Monday, January 9, 2012

Farewell to Evolution…What can Ardi unfold?

Apart from the rich natural minerals that endowed the region, the hot but enthralling site of Afar has once again proved to be the origin of human species. Ethiopia is old, old beyond all imaginations. The great archaeological and paleontological excavation that has taken 17 years has recently given rise to another ancient ancestor of humans, Ardi (derived from Ardipithecus) much older than Lucy, (who’s at present in the US for public show) or Selam (‘peace’ another one who was found a couple of years back) or, for that matter, any other human that has ever existed on earth. Side by side, the theories of evolution have long ago hanged on to the oft-repeated quips of the baseball legend Yogi Berra - “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But I guess the time has now come to leave its place for the rightful archeological and paleontological finding of Ardi, the 4.4 million year old beautiful female hominid found in Afar region earlier this month. The group of internationally applauded scientists couldn’t believe their unprecedented 17-year study would result such a breakthrough. Not only were most of this hominid’s body parts obtained, but also has made obsolete the malleable human knowledge of evolution, which has long ago travelled on its single leg. According to one of the group members who witnessed this momentous discovery, Tim White, an American Scientist, “two key features distinguished the very first hominid from the apes: walking with two feet on the ground and reduction in the size of canine teeth.” In other words, the assumption that humans came from apes is no closer to truth. Well, I’m not against science or scientific findings. On the contrary, I appreciate the true dynamism of science and technology that is based on facts. Nevertheless, some scientific studies like evolution consist entirely of theories - tentative, fluid proposals based on people's best bets always open to question and lurk behind the experiments. Anyway, two things amaze me, in general, when I think of paleontological-archaeological findings: the first is that the remains are always females (sorry …men appear to be out of the picture when it comes to showing our past). Secondly, most of them have so far been found in one area, Afar region. What these meant is that if at all we were able to rewind the universal clock and be present at creation, and have an idea about how life began, Ardi, for sure, could save us from meaningless speculation. In this sense, I would say, Ardi is even more wonderful than the former Lucy (Dinknesh meaning ‘thou art wonderful’). To conclude, can the discovery of Ardi tidy up many feuds? Certainly, she will clear many scientific obscurities. As it stands now, many theories of evolution are reaaaaa…ly in bad shape. However, I would say it ain’t over with evolution yet, till it’s over with Ardi, to borrow Yogi’s term.

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