness of this post helped to prevent a number of old-style media organisations (and me) from falling totally for the hype.

    10/10.

  33. #33 Karen James
    May 20, 2009

    cromercrox:

    …because the name Darwinius isn’t ‘code compliant’ it means that anyone is free to rip off the description and diagnosis, get it into print with another name, and claim priority.

    Doesn’t that mean someone could go right now and re-analyze the fossil, but ‘do it right’, that is, include a ‘proper phyogenetic analysis’, and publish it under another name, thereby exposing everything wrong with this paper (including not just its ‘shoddy scholarship’ but its illegitimate nomenclature)?

    Please, somebody, take the bait! How cool would that be?

  34. #34 Karen James
    May 20, 2009

    John Hawks:

    To their credit, the authors did not claim that Darwinius is closer to anthropoids than are omomyids or adapids. They suggest that the fossil presents a large number of synapomorphies with the haplorhine clade, and that its similarities with adapids suggests that these may also be haplorhines rather than early strepsirhines. Haplorhines include tarsioids and anthropoids, so clearly they have not excluded tarsiers (or omomyids, if they are tarsioids) from the anthropoid stem. Otherwise, their phylogenetic interpretation is very restrained…

    There is a deep inconsistency between this ‘restraint’ in the paper and what the authors have been saying on the dedicated website and to the press.

    I might be willing to defend the authors if their restraint in the paper was coupled with loud protestations against the way in which the media have sensationalized the result, but in this case they are directly participating in the sensationalization.

  35. #35 cromercrox
    May 20, 2009

    @ karen james

    Doesn’t that mean someone could go right now and re-analyze the fossil, but ‘do it right’, that is, include a ‘proper phyogenetic analysis’, and publish it under another name, thereby exposing everything wrong with this paper (including not just its ‘shoddy scholarship’ but its illegitimate nomenclature)?

    I believe so, yes, but you didn’t hear it from me. I’d propose the name Hubris ignoramus.

    As it happens I have a copy of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th edition) to hand. Article 8.6 states:

    Works produced after 1999 by a method that does not employ printing on paper … to be accepted as published within the meaning of the Code, it must contain a statement that copies (in the form in which it is published) have been deposited in at least 5 major publicly accessible libraries which are identified by name in the work itself’.

    It could be that I haven’t looked closely enough, but I have not seen a note to this effect in the paper in PLoS One. If there isn’t such a statement, the name Darwinius is not acceptable in the meaning of the Code and so is not valid.

    The Code also states as Recommendation 8D ‘Responsibilities of authors, editors and publishers’ that

    ‘Authors, editors and publishers have a responsibility to ensure that works containing new names, nomenclatural acts, or information likely to affect nomenclature are self-evidently published within the meaning of the Code.’

    Just sayin’.

  36. #36 Smilodon
    May 20, 2009

    Check out the Google home page this morning … it has Darwinius as part of the logo.

  37. #37 Corax
    May 20, 2009

    Brian, a good viewpoint, with which I broadly concur. Indeed this paper seems a curious mix of fascinating and disappointing. Is this an example of the old rule that any fossil that could by some stretch of the imagination be claimed to be a human ancestor would be claimed to be such by the discoveror?

    Notwithstanding the hype and overstated claims, I would love to see this fossil. It looks magnificent.

    As for being a failure of peer review, I disagree. Peer review is treated as if its some magical process that adds great credibility. Sorry people its just a fancy name for a QA (quality Assurance) process. At its best it weeds out the trivial and the rubbish, at its worst it acts as a barrier to original work that challenges paradigms. I have seen this happen (not to me personally, but to colleagues). In principle I think the PLOS One approach is the right one, though it does need to be honed. I also note people are quick to claim a failure of peer review whenever they dont agree with or like the findings of a paper. To be clear, I disagree with the conclusions of this paper in a big way, and think Brian has highlighted some of those issues, but it is not peer review that has failed. Indeed a peer review process that stifles dessenting views, as is implemented in my opinion by some journals, is a failure in its own right.

    Im though very concerned by the hype associated with this find, and though they seem to be claiming otherwise I dont think the authors can excuse themselves from having created or at least fed the frenzy. Science shouldn’t require PR excercises, though those scientists that have to regularly secure funding are I guess under pressure to make their work look like it has delivered something of high value and great significance. As stated overselling a finding is bad for science.

  38. #38 BarbOutsideBoston
    May 20, 2009

    Quote:
    “This is the first link to all humans,” Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, said in a statement. Ida represents “the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor.”
    sigh

  39. #39 Peter O'Brien
    May 20, 2009

    “Shoddy Scholarship?” I’m no paleontologist, but in any field, that’s a pretty heavy accusation, especially from a grad student.

    “Fluffery?” “Hubris?” Also quite bold statements from the peanut gallery.

    Luckily, PLOS offers a forum for this discussion, one where you can rate the danceability of this tune out in the open. One problem though:

    “Users are required to unambiguously identify themselves and to supply a valid e-mail address in order to register.”

    Anyone here sure enough of their bravado to take the step? Science beckons.

    http://www.plosone.org/static/ratingGuidelines.action

  40. #40 Laelaps
    May 20, 2009

    John H; I attempted to point out what the authors concluded in the paper, and in some ways found it to be even stranger than the public claims that this is the “missing link.” Media hype is a problem, but from what I have seen these scientists have fed right into it and cannot be considered “innocent.” I tried to balance what was actually said in the paper with what was being said by the media; I was more concerned with the latter since more people are going to hear about this one the news than actually read the paper.

    Peter; Even worse, I’m not even a graduate student! (shock, horror) Yes, saying that the paper involves “shoddy scholarship” is harsh, but I am all for calling a spade a spade. The paper looks like it was rushed through the publication process and the authors did not do justice to the rich literature about this debate. Neither did they actually conduct the research needed to support their claims (i.e. making adapids haplorrhines). Just because I don’t have a PhD doesn’t mean that I can’t identify bad science when I see it.

  41. #41 The People's Program
    May 20, 2009

    Very fascinating. Almost looks like the famous raptor photo posted in so many paleontology books. I’m looking forward to the documentaries which this will spawn.

  42. #42 Andy
    May 20, 2009

    >Doesn’t that mean someone could go right now and re-analyze the >fossil, but ‘do it right’, that is, include a ‘proper phyogenetic >analysis’, and publish it under another name, thereby exposing >everything wrong with this paper (including not just its ‘shoddy >scholarship’ but its illegitimate nomenclature)?

    >Please, somebody, take the bait! How cool would that be?

    Umm. . .not cool. Paleontology already has enough clutter from wannabe taxonomists laying around (“Tyrannosaurus stanwinstonorum” and “Megapnosaurus,” anyone?).

    Not that two wrongs make a right, but this sort of media blitz *frequently* occurs with many fossil discoveries in the annals of other high-profile journals (“Super Croc,” for example – a cool find, yes, but it had already been named and described in 1966). I would agree that the media saturation is perhaps more acute in this case, but would hardly think this is all PLoS ONE’s fault.

  43. #43 Andy
    May 20, 2009

    I don’t agree with all of Peter O’Brien’s sentiments, but I do second his request for folks to post relevant comments and ratings at the PLoS ONE website.

  44. #44 Laelaps
    May 20, 2009

    What Andy said. I didn’t get into it here, but Ida has a rather complex history and has already been attributed to at least two other genera before. Casting this paper off and introducing ANOTHER name would just make things even more confusing, although I do hope that another team gets to examine this fossil in detail soon.

  45. #45 Allen Collins
    May 20, 2009

    Stick to your guns Laelaps!
    Implying that only those with a PhD are qualified to identify shoddy scholarship is pure condescension. You made your case for that conclusion and anyone is free to argue with it.

    I’d be curious to know the relationship between the museum and the history channel.

    I’d also be willing to bet this didn’t make it in Science and/or Nature. That said, the paper could have gotten through review there as well, as the process is just an effort at quality assurance, not a guarantee of said quality.

  46. #46 Peter
    May 20, 2009

    I was a professional scientist for a long time before I earned my Doctorate, and I have equal respect for well reasoned arguments from any source.

    Public airing of scientific criticism is only a valid part of the scientific process when there’s adequate give and take. Screaming “Mountebank!” from the recesses of the internet doesn’t count as science in my book.

    Like it or not, if we want to be considered scientists we have a responsibility to participate in the scientific process, not to short-circuit it. You may feel the PLOSOne paper does just that, but there are acceptable avenues for that critique beyond this web page.

    Having a PhD isn’t the point, but a big (and often neglected) part of EARNING a PhD is learning and demonstrating appropriate respect for the process by which scientific ideas are generated and tested. If shrill accusations of malfeasance or sloppiness are your idea of scientific debate, you’d better get used to graduate student housing.

  47. #47 just me
    May 20, 2009

    Questions:
    How many of these “Idas” would have to be found to show that there really is a link and not just a one time anomaly?

