The scientific description of Ida is included in the paper 'Complete primate skeleton from the middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: morphology and paleobiology'.
It is authored by the team of scientists who had access to her for two years before she was presented to the world – Dr Jens Lorenz Franzen of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany and the Natural History Museum in Basel, Switzerland; Professor Philip Gingerich of the Museum of Paleontology and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan in the USA; Dr Jörg Habersetzer of the Senckenberg Research Institute; Dr Jørn Hurum of the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo in Norway; Professor Wighart von Koenigswald of the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Minerology and Paleontology, University of Bonn in Germany; and Dr Holly Smith of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.
The scientists' findings were subjected to a full peer review prior to publication.
The paper was published on Tuesday 19th May 2009 by PLoS One, the interactive open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research from the Public Library of Science.
The paper can be read by anyone online at: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
The scientific publication of Ida has been carefully timed so that the film, book and website can be launched at the same time. The scientists see this as a new way of presenting science for the 21st century, where a major scientific find becomes available to everyone, wherever they are in the world at the same time. Ida connects to us all, and we can all share in understanding her.
As Jørn Hurum explains, 'I really like the idea that it's now possible for people to look at the website or to see the film or read the book at the same time as the scientists read the scientific paper. You can get many different levels of understanding, but you get out the important messages in different ways at the same time. Humans are not special - we're related deep in time to more primitive mammals. And the best way to tell this story is Ida, and this, I hope, will be the message that will come out.'