Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: The Link by Colin Tudge

For more than a century, scientists have raced to unravel the human family tree and have grappled with its complications. Now, with an astonishing new discovery, everything we thought we knew about primate origins could change. Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world's leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime - a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by forty-four million years.

A secret until now, the fossil - "Ida" to the researchers who have painstakingly verified her provenance - is the most complete primate fossil ever found. Forty-seven million years old, Ida rewrites what we've assumed about the earliest primate origins. Her completeness is unparalleled - so much of what we understand about evolution comes from partial fossils and even single bones, but Ida's fossilization offers much more than that, from a haunting "skin shadow" to her stomach contents. And, remarkably, knowledge of her discovery and existence almost never saw the light of day.

With exclusive access to the first scientists to study her, the award-winning science writer Colin Tudge tells the history of Ida and her place in the world. A magnificent, cutting-edge scientific detective story followed her discovery, and The Link offers a wide-ranging investigation into Ida and our earliest origins. At the same time, it opens a stunningly evocative window into our past and changes what we know about primate evolution and, ultimately, our own.

Received from the publisher for review.

I felt this was a rather romanticized view of the data and it read more like a Discovery Channel special than a real scientific book. This juvenile feel to the text also lent it a middle school textbook feel. The self-aggrandizing tone was also off putting.

This one gets two stars. While it wasn't bad, it just did nothing for me. I wasn't drawn in by the story at all. Despite the author's efforts the book was really quite boring and there seemed to be quite a bit of excess, filler information. It was, frankly, a chore to slog through it.

☆☆= Didn't Like It


Cindy said...

Great post. I became a follower.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I won this book a few months ago but haven't gotten to it. It sounds like it's not something I need to move up on my TBR.

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