Such expressions as that famous one of Linnæus, and which we often meet with in a more or less concealed form, that the characters do not make the genus, but that the genus gives the characters, seem to imply that something more is included in our classification, than mere resemblance. I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent,—the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings,—is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications (Darwin, 1859, p. 413f).

Monday, 5 November 2012

Squirrels, Eels, Algae and Ardi: A Clarification

The "First human ancestor", which the ABC reports looked "like a squirrel" is of course not to be mixed up with the "Human Family's Earliest ancestor", namely Ardipithecus ramidus or “Ardi”, which tells us is a "... a female who lived 4.4 million years ago”. Not that this is to be confused with the Telegraph’s 'earliest human ancestor', a “prehistoric eel-like creature discovered in a Canadian shale bed has been identified as the earliest known ancestor of man", or indeed the ABC's "Oldest Human ancestor", an "elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago and did not fit in any of the known categories of living organisms - it was not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or alga, they say."

I hope this clarifies who our first, oldest and earliest ancestors really were.

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