Web edition: November 26, 2012
Ever make a big error on your homework? A really embarrassing one? Don’t worry. Even well-trained scientists can make a whopper of a mistake now and again.
In the 1890s, paleontologist Florentino Ameghino began studying a small fossil skull that had been given to him by a local collector in Argentina. At first glance, the broad, chisel-like teeth at the front of the skull — the only part not covered with rock — looked like those belonging to lemurs. A distant relative of apes and monkeys, lemurs are a type of mammal that now lives only on the island off the eastern coast of Africa.
But new research now shows Ameghino erred. Big time!