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Ancestors: Anamensis to Afarensis to Thomas

Gadfly | January 11th, 2021

By Ed Raymond

The Scientific Method, Darwin, and Religious Erosion

People who study us and our surroundings use the five following methods to come to a conclusion, basing it on this scientific method: hypothesis, observation, prediction, experiment, and confirmation.

As an example, the experts in past pandemics used this scientific method to determine that a vaccine will work against COVID-19. They observed what the virus did to people. They predicted it was similar to other deadly viruses. They experimented with various concoctions in wide-ranging trials.

Conclusion? Some of the vaccines will work.

The scientific method is used constantly by researchers in every scientific field. Recent discoveries around the planet have really put scientists and the method to work. We have to realize that science may not be the whole answer to anything, but science is the absolute basis for finding answers.

It’s very difficult to keep denying facts. Ask Trump and Fox News. A Trump biographer writes that Trump is “highly” ignorant, doesn’t read anything, and uses none of the five scientific methods. Studies have shown that Fox viewers actually are less informed about real news and facts than those who listen to no news at all.

Just last year the bones of 14 huge woolly mammoths with those large curved tusks were found in a “trap” pit where an airport was under construction north of Mexico City. This started archeologists digging. So far, since this October, they have found the bones of 60 more of the extinct herbivores, and they expect to dig up 10 more per month until the airport is completed in 2022. All were found on the shores of an ancient lake, now disappeared, that produced huge quantities of grasses and reeds. Each adult mammoth would eat about 330 pounds of grasses and other plants per day.

Some of the bones had signs that the animals had been butchered by those who had dug the six-foot deep traps. There were also “observations” that some mammoths died because they got stuck in the mud of lakes. Scientists confirm that most of this action took place about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The diggers have also dug up the bones of a horse and camel. This was a big surprise. Prior to this discovery, it was thought the horse was brought to this continent by the Spanish. The camel hasn’t been explained yet.

Meanwhile, Back in Merrie Olde England...

While constructing a new highway and two intersections near Cambridgeshire, England, the bulldozers and backhoes have dug up seven tons of bones, most of them from wooly mammoths, humans, and other animals. They have also uncovered about seven tons of pottery as well as the complete skull and tusks of a wooly rhinoceros that went extinct about 10,000 years ago.

There are 250 archeologists working in the area of the highway development. So far they are uncovering medieval and Anglo-Saxon villages, a comb made of deer antlers in the 8th century, and a flute of bone made by some musician in Roman times. Roman brooches have been discovered covered with colored enamel decorations and with springs to attach them to clothing.

At one time England was covered by glaciers and ice sheets. Under that was blue clay deposited by plants when dinosaurs were alive and well. The dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago.

Significant changes in climate are melting the tundra, particularly along rivers. Russian scientists have found two well preserved lion cubs in the once-frozen tundra of Siberia. Lions in Siberia? They are trying to figure that out. The Russians have discovered a complete skeleton of a woolly mammoth in northern Siberia that suffered a sudden death. They also have a collection of 64 mammoth skulls with jaws attached that are at least 20,000 years old.

We are still in the observation stage of much of what is on the planet.

Why Do Whales Have Leg Bones and Humans Have Tailbones?

Some scientists have concluded the earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago and that some form of life appeared 0.5 billion years later. So far, we have used carbon dating to determine that tubes and strands in rocks were formed 3.77 billion years ago. The oldest fossils are stromatolites found in Australia dating back 3.5 billion years.

The oldest species found so far on the human evolutionary tree had a 3.8 million-year-old skull found in Ethiopia. It belongs to Austropithecus anamensis, a direct ancestor of the famous “Lucy” species (Austropithecus afaraensis), who emerged from the trees to walk on two legs. Lucy had an ape-like face, powerful jaws, and a rather small brain. Her direct predecessor had remained just a trace with a few teeth, limb bones, and a few fragments of skull—until the complete skull was discovered. Evidence indicated Lucy and her ancestor, who lived between 4.2 million to 3.8 million years ago. had about 100,000 years together. (How many generations in 100,000 years?)

There’s another human species that needs a lot of scientific study. A three-feet-tall human species has been discovered in Indonesia and on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. So far they have been figured to be about 60,000 years old. The brain has been described as tiny. That’s about all we know of them at the present.

How Did Homo Sapiens End Up With All Those Colors?

