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The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor 2009

  • April 26, 2009
  • 60 mins
  • English
Explores the story behind the discovery of an early primate fossil, Darwinius masillae, nicknamed Ida, in a shale quarry in Germany. The fossil is believed to be around 47 million years old, and is extraordinarily well-preserved. Originally unearthed in 1983, Ida lay in the hands of a private collector for 20 years before it was shown to a Norwegian paleontologist, Dr Jørn Hurum. Realising that Ida could turn out to be a significant missing link between modern primates, lemurs and lower mammals, he persuaded the Natural History Museum in Oslo to purchase the fossil and assembled an international team of experts to study it. Their findings were announced in a press conference and the online publication of a scientific paper on 19 May 2009.

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