Words To That Effect #42 | The Missing Link

The Hunt for the Missing Link

Sasquatch. Bigfoot. The Abominable Snowman. Yeti, Yowie, Yeren, Almas…

Ape-men, cave men, wild men…

The Missing Link.

Ape-human hybrids, mysterious creatures lurking in forests, and the blurred lines between modern humans and our ancestors has fascinated us for a very long time. The idea of the “missing link”, a species that connects us with our ape-like past came about in the mid-19th century, with the rise of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. In 1859 Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and it was radical, revolutionary, and highly contentious.

The problem, though, was that the mechanism by which it all worked wasn’t really understood yet, and there was a need for some hard evidence that would clinch his theory. If evolution really did work as Darwin described it; if, most controversially of all, humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and other apes all had a common ancestor, it should all be there in the fossil record.

There was a missing link in the theory.

This week I’m joined by Prof Virginia Richter to talk about missing links, stories of ape-men, and the origins of our species.

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