    Hasn’t this sort of thing happen before, where the media and certain portions of the scientific community jumped the gun with the “news” and then had to retract?

    So, they got the fossil from a dealer. How reputable is the dealer? Did anyone do a background check?

    And then there is always the question of money. Whose cash cow is this really? The dealer, the scientific institution and/or the media?

    I find more questions than answers in “Ida”.

  48. #48 Karen James
    May 20, 2009

    I strenuously object to Peter’s remarks (#46).

    First of all, this blog is not ‘the recesses of the internet'; it’s a wonderfully written, accessible, well-read, highly respected platform for discussions around paleontology and evolution, and the author is not anonymous.

    Secondly, your accusation that Brian does not demonstrate ‘appropriate respect for the process by which scientific ideas are generated and tested’ in the face of the corpus of blog posts readily available for reading in the Laelaps archive is baffling at best, mean-spirited at worst.

  49. #49 Lotharloo
    May 20, 2009

    If you want to sound professional, please read the article (and preferably understand it) before lashing out criticism.

  50. #50 Allen Collins
    May 20, 2009

    Peter, I’m sorry, but commenting at PLOS ONE is no more or less science than commenting on a science blog. Part of the process of science is feedback and the authors may very well be directed to this blog. I have seen plenty of authors of papers featured on blogs show up and explain, comment, and/or defend. It may be a small part of science, but it is part.

    Ultimately, however, someone will certainly have the opportunity to set the record straight on the history of ideas about the relationships among the taxa in question in a scientific journal. Someone might even be inspired by this blog and its comments, and that would all be part of the process, a fun but ultimately human endeavor.

  51. #51 Andy
    May 20, 2009

    I have just commented over at the PLoS ONE website, and would encourage others to do the same. The advantage of commenting there (in addition to the blog comments, which are another important part of the dialog) is that those comments will presumably be a more permanent part of the scientific record.

  52. #52 Pierce R. Butler
    May 20, 2009

    Notice the careful ambiguity about * * The Spectacular Ida!!! * * from SciBlogs’s resident expert on “communicating science” – whatever happens, don’t blame the media!

  53. #53 Laelaps
    May 20, 2009

    Andy; I just saw your comment. Well-said. I will add my own contribution soon, but I have a few other things to do first. And Allen, thank you for your support.

  54. #54 Blake Stacey
    May 20, 2009

    Smilodon (#36):

    Check out the Google home page this morning … it has Darwinius as part of the logo.

    And clicking that logo takes you to a search for “missing link found”. Sigh.

    Corax (#37):

    As for being a failure of peer review, I disagree. Peer review is treated as if its some magical process that adds great credibility. Sorry people its just a fancy name for a QA (quality Assurance) process.

    To quote Cosma Shalizi, “[P]assing peer review is better understood as saying a paper is not obviously wrong, not obviously redundant and not obviously boring, rather than as saying it’s correct, innovative and important.”

  55. #55 Raymond Minton
    May 20, 2009

    We have the lack of oxygen in the lake to thank for the exceptionally well preserved Messel specimens, including this one. It’s a fascinating discovery on it’s own without the hyperbole, but it seems that’s the only way finds like this can get attention.

  56. #56 Ed Darrell
    May 20, 2009

    The normally outstanding TED blog just had a post with the title “Darwin validated: Missing link found”.

    Headline should have been: “Darwin validated: Another missing link found (total up to several thousands) – film at 11:00.”

    It is a spectacular find. But it’s spectacular not because it does what 10,000 other fossils do. It’s spectacular because of its age, and that it fits exactly the predictions one extracts from other fossils already known.

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

    Heck, that first headline might not have been too far off the mark.

  57. #57 David Marjanović
    May 20, 2009

    It might help your readers if you were to explain what a ‘full, rigorous cladistic analysis’ entails. Obviously from what you’ve written, you do not think that ‘[combing] the literature for 30 traits that might help ascertain the placement of Darwinius in the primate family tree and [filling] in whether each trait was present or absent in Ida’s skeleton’ is enough, but not everyone reading this will know what sort of treatment would be considered adequate.

    As long as Brian doesn’t answer, let me try. The authors did not do a cladistic analysis. They took published lists of haplorhine and strepsirhine autapomorphies and looked which are present and which absent in Darwinius; that’s better than nothing, but it’s not a phylogenetic analysis. To do that, you need to make a data matrix that includes all relevant taxa (…such as the eosimiids) and all relevant characters, and then find the most parsimonious tree that fits it (there are computer programs for that).

    Now, if they had scored enjoyment of being tickled as a synapomorphy, they would have found that slow lorises are our closest living relatives.

    Nope, that’s a symplesiomorphy of us and slow lorises. Rats laugh when tickled – in ultrasound.

    I don’t think that’s what he was saying … rigorous peer-review doesn’t *guarantee* top-notch science, but it’s been a process that has, generally, been effective.

    And it has occasionally failed in both Nature and Science.

    Are commenters seriously claiming they would see a more thorough treatment of the fossil in Science or Nature? I suggest reading through the paper and deciding which 21 pages you would cut to make the length requirement.

    I’ve seen Nature papers with 95 pages of online supplementary information…

    As for being a failure of peer review, I disagree. Peer review is treated as if its some magical process that adds great credibility.

    Not at all. The purpose of peer review is to filter out gross mistakes in the data and the methods. Making sweeping claims about the phylogeny of Paleogene primates, but then not doing a phylogenetic analysis to test these claims, is a major mistake of method. It’s unscientific. That’s precisely what peer review is supposed to block from being published.

    Mind you, I’m not saying that those sweeping claims are wrong. I’m completely unqualified to have an opinion on that; I don’t work on mammals, let alone primates! Maybe the adapids really are haplorhines; maybe the eosimiids really are completely irrelevant to the question; I do not know. My issue is purely with the lack of a test. In science, you don’t merely create hypotheses, you test them.

    especially from a grad student. […] the peanut gallery.

    The argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Be ashamed.

    (And, yes, I am a grad student.)

    Umm. . .not cool.

    Agreed.

  58. #58 Zach Miller
    May 20, 2009

    @ Peter: Shame on you, sir. Brian is one of the most intellectually with-it people I know, and if you read his blog regularly, you’ll see that he writes with thought and clarity on his subjects. Just because the man doesn’t have a PhD doesn’t mean his criticisms of this paper are worthless–it means the paper has points with criticizing. It’s insulting, too, that you suggest he’s not showing enough respect to the higher-ups. The scientific process regards everyone as equal. Criticism can come from all sides, and punches shouldn’t be pulled just because somebody has a few degrees.

    It’s REALLY hard for me to hear that from professionals in academia. Between this, Jack Horner saying that grad students are basically slaves, and Spencer Lucas’ whole attitude toward students in general (as revealed by Aetogate), I’m really not that eager to get into paleontology as a profession. So thanks for that.

  59. #59 Ivan Baxter
    May 20, 2009

    As a PLoS ONE section editor, I would like to strongly second Andy’s suggestion that people add their comments to the discussion on PLoS ONE. These comments will be forever linked to the paper and will help future readers understand the significance of the work.

    And let me second #48 and #50 and say that it doesn’t matter what degree you have, just what your ideas are. I was happy to read that Brian will be posting a version of his criticisms on the PLoS ONE site.

    As for our peer review standards, I object to the notion that our standards are designed to be looser or of lower rigor than other journals. Our standards are slightly different than other journals, in that we don’t evaluate the “significance” of a manuscript. Instead we apply the following criteria (among others):

    # The study presents the results of primary scientific research.
    # Results reported have not been published elsewhere.
    # Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.
    # Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.

    That doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes (just like other journals), but my fellow editors and I spend a great deal of time and effort to try to make sure the manuscripts that we accept adhere to the above standards. After all, our name goes on the paper as well.

    Ivan

  60. #60 Ashley Riddell
    May 20, 2009

    @Peter (comment 46). Well said! I’ve quickly grown exasperated by the number of comments that are prefaced by “…I haven’t read the paper myself, BUT”. All too often a major discovery (or fraud for that matter) is shouted down with half-assed opinions with no scientific basis that just muddy the water. Brian’s article is based on his interpretation of the known facts at his disposal, which is fair enough. Skepticism is fine, encouraged and valuable, but for pitys sake people (especially those of you who are actaully qualified in the field under discussion) keep your own axe grinding to yourselves! PLoS ONE is open for comments if you have something worthwhile to say, so do the hard work and get to it!

  61. #61 Laelaps
    May 20, 2009

    Ashley; True, I did post some preliminary qualms about this paper, but have you actually read this post? Are did you just do the very thing you are decrying?

  62. #62 James F
    May 20, 2009

    To echo Ivan Baxter #59,

    As someone who published a paper in PLoS ONE and is watching a lab mate complete the review process there, I can vouch that they strongly adhere to the criteria listed above. A good number of papers at PLoS ONE (Ivan would know the percentage far better than I would) went through peer review at another PLoS journal but only missed the cut due to the elusive “significance” aspect, so in such cases the review process can be quite rapid at PLoS ONE.

