Humans Are Curious By Nature Essay, Research Paper
Humans are curious, like the monkeys we use to be I suppose. By nature have always been fascinated by the past. Many feel that unlocking our past can open doors to the future. Our history is brief in comparison with that of the earth, but yet no claims can be made that we are close to understanding our own human existence, or the roads we took in the past which led us to where we are today. In that light it would be foolish that we could hope to understand what happened on earth before our arrival, yet people do
The stories Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs by: Stephen Jay Gould and that of Kathy A. Svitil Nubian Diet Revealed at Last, each attempt to reach a scientific conclusion as to how these two chapters of history came to an end.
Many attempts have been made towards research and understanding of these events in an attempt to draw from them a hypothesis on the events which took place prior to their results. Perhaps Gould stated it best in his essay when he stated that “we can never be completely sure that a hypothesis is right, though we may be able to show with confidence that it is wrong”(448). Scientist have come up with many theories as to why the rein of dinosaur rule of the earth stopped “once upon a time” and in truth none of them can be proven factually at the moment.
Though the “Disaster” theory does offer some scientific logic behind it since it offers some raw material which can be thrown into the equation. “The impact story, on the other hand has a sound basis in evidence”(453) he continues to state that scientist ” had revealed a massive increase of iridium in rocks deposited right at the time of extinction. Iridium, a rare metal of the platinum group, is virtually absent from indigenous rocks of the earth’s crust; most of our iridium arrives on extraterrestrial objects that strike the earth.”(453) This backs up the theory that a large meteor could have been the cause of the dinosaurs extinction, if the iridium theory itself can ever be proved? Theories, theories, theories does anybody do work these days?
Svitil offers a similar approach. Her theory is that the Nubians where believed to use crop rotation (that’s a different theory). This means that they would farm one crop and then another at a later time. The Nubians generally farmed sorghum and millet (C4 plants) followed by wheat and barley (C3 plants). She cut 3.25 inches of hair from 14 post-Meroe mummies, “each segment representing approximately two months’ growth” (371) By studying samples of Nubian hair she managed to prove that the Nubians died after eating a harvest of C4 plants. Sorghum is low in vitamin B; a vitamin B deficiency can leave a person open to diseases such as pellagra. Thus this could have caused the end of that Civilization But it’s only a THEORY!
These examples show the scientific approach of inferences and deductions which scientists use to theories on events such as the above two.
But there is a drastic difference between the two events. There is little, if any at all, written events around the dinosaurs rein which could be used to figure out what else could have been happening around that time. For the Nubians, Scientists can look at the records of other civilizations to see what can be ruled out or needs to be pursued. There could have been a war, drought, flood, epidemic, or any other number of reasons in that region which would create un-survivable conditions for the Nubians, and like any other theory, at least these can be investigated through the writings of others in the area. While with the extinction of the dinosaurs no such accounts exist to be taken into consideration. Thus, the scientists most more or less sit in the dark and try to guess at which shred of evidence or new idea should be pursued.
Regardless of the amount of evidence present or means at hand it is clear that human curiosity is independent of realistic chances of success. We are pushed by our need to know regardless of if we ever could.
So where does that leave us? Will we ever find out what happened to all these lost chapters of our world’s diary? It depends on the archeologists and scholars armed with books and theories, spoons and toothbrushes to go and “dig up” the truth.
-Gould, Stephen J. “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs.” 75 Readings Plus. Santi Buscemi & Charlotte Smith. United States: McGraw Hill, 1998. pp 448-454.
- Svitil, Kathy A. “Nubian Diet Revealed at Last.” 75 Readings Plus. Santi Buscemi & Charlotte Smith. United States: McGraw Hill, 1998. pp 448-454.