May 28, 2009
Hurum admits to paying for Ida fossil
Norwegian paleontologist Jorn Hurum says he paid nearly $750,000 for Ida the fossil, which he suspects is an evolutionary missing link.
Hurum said he had no regrets regarding his purchase of the controversial fossil from an amateur collector, who had kept the fossil in a basement for 25 years since it was initially discovered in Germany in 1983, The Times of London said Thursday.
It's the only near-complete fossil primate ever found. There is absolutely nothing like it, said Hurum, who took the fossil to the Natural History Museum in Oslo after purchasing it.
She could easily have been bought by a private collector and disappeared for another 20 years.
Hurum is now facing criticism over his purchase just as he has since he claimed Ida represents an evolutionary missing link between humans and their distant ancestors.
It's the first time an early primate has been bought and sold in such a highly visible way, Chris Beard, Carnegie Museum of Natural History curator, told The Times.
Nobody should stimulate the idea that these things are of monetary value, Duke University paleontologist Elwyn Simons said of the theory such purchases could prompt a black market fossil trade.