Reviewed by Erin McKibbin

“In the glow of the gibbous moon, a petite being moves through the palm trees surrounding a lake that seems almost impossibly pristine…This is Ida…”

Ida is an early primate from the tropical land of Germany 47 million years ago. She is also the most essential archeological find in the history of evolutionary investigation. Ida is a rare creature…a complete fossil. And she is also the common ancestor of both the prosimians (primates such as Lemurs and Tarsiers) and the anthropoids (the simians: monkeys and apes). In other words, she is “the link”. This fossil is proof of Darwin’s “transitional species” and definitively shows humanity’s place in the evolutionary chain.

In The Link, Colin Tudge tells the tale of Ida’s discovery in the Messel Pit (a pit of fossil finds and oil shale in Germany that was once a lake formed by a lava eruption) by an anonymous private collector and her transfer of custody to a paleontologist named Jorn Hurum at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. Tudge also elaborates on the implications that Ida’s discovery has on the history of human origins, and what scientists have determined about Ida and her world.

The Link includes detailed photographs of Ida and other fossils found in the Messel Pit.

Colin Tudge is a “biologist by education and a writer by inclination”, as stated in his bio on the book jacket. His publications are quite eclectic, covering topics such as food, biology, and agriculture. Meanwhile, Ida is taking the world by storm. She was introduced to “the world” in May of 2009.