  63. #63 Peter Principle
    May 20, 2009

    The normally outstanding TED blog just had a post with the title “Darwin validated: Missing link found”.

    So we’ve been pulling fossils of strange and wonderful creatures out of the ground for going on two centuries now, but now, suddenly, because an ancient primate is being turned into the latest reality TV celebrity, Darwin is “validated”?

    Sometimes I really do think that as a species homo sapiens can best be described as a chimp with delusions of grandeur. Does everything have to be about us?

  64. #64 Peter
    May 20, 2009

    #58. Brian might in fact be the brightest bulb on the tree. He may be the next Darwin. Neither excuses his use of perjoratives in describing the work of a peer. Besides being unimaginative and crude, it’s simply not very wise. He degraded his own arguments by descending into name calling.

    Being a graduate student is a great time in life, a time when one is not only allowed, but is EXPECTED to make mistakes. If one is truly lucky, those mistakes will be made in the privacy of a lab or at worst in front of a dissertation committee.

    Brian just dropped his pants in front of his entire universe. Shame on you for encouraging him further.

  65. #65 Karen James
    May 20, 2009
    Now, if they had scored enjoyment of being tickled as a synapomorphy, they would have found that slow lorises are our closest living relatives.

    Nope, that’s a symplesiomorphy of us and slow lorises. Rats laugh when tickled – in ultrasound.

    Well, I didn’t think my little joke there was going to get scrutinized (the fact that it did is one of the reasons I love the science blogosphere by the way), but as long as we’re picking nits, I would like to draw your attention to the word ‘if’ at the beginning of my statement. I know it would be wrong to score enjoyment of being tickled as a synapomorphy, but if you did then you would conclude slow lorises are our closest living relatives.

  66. #66 Laelaps
    May 20, 2009

    Peter; Are you having fun trying to convince everyone that I am an idiot? I have not seen you actually address the claims made in the paper or my response to them. Was I harsh in my criticism? Yes, but I think the authors of this paper have been acting irresponsibly given what actually appeared (or did not appear) in the paper.

    If you want to discuss the paper, that’s fine, but I will not tolerate any more personal attacks. If I have really embarrassed myself to such an egregious degree I am willing to let other people determine that for themselves. They sure as hell don’t need you to keep pointing out the obvious, right?

  67. #67 Karen James
    May 20, 2009

    Peter (#64)

    Calling shoddy scholarship ‘shoddy scholarship’ is hardly ‘dropping your pants in front of the entire universe’. Talk about hyperbole…

  68. #68 BrianR
    May 20, 2009

    Peter … you should’ve stopped a while ago. Your comments about Brian add nothing to this discussion; the more you repeat your argument (which has something to do w/ Brian’s lack of a degree … I think?), the more ridiculous you look.

  69. #69 BrianR
    May 20, 2009

    I went to the PLoS article and there were only four comments … I figured w/ all this there would be many more. Brian, didn’t you leave a comment? Was I looking in the wrong place?

  70. #70 Michael P. Taylor
    May 21, 2009

    Knowing nothing about mammals, I won’t make a of myself by trying to comment on the paper’s content — but I do want to strongly disagree with those comments that have argued that PLoS ONE’s peer review should have prevented this paper from being published. The absence of a phylogenetic analysis is a weakness, yes, but thankfully we don’t yet live in a world where a phylogenetic analysis is a drop-dead must-have of every descriptive paper. Whatever the failings of this study, it’s apparent that PLENTY of work has gone into it, and that — contra some earlier comments — what’s been published is of far greater value than what we’d have seen had this been in one of the tabloids.

    In conclusion, PLoS is not guilty here; others have been responsible for the media hype.

  71. #71 Laelaps
    May 21, 2009

    Michael; I agree that papers describing new genera or species don’t necessarily have to include a phylogenetic analysis, but I think one was warranted in this case. One of the main conclusions of the authors was that Darwinius was a haplorrhine primate, thus making all other adapids haplorrhines, too. That would be like classifying Apatosaurus as a theropod and then saying because of this all other sauropods were really theropods, too. I just don’t see how such grand claims can be made without actually backing it up with evidence (regardless of what is going on in the media).

  72. #72 Laelaps
    May 21, 2009

    BrianR; I have not written my comment yet. I will soon (probably today). This whole event has kept me pretty busy over the past three days and I have a few other things going on that have to be done first. I will weigh in “officially”, though, don’t you worry. I think Andy said much of what I was going to say, though.

  73. #73 David Marjanović
    May 21, 2009

    Between this, Jack Horner saying that grad students are basically slaves, and Spencer Lucas’ whole attitude toward students in general (as revealed by Aetogate), I’m really not that eager to get into paleontology as a profession. So thanks for that.

    What makes you think this Peter O’Brien dude is in paleontology? He himself said he’s not.

    Instead we apply the following criteria (among others):

    [...]
    # Conclusions [...] are supported by the data.

    This is where the failure lies: the paper hardly even tries to demonstrate that its phylogenetic conclusions are supported by the data.

    Brian might in fact be the brightest bulb on the tree. He may be the next Darwin. Neither excuses his use of perjoratives in describing the work of a peer.

    We are scientists. We have trained long and hard to call a spade a spade — not a stick, not a shovel, but a spade. So, when we see a failure of peer review, we’ll call it a failure of peer review.

    Besides, it’s pejorative, from Latin peior, “worse”. No connection to perjury whatsoever.

    Besides being unimaginative and crude, it’s simply not very wise. He degraded his own arguments by descending into name calling.

    The argument from incivility is a logical fallacy. It’s a subset of the ad-hominem argument: “Ooh, he says nasty things, so he must be wrong!!!1!eleventyone!”

    How something is said does not, must not, count in science. What is said does, and whether it’s supported by the evidence.

    Brian just dropped his pants in front of his entire universe.

    No, you did. You call yourself a professional scientist, and yet you behave like a professional debater! How much more embarrassing can it get, honestly?

    I know it would be wrong to score enjoyment of being tickled as a synapomorphy

    …Sorry, I didn’t even notice that, because there’s no way to tell a data matrix “this shared character state is a synapomorphy”. Instead, the phylogeny program (PAUP*, TNT, whatever) takes the matrix, makes the shortest possible unrooted tree from it, roots the tree by the outgroup, and then reads from the tree whether the character state in question is a synapomorphy of the taxa in question.

    :-)

    The absence of a phylogenetic analysis is a weakness, yes, but thankfully we don’t yet live in a world where a phylogenetic analysis is a drop-dead must-have of every descriptive paper.

    Exactly what Brian said: a phylogenetic analysis is only necessary if the paper makes phylogenetic conclusions — which, unfortunately, it does, bigtime. The paper asserts a hypothesis without testing it; that is not science.

  74. #74 Michael P. Taylor
    May 21, 2009

    Quick clarification for Brian and David: I don’t disagree with you that the paper would have been improved — significantly — by a phylogenetic analysis. But I still don’t think it was the duty of the reviewers to reject the paper because of the absence of one. It’s certainly better that the scientific publication should have come out at the same time as the media blitz than that it should have been delayed by cladistic demands so that the initial publication consisted of the publicity blitz alone.

    Let’s hope the authors quickly follow up with a paper that shoves Darwinius into an existing matrix. If they don’t, then someone else will, and soon.

  75. #75 Karen James
    May 21, 2009

    Peter’s infantile vapidity aside, this comment thread is awesome.

    …Sorry, I didn’t even notice that, because there’s no way to tell a data matrix “this shared character state is a synapomorphy”. Instead, the phylogeny program (PAUP*, TNT, whatever) takes the matrix, makes the shortest possible unrooted tree from it, roots the tree by the outgroup, and then reads from the tree whether the character state in question is a synapomorphy of the taxa in question.

    You’re right, of course. You’d think I’d have learned more in 6 years at the Natural History Museum… Let me try again: If they had used just one characteristic – response upon being tickled – and scored the character states ‘likes’ vs. ‘dislikes’ and used this to generate a cladogram, slow lorises and humans would be in a clade defined by the synapomorphy ‘likes being tickled’.

  76. #76 Laelaps
    May 21, 2009

    Michael; To reply to what you have written here and just now on the Dinosaur Mailing List, I am not maintaining that the paper should have been rejected only because it lacked a phylogenetic analysis. Descriptive work is important, and I am glad that Darwinius is so complete.

    What I am objecting to is that the authors drew major conclusions about the nature of the primate family tree and the evolutionary relationships of Darwinius without doing the actual work. If they were going to consider phylogeny in a different paper, fine, take that section out, but I still don’t think shunting Darwinius into a new phylogenetic arrangement without support of a phylogenetic analysis was a responsible move. I also have my doubts about whether it was better for the paper to come out at the same time as the big press releases; I actually think putting a time frame on the research to match all the PR stuff was not a good move.

