I’m watching the programme on Ida, the 47 million year-old fossil, at the moment. Or at least, trying to watch it. I am growing increasingly tired of the flashy camera shots, overpowering music and the whizz-bang sound effects, which, as far as I am concerned distract from the scientific story. Even the melliflous tones of Sir David Attenborough are failing to calm me down. As far as I’m concerned, the whole production team connected with this travesty can be taken out and thrown into the Messel pit where they can rot for the next 47 million years..
Update: Martin, over at the Lay Scientist, points out exactly why the programme was so bad: it’s science-by-press-release (and media event), rather than science by the scientific method. As he says:
Perhaps the most telling comment in the program was this observation from Hurum: "Having it at home is like having the Mona Lisa … it makes you feel powerful." Of course power corrupts, and the impression one gets from the hype surrounding this fossil is that the potential for exciting self-promotion has overridden the need for rigorous science. That’s sad enough, but it’s even sadder that the normally excellent Sir David Attenborough and the Natural History Unit were sucked into the mythology of Ida.