Philip D. Gingerich: IDA's relatives - IDA's systematic placement

Early evolution of primates and how to tell the story

Professor Philip Gingerich

Hurum knew Gingerich's expertise as a specialist on the evolution of Ecoene mammals would be vital in placing Ida on the primate evolutionary tree.

A professor of geological sciences and director of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan, Gingerich has done extensive work on evolution through the Paleocene - Eocene transition.

He has studied the evolution of archaic whales for more than twenty five years, collecting specimens in Pakistan and Egypt. In a groundbreaking find in 2000, he discovered fossils that confirmed that whales evolved not from mesonychids, extinct wolflike animals, but from artiodactyls, the ancestors of hippos and camels.

He says of Ida, "it's really a kind of Rosetta Stone because it ties together parts we haven't been able to associate before".

Published June 23, 2010 1:02 PM