    So to reiterate, I am not objecting to the fact that there was no real phylogenetic analysis in the paper. What I am objecting to is that the authors claimed that this new fossil has caused a rearrangement of the primate family tree without doing the actual research to support this hypothesis.

  77. #77 Sean Kerlen
    May 21, 2009

    “What would Ida do?” bracelets will be next.

  78. #78 Kristjan Wager
    May 21, 2009

    Brian, you should consider submitting this post to Scientia Pro Publica

  79. #79 Zach Miller
    May 21, 2009

    David, it’s more like there’s a shared attitude about grad students across academia, not just paleontology. I should’ve made that clearer.

  80. #80 Corax
    May 21, 2009

    Driving home from work this evening, listening to Material World on BBC Radio 4, and whooaaa, I hear one of the interviewees on the subject of Darwinius and the hype is a Mr Brian Switek. Excellent going to get interviewed as a subject matter expert. And your blog got a quick mention too.

    I found the trailer they aired of David Attenborough’s TV program on the find rather frustrating. The documentary isn’t showing until next Tuesday – so I guess I should wait until I have seen it, but the trailer was all melodramatic and going on about its great significance for every person alive. How disappointing – that this ridiculously over the top claim should be associated with Sir David, as many watchers will assume that if he said it it must be true. I expected better.

    I must though reiterate, that while I do agree that this paper claims a signicance for this fossil in terms of human ancestry that are just not justified by the evidence, this is not a failure of peer review. I absolutely disagree with David M’s comments on peer review. A peer review process that blocks opposing views or prevents challenges to prevailing paradigms is at least as bad as, and in my view more insidiously dangerous than, a peer review process that allows sloppy logic and poor methodology through. At least the latter becomes obvious, the former gets sunk without trace.

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

    I did think Brian’s choice of words (eg “shoddy scolarship”) was a little harsh, but to be honest probably justified. I guess being brutally honest while also being tactful is not easy.

  81. #81 Karen James
    May 21, 2009

    You can listen again to Material World here. The segment on Ida begins at 18:05 and Brian’s interview begins at 19:45. Congrats, Brian, Material World is a big fish!

  82. #82 John S
    May 21, 2009

    I’m no scientist, but I know of the ugly history of ‘missing links’ – or call them what you will. Ida will rank up there along side all the fakes promulgated by ideology and greed (but once she’s on the textbook covers she’ll be there as a goddess for 100 years). There’s a ‘science sucker’ born ever minute, blindly believing the ‘facts’ of science. How can you when homo sapiens are so inextricably involved in the process? I’d like to see the scientific community grow a backbone like Ida and rise up to shut down this hype driven farce of a lemur fossil.

  83. #83 Daniel J. Andrews
    May 21, 2009

    And here they come….

    Soooooo, on a blog with an article that speaks out against media driven hype and also links to other blogs and science sites that are also trying to shut down this hype, and where pretty much every major and minor science website and related experts are speaking out against the hype, John complains that he wants to see the science community shut down this type of hype?

    Good one, John. What do you think this is all about? Way to discredit yourself. [sorry for feeding the troll here, but I was using his post as a teachable moment in another blog so just tossed in a quickie here]

  84. #84 Michael P. Taylor
    May 22, 2009

    And, as the BBC radio presenter pointed out, let us not forget that “Darwinius masillae” is an anagram of “Sure is a wild animal”.

  85. #85 John S
    May 22, 2009

    But Daniel, my point is that this is merely 1 (one) scientist on a blog that is making this point. To date we have a maximum of 85 people who have read his article. This is a tiny swell in an ocean of the scientific community, it is my no means a ‘rising up’ for the truth as I am calling for. There will never be a rising up about Ida, merely these obscure egg-headed blogs by a few brave scientists. 99.9% of the world will go on thinking that science has found another irrefutable proof of Darwinism. And that’s just the way the scientific community wants it. Their god dare not be angered, truth be damned. It doesn’t matter if Ida is a missing link/transitional form. The community ‘knows’ they are out there somewhere so we’ll allow Ida to fill the void for the great unwashed like yours truly. So don’t get me wrong I’m thankful for Brian Switek and this article. Will it do anything to prevent Ida from becoming the next iconic symbol of the theory of Darwinism? No. ‘Expelled’ is not the only problem. With one hand dissenters are silenced. And with the other hand false ‘evidence’ is allowed to circulate freely to the masses merely because the principle it purportedly supports is ‘known’ to be true by the Community (ie purposefully misleading). I call that no backbone, bunch of losers. But yeah, rock on Brian Switek!

  86. #86 David Marjanović, OM
    May 22, 2009

    To date we have a maximum of 85 people who have read his article.

    No, a minimum.

    Logic: ur doin it rong.

    ‘Expelled’ is not the only problem.

    Read this site.

    With one hand dissenters are silenced.

    This is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Got some? Got any evidence at all?

    What about evidence to the contrary?

    Finally, it is simply stupid to casually trot out a suggestion that Ida might be faked. How would you fake such a specimen? How would anyone fake it? By putting two fossils together, maybe? Then why does it look like just another adapid?

    The good preservation is fairly common in Messel. It’s simply what you get at the bottom of a deep lake if the carcass didn’t float around too long before sinking.

    To sum up: You have fallen among the scientists. You simply cannot make an assertion without backing it up with evidence. You can’t.

  87. #87 David Marjanović
    May 22, 2009

    Oops, ignore the “OM” part. It’s an insider joke on another blog.

    But I forgot something anyway, John. What makes you think the suddenly capitalized “Community” has any influence on what Dr. Jørn Hurum says in public? Really, what? I don’t get it. Did you believe all scientific institutions worldwide form a corporation with a CEO who can fire people? ~:-|

  88. #88 José
    May 22, 2009

    @John S

    I’m no scientist, but I know of the ugly history of ‘missing links’ – or call them what you will.

    Did you not read the post? Particularly the third paragraph where Brian touches on how people misused/misunderstand the idea of a missing link? He’s talking about you.

    99.9% of the world will go on thinking that science has found another irrefutable proof of Darwinism. And that’s just the way the scientific community wants it.

    Do you think science is some secret society hell bent on keeping the average person in the dark? The scientific community would love for all the world to better understand science. It’s a win win situation for everyone. Unfortunately, anti-science loons like you, who don’t even take the time to understand what they’re critiquing, don’t make it easy.

  89. #89 John S
    May 22, 2009

    I’m saying 1) you guys are correct I don’t know what I’m critiquing, I am not a scientist just an average joe. 2) the media and schools are going to tell everyone that Ida is a missing link 3) real scientists apparently don’t agree with this assessment of Ida or even about the concept of a missing link 4) the public and our school children are going to be spoon fed as true what the scientists are saying is false

    How am I the anti-science loon in this scenario? I’m FOR science, not what will be peddled as science. Perhaps the media and textbook makers are to blame but I’m submitting it’s with the tacit approval of the science community – formerly referred to by me as the Community :>) They could stop this if they really wanted to. I’m saying they either don’t want to because they care mostly that everone believes Darwinism, or don’t care because me and my hoi polloi are idiots and a waste of time. If there is a 3rd option I’d like to hear it.

  90. #90 Nelly
    May 22, 2009

    Où puis-je trouver une traduction de ce texte en français ?
    Merci

  91. #91 José
    May 22, 2009

    @John S

    I am not a scientist just an average joe.

    So am I. I just take the time to understand something before I bad mouth it.

    How am I the anti-science loon in this scenario?

    You’re saying that the scientific community wants to suppress information that contradicts evolution because they want people to believe in it for some reason. That’s loony. The fact that the concept of a missing link is fuzzy is not an argument against evolution, and if you did your homework, you’d see that scientists are always trying to dispel misconceptions about evolution. Arguments against evolution, such as the one you made, are based entirely on straw men, misconceptions, and/or outright lies.

  92. #92 Karen James
    May 23, 2009

    @John S

    I’m submitting it’s with the tacit approval of the science community – formerly referred to by me as the Community :>) They could stop this if they really wanted to.

    Really? And how do you propose we do that? Perhaps you think we should go to our next fortnightly top-secret global scientist meetings and take a vote.

  93. #93 Bryan Perkins
    May 24, 2009

    @John 5

    “They could stop this if they really wanted to. I’m saying they either don’t want to because they care mostly that everone believes Darwinism, or don’t care because me and my hoi polloi are idiots and a waste of time. If there is a 3rd option I’d like to hear it.”

    They can’t stop the media hype. Are you assuming that scientists have control over journalists? All we can do is say that it is wrong.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/qnpvsv

  94. #94 Anonymous
    May 24, 2009

    “As John Wilkins has pointed out the phrase “missing link” is woefully inaccurate, conjuring up images of life ranked in an unbreakable Great Chain of Being put in place by God, but that has not stopped media outlets from running with the idea.”

    It wasn’t just the media outlets. David Attenborough used the phrase “missing link”.

