The recent report of fisherman taking up what may be a 200,000 year old hominid jaw bone (from a potentially new species) off the coast of Taiwan certainly speaks to that state of inquiry.
What jumps out at me is the location of the discovery – dredged up some 15 miles offshore.
These are the types of discoveries that cross a desk out of pure luck and good fortune, and leave massive questions to be answered before the details can even begin to be addressed – a scientist’s dream for certain.
How did this fossil end up 15 miles offshore? Was this ‘washed’ away in a prehistoric flood? Was it exactly where the creature perished, possible marking a previous sea level? Are there other associated fossils at this same location that warrant survey and further excavation?
It goes on and on.
Most importantly, to me anyway, is that such a major discovery being made in a place that is so far out of sight is ever-more justification that very pure exploration [within the out of sight part of our planet] – though of course guided by sound scientific inquiry – is very much needed to better understand the world around us, and indeed where we came from. In the end, it is this new found knowledge that will ultimately help us in better understanding ourselves, and contribute to any possibility of our future sustainability.
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