Mutatis Mutandis

Margaret pointed my attention to this Time article on the recent discovery of the complete fossil skeleton of an early primate (now nicknamed “Ida” — no word on the primate’s temperament’s similarity to fruit drinks). She appositely notes the way that the archaeological discovery of an artifact occasions monumentally overblown hype:

All of which renders the press release touting a “revolutionary scientific find that will change everything” absolutely true — as long as by “everything,” you mean “whether the branch of the primate family that includes monkeys, apes and humans comes from the suborder strepsirrhinae or the suborder haplorrhinae,” according to the PLoS One paper. And by “change,” you mean “adds information that may or may not help settle the question, but whose implications won’t be known for a long time in any case.”

I also appreciated the earlier note that “The ratio of vertebrate paleontologists to actual specimens is high, which makes for a lot of theorizing”; while that ratio may be high, I’d guess it’s not nearly as high as the ratio of biblical experts (including the self-appointed ones) to biblical manuscripts.

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