  95. #95 Thunderclees
    May 24, 2009

    Great job. When I first saw this fossil, I immediately thought “Adapid.” Glad to see I was justified. Unfortunately, seems the Disco’ tute has hijacked your post for their own nefarious purposes.

  96. #96 Michael Kenward
    May 27, 2009

    I see that the media get the usual bashing. A little investigation shows this to be a massive case of media manipulation.

    If the science is dodgy and the scientists push it, why should the media be a substitute for peer review? That isn’t what they are for.

    Here is the bit that made me suspicious:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/may/25/media-industry-news

    or

    http://tinyurl.com/p5y8ch

    “this find would have an immense impact on the scientific world, and the whole project had to be kept under wraps until the team of scientists had finished their research. Jorn wanted the story to be released simultaneously across media, coordinating the release of the academic paper with the public launch.”

    This was written by a TV journalist who allowed himself to become part of the media circus.

  97. #97 José
    May 27, 2009

    @Michael Kenward
    I see that the media get the usual bashing. A little investigation shows this to be a massive case of media manipulation.

    A little more investigation, like reading the entire post perhaps, would reveal that Brian’s post is mostly about criticizing the conclusions and actions of the scientists involved.

  98. #98 Luke
    May 29, 2009

    What Garbage. After being a huge fan of the History channel for years, I am tempted to boycott them for this over hyped nonsense.

  99. #99 hakan
    June 25, 2009

    ben ebubekir vala cok ıyı :D

  100. #100 lida
    June 26, 2009

    Thank you so much for content, you would track;)

  101. #101 matrax
    July 3, 2009

    matrax bir numara! herzaman ve heryerde!

  102. #102 klip
    July 4, 2009

    Thank you so much for content, you would track;)

  103. #103 rap
    August 1, 2009

    What Garbage. After being a huge fan of the History channel for years, I am tempted to boycott them for this over hyped nonsense.

  104. #104 Sakarya Rehberim
    August 19, 2009

    Btw, big props to CNN. Their headlines on this issue? “Scientists hail fossil as important find: Scientists piece together human ancestry”

    Sounds like their science editor actually knows something about science!

  105. #105 Klip
    September 9, 2009

    I’m no scientist, but I know of the ugly history of ‘missing links’ – or call them what you will.
    klip

  106. #106 Dans
    October 20, 2009

    Thanks for sharing a great thing on numbers.

  107. #107 Uri
    October 26, 2009

    “Primate fossil ‘not an ancestor'” (BBC, October, 21 2009)

    “Dr Erik Seiffert says that Ida belonged to a group more closely linked to lemurs than to monkeys, apes or us… [Dr Seiffert continues] “They are more closely related to lemurs and lorises than they are to tarsirs or monkeys, apes and humans. This study would effectively REMOVE Ida from our ancestry.”

    Also see: “Convergent evolution of anthropoid-like adaptations in Eocene adapiform primates” (Nature)

    Well, Drew, I think you summed it up best when you wrote back on May 19th: “When scientists have to walk back the extravagant media claims on this thing, creationists are going to have a field day propagandizing the thing.”

  108. #108 Kodes
    November 1, 2009

    ah ulan melahat I’m no scientist, but I know of the ugly history of ‘missing links’ – or call them what you will.

  109. #109 carpet cleaner rentals
    November 18, 2009

    “As John Wilkins has pointed out the phrase “missing link” is woefully inaccurate, conjuring up images of life ranked in an unbreakable Great Chain of Being put in place by God, but that has not stopped media outlets from running with the idea.”

    It wasn’t just the media outlets. David Attenborough used the phrase “missing link”.

  110. #110 indir
    December 22, 2009

    Great job. When I first saw this fossil, I immediately thought “Adapid.” Glad to see I was justified. Unfortunately, seems the Disco’ tute has hijacked your post for their own nefarious purposes.

  111. #111 Onur
    December 26, 2009

    Thanks for this great article

  112. #112 Rap
    May 7, 2010

    I agree that papers describing new genera or species don’t necessarily have to include a phylogenetic analysis, but I think one was warranted in this case. One of the main conclusions of the authors was that Darwinius was a haplorrhine primate, thus making all other adapids haplorrhines, too. That would be like classifying Apatosaurus as a theropod and then saying because of this all other sauropods were really theropods, too. I just don’t see how such grand claims can be made without actually backing it up with evidence (regardless of what is going on in the media).

  113. #113 maskan
    May 7, 2010

    yeah Seiffert says that Ida belonged to a group more closely linked to lemurs than to monkeys, apes or us… [Dr Seiffert continues] “They are more closely related to lemurs and lorises than they are to tarsirs or monkeys, apes and humans. This study would effectively REMOVE Ida from our ancestry.”

  114. #114 Gekko G
    May 20, 2010

    @Michael Kenward
    I see that the media get the usual bashing. A little investigation shows this to be a massive case of media manipulation.

    A little more investigation, like reading the entire post perhaps, would reveal that Brian’s post is mostly about criticizing the conclusions and actions of the scientists involved.

  115. #115 prefabrik
    August 21, 2010

    its criticizing the conclusions and actions of the projected.

  116. #116 Yuva Prefabrik
    August 25, 2010

    Sometimes I really do think that as a species homo sapiens can best be described as a chimp with delusions of grandeur. Does everything have to be about us

    http://www.yuvaprefabrik.com.tr

  117. Laelaps
    Musings on evolution, the fossil record, and our place in nature
    Comment Submission Error
    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please try again in a short while.
    Return to the original entry.

  118. #118 film izle
    October 25, 2010

    Driving home from work this evening, listening to Material World on BBC Radio 4, and whooaaa, I hear one of the interviewees on the subject of Darwinius and the hype is a Mr Brian Switek. Excellent going to get interviewed as a subject matter expert. And your blog got a quick mention too.

    I found the trailer they aired of David Attenborough’s TV program on the find rather frustrating. The documentary isn’t showing until next Tuesday – so I guess I should wait until I have seen it, but the trailer was all melodramatic and going on about its great significance for every person alive. How disappointing – that this ridiculously over the top claim should be associated with Sir David, as many watchers will assume that if he said it it must be true. I expected better.

    I must though reiterate, that while I do agree that this paper claims a signicance for this fossil in terms of human ancestry that are just not justified by the evidence, this is not a failure of peer review. I absolutely disagree with David M’s comments on peer review. A peer review process that blocks opposing views or prevents challenges to prevailing paradigms is at least as bad as, and in my view more insidiously dangerous than, a peer review process that allows sloppy logic and poor methodology through. At least the latter becomes obvious, the former gets sunk without trace.

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

    I did think Brian’s choice of words (eg “shoddy scolarship”) was a little harsh, but to be honest probably justified. I guess being brutally honest while also being tactful is not easy.

  119. #119 film izle
    October 28, 2010

    Excellent post, Brian. This whole thing will make an excellent scientific good practices discussion for a class I’m teaching this summer – thanks for providing your thoughts on the paper. It’s tough in an era of ever-shrinking funding to find ways to make your work relevant and known to the public at large, but sacrificing good science to do so is sinking a bit lower than feels comfortable.

  120. #120 film izle
    November 8, 2010

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

  121. #121 ispir
    November 15, 2010

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.
    Thanks.

  122. #122 son bölüm izle
    November 16, 2010

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.

    Nice to.

  123. #123 dizi izle
    November 16, 2010

    Brian. This whole thing will make an excellent scientific good practices discussion for a class I’m teaching this summer – thanks for providing your thoughts on the paper. It’s tough in an era of ever-shrinking funding to find ways to make your work relevant and known to the public at large.

  124. #124 dizi izle
    November 29, 2010

    Excellent post, Brian. This whole thing will make an excellent scientific good practices discussion for a class I’m teaching this summer – thanks for providing your thoughts on the paper. It’s tough in an era of ever-shrinking funding to find ways to make your work relevant and known to the public at large, but sacrificing good science to do so is sinking a bit lower than feels comfortable.

  125. #125 Prefabrik
    December 3, 2010

    I don’t believe in darwinism it doesn’t make sense.

  126. #126 dizi izle
    December 11, 2010

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.
    Thanks.

  127. #127 dizi izle
    December 12, 2010

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

  128. #128 misyon5ice
    December 17, 2010

    Poor, poor Ida, Or: “Overselling an Adapid is very great.. It is fantastic. I don’t belive

  129. #129 sikis izle
    December 17, 2010

    while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

  130. #130 mehmet
    December 21, 2010

    yes, I watch from time to time, but changes in the animal kingdom is very beautiful and I also have a separate feature in the news it will publish on my site as you have allowed yayınlayabilrimiyim http://www.bitkiselkansertedavileri.com.?

  131. #131 prefabrik
    December 24, 2010

    its very nice and in my view more insidiously dangerous than, a peer review process that allows sloppy logic and poor methodology through project.

  132. #132 hd film izle
    December 31, 2010

    quick addition to my post above — thankfully, the New York Times has a better headline than others – “Skeleton Sheds Light on Primate Evolution”. IMO, that’s an appropriate (and exciting) headline.

