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Thread: Media Misrepresenting new Transitonal Fossil?

  1. #1 Media Misrepresenting new Transitonal Fossil? 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Here is an article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_w...light_on_.html

    It says "the long-sought missing link between humans and apes", first of all there are other transition fossils b/w humans and apes so it would hardly long sought, second this isn't between human and apes, but between different groups of primates on the road TO apes, which should be obvious as it has a tail! Thoughts?


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    The BBC described it this way: "The fossil, nicknamed Ida, is claimed to be a "missing link" between today's higher primates - monkeys, apes and humans - and more distant relatives."

    The New York Times said, "Fossil remains of a 47-million-year-old animal, found years ago in Germany, have been analyzed more thoroughly and determined to be an extremely early primate close to the emergence of the evolutionary branch leading to monkeys, apes and humans, scientists said in interviews this week."

    The Guardian noted this, Scientists have discovered an exquisitely preserved ancient primate fossil that they believe forms a crucial "missing link" between our own evolutionary branch of life and the rest of the animal kingdom.

    ABC stated "Scientists say a 47-million-year-old fossil found in Germany may be a key link to explaining the evolution of early primates and, perhaps, telling them about developments that led to modern human beings."

    I couldn't find any article that made the error of the New York Daily News. I guess the moral of the story is 'Don't read third rate newspapers.'


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    btw, here's the link to the BBC article

    New Scientist usually is a trustworthy source of science-for-the-public as well

    for the original article on-line, see PLoS ONE
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I have a manuscript under review in PLoS One.

    I'm testing the theory that they accept everything as long as it is scientifically sound.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I'm testing the theory that they accept everything as long as it is scientifically sound.
    just for a moment i read that as

    "I'm testing the theory that they accept everything as long as it sounds scientific."
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    That's my other null hypothesis.
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  8. #7  
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    The full story revealing the significance of the amazing primate fossil Ida can be found at: www.revealingthelink.com
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I guess that we may have to continue to speak a bit on the nature of the journal PLoS One, since most of the people on this forum know nothing of the practice of science.

    PLoS One is not a top journal. Due to its recent introduction it doesn't have an impact factor yet.

    It is one of the journals under the umbrella of PLoS.

    Most of these journals are actually quite respectable. PLoS Biology is actually really good with a decent impact factor and an even better SJR value.

    PLoS one is a bit different in nature. You can actually publish everything there as long as it has been executed properly. That means negative data and also insignificant data. Data that is not acceptable to most journals. That's because the philosophy of PLoS one is that the community should decide what is significant or not by means of comments, discussion and citations.

    Most people on this forum will at this point still not know the meaning of this.

    It means PLoS One is mostly a dumping ground for stuff that is rejected somewhere else.

    It has its good sides and it has it bad sides.

    BUT....

    the fact that this 'ultra' important fossil finding has been published in PLoS One does have consequences.

    If it really had been hot, it would have gone straight to Nature or Science.

    Unless the scientists in question firmly believe in the concept of open access.

    But still, then they would have picked PLoS biology first, since it is open access, but has a higher impact and prestige.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Thanks for that clarification for the benefit of us grunts. :wink:
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Many people don't realize that a lot of time and intellectual effort is spend on actually picking the journal to submit the manuscript.
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  12. #11  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    the Independent has a rather insightful article on the subject :

    The Big Question: Is 'Ida' really the missing link between humans and animals?

    this is what they have to say about PLoS

    "Usually, new discoveries of this significance is first published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature where the claims are meticulously analysed by teams of experts.

    However, this study was published in a free-access, on-line journal called PLOS which said that it announced the study to coincide with a press conference in New York organised by the American Museum of Natural History and its media partners. Rather than being in control of when the announcement should be made, which is what journals like Science and Nature usually insist on, PLOS was in the hands of other, more media-savvy organisations that could manipulate the spin and the hype."
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  13. #12  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Doesn't mean that the data is wrong of course.

    But it's interesting to see that the media game is played more and more by scientists.

    I should do a course on that.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    hm ... so in essence it's just another adapid, if only a very well-preserved one
    that's what you get when something gets reported in the media first : hype first, facts later

    Why Ida fossil is not the missing link
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I guess fossils are only missing links if they had viable offspring.
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  16. #15  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    fossils don't leave viable offspring - not after they've been fossilised, anyway
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  17. #16  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Wasn't there some time ago a fossil in the news that had a fetus inside it?
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  18. #17  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Wasn't there some time ago a fossil in the news that had a fetus inside it?
    Over the years fossils of everything from dinosaur embryos in eggs still to fish, ichthyosaurs, and rays giving birth to (temporarily) live young have been found.
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  19. #18  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Wasn't there some time ago a fossil in the news that had a fetus inside it?
    do you mean this one ?

    Fossil foetus shows that early whales gave birth on land
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  20. #19  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    No, something else.
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  21. #20 Re: Media Misrepresenting new Transitonal Fossil? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Here is an article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_w...light_on_.html

    It says "the long-sought missing link between humans and apes", first of all there are other transition fossils b/w humans and apes so it would hardly long sought, second this isn't between human and apes, but between different groups of primates on the road TO apes, which should be obvious as it has a tail! Thoughts?
    I own the new book concerning the finding called The Link. Cost me $28. It's worth reading alone for it's vivid description of Eocene climate, landscape and life. I don't like the title obviously because there is not simply a single "link" in our evolutionary chain. Ida is apparently a transition b/w wet-nosed (lemurs, tapirs, etc.) and dry-nosed (humans, apes) primates. I have mixed feelings about the way this finding has been presented. I think it is an interesting fossil yet not as amazing as the media hype portrays it to be. I find it much more interesting that we are distantly related to notochordates like Haikouella, like all other members of the phylum Chordata. Yet I am biased...I'm more interested in common origins (at least for the time being) of all modern animals than anything else.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    No, something else.
    Would you be thinking of Materpiscis attenboroughi? http://species.asu.edu/2009_species08
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    No, something else.
    Would you be thinking of Materpiscis attenboroughi? http://species.asu.edu/2009_species08
    I wonder who that was named after.
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  24. #23  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    No, something else.
    Would you be thinking of Materpiscis attenboroughi? http://species.asu.edu/2009_species08
    I wonder who that was named after.
    Sir David Attenborough, who else
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  25. #24  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    No, something else.
    Would you be thinking of Materpiscis attenboroughi? http://species.asu.edu/2009_species08
    that's the one.
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  26. #25  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    No, something else.
    Would you be thinking of Materpiscis attenboroughi? http://species.asu.edu/2009_species08
    I wonder who that was named after.
    Sir David Attenborough, who else
    I would never have guessed. :wink:
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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