Google jumps headfirst onto the hype bandwagon

Google updated it’s logo today to commemorate the fact that scientists today are claiming to have found the missing link.
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Included in this logo is a picture of the fossil Ida – the same picture everybody else is using, of a creatue with a long tail that appears to be standing up. (The fossil was named Darwinius masillae … because obviously it is scientific to name it after a guy, rather than the animal species it appears to be [hype])

There are some problems with these claims, and I would have expected Google to be a bit more responsible about it:
1. It’s a single fossil.
Some amateur archeologists found one single fossil, and the entire scientific community goes nuts. All of the claims being made contradict the fact that they only have one. If it were a transitional species, there would be more than one.

2. It it the size and shape of a lemur.
Most of the photos have the animal appearing to stand upright and with no scale. The thing would have looked like a big rat. There are existing species of animal that appear more transitional.

3. The link is a matter of semantics.
This “missing link” is really the answer to a debate among evolutionary biologists as to where exactly primates developed. The actual science involved is rather complicated and mundane. Instead of spreading facts, the PR machine spreads things like “a discovery that changes everything!,” or “finally the missing link is found!”. Well, no; no it is not.

Scientists found a single specimen of a fossil that looks like a deformed lemur, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that it not only represents an entire species, but that it is the evolutionary precursor to primates (and therefore humans). Google usually saves the custom logos for historical events or holidays. That I can recall, this is the first time they updated the logo for a current event…


Ida: Superstar fossil or superstar hype?

Ida: the Missing Link at Last?

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