Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick post: Darwinius masillae

I just logged in for a quick post on the recently described fossil Darwinius masillae, a 47 MYO primate. Apparently, it's an early representative in the history of primate evolution and has received a lot of attention in the news and the blogosphere.

I'll leave the description of the discovery and its implications to an expert as PZ Myers at Pharyngula [Darwinius masillae].

I will however, say just one thing: the media has ridiculously exaggerated this finding. "Missing link"? Of course not. Nobody uses that "concept" in evolution; in fact I bet that only (some) "science journalists" do, which is just misleading to the general public.
Evolution is not a simple chain.

Notably, the article has generated a lot of controversy and discussion regarding its quality, and again has put PLoS ONE's 'peer review' system up for questioning [see Brian Switek's review: Poor, poor Ida, Or: "Overselling an Adapid", especially the comment's section].

Anyway, here's the original reference of the finding:

Franzen et al. (2009) Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5723 (image is from this article).

Ok, back to preparing my qualification exam.

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1 Comment:

el astudillo said...

I am in the same condition, writing my thesis project (the deadline is next monday), so I have been off the line these days.
About PLoS One... yeah, you can discuss about the quality of the papers being published in there... I think it is weird to have 20 or 30 papers published by day. And some of them are repetitive... I guess some of them are published just by the author (there is one awful case where two different labs reported the same finding... the second group, was headed by a very known scientist ih the field, and that explain that a second paper with exactly the same finding was published).
But you can discuss about the mess that exists in some open access journals, and this should be a subject to be discussed.