Wednesday, October 27, 2004


The pages of scientific journals, even the best ones, are usually full of research that gradually inches further our understanding of the human and natural world. But once in a while, a discovery is made that holds the potential to be a watershed in our understanding of inner and outer space. It does not mean that our world view of the past thousand years, gleaned through the looking glass of science, has suddenly been shattered. But it does cause a reappraisal of some fundamental beliefs and opinions. It revises what we call 'textbook knowledge', literally reiterated in high school science textbooks. And it may well be a prelude, if not an actual example of Thomas Kuhn's 'paradigm shift'. Not all discoveries live up to the promise they hold, however, and they frequently succumb to the tortuous process of scientific review and test. But the ones that do live, can truly become landmarks.

In this week's issue of what is probably the most high profile scientific journal in the world, Nature, researchers report the discovery of the bones of a new species of human being, which lived just 18, 000 years ago. The members of this species were just 4 feet tall, and lived in the Asia-Pacific region near Indonesia. Until now, it has been thought that the genus Homo consisted of only two well-known species, erectus and sapiens. The discovery of a third species of humans is a major discovery indeed, 'the most important discovery in paleoanthropology in the last 50 years'. The new species is called Homo floresiensis. It may well question our long held beliefs about our origins. For once the claim that science textbooks should be re-written is justified. Read about it and related material here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ..that was some pretty heavy duty stuff,but good thing's different not another account of someone's mundane life:))..(though honestly i think it's fine either ways..)

5:32 AM  
Blogger Sumedha said...

It's interesting, but I don't understand how this changes the concept of human evolution. If anything, it just reinforces 'survival of the fittest' since these little folks got wiped out completely :-P

6:20 PM  

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