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Oldest Human Fossil Discovered In Ethiopia

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2.8 million years ago might be the missing link.

This 2.8 million-year-old jawbone may be the oldest human fossil in existence, according to two papers published simultaneously inScience. Researchers now suspect that Homo (the genus that includes modern humans) dates back at least 400,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Reddit comment: "Crazy thing is our species' existence would still be miniscule in comparison to the earth's existence, even if we add 500000 years."

850 Reddit comments:

just 500,000 years blows my mind.  makes my own life seem minuscule!

that's a lot of living going on right there....

Field Museum in Chicago human skulls organized

I worked at the Field Museum in Chicago for a few years, and had a meeting I was heading to.  I got to the room after searching for about 30 min (the place is HUGE), and waiting for me was this cabinet of replica human skulls ordered chronologically from earliest homosapien through modern homosapien.  It was a fantastic meeting.

how cool!

It's simultaneously amazing to me that skulls can last so long compared to a human lifetime...

And that, as you said earlier Emily, 500,000 years is nothing compared to the Earth's age. 

it's all so amazing!  i trip out over the dinosaur bones in my kids's encyclopedia books every time i look at them.  i mean, dinosaurs!  DINOSAURS!!  all spikey and spiney and gigantic...

this world has been through a lot over a very long time.

Isn't it amazing dinosaur bones could last 165 MILLION years?

yes!  and some of them 340 million years!

My office at the museum was directly near the "Evolving Earth" exhibit (a permaexhibit, highly recommended when you are in Chicago!).  Due to that, we had to go through sensitivity training, which I initially thought was quite the over preparation.  In fact, I got stopped *constantly* by irate parents who demanded to know who had authorized this propaganda based exhibit when the world was obviously ~4000 years old.  Ironically, ten feet away, Sue's little placard said she was 26 million years old, but that *never* got a peep out of any of them.I tried to be understanding and tolerant.  I was rarely successful.

Wow. It's hard to visualize that length of time compared with a human lifetime. 

it's hard to get too wound up about anything when you think about that much time.

and, jp, i would have a hard time keeping a straight face during a conversation like that!

So basically we should use the enormity of time and space as a way to not sweat the small things?

we can.  but it's not always easy to see the big picture when you're sweating something!

We need to develop a system for getting outside our own heads.

we have: drugs and alcohol.  :)

Alcohol is part of drugs. :)

you're right. okay.  drugs, then.  just drugs.

Meditation / yoga / breathing ?

haha!  yes, those are even better!

but not as easy, so not as popular.  :)

Most good things don't come easy. :)

i know... why is that?!

We appreciate things more when they're more challenging to bring into our lives.

nod. sigh.

but then there's the moon... always there, always beautiful, and totally free to see!

There's appreciation and then there's appreciation.

Parenthetically: When I was 16 I got to work at a dig in Mayport, FL in an ancient Timucuan Indian village/encampment.  I found the first whole punctate pot (broken but whole) in the midden (trash). The real anthropologists got to dig in the graves. I was amazed at how many oysters - judged by mountains of shells everywhere - that were eaten over the thousands of years the Timucuan inhabited the area.

you were a digging badass at 16!  i'll bet the professional anthropologists were fuming that you got to find the first whole pot...

parenthetically to your parentheses: a midden is also what an octopus's garden is called!  they collect shells from the mollusks they eat and arrange them neatly around their homes.  i know because i robbed one once and then brought all the shells back the next day when i realized what i'd done!

Because octopuses don't have HOA's!

We were all fuming ... smoking Swisher Sweets to keep the mosquitoes away.  Good times.

Could the Florida oysters be eaten as-is or did they have to be cooked?

Michner surmised in his book, Chesapeake, that the natives of that area observed birds eating shellfish and mollusks and followed suit.  Raw.

Oof. That had to have made at least some of them very sick.

god knows it has made me very sick!!

Yeah, now that you mention it, raw oysters sound unappealing because sickness.

because ew!

geege, did the swisher sweets work to keep away the bugs?

swisher sweets

Are cigars what Keri Hilson is referring to when she sings "sweeter than a swisher"?!

Emily, looking back I wonder if they told me that just to get me smoke a cigar. Because 16.

Adam, sounds like it!

Teenage smoking was not considered a bad thing back then. Look how far we've come. 

that's true, adam!  good perspective.

but i think they just wanted to corrupt the young hottie that found the one and only unbroken pot!

LOL at "back then".  :)

What I know to be true about the gang at the dig:  they enjoyed watching me turn green from smoking a cigar!

Less a hottie, more a goofball.

Yeah, cigars do not seem like a thing most teenagers could acquire a taste for.

goofballs are hot!

adam, your comment reminds me of the first time i tried chewing tobacco: i held it in my mouth for 30 seconds, then burst into tears and asked, "why do you do this?!" (and then vomited all night!)  tobacco is an acquired taste, indeed.

Which makes it all the stranger that people are willing to endure the painful period in hope of payoff.

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