Wouldn't you know it? AiG has written up a "preliminary report" on the newly discovered fossil 'Ida'. Although Ida is claimed to be ancestral to anthropoid primates (like Gorillas, Chimps, and Us) there is a lot of controversey over this in the scientific community, and so I think we should be very cautious before claiming anything.
On the other hand, Answers in Genesis' comments on this are so full of shit that they deserve debunking. Their comments are in italics, mine are in bold:
1. Nothing about this fossil suggests it is anything other than an extinct, lemur-like creature. Its appearance is far from chimpanzee, let alone “apeman” or human.
Correct. However, this fossil is only claimed to be a precursor to anthropoid primates, not an "apeman". This fossil would came way, way, before the emergence of humans.
2. A fossil can never show evolution. Fossils are unchanging records of dead organisms. Evolution is an alleged process of change in live organisms. Fossils show “evolution” only if one presupposes evolution, then uses that presupposed belief to interpret the fossil.
Bullshit. The theory of common descent is that all living things share common ancestors. Therefore, if it is true we ought to find fossils showing intermediate characteristics between older species and younger species, between older genuses and younger genuses, older families and younger families, etc. etc.
3. Similarities can never show evolution. If two organisms have similar structures, the only thing it proves is that the two have similar structures. One must presuppose evolution to say that the similarities are due to evolution rather than design. Furthermore, when it comes to “transitional forms,” the slightest similarities often receive great attention while major differences are ignored.
"Similar structures" may be evidence of evolution if they are used for completely different purposes (See my upcoming post on this). Furthermore, we know that deep similarity is indicative of a relationship. I look like my Dad. My sisters all look very similar.
4. The remarkable preservation is a hallmark of rapid burial. Team member Jørn Hurum of the University of Oslo said, “This fossil is so complete. Everything’s there. It’s unheard of in the primate record at all. You have to get to human burial to see something that’s this complete.” Even the contents of Ida’s stomach were preserved. While the researchers believe Ida sunk to the bottom of a lake and was buried, this preservation is more consistent with a catastrophic flood. Yet Ida was found with “hundreds of well-preserved specimens.”
How is this "more consistent with a flood"?!? And why can't hundreds of fossils be well preserved in a single lake?
5. If evolution were true, there would be real transitional forms. Instead, the best “missing links” evolutionists can come up with are strikingly similar to organisms we see today, usually with the exception of minor, controversial, and inferred anatomical differences.
This contradicts the earlier claim that transitional fossils are just a matter of interpretation. How can a creationist demand transitional forms on the one hand, but on the other hand refuse to 'interpret' any fossil as transitional? That's dishonest. Besides, there are lots of unambiguous transitional fossils (See here and here).
6. Evolutionists only open up about the lack of fossil missing links once a new one is found. Sky News reports, “Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin's theory of evolution,” while Attenborough commented that the missing link “is no longer missing.” So are they admitting the evidence was missing until now (supposedly)?
I think this is a good example of bad science journalism. One fossil does not make or break the theory of evolution (you need lots and lots of 'em to know about how life evolved or even whether it evolved). There will always be gaps in the fossil record, and paleontologists have been open about this. However, filling in these gaps does not imply that they the gaps used to be some fatal flaw in Darwin's theory.