The Link

Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor


By Colin Tudge

With Josh Young

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$28.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $21.99 $28.99 CAD
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 11, 2010. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

For more than a century, scientists have raced to unravel the human family tree and have grappled with its complications. Now, with an astonishing new discovery, everything we thought we knew about primate origins could change. Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world’s leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime – a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by forty-four million years.

A secret until now, the fossil – “Ida” to theresearchers who have painstakingly verified her provenance – is the most complete primate fossil ever found. Forty-seven million years old, Ida rewrites what we’ve assumed about the earliest primate origins. Her completeness is unparalleled – so much of what we understand about evolution comes from partial fossils and even single bones, but Ida’s fossilization offers much more than that, from a haunting “skin shadow” to her stomach contents. And, remarkably, knowledge of her discovery and existence almost never saw the light of day.

With exclusive access to the first scientiststo study her, the award-winning science writer Colin Tudge tells the history of Ida and her place in the world. A magnificent, cutting-edge scientific detective story followed her discovery, and The Link offers a wide-ranging investigation into Ida and our earliest origins. At the same time, it opens a stunningly evocative window into our past and changes what we know about primate evolution and, ultimately, our own.


  • "This is an extraordinary fossil."
    Sir David Attenborough
  • "This fossil will probably be the one that will be pictured in all textbooks for the next one hundred years."
    Dr. Jørn Hurum, University of Oslo
  • "When the results of our investigations are published, this will be just like an asteroid hitting the Earth."
    Dr. Jens Lorenz Franzen, Senckenberg Research Institute
  • "A kind of Rosetta stone... it ties together parts we haven't been able to associate before."
    Dr. Philip Gingerich, University of Michigan
  • "The most beautiful fossil primate I've ever seen. In terms of a complete skeleton, it's hard to think of anything else in primate evolution that's as complete as this fossil."
    Dr. Holly Smith, University of Michigan

On Sale
Aug 11, 2010
Page Count
272 pages
Back Bay Books

Colin Tudge

About the Author

Colin Tudge is a biologist by education and a writer by inclination — on biology, food and agriculture, and the philosophy of science. His books include The Tree, Feeding People Is Easy, Consider the Birds, and The Time Before History. For more information about the author, go to

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