Missing link, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

The phrase “missing link” was born during the 19th-century evolutionary debate to indicate the lack of fossil discoveries that complemented the evolutionary lines of living forms. In modern Neodarwinian evolutionary theory, such expression and concept have, however, completely lost their scientific value. He still survives today in the Para-science debate and, as a phrase, in popular culture. The term “missing link” in evolutionary discussion was used for the first time by William Hopkins in his critical essay on the newly published Darwinian theory in 1860 and reported by Hopkins, author of a critical work on the work Darwinian writer, wrote that by accepting the theory “of the continuous variation of all organic forms from the most elementary to the highest, including the Man as the last ring in the chain of living, there must be a transition from the instinct of the gross to the noble mind of the Man: and in this case where are the missing links and to what point of his progressive improvement man acquires the spiritual part of his being and becomes endowed with the tremendous attribute of immortality? “.

Darwin, since his early writings, never wrote about missing rings but transitional forms that were not always fossilized. In 1859, the date of the first issue of The Origin of Darwin’s Species, fossil finds were scarce, and Darwin considered the lack of fossils of transitional forms as “the most obvious and serious objection that can be made against my theory”, but explained this with the great poverty of the discovered geological artifacts. He noticed the insufficiency of the collections available at the time but used all the information available as evidence of his theory of evolution through natural selection. In fact, one year later, in 1860, Archaeopteryx was discovered, representing for almost a century the only fossil transitional form found between dinosaurs and birds. Today the missing ring expression is often used by people who do not know the theory of evolution as a simplistic criticism of Darwinism. In fact, according to modern evolutionary theory, all organism populations are in transition and therefore more than rings should be referred to transition forms. Homo Naledi, the man of the stars.

It is indissolubly linked to the cave of the rising star “Rising Star Cave” located in the province of Gauteng, South Africa, 50 km northwest of Johannesburg. The exceptional discovery of Homo Naledi, a new extinct species to be added to the tree of human evolution, was announced by Lee Berger’s paleoanthropologist in September 2015. Initially, it was assumed that Homo Naledi had lived on our planet from 2 million to 900,000 years ago.  It would have been a contemporary of Homo erectus, our other remote African ancestor. Because its fossil remains found in the Rising Star Cave indicated the probable presence of intentional burial, the finding raised a spectacle of speculations on abstract thought and ritualism of these hominids at dawn of time. Where to place this species? To make it short, Lee Berger faced a dilemma. Especially because it was not yet possible to safely date the fossil remains of Homo Naledi.

And yet the mixed physical characteristics of these 15 individuals suggested their belonging to a species that could possibly be the missing link, the missing ring of the evolutionary passage from Australopithecus to the Homo species. For this reason, initially, it was tempting to place Homo Naledi at an age around 2 million years ago. Today we know that Homo Naledi really represents an (and only) new species in the tree of human evolution and that the star man has about 250,000 years of age. It is therefore much more “young” than initially supposed. It was Lee Berger who announced it, announcing the next release of his essay “Almost Human”. In an interview for the National Geographic magazine, the paleoanthropologist states that Homo Naledi lived on our planet from 300,000 to 200,000 years ago. So the missing link theories are always open!

Missing link, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.



To open the video  click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.

Missing link, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

Missing link