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Age of the Earth and Human Origins, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 888

Essay

Evolution, the age of the Earth and the origins of humans are contested in scientific and religious aspects.  There is a debate between the 18th and 19th centuries over the origins of the human as well as the age of the Earth.  In the 18thcentury, geologists were becoming more familiar with erosion and the power it has on formations and the Earth’s surface.  Prior to the 18th century the Earth was only thought to be approximately 6000 years old (Dalrymple, 58).  During this same time period there were multiple experiments to determine the age of the Earth, when it was formed, how it was formed, if it was created the same time as the rest of the universe. In the 19th century there were significant gains in technological, archeological and understanding of how the Earth was formed and when humans came into existence.

Eighteenth Century And Nineteenth Century View Of The Earth

The 18th century focused on the Earth’s creation separately than the rest of the universe.  At the time it was thought that the universe and the Earth’s ages were disparately proportional in timing.  The 18th century view was based primarily on the principles of religious considerations.  The primary conjecture between the 18th and 19th century views on the age of the Earth is based on the movement from a religious based view on the age and a more scientific view.  This view also played a major role in the basis for the evolution of humans including new ideas such as Charles Darwin’s view on evolution, fossils of dinosaurs and how modern man traces back to the roots of history (Rudwick, 19).  The Bible-centric view of the history, formation and evolution of Earth gradually declines and more scientific results take its place.  Although many tools and techniques to measure and gauge the age of rocks, fossils and other items have yet to be invented, the scientific method of research and understanding presents itself more predominately in the 19th century.

Divergence of Humans from Apes

According to fossilized evidence, the hominin tribe relating to human evolution started over 6 million years ago.  This evidence is based on newly established techniques and tools that allow for precise measurements of age.  While many of the fossils may not be direct ancestors of Homo sapiens, there is a direct relationship between the evolutionary process and current man.  The evolutionary process for humans can be dated back to roughly 7 million years ago based on the discovery of TM 266 in Chad.  This discovery of a fragmented skull shows some indirect linkage to human evolution. The skull itself has human and ape like characteristics.  Fossils that are closer in timeframe to our current time include that of Homo erectus. In 1984 KNM WT 15000 (Turkana Boy) was discovered.  This fossilized Homo erectus was nearly 100% complete and showed a significant similarity between Homo sapiens and Homo erectus.  This direct correlation pushed the evolutionary thought process closer to fact than theory.  Homo sapiens were found in fossilized form and aged to approximately 190,000 years old.  This would put Homo sapiens, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis around at the same time period.  This crossover of each species shows a significant bond between each and also points to a relationship among the groups.

Archaeology, Techniques and Purpose

Archaeology is the study of human activity through scientific research utilizing multiple tools and techniques to better understand how humans conducted their social, religious and other cultural activities.  Archaeologists study and gather data through surveying, excavation and analysis of that data.  Excavation is a technique utilized by archaeologists to remove dirt and other debris away from the research site to unearth the treasures of history stored below.  The excavation is a great way to have hands on knowledge of the site and to fully understand the findings the archeologists are looking for.  By removing the soil, the research team and clean the site to see what it could have looked like when it was initially built and utilized.  From this excavation models can be built based on the site information as well as other knowledge the archeologists have gained from the society’s culture from other sites or historical evidence.

In recent years, in order to survey a wide span site, drones have been utilized.  Prior to drones, it could take months and years with heavy expenditures to field survey a large site.  With drones the time is reduced, the cost is reduced and the impact to the site is negated because of the aerial photographs and video recording which does not disturb the site.  Drones have been utilized in the thermal-imaging of Chaco Canyon settlement which is buried beneath the earth.  While drones are having issues with some of the more technical climbs in the Andes, the benefits of using drones outweigh the negatives.  Archeologists have utilized many tools in the past to monitor and control the sites they are working on but the leap in technological savvy and utilization with drones have allowed for more time to analyze and understand the sites while documenting in high quality through aerial photography, digital mapping and thermal imaging.

Works Cited

Dalrymple, Brent. The age of the earth. Stanford University Press. 1991. Print.

Rudwick, Martin. The shape and meaning of earth history in God and nature: historical essays on the encounter between Christianity and science. Berkeley. University of California Press. 1986. Print.

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