Measured Against Reality

Monday, January 01, 2007

Missing Links

This a quick article for New Year’s Day, about a myth I encounter frequently. This myth is the “missing link” in human evolution. You’ll see it in documentaries, popular culture, and in conversation.

The main problem is that human evolution from chimpanzee-like ancestors to modern humans is very well-documented. I challenge anyone to go to this page, look at those skulls (reposted below), and tell me where a missing link should go. I certainly can’t see a good place for one, and that picture doesn’t even contain every fossil in our collections.

That’s not to say that we know everything about human evolution, there are a great number of things that we don’t know. But we do know what we looked like along the way, from Australopithecus africanus to Homo sapiens sapiens.

If you have some spare time, browse the rest of that article. It’s a fantastic summary of the evidence for evolution, and what better way is there to start off a new year than learning? I can’t think of many.

Have a good new year.


  • If there is little or no discrepency in terms of physical appearance in evolution, then is it only the shift from an animal to reasoning being the only thing that is yet to be properly explained? Can that be put down to simply the growth of the brain? Does brain size always determine intelligence?

    I'm not challenging you I'm genuinely interested.

    By Anonymous Priya, at 12:07 AM, March 23, 2007  

  • Priya, the short answer is no, brain size doesn't strictly determine intelligence. The complexity of the folding is involved as well. The point of this post was simply to show that the idea of "missing links", (huge gaps in the fossil record) is misleading and wrong. Evolution is a smooth process.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 10:07 AM, March 23, 2007  

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