  133. #133 film izle
    January 2, 2011

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.
    Thanks.

  134. #134 dizi izle
    January 2, 2011

    quick addition to my post above — thankfully, the New York Times has a better headline than others – “Skeleton Sheds Light on Primate Evolution”. IMO, that’s an appropriate (and exciting) headline.

  135. #135 dizi izle
    January 2, 2011

    while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement, but is a not unreasonable expectation.

  136. #136 2011 Moda
    January 2, 2011

    its very nice and in my view more insidiously dangerous than, a peer review process that allows sloppy logic and poor methodology through project.

  137. #137 Cilt Bakimi
    January 2, 2011

    its very nice and in my view more insidiously dangerous than, a peer review process that allows sloppy logic and poor methodology through project.

  138. #138 film izle
    January 9, 2011

    Great job. When I first saw this fossil, I immediately thought “Adapid.” Glad to see I was justified. Unfortunately, seems the Disco’ tute has hijacked your post for their own nefarious purposes.

  139. #139 canlı maç izle
    January 9, 2011

    I agree with dizi “On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.”

  140. #140 bölüm izle
    January 28, 2011

    On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.
    Thanks.

  141. #141 film izle filmini izle
    February 2, 2011

    I agree with dizi “On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.”

  142. #142 estetik meme
    February 7, 2011

    If I tell you that I would be disobeying the god and on that account it is impossible for me to keep quiet, you won’t be persuaded by me, taking it that I am ionizing. And if I tell you that it is the greatest good for a human being to have discussions every day about virtue and the other things you hear me talking about, examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not livable for a human being, you will be even less persuaded.

  143. #143 orjin krem
    February 8, 2011

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.

  144. #144 FILM IZLE
    February 15, 2011

    YOUR ARTICLE IS REALLY GOOD. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES FROM YOU, I WLL ALWAYS VSIT YOUR WEBSITE

  145. #145 sex, porno
    March 6, 2011

    YOUR ARTICLE IS REALLY GOOD. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES FROM YOU, I WLL ALWAYS VSIT YOUR WEBSITE

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.

  146. #146 justin tv
    March 7, 2011

    I agree with bölüm izle “On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic analysis. It’s not a requirement.
    Thanks.”

  147. I agree with bölüm izle “On the phylogenetic analysis matter, while clearly not required in a publication of new taxon, this paper does make some rather sweeping claims about phylogeny, which one would expect to be supported by a phylogenetic

  148. #148 CPR Certification
    March 25, 2011

    Seems they decided not to include Homo sapiens as a OTU in the analysis, nor do they reflect on their terminology in lumping all hominids into Australopithecus OR Homo.

    The authors also clearly regard that species are directly ancestral from within their population to other species, or in this case “genera”. This has the effect of supporting a paraphyletic gradient out of all hominids that aren’t Homo.

  149. The confusions, controversies and arguements that follow the latest discovery of skeleton in S/Africa simply vindicates the Holy Bible. When the story first emerged the exaggeraion among atheistic media and pagan scientists were so much that the gullibles started celebrating the percieved defeat of the Holy Bible. But now the world of science is even questioning some fundamental aspects of the theory of Darwinism in view of more advanced analysis of the skeleton. The Holy Bible has already said, “a *** has said in his mind that: There is no God”

  150. Martin, you often hear it said that the species is the only non-arbitrary taxonomic category. But Jaime is right: the species is every bit as arbitrary a construct as are the more inclusive categories. This is especially true of fossil materials. Phylogeny is interesting, taxonomy is not. At best, taxonomic categorization is a necessary evil. Certainly not deserving of all the fuss typically given to it. The specimens are interesting in their own right. They could have cared less, when alive, whether apes two million years in the future decided to call them Homo or Australopithecus, and neither should we.

  151. #151 Funny sms
    March 25, 2011

    The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question uninteresting.

  152. #152 Vector Graphics
    March 25, 2011

    But now the world of science is even questioning some fundamental aspects of the theory of Darwinism in view of more advanced analysis of the skeleton.

    If that were true, I’d have noticed. I’m part of “the world of science”, you see.

  153. #153 v4vectors
    March 25, 2011

    Haq off…

    and go thump your mindless bible BS somewhere else

  154. #154 orjin krem
    March 25, 2011

    The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question

  155. #155 altın çilek
    March 27, 2011

    I did think Brian’s choice of words was a little harsh, but to be honest probably justified. I guess being brutally honest while also being tactful is not easy.

  156. #156 tütüne son
    March 28, 2011

    But now the world of science is even questioning some fundamental aspects of the theory of Darwinism in view of more advanced analysis of the skeleton.

    If that were true, I’d have noticed. I’m part of “the world of science”, you see.

  157. #157 moliva
    March 28, 2011

    But now the world of science is even questioning some fundamental aspects of the theory of Darwinism in view of more advanced analysis of the skeleton.

    If that were true, I’d have noticed. I’m part of “the world of science”, you see.

  158. #158 altın çilek
    March 31, 2011

    The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question

  159. #159 altın çilek
    March 31, 2011

    The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question

  160. #160 Altın Çilek
    March 31, 2011

    Thak fro aldj thanjshere is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent.

  161. #161 internet dizi
    March 31, 2011

    The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question ı am learn thanks

  162. #162 orjin krem
    March 31, 2011

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course

  163. #163 zayıflamanın yolları
    April 2, 2011

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course

  164. #164 altın çilek
    April 4, 2011

    I have just commented over at the PLoS ONE website, and would encourage others to do the same. The advantage of commenting there (in addition to the blog comments, which are another important part of the dialog) is that those comments will presumably be a more permanent part of the scientific record.

  165. I think all police officers should be given training for CPR

  166. #166 cpr certification
    April 8, 2011

    YOUR ARTICLE IS REALLY GOOD. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES FROM YOU, I WLL ALWAYS VSIT YOUR WEBSITE

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.

  167. #167 cpr certification
    April 8, 2011

    Is there any consensus so far whether this is indeed a separate species, or is it too soon to ask?

    I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but that’s just me.

  168. #168 digi microscope
    April 8, 2011

    This pictures are incredible, but I want to see more! Is it possible to see it in some museum? Would be great

  169. user-pic

    Not unlike the Clintons themselves. From the start of the ’92 primaries I could never understand why people liked Bill Clinton; even before all the allegations of affairs and so on, he just seems so transparently sleazy and fake. Similar to Reagan I suppose, and Republicans are still in love with him.

  170. #170 lovegurus
    April 9, 2011

    Not unlike the Clintons themselves. From the start of the ’92 primaries I could never understand why people liked Bill Clinton; even before all the allegations of affairs and so on, he just seems so transparently sleazy and fake. Similar to Reagan I suppose, and Republicans are still in love with him

  171. #171 Newyork Cooking Schools
    April 20, 2011

    Shit dude, I was trying to figure out why I feel, so, ah, different tonight.

    It happened. It would have happened in a different way if Hillary was the nominee, and it would have been equally awesome. But what we have is what we have, and damn am I feeling good about it.

    You made me tear up, and that is not something I have done in a long time when thinking about the history of my country and the potential, nay, promises it holds…eventually. It’s nice to see something fundamentally earth-shattering (in a good way) once in a while.

    And a big middle finger to those who disregard this moment in any way. It’s huge, and thank goodness I’m around to witness it (and you are too). The arc of history, indeed.

  172. Not unlike the Clintons themselves. From the start of the ’92 primaries I could never understand why people liked Bill Clinton; even before all the allegations of affairs and so on, he just seems so transparently sleazy and fake. Similar to Reagan I suppose, and Republicans are still in love with him.

  173. I went to the PLoS article and there were only four comments … I figured w/ all this there would be many more. Brian, didn’t you leave a comment? Was I looking in the wrong place?

  174. #174 film izle
    May 18, 2011

    Headline should have been: “Darwin validated: Another missing link found (total up to several thousands) – film at 11:00.”

    It is a spectacular find. But it’s spectacular not because it does what 10,000 other fossils do. It’s spectacular because of its age, and that it fits exactly the predictions one extracts from other fossils already known.

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

    Heck, that first headline might not have been too far off the mark.

  175. #175 hairstyles
    May 19, 2011

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

    Heck, that first headline might not have been too far off the mark.

  176. #176 yola
    May 27, 2011

    [......]I went to the PLoS article and there were only four comments … I figured w/ all this there would be many more. Brian, didn’t you leave a comment? Was I looking in the wrong place?[......]

  177. #177 nursebebo
    May 27, 2011

    [........]user-pic

    Not unlike the Clintons themselves. From the start of the ’92 primaries I could never understand why people liked Bill Clinton; even before all the allegations of affairs and so on, he just seems so transparently sleazy and fake. Similar to Reagan I suppose, and Republicans are still in love with him.[...........]

