Ida and Ardi: The Fossil Cover Girls of 2009

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  • Peter C. Kjærgaard
    Peter C. KjærgaardDenmark
  • Department of the History of Ideas
By the autumn of 2009, contestants for the ultimate prize in the Greatest Show on Earth had narrowed down to two: from Germany, a flat, squirrel-sized lemur-looking creature in artificial resin and glass fibers; and from Ethiopia, a partial, small-brained hominin skeleton. Both had been locked away for years, guarded by their sentinels from the curious eyes of the public and from competitors supposedly lurking everywhere. On center stage were Darwinius massilae and Ardipithecus ramidus, or, as they were soon known to palaeontology geeks and breakfast television hosts alike, Ida and Ardi. The 47-million-year-old Ida was promoted as the Eighth Wonder of the World, a Rosetta Stone of palaeontology, the Holy Grail of human evolution. Her 4.4-million-year-old contender was advanced as the Real Thing and won the title as scientific breakthrough of the year. One was supposedly “our earliest ancestor,” the other “the oldest skeleton of a human ancestor.”
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Evolutionary Review
Volume2
Pages (from-to)1-9
ISSN2151-576X
StatePublished - 2011

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

Activities

Press / Media items

ID: 22823670