Category Archives: missing link

Falsehood: Is it ever OK to use the term “Missing Link”?

Today’s falsehood1 is the idea of “The Missing Link.” You’ve heard about The Missing Link. You’ll hear that some palaeontologist has discovered something and they tell us it is “The Missing Link.” Often, it is a supposed “link” between some ancestor of humans (a fossil ape, a monkey, whatever) and us humans. And often, you’ll also find that when the press reports a “missing link” the science blogosphere erupts with a torrent flowing over the phrase and the concept, about how there really is no such thing as “The Missing Link,” or that this particular report of such a link is spurious, or something else bad.
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A Whale of a Missing Link : Indohyus

i-e1003b13638050040bea14fa3d3fabe0-repost.jpgI’m writing something about the concept of “The Missing Link” which may also end up as an episode of “Everything you Know is Sort of Wrong” on Skeptically Speaking. The fact that I’m working on this is of no interest to you, I’m sure, until I actually finish it and post it. But, in the mean time, I’m thinking about missing links, and decided to repost this writeup of one example of a fossil find purported to be one.

Let me know what you think: Is Indohyus a missing link?

Thewissen et al. report in Nature new fossil material from the Middle Eocene of Kashmir, India. This species (in the genus Indohyus is represented by a remarkable set of remains, including cranial and post cranial material. Previous studies using DNA had linked whales to the artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates such as deer, antelope, and bison). However, there is a great deal of uncertainty, and some contradictory evidence, as to where exactly in this group the whales arose.
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