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11.19 Missing links

A popular term used to designate transitional forms is “missing links”. The term tends to be used in the popular media, but is avoided in the scientific press as it is inaccurate and confusing. In reality, the discovery of more and more transitional fossils continues to add to knowledge of evolutionary transitions.

The idea of a “missing link” between humans and so-called “lower” animals remains lodged in the public imagination. The concept was fuelled by the discovery of Australopithecus africanus (Taung Child), Java Man, Homo erectus, Sinanthropus pekinensis (Peking Man) and other Hominina fossils.