For those who want a measured, even-handed account of the significance of Ardipithecus (and yes, it is a much, much more important find than the stupid monkey everyone got excited over in May) and exactly why it took so long to describe it, I refer you to this excellent blog post by Carl Zimmer. For everyone else, here's a list of things that took less time than Tim White's description of Ardipithecus:
- First circumnavigation of the Earth: 3 years (Magellan et al)
- Digging the Channel Tunnel: 6 years
- Defeating Hitler: 6 years
- Conquering the Known World: 10 years (Alexander the Great)
- Writing Lord of the Rings: 12 years
BTW, I'm hereby launching a campaign not to refer to this fossil as "Ardi." Enough with the cutesy names for fossils (Ida, Ardi, etc.). We're grown-ups, OK?