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Research Article

Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology

  • Jens L. Franzen,

    Affiliations: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Philip D. Gingerich,

    Affiliation: Museum of Paleontology and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Jörg Habersetzer,

    Affiliation: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany

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  • Jørn H. Hurum mail,

    j.h.hurum@nhm.uio.no

    Affiliation: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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  • Wighart von Koenigswald,

    Affiliation: Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Paläontologie, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

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  • B. Holly Smith

    Affiliation: Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Published: May 19, 2009
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
  • Featured in PLOS Collections

Reader Comments (13)

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"missing link"?

Posted by JasonH on 21 May 2009 at 19:21 GMT

The authors in the paper (appropriately, I think) make the following statement: "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."

Nevertheless, in press interviews, (e.g. http://news.nationalgeogr...) and in a web site called "the link"
(http://www.revealingtheli...), authors of the article have used the very loaded lay term "missing link" to describe the fossil find.

Could the authors please comment here justifying the seemingly contradictory statements that D. masillae is a "missing link," yet does not lie on the anthropoid line?

Note that creationists are already seizing on this apparent contradiction in an attempt to discredit the entire discovery (e.g. http://www.wnd.com/index....).

No competing interests declared.

RE: "missing link"?

BjoernBrembs replied to JasonH on 23 May 2009 at 11:34 GMT

The whole PR around this find smells like beauty products to me: nobody can tell any difference between them them so you have to advertise to sell them.
For me personally, commercials often reflect badly on the companies producing them. Unfortunately, this is not any of the exceptions. See also:
http://scienceblogs.com/p...

Competing interests declared: I am an academic editor of PLoS One