Australopithecus sediba: No such thing as a missing link

January 25, 2019, Wits University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Autralopithecus sediba is not the missing link that connects modern man to its more primitive ancestors.

The fossils that were found 10 years ago by Palaeoathropologist, Professor Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, and his son Matthew, at Malapa in the Cradle of Human Kind in South Africa, has recently been described as the so-called "missing link" in human evolution, after the publication of new research by a team of international researchers that confirmed the unique species status of Sediba. This research has been misinterpreted by some sectors, creating the idea that Australopithecus sediba might be the "missing link".

This perception is incorrect, as there is no such thing as a "missing link" in human evolution, says Professor Berger in an informative video, released by Wits University.

"The image of human evolution on T-shirts is incorrect. I would prefer that we forget the term 'missing link'," says Berger, who is currently on expedition at the Rising Star cave, also in the Cradle of Human kind, where the other famous human ancestor, Homo naledi, was found.

Berger explains that is not a linear process, where one species evolve into another, but rather follows a process similar to a braided stream, or , where a stream might branch off into its own direction, or later flow back and join a different stream, which might "evolve" into a new species.

Credit: Wits University

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not rated yet Jan 25, 2019
people who get all concerned with non-issues such as "the missing-link"?

Are the same people who will look at the color of the paint on a house siding.
Criticize the choice
& finally express their disapproval of the entire building by claiming that it can not exist.

Even as they are touching it.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2019
Berger has a point, and his own description of some lineage evolution as "a braided stream" network has some applications such as in cases of polytomies (unresolved multiple splits) and studies of interbreeding. However in most cases phylogenies delineates simpler tree topologies.

I think it is more useful to be aware of the chimeric linking nature of human evolution of phenotypes, which the new work exemplified and which the network model can be silent on in the cases it applies (it is unclear to me if it applies here as Berger seem to suggest).

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