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Author Topic:   Scientists unveil fossil of 47 million-year-old primate, Darwinius masillae
Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 1 of 45 (509283)
05-20-2009 7:18 AM


A new (to the press, at least) fossil makes big waves.

Missing Link

The article writes:

The unveiling of the fossil came as part of a carefully-orchestrated publicity campaign unusual for scientific discoveries.

Strange. Even Google is showing a pre-rendered picture they obviously had ready for today. Makes my skeptical-meter rise somewhat.

Or, maybe... is biological science starting to enter the propaganda arena? Is biology finally fed-up with being consistently out-classed by creationism in the media?

Anyone know the science behind this? Is this really "so big"? Or just a media play? Possible hoax?

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Changed topic title from "Organized Scientific News?" to "Scientists unveil fossil of 47 million-year-old primate, Darwinius masillae"


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by RAZD, posted 05-20-2009 7:46 AM Stile has responded
 Message 4 by Coragyps, posted 05-20-2009 8:33 AM Stile has responded
 Message 5 by Dr Jack, posted 05-20-2009 8:41 AM Stile has responded
 Message 16 by Taz, posted 05-20-2009 11:46 AM Stile has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 2 of 45 (509285)
05-20-2009 7:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
05-20-2009 7:18 AM


Hi Stile,

Boy that video is a little over the top. This story was also linked on Message 112.

Or, maybe... is biological science starting to enter the propaganda arena? Is biology finally fed-up with being consistently out-classed by creationism in the media?

The story is that it was bought by a museum, which then had the fossil studied - the museum wants to use it as a prime attraction, and museums are not immune from using hype to attract people.

Anyone know the science behind this? Is this really "so big"? Or just a media play? Possible hoax?

You can check the credentials of the scientists in on the study. I would think that the museum had the study done in private to allow them to check that it is not a fraud.

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Stile, posted 05-20-2009 7:18 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Stile, posted 05-20-2009 8:23 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 9 by Percy, posted 05-20-2009 9:44 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 3 of 45 (509286)
05-20-2009 8:23 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by RAZD
05-20-2009 7:46 AM


First time for everything
RAZD writes:

Boy that video is a little over the top.

I didn't watch any video, but even just the article seemed a bit dramatic.

the museum wants to use it as a prime attraction, and museums are not immune from using hype to attract people.

True. However, I've never seen such an organized presentation of a scientific find. Museums have had prime attractions and created hype before, but not like this. Or am I overstating the apparent drama?

I would think that the museum had the study done in private to allow them to check that it is not a fraud.

I'm certainly leaning in this direction myself. It's just the large, overly-done, "orchastrated" media that seems new to scientific findings to me... which makes me raise an eyebrow slightly. In the words of Stewie Griffin: "I don't like change."

Now all we need to do is get some of that fossil bone to Schweitzer's lab to see if they can find some primate soft tissue ... and see whether this can confirm the primate vs lemur question?

That would be really cool.


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Coragyps
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Posts: 5381
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 8.4


Message 4 of 45 (509289)
05-20-2009 8:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
05-20-2009 7:18 AM


Heh!
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/05/everything_changes.php

though the principals in the paper are pretty big guns - Gingerich brought us half the proto-whales we've found.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Stile, posted 05-20-2009 7:18 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 215 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 5 of 45 (509292)
05-20-2009 8:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
05-20-2009 7:18 AM


quote:
"Any pop band is doing the same thing," Jorn H. Hurum, the lead scientist on the Darwinius masillae project tells the NY Times. "Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science."

from The Link? "Going Broad" with Darwinius masillae

I'm not impressed by this. I think this kind of organised media stunt co-inciding with the release of the first paper on the subject does the presentation of science to the public no good at all. We need more considered science reporting, concentrated on work that has been properly established, not even more rush headline reporting.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Stile, posted 05-20-2009 7:18 AM Stile has responded

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Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 6 of 45 (509294)
05-20-2009 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Dr Jack
05-20-2009 8:41 AM


How many kicks can you take?
Mr Jack writes:

I think this kind of organised media stunt co-inciding with the release of the first paper on the subject does the presentation of science to the public no good at all.

I do agree. It kinda-almost begins a path that may open the door to non-peer-reviewed type stuff slipping through and being viewed as mainstream science. This seems to advance the opportunities available for blurring of the lines between "good science" and "pseudo science."

But it's hard to argue with Hurum's general point. Is it possible that science needs to enter this world of vast media presentation? Perhaps this wasn't the best way... but at least it was an effort, and further tweaking of the "scientific media presentation" can now begin?

Without embracing the modern media and advertising in some way (just because it's "so big") is science somehow doing a disservice to itself?

Maybe getting into modern media/promotions is a good thing, but this specific attempt wasn't quite right?


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Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 7 of 45 (509295)
05-20-2009 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Coragyps
05-20-2009 8:33 AM


I thoroughly enjoyed that link :)

In other news, "thoroughly" is a rough word to spell.


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3306 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 8 of 45 (509296)
05-20-2009 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Coragyps
05-20-2009 8:33 AM


a breakthrough that could finally confirm Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Why is science reporting so bloody crap?


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
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Percy
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Posts: 18377
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 9 of 45 (509297)
05-20-2009 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by RAZD
05-20-2009 7:46 AM


RAZD writes:

Boy that video is a little over the top.

The video was *WAY WAY WAY* over the top, but in its defense it's a History channel commercial for a documentary on the fossil. Quotes from scientists in the video:

  • It's really a kind of Rosetta Stone because it ties together parts that we have been unable to associate before.

  • This fossil is probably the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next hundred years.

  • This will be just like an asteroid hitting the Earth.

  • Ida will supplant Lucy on the world stage.

Guess which one I made up. :D

--Percy


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Replies to this message:
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Son
Member (Idle past 1940 days)
Posts: 346
From: France,Paris
Joined: 03-11-2009


Message 10 of 45 (509298)
05-20-2009 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
05-20-2009 9:44 AM


Lol without looking at the video, it would look like the 1st would be the only 1 not made up.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Percy, posted 05-20-2009 9:44 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18377
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 11 of 45 (509300)
05-20-2009 10:06 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Son
05-20-2009 9:47 AM


Incredibly, I only made up one of those quotes. You're right that the 1st one is genuine.

--Percy


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Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


(1)
Message 12 of 45 (509302)
05-20-2009 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
05-20-2009 9:44 AM


Percy writes:

Guess which one I made up.

My guess is the asteroid one.

It's not biology-related enough. They would have said something like:

"This will be just like an asteroid hitting the Earth and raising Darwin's body from the dust."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Percy, posted 05-20-2009 9:44 AM Percy has not yet responded

    
Huntard
Member (Idle past 405 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 13 of 45 (509303)
05-20-2009 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
05-20-2009 9:44 AM


I'm guessing it's this one:

Percy writes:

Ida will supplant Lucy on the world stage.


Since this is a wholly different transitional then "Lucy" was.


I hunt for the truth
This message is a reply to:
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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1754 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 14 of 45 (509305)
05-20-2009 10:36 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
05-20-2009 10:06 AM


This fossil is probably the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next hundred years...

sounds the most like Percy :D


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Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3438
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 15 of 45 (509306)
05-20-2009 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by cavediver
05-20-2009 10:36 AM


May the flair be with you
cavediver
Percy writes:

This fossil is probably the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next hundred years...

sounds the most like Percy

..but, it's not, it's real :)
It may be in the original link in my OP, but I'm not sure. I've read a bunch of articles on the topic today. Each one including eye-rolling amounts of dramatic flair.


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