Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Link by Colin Tudge

OK, I have to be honest and admit I thought this one was fiction. I was looking for a rumble in the jungle tale with dinosaurs and such and then I find out it's non-fiction, ugh! However, it was still an intriguing read.

This is the story of Ida. She's 47 million years old, and died very quickly at a young age and fell into just the right kind of mudpit to preserve her body indefinitely. She was found by a private collector and then offered at a later date to Jorn Hurum, associate professor of paleontology at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. First he had to determine if she was genuine and actually was that old. Then he had to find funding to buy her. Then he had to get her out of the country she was found in and back to Oslo. That alone was quite an adventure because she'd been in the Messel pit, and that pit was now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. But he wiggle waggles his way through the corners and pitfalls and comes home with Ida.

From here, it gets even more complex. There are various theories on how humans have developed, how the animal kingdom became what it is. And Ida didn't really fit in any of them. Nor was anyone totally sure what kind of creature Ida was. She had attributes of several.

The photos of Ida and a few other creatures found in the Messel Pit are quite eyecatching. It's like taking a trip in a time machine to ages long ago.

And facts that are presented in this book are total news to me. You may know if you've studied the life cycle of ages/times of our earth, but I never knew India had been drifting north from Antarctica and ran into the southern coast of Eurasia and kept going until it ground up the base of Asia and created the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau!

Or did you know that fossil elephants of many kinds have been found all over Europe and in both North and South America?

They feel Ida is an in-between species and that without a species quite like her, there would have been no modern-day lemurs, monkeys or apes.

Of course, the evolution of life's trail is still muddy and there are disagreements about her significance, but she is another clue in our history.

I'm sure you'll learn something if you read this book!

If you'd like the copy I received for review, leave a comment here on the blog and then email me at with your name and address and tell me why you'd like to win the drawing.


Deb. said...

I would love to have this book for my husband. He's been reading about our beginnings for a couple months now and I think he'd enjoy this.

MJ said...

This sounds interesting. When my kinderkids ask questions, I like to get them hooked by answering with weird facts.


Violet said...

I had seen the cover of this book once and also thought it was fiction.

But it still sounds really intriguing from your review...