  178. #178 seoopinions
    June 5, 2011

    [................]It happened. It would have happened in a different way if Hillary was the nominee, and it would have been equally awesome. But what we have is what we have, and damn am I feeling good about it.

    You made me tear up, and that is not something I have done in a long time when thinking about the history of my country and the potential, nay, promises it holds…eventually. It’s nice to see something fundamentally earth-shattering (in a good way) once in a while.[............]

  179. #179 funny sms
    June 5, 2011

    [...............]The reality of species is also witnessed by every amateur natural historian, or indeed every taxonomist: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.
    In my opinion, the study of species classification – taxonomy – thus is and always has been one of the most interesting biological subdisciplines. There is, after all, little in our existing theories of evolution to explain why species seem to be so prevalent. The abscence of a clear answer does, however, not leave the question [..............]

  180. #180 CNA Certification
    June 9, 2011

    [.........]Shit dude, I was trying to figure out why I feel, so, ah, different tonight.

    It happened. It would have happened in a different way if Hillary was the nominee, and it would have been equally awesome. But what we have is what we have, and damn am I feeling good about it.

    You made me tear up, and that is not something I have done in a long time when thinking about the history of my country and the potential, nay, promises it holds…eventually. It’s nice to see something fundamentally earth-shattering (in a good way) once in a while.

    And a big middle finger to those who disregard this moment in any way. It’s huge, and thank goodness I’m around to witness it (and you are too). The arc of history, indeed.[.........]

  181. #181 CNA Classes Online
    June 9, 2011

    [.......]YOUR ARTICLE IS REALLY GOOD. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES FROM YOU, I WLL ALWAYS VSIT YOUR WEBSITE

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course.[......]

  182. #182 resource
    June 9, 2011

    [.............]Is there any consensus so far whether this is indeed a separate species, or is it too soon to ask?

    I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but that’s just me.[.........]

  183. I don’t agree with all of Peter O’Brien’s sentiments, but I do second his request for folks to post relevant comments and ratings at the PLoS ONE website

  184. #184 doomby
    June 19, 2011

    [....]I love your blog and, though I rarely have time to read it, will be sorry to see it go. However, when you say that “A newspaper or magazine would not allow PepsiCo to write articles about global health or nutrition – there is a very clear conflict of interest there” I have to call B.S.

    Magazines do this sort of thing all the time, and it’s perfectly OK even under the rules of the Magazine Publishers of America: It’s called advertorial.

    I can’t believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

    So the real question is (and I have no idea on this count) is the PepsiCo blog clearly marked as sponsored content? Keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for this online, yet, as far as I know…

    Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts on this.[.....]

  185. #185 seo services
    June 19, 2011

    I love your blog and, though I rarely have time to read it, will be sorry to see it go. However, when you say that “A newspaper or magazine would not allow PepsiCo to write articles about global health or nutrition – there is a very clear conflict of interest there” I have to call B.S.

    Magazines do this sort of thing all the time, and it’s perfectly OK even under the rules of the Magazine Publishers of America: It’s called advertorial.

    I can’t believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

    So the real question is (and I have no idea on this count) is the PepsiCo blog clearly marked as sponsored content? Keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for this online, yet, as far as I know…

    Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts on this.

  186. #186 ilahi dinle
    June 21, 2011

    There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.

  187. #187 Om synen
    June 22, 2011

    I love your blog and, though I rarely have time to read it, will be sorry to see it go. However, when you say that “A newspaper or magazine would not allow PepsiCo to write articles about global health or nutrition – there is a very clear conflict of interest there” I have to call B.S.

    Magazines do this sort of thing all the time, and it’s perfectly OK even under the rules of the Magazine Publishers of America: It’s called advertorial.

    I can’t believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

    So the real question is (and I have no idea on this count) is the PepsiCo blog clearly marked as sponsored content? Keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for this online, yet, as far as I know.

  188. #188 Online University
    June 28, 2011

    Wow, these fossils and pre-historic animals are so fascinating. It’s amazing how modern science can give us a glimpse of the past.

  189. #189 Kayseri Emlak
    June 30, 2011

    It is a spectacular find. But it’s spectacular not because it does what 10,000 other fossils do. It’s spectacular because of its age, and that it fits exactly the predictions one extracts from other fossils already known.

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

  190. #190 Anna
    July 1, 2011

    Wow, these fossils and pre-historic animals are so fascinating. It’s amazing how modern science can give us a glimpse of the past.

  191. #191 canlı maç izle
    July 1, 2011

    I agree with ilahi: There can not be a coincidence that individuals as a rule cluster in identifiable categories even for as well-studied organisms as birds and butterflies. Studies of animal reproductive behaviour, as well as of floral reproductive morphology, demonstrate that the organisms themselves often go to great lengths to avoid extraspecific matings. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.

  192. #192 prefabrike
    July 5, 2011

    I have been writing here at ScienceBlogs.com for about two years and nine months now. Some of you have been reading my posts since I started here

  193. #193 transformers 3 izle
    July 6, 2011

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

    Heck, that first headline might not have been too far off the mark.

  194. #194 ankara duşakabin
    July 12, 2011

    very believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or sesiz

  195. #195 medyum
    July 13, 2011

    As for being a failure of peer review, I disagree. Peer review is treated as if its some magical process that adds great credibility. Sorry people its just a fancy name for a QA (quality Assurance) process. At its best it weeds out the trivial and the rubbish, at its worst it acts as a barrier to original work that challenges paradigms. I have seen this happen (not to me personally, but to colleagues). In principle I think the PLOS One approach is the right one, though it does need to be honed. I also note people are quick to claim a failure of peer review whenever they dont agree with or like the findings of a paper. To be clear, I disagree with the conclusions of this paper in a big way, and think Brian has highlighted some of those issues, but it is not peer review that has failed. Indeed a peer review process that stifles dessenting views, as is implemented in my opinion by some journals, is a failure in its own right.

    Im though very concerned by the hype associated with this find, and though they seem to be claiming otherwise I dont think the authors can excuse themselves from having created or at least fed the frenzy. Science shouldn’t require PR excercises, though those scientists that have to regularly secure funding are I guess under pressure to make their work look like it has delivered something of high value and great significance
    …thanks..

  196. #196 alüminyum
    July 13, 2011

    Not unlike the Clintons themselves. From the start of the ’92 primaries I could never understand why people liked Bill Clinton; even before all the allegations of affairs and so on, he just seems so transparently sleazy and fake. Similar to Reagan I suppose, and Republicans are still in love with him.

  197. #197 profil
    July 13, 2011

    I have been writing here at ScienceBlogs.com for about two years and nine months now. Some of you have been reading my posts since I started here.

  198. #198 cambalkon
    July 13, 2011

    So the real question is (and I have no idea on this count) is the PepsiCo blog clearly marked as sponsored content? Keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for this online, yet, as far as I know.

  199. #199 cambalkon
    July 13, 2011

    So what is all the hubub about? Why is the History Channel falling all over itself to promote this fossil? It all goes back to a long-standing debate over the origins of anthropoid primates that, until now, has mostly gone on in academic journals and scientific meetings.

  200. #200 cambalkon
    July 13, 2011

    I can’t believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

  201. #201 cambalkon
    July 13, 2011

    Some researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to anthropoids than tarsiers and omomyids, and they rely on two tactics to make their case.

  202. #202 çankırı
    July 13, 2011

    It happened. It would have happened in a different way if Hillary was the nominee, and it would have been equally awesome. But what we have is what we have, and damn am I feeling good about it.

  203. #203 gelinlik
    July 13, 2011

    And a big middle finger to those who disregard this moment in any way. It’s huge, and thank goodness I’m around to witness it (and you are too). The arc of history, indeed.

  204. #204 tadilat
    July 13, 2011

    Magazines do this sort of thing all the time, and it’s perfectly OK even under the rules of the Magazine Publishers of America: It’s called advertorial.

  205. #205 dekorasyon
    July 13, 2011

    I don’t agree with all of Peter O’Brien’s sentiments, but I do second his request for folks to post relevant comments and ratings at the one website.

  206. #206 dergi
    July 13, 2011

    The story here is age, completeness, and corroboration of Darwinian theory.

  207. #207 av tüfekleri
    July 13, 2011

    I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but just me.

  208. Of course exceptions occur, e.g. hybridization, individuals falling outside its species ranges etc., however this is what we would expect in a world with evolution. The general observed pattern is nevertheless one with species as real, natural entities.

  209. #209 av malzemeleri
    July 14, 2011

    I’m no scientist, but I know of the ugly history of ‘missing links’ – or call them what you will. Ida will rank up there along side all the fakes promulgated by ideology and greed (but once she’s on the textbook covers she’ll be there as a goddess for 100 years). There’s a ‘science sucker’ born ever minute, blindly believing the ‘facts’ of science. How can you when homo sapiens are so inextricably involved in the process? I’d like to see the scientific community grow a backbone like Ida and rise up to shut down this hype driven farce of a lemur fossil.

