About origins, creation, and evolution
Discoveries during 2010
2010-JAN-08: Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? Setting aside the question of whether intelligent life exists anywhere on Earth, Astronomers are searching for earth-like planets outside our solar system, orbiting around other stars. They expect to find some within the next four to five years. Biologists note that the earth's crust solidified about 4.5 billion years ago, and the first primitive single-celled life forms appeared within a billion years later. They speculate that any planet that can harbor life might experience the same phenomenon. At the annual American Astronomical Society conference Simon "Pete" Worden, an astronomer who heads NASA's Ames Research Center, said: "The fundamental question is: Are we alone? For the first time, there's an optimism that sometime in our lifetimes we're going to get to the bottom of that. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would bet we're not alone - there is a lot of life." The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said: "These are big questions that reflect upon the meaning of the human race in the universe." NASA's new Kepler telescope is capable of monitoring the brightness of more than 100,000 stars simultaneously, attempting to detect dimming in their light; that is often caused by a planet passing in front of the star. The next step would be to build a massive telescope to detect oxygen, water, carbon dioxide and perhaps industrial pollutants from these planets. 1
2010-MAR-24: Possible new human group detected: DNA in a single bone from the little finger of a child who died at about six-years-of-age has produced some unexpected results. She or he had lived in one of the Denisova Caves in southern Siberia. A team led by Johannes Krause and Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany found that the child's DNA differed significantly from both that of:
The mitochondrial DNA from the child's bone indicated that his or her ancestors left Africa about a million years ago. From radiocarbon dating, the scientists have concluded that the child died between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago.
- Modern humans, who are believed to have descended from Africans who left Africa about 50,000 years ago, and
- Neanderthals who emigrated from Africa about a half million years ago.
Archeologists will conduct more excavations during the summer to try to uncover other remains. Researchers will also examine fossil collections in museums to see if any belong to this new lineage. 2
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Seth Borenstein, "Are we alone? NASA expects answer soon," Associated Press, 2010-JAN-08, at: http://articles.sfgate.com/
Nicholas Wade, "Bone may reveal a new human group," New York Times, 2010-MAR-24, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2010-FEB-11
Latest update: 2011-AUG-23
Author: B.A. Robinson