Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

47 million-year-old primate fossil Photo of 47 million-year-old primate fossil "Ida," at her global unveiling at the American Museum of Natural History on May 19, 2009, in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/

Major Fossil Find

47-million-year-old primate could be human relative

By Laura Leigh Davidson | null null , null
Fossil "Ida" was found in an area of Germany that is rich with ancient fossils, called the Messel Pit. (Map: Jim McMahon.)<br />
Fossil "Ida" was found in an area of Germany that is rich with ancient fossils, called the Messel Pit. (Map: Jim McMahon.)

Scientists unveiled a 47-million-year-old primate fossil at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in May. Scientists say it is "the most complete primate fossil ever found."

Dr. Jorn Hurum of the University of Oslo in Norway led the team of scientists who studied the small monkeylike female. Hurum nicknamed her "Ida," after his own 6-year-old daughter.

Hurum's team thinks she may be a distant ancestor of monkeys, apes, and humans. That means that studying Ida could tell scientists more about how modern human beings developed.

Ida was found in an area of Germany that is rich with ancient fossils, called the Messel Pit. Scientists have discovered many ancient fossils there over the years.

Ida is so well-preserved that impressions of her fur are still clear. They even found remains of Ida's last meal. It was fruit and leaves.

Hurum's team says Ida had many humanlike characteristics. She had thumbs that work like ours, and fingernails instead of claws. X-rays of the fossil show both baby and adult teeth. She had eyes that faced forward, which allowed her to see in three-dimensions and judge distance.

Scientists believe Ida was about 9 months old when she died.

Ida's debut has sparked a lot of debate among scientists. They have different opinions about how closely linked she is to the prehuman animals that evolved after her.

One thing scientists do agree on is the quality of the fossil primate.

"There's certainly a lot more information about this individual than probably any other fossil primate that's ever been recovered," said primate expert Dr. John Fleagle. (Fleagle is not a part of the research team that has been studying Ida.)

Hurum says there is much more to learn from the 47-million-year-old fossil.

"She tells so many stories," Hurum told reporters. "We have just started the research on this fabulous specimen."

Since her big debut on Tuesday, Ida has returned to her home at the University of Oslo Natural History Museum in Norway. But a plaster copy of the fossil has become a part of the "Extreme Mammals" exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

You can learn more about Ida online at


blog it

Read today’s story and use what you learn in this writing activity.

Download it here!


Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from Scholastic News Online.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Scholastic News Science Reader: Plants for Grade 2

    Scholastic News Science Reader: Plants for Grade 2

    Scholastic News Science Readers Bring You the Nonfiction You Need to Teach Your Unit on Plants
    • 1 Theme
    • 7 Articles
    • 10 ELA Skills
    Each Scholastic News Science Reader: Has all of the nonfiction you'll need for your plant unit—packaged in one book. Includes 32 pages of grade-appropriate informational texts on topics such as plant life cycles, plant adaptations, and parts of a plant. Uses vibrant and engaging photos to captivate your students. Provides practice for 10 core ELA skills, such as main idea and details, diagram reading, and comprehension. Supports NGSS, NSES, and state ELA standards. Is designed for the grade level you teach: available for Grade 1 and Grade 2.

    Workbook | Grade 2
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Scholastic News Science Reader: Plants for Grade 2
    Grade 2 $9.95
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Next Generation Science Standards Collection Grade 4

    Next Generation Science Standards Collection Grade 4

    Looking for books on science themes identified by the NGSS*?

    With the recent release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), educators are searching for books that fulfill the three dimensions of the NGSS: Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts.

    The NGSS are derived from an evidence-based foundation of research, and focus on scientific practice as well as on content. Each of the exciting grade-level collections for Gr. K-5 includes 50 books, 1 copy of each title. The Collection for Gr. 6-8 contains 60 books, 1 copy of each title. A title list that identifies the Next Generation Science Standard for each title is included with every collection.

    Topics include:


    Earth and Human Activity

    Motion and Stability

    Earth’s Systems

    Space Systems

    Matter and Its Interactions


    Biological Evolution


    …and more!

    *NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

    See below for complete list of titles. Appropriate titles of equal value may be substituted if any of the listed titles are unavailable at shipping time.

    Title list:
    • Next Generation Science Standards Educator Materials
    • Alexander Graham Bell
    • All About Manatees
    • Amphibians
    • Bizarre Bug Records
    • Bones
    • Bouncing Light
    • Build a Room Alarm
    • Burp!
    • Caves
    • The Circulatory Story
    • Energy
    • Experiments with Electricity
    • Geckos
    • Geology: The Study of Rocks
    • Grand Canyon National Park
    • Growing Patterns
    • I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
    • I Wonder Why Snakes Shed Their Skins
    • If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
    • The Industrial Revolution
    • Island
    • The Kids' Invention Book
    • Komodo Dragon vs. King Cobra
    • The Magic School Bus® Explores the Senses
    • The Magic School Bus® Inside the Earth
    • Magic Tree House Research Guide: Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters
    • Maps and Mapping
    • Monster Plants
    • Neo Leo
    • The Nervous System
    • Nic Bishop: Spiders
    • Now & Ben
    • On This Spot
    • Redwoods
    • Rocks and Minerals
    • Scorpions
    • Senses
    • Seymour Simon's: Wild Earth
    • The Shocking Truth About Energy
    • Sound, Heat & Light: Energy at Work
    • Tsunami!
    • Tsunamis
    • Volcano
    • Volcanoes and Earthquakes
    • What Makes You Cough, Sneeze, Burp, Hiccup, Blink, Yawn, Sweat, and Shiver?
    • What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
    • Winter's Tail
    • Wolverine vs. Tasmanian Devil
    • Yellowstone National Park
    • You Can't See Your Bones with Binoculars

    $229.00 You save: 33%
    Paperback Book Collection | Grade 4
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Next Generation Science Standards Collection Grade 4
    Grade 4 $229.00
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from