  210. #210 ankara palyaço
    July 15, 2011

    veryyy goood anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper

  211. #211 John
    July 19, 2011

    These types of fossils and pre-historic creatures are really interesting. How interesting that modern science can give us the glimpse of yesteryear.

  212. #212 Handy orten
    July 19, 2011

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course

  213. #213 cam balkon fiyatları
    July 25, 2011

    And a big middle finger to those who disregard this moment in any way. It’s huge, and thank goodness I’m around to witness it (and you are too). The arc of history, indeed.

  214. #214 Oto kiralama ankara
    July 25, 2011

    As for being a failure of peer review, I disagree. Peer review is treated as if its some magical process that adds great credibility. Sorry people its just a fancy name for a QA (quality Assurance) process. At its best it weeds out the trivial and the rubbish, at its worst it acts as a barrier to original work that challenges paradigms. I have seen this happen (not to me personally, but to colleagues). In principle I think the PLOS One approach is the right one, though it does need to be honed. I also note people are quick to claim a failure of peer review whenever they dont agree with or like the findings of a paper. To be clear, I disagree with the conclusions of this paper in a big way, and think Brian has highlighted some of those issues, but it is not peer review that has failed. Indeed a peer review process that stifles dessenting views, as is implemented in my opinion by some journals, is a failure in its own right.

  215. #215 all nursing jobs
    July 26, 2011

    [.]Im though very concerned by the hype associated with this find, and though they seem to be claiming otherwise I dont think the authors can excuse themselves from having created or at least fed the frenzy. Science shouldn’t require PR excercises, though those scientists that have to regularly secure funding are I guess under pressure to make their work look like it has delivered something of high value and great significance
    …thanks..[.]

  216. #216 harsh aasiwal
    July 28, 2011

    I can’t believe I’m actually defending Adam Bly in a public forum, but here goes: SB is a business like any other. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

  217. #217 dizi izle
    August 10, 2011

    Some researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to anthropoids than tarsiers and omomyids, and they rely on two tactics to make their case.

  218. #218 Wholesale China
    August 16, 2011

    One wonders if this paper would’ve made it through the Nature or Science meatgrinders. ”

    Because all of the papers presented in Nature and Science are of the highest quality of course

  219. #219 China Wholesale
    August 16, 2011

    Some researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to anthropoids than tarsiers and omomyids, and they rely on two tactics to make their case.

  220. #220 pussy
    September 3, 2011

    “The peer review will not be kind to the paper, and the same media shouting the old “Missing Link Found!” headline, will follow with “Missing Link Challenged!” … and the Creationists will happily misinterpret this as “Aha! Missing Link Debunked Again!”

    Exactly. You can almost hear Drudge snorting with glee as he prepares these followup headlines. When I first saw the promotional website, I was torn, because it really is important to put work into explaining complex science to a lay audience. But the sloppy extravagant claims being thrown around by the media, undo any possible good that could come from those efforts

  221. #221 ilahi dinle
    September 6, 2011

    At its best it weeds out the trivial and the rubbish, at its worst it acts as a barrier to original work that challenges paradigms. I have seen this happen (not to me personally, but to colleagues). In principle I think the PLOS One approach is the right one, though it does need to be honed. I also note people are quick to claim a failure of peer review whenever they dont agree with or like the findings of a paper.

  222. #222 av bıçakları
    September 14, 2011

    hello, This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

  223. #223 evden eve
    September 14, 2011

    Some researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to anthropoids than tarsiers and omomyids, and they rely on two tactics to make their case.

  224. #224 dermojin polen
    October 11, 2011

    ome researchers have long maintained that adapids are better candidates for the ancestors of anthropoids, with Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view.

  225. #225 dermojin pembe maske
    October 11, 2011

    Im though very concerned by the hype associated with this find, and though they seem to be claiming otherwise I dont think the authors can excuse themselves from having created or at least fed the frenzy. Science shouldn’t require PR excercises, though those scientists that hav

  226. #226 dermojin mavi boncuk hapı
    October 11, 2011

    love your blog and, though I rarely have time to read it, will be sorry to see it go. However, when you say that “A newspaper or magazine would not allow PepsiCo to write articles about global health or nutrition – there is a very clear conflict of interest there” I have to call B.S.

  227. #227 film izle
    October 13, 2011

    I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but just me.

  228. #228 kerem
    October 15, 2011

    hese types of fossils and pre-historic creatures are really interesting. How interesting that modern science can give us the glimpse of yesteryear.

  229. #229 canlı maç izle
    October 21, 2011

    I agree with film “I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but just me.”

  230. #230 Metin2
    October 24, 2011

    I agree with film “I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but just me.”

  231. You may not have noticed, but even august publications like Scientific American have issues with pages and pages of editorial in the middle written by some corporate or national interest –- and it’s all clearly marked as advertorial. This kind of high-value advertising subsidizes an awful lot of the costs of publishers.

  232. #232 ferforje
    November 15, 2011

    these fossils and pre-historic animals are so fascinating.

  233. #233 estetik burun
    November 17, 2011

    I have found the trailer they aired the TV program on the find rather frustrating. The documentary isn’t showing until next Tuesday. And I also guess I should wait until I have seen it, but the trailer was all melodramatic and going on about its great significance for every person alive. That is very disappointing that this ridiculously over the top claim should be associated with Sir David, as many watchers will assume that if he said it it must be true. I expected better.

  234. #234 otomatik av tüfekleri
    November 19, 2011

    First of all, hello to provide us this opportunity to thank you, I welcome you with Turks hunting sites

  235. #235 hava perdesi
    November 28, 2011

    it weeds out the trivial and the rubbish, at its worst it acts as a barrier to original work that challenges paradigms. I have seen this happen (not to me personally, but to colleagues). In principle I think the PLOS One approach is the right one, though it does need to be honed. I also note people are quick to claim a failure of peer review whenever they dont agree Philip Gingerich (one of the authors of the Darwinius paper) being a vocal proponent of this view. It is not terribly surprising, then, that the authors of the Darwinius paper posit that adapids are more closely related to

  236. #236 Tütüne Son
    December 10, 2011

    I agree with film “I’m also curious how this compares to Kenyanthropus and A. garhi, which have also been suggested as possible ancestors for Homo. I’ve always thought that A. garhi resembles A. aethiopicus more than Homo, but just me.”

  237. #237 markoting
    February 3, 2012

    Good post. Keep going on with your effort to write more posts.

  238. #238 Tüfek fiyatları
    March 7, 2012

    TÜRKİYE’NİN EN BÜYÜK SANAL AV MAĞAZASINA HOŞ GELDİNİZ.!! Av tüfekleri – Otomatik Av tüfekleri – Avrupa Tüfekler – Magnum Av Tüfekleri – Dürbünlü Tüfekler – Kurusıkı Tabancalar – Av Yelekleri – Havalı Tüfekler – Süper pozeler – Av yelekleri – Av tüfeği – Tüfek fiyatları – Havai fişek – av – otomatik av tüfekleri fiyatları

  239. TÜRKİYE’NİN EN BÜYÜK SANAL AV MAĞAZASINA HOŞ GELDİNİZ.!! Av tüfekleri – Otomatik Av tüfekleri – Avrupa Tüfekler – Magnum Av Tüfekleri – Dürbünlü Tüfekler – Kurusıkı Tabancalar – Av Yelekleri – Havalı Tüfekler – Süper pozeler – Av yelekleri – Av tüfeği – Tüfek fiyatları – Havai fişek – av – otomatik av tüfekleri fiyatları – Tek kırmalar – Çift Kırmalar – av malzemeleri – av çizmesi – arı malzemeleri – Kurusıkı tabanca fiyatları – kurusıkı mermiler – kamp Malzemeleri – av tüfeği Fiyatları – yarı otomatik av tüfekleri – pompalı tüfekler – kuş kaçırıcı bombalar – av malzeme fiyatları – 2.el tüfekler – av malzemeleri – balık malzemeleri – arı malzemeleri – Av bıçakları – Tüfek dürbünleri – balık ağları – olta – av fişekleri – trap tüfekleri – en ucuz av tüfekleri – en pahalı av tüfekleri – misina – Sarsılmaz av tüfekleri – Ata av tüfeği – armsan – akkar – stoger – vursan – kral av tüfeği – huğlu av tüfekleri – huğlu otomatik – Sarsılmaz Av Tüfekleri – süper pozeler – hatsan av tüfekleri – hatsan escort – zoraki kurusıkı tabanca – ekol – blow – tek kurşun – saçma fişeği – projektörler – yaban – Kurusıkı tabancalar – yivli tüfekler – hillman av giysileri – barska dürbün – nikula dürbün – Av bıçakları – ithal av bıçakları -

  240. #240 transpalet
    March 11, 2012

    howing until next Tuesday. And I also guess I should wait until I have seen it, but the trailer was all melodramatic and going on about its great significance for every person alive. great article very nice post..

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.