Thursday, June 18, 2009

“New and Hot” Happens More than I Previously Thought

When Dr. Bob asked us to write blog entries on “new and hot” things pertaining to evolution, I anticipated that there would be more writing about “hot” things than “new” things. I mean, how much new stuff could possibly be going on in the world of evolution!?!?

Boy was I wrong!!!

It seems like every week or two, there’s some new skeleton or artifact or discovery…. one “new” thing in the field appears in the papers on a frequent basis. Is this just a particularly active term? Are fossils unusually being uncovered left and right? Are we – Oxford Trinity Term 2009 – an anomaly? Or the norm?

I would venture that this term is not particularly unique, and instead that I had previously simply failed to search for this kind of information. I didn’t pay attention every time a new fossil was uncovered, or other evolutionary discovery made headlines.

I think that’s been the best thing about “new and hots”: they’ve made me look for stories I wouldn’t have normally read, and in turn made me realize that we are constantly improving, adapting, and evolving the knowledge base that Darwin (and his predecessors) created.

It’s a neat thought that – although our fossil record is incomplete, and our technology is imperfect – we are making gradual changes, that… over time, will produce sizable results. Exciting, and poetically Darwinesque!

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