And, you know, it's funny — Last night I was watching a National Geographic program on the vast contributions of Louis and Mary Leakey and the
research of Donald Johanson, all of whom transformed
our understanding of Man's evolution through their awesome
work (picking up rocks)
in the Rift Valley. Between them, they provided us with two
proto-human missing links
that lived concurrently in Africa millions of
As I listened to and watched the program, I was struck by something odd. While Louis Leakey was working himself sick digging in the dirt for months
on end, his wife Mary would take the dog for a 15-minute walk and accidentally
find a fossilized skull
that would stand Science on its
ear (Australopithecus boisei
). Or she'd be driving the Land Rover, her cargo would shift, so she'd stop and get out to tighten the straps or
something, and bang
she'd find a fossilized skull
on the side of the road.
I'm not kidding. The greatest discoveries in the study of early humans were made by the same woman, Mary Leakey, just going about her business and
here are these 3-to-4-million-year-old fossilized specimens just laying there
on the surface, in her path.
Meanwhile, Louis Leakey was killing himself digging a crater with a toothbrush.
And when Donald Johanson discovered the very famous "Lucy"
), it was the same thing — he was just hiking
along and bang
he spots a skull cap right in the middle of his path. Turns out it was more
than a skull cap, it was almost an entire
skeleton, just laying there waiting to be scavenged.
So my question is, Don't you find that really, really odd?
Here are these guys who are digging a hole to China with a toothbrush,
suffering heat stroke and malaria, not finding anything; meanwhile, the world-changing
discoveries are made by these bozos who are just
whistling and strolling around a few yards away.
I mean, this sounds too easy
. I keep thinking about the Piltdown Man,
you remember that one? It was a freakin' hoax that confounded
paleontologists for 40 years, perpetrated by someone
who, apparently, just walked up to the excavation and tossed various fossilized primate
bones into the pit every other day.
Has anyone ever challenged the Leakey and Johanson finds as hoaxes? I dunno, the National Geographic presentation didn't address the possibility of
fraud — Instead, it was all praise for the intrepid scientists who just accidentally stumbled upon
these specimens placed in their paths.
And these are cornerstones
of our understanding of Human evolution, right?
— Doc Velocity
[edit on 4/2/2009 by Doc Velocity]