MACQUARIE ISLAND, AUSTRALIA—Scientists on remote Macquarie Island have discovered the so-called “missing link” that bridges the evolutionary gap between humans and other higher primates. In an unprecedented find, the team of researchers, led by Prof. Frances Feinderfossel of the University of Hobart, unearthed what has long been regarded as the Holy Grail of evolutionary biology while digging a makeshift toilet on the south of the island.
“It was remarkable,” said Prof. Feinderfossel in one of several exlusive interviews on Tasmanian talk shows seen by The Counfounding Variable. One of the grad students popped off to deal with a number two while we were setting up the tent and returned with the find of the century. What seemed at first to be a fairly nondescript fragment of whitish material we soon came to realise was more likely the tip of the small toe of the left foot of a feisty, independent, 30-something female representing the last common ancestor of modern-day chimpanzees and humans.”
The team was baffled at first, because the bone fragment was found at a depth that would suggest it was 4 to 13 million years younger than might be expected. A junior member of the team, speaking on condition of anonymity, has since told The Confounding Variable it looked remarkably like a bit of broken picnic fork from the team from Port Arthur that had been down there the previous year.
Feinderfossel was undeterred. “We knew the find was in the wrong place, but the evidence was compelling. It’s not the first time science has had to rewrite its evolutionary timeline. As the body of evidence grows, we’re getting closer and closer to the truth of our past,” said the professor with visible excitement. “Little could be of more importance to humankind.”
The researchers have named the missing link Taylor, reflecting a trend in naming away from obscure Latin and in line with contemporary marketing practices. Drawing on the latest techniques, an artist’s impression has given the public an unprecedentedly accurate idea of what Taylor would have looked like.
“One of the obstacles we’ve had to overcome in order to advance the field,” said Dr. Fink, another member of the discovery team and on the gender advisory committee at Melbourne’s LaTrobe University, “is too great a reliance on common sense. When you suspend common sense, the answers will invariably come to the surface—just as Taylor has in this instance.”
Staff at the Hobart Museum of Ancient History, where the fragment is now housed, refer to it affectionately as “Grandma Taylor”. “There’s a warm, fuzzy feeling when you know your ancestor is talking to you from her little toe bone,” admits curator Ben Benobi, adding, “Visits have been up.”
An interactive display at the museum simulates Taylor playing golf, rather than knocking fancied females on the head, with crude prehistoric clubs, symbolising the female’s superior propensity for creativity and non-violence.
The find will now be integrated into public school biology classes to ensure our children are kept abreast of the latest science, with Taylor providing a fundamental link in the rigorous chain of evidence that ensures children are not left prey to ideas that creatures were created.