Before a portion of the human race left Africa, we were all black. But The “Science Guy” Bill Nye can explain why we ended up with all those human colors in a New York minute. Our skin makes Vitamin D. If you don’t get enough ultraviolet rays from the sun, you don’t get enough Vitamin D. If you get too much ultraviolet, then your folates break down. Because the amount of ultraviolet depends upon where you are on earth, the color of our skin varies. End of story. The research on ultraviolet radiation was conducted by anthropologists Nina Jablonski and George Chapin of Penn State. That’s why Nye says: “We’re all one species.”

Ancestors evolved to Homo Sapiens about 300,000 years ago, but we didn’t start to leave the sunlit continent until about 100,000 years ago. That’s when, as Dolly Parton might say, we started to develop skins of many colors. We reached Australia between 50,000 and 65,000 years ago.

Neanderthals, a close relative of Homo Sapiens, lived in parts of Europe and Asia from about 400,000 until about 40,000 years ago. That means we shared spaces for about 10,000 years. Some researchers claim that Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens had some “dalliances” (The evidence is we share some DNA!) together until the Neanderthals disappeared. Someday we may understand why. A part of a skull of a Neanderthal child was found in a Belgium cave in 1829, and the bones of a Neanderthal were discovered in Germany in 1856.

Neanderthals had large nostrils, a prominent brow, and a heavier and shorter body. Sounds like some knuckle-dragging federal politicians. They had the hunting skills to kill mammoths and wooly rhinos with spears and butcher them with blades, axes, and scrapers. They had larger brains than humans but had to use larger parts for vision and motor control.

Fossilized bodies of Neanderthals have been discovered in hundreds of places scattered around the world, from France and England, to Iraq and Kurdistan, to China and the Arabian deserts. The scientific method is being used to study those fossils. Neanderthals were handy with tools and other “things”: beeswax, spears, pine-resin glue, birch-tar adhesive, charcoal, and red-ochre pigments used to decorate caves in France. They engraved animal bones.

Today’s evidence indicates that North America had people living here over 30,000 years ago. This evidence in Mexico eliminated the idea that the Clovis people (The people with the sharp flint spear points) were the first at 13,000 years ago, but now the evidence points to North America having numerous settlements 15,000 years ago. Some researchers think that the first Homo Sapiens came here over 40,000 years ago. The scientific method seems to be alive and well.

The Most Curious Part of a Human Being

A writer has noted that February 12, 1809 has been a terrific day for the publishing business. Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, English author of “The Origin of the Species,” were born. There is a Lincoln Industry and a Darwin Industry in the book business. There have been over 15,000 books written about the Lincoln administration and 15,000 books written about Charles Darwin and his conclusions about evolution.

The scientific method was used by both men to gain such celebrity and notoriety.

Darwin wrote this enticing sentence: “What can be more curious than that of a hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of a horse, the paddle of a porpoise, and the wing of a bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include similar bones, in the same relative positions?” Yes, it’s curiouser and curiouser. An editor wrote: “Darwin sells because he came up with the single best idea anyone has ever had.”

Donald R. Prothero has added another book to Darwin’s total: “The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries.” He covers new stuff researched lately and answers some old questions about old stuff. Fascinating stuff.

Why do whales have pelvises and leg bones? Well, the Ambulcetus whale walked on earth for awhile. Why do humans have troublesome tailbones? Well, most of our ancestors had long ones so we are still losing ours.

Prothero, a researcher in vertebrate paleontology at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, also takes on the creationists and writes about God’s many mistakes. He claims an incompetent designer screwed up the giraffe because the laryngeal ( sound box) nerve of giraffes requires an extra 14 feet, looping from the upper neck down to the heart and then back up again.

Another design problem: the human urethra pushing a route through the prostate gland, causing old men like me countless cancer and urinating problems. And why did the heavenly designer unite eating and breathing in such a way as to cause death when people inhale while swallowing food?

The scientific method and the 15,000 books explaining Darwin and evolution are gradually moving open-minded fence sitters from the religious dogma of the past and Biblical fairy tales to the scientific reality of the present and future. Most likely Jesus Christ did not have blonde hair and white skin as portrayed in many a wall picture. Bethlehem is just not that far north. That’s why about 40% of millennials have no religious affiliation in 2021.

How many “Christian” churches still teach this relic of the past from fundamentalist Christian textbooks used 25 years ago?: “Evolution is unsupported by scientific law or investigation, and men who believe it are sinful men who demonstrate their rebellion against God and His Word.” If I remember, there was a doubting Thomas someplace.

A question for those who believe Sasquatch stalks every wood and forest in the USA: why haven’t any big feet or large skulls of Sasquatch been discovered by hunters, toadstool cutters, or fugitive lovers?



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