Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review: The Link

This is the hot off the presses book about IDA, the 47 million year old, incredibly preserved Eocene era fossil discovered in the Messil pit in Germany in the early 1980s. An amateur paleontologist discovers and lovingly preserves what is today the most complete primate fossil ever found. Little Brown, the publishers, a division of Hachete Book Group, had quite a coming out party for this book and this fossil on May 19, 2009 to great fanfare. I got an ARC last week, and finished it today. I don't pretend to understand everything in it. I'm pretty educated and don't have a lot of trouble with scientific concepts, but this one could be the text for graduate level paleontology. The first two or three chapters were fine, setting the stage and drawing the reader to want to learn more about IDA, but then things started progressing to the MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over!) stage. There are over 100 pages of scientific facts about various ages/era, animal species, who's descended from whom and how do we know what we know. The final two chapters told me everything I really needed to know. While well written for a scientific audience, this book is going to be way past appealing to the public, except..............the pictures are fantastic. Probably because the fossil is fantastic, and the work the scientific team has done so far is well documented and portrayed in x-rays, CT scans, etc. This fossil is so well preserved that even the stomach contents of her last meal are still there and able to be analyzed. It's really interesting and I'm glad I read it, but I won't be running back to read it again. I suspect this early research will form the basis of many more papers, books, and theories in the future. So stand by. And for you lucky people in Oslo, where IDA is going to live, be sure to go see her in the museu

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote about it. I need to start it this week, but now I'll be forewarned! :--) But I love that he named it after a little girl - it does make it seem more "real."


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