Darwinius: The Book of the Movie of the Fossil


Readers probably remember Darwinius masillae (“Ida”) the the beautifully preserved adapiform primate hyped as “the missing link” (the original paper is here). What we saw in May was media-driven science with a book, movie & website. As Jerry Coyne notes, “[i]n the end, it was the bloggers like Brian Switek, and a few intrepid science journalists like Ann Gibbons, who put Ida in the correct perspective.” Jerry brings our attention to Ian Tattersall’s review of the book of the fossil, The Link by Colin Tudge & Josh Young. Tattersall isn’t very impressed:

Colin Tudge’s book is part of the media blitz; and, at the risk of damning it with faint praise, I have to say that it is much the best part. … Understandably, Ida herself doesn’t take up too much of the volume. Instead, most of what we find in its pages is an amiable, meandering and hugely repetitive stroll through the environments and faunas of the past 50 million years. Interspersed with passing references to Ida and some miscellaneous philosophizing.

Not much to look forward to here by the looks of things.