The biggest science news this last month was about the discovery of an early homo skull in Dmanisi, Georgia. The skull is an exciting find because when compared with the other four skulls from the same site, its presence suggests that there was one homo species with considerable variation at the time (1.8 - 2 million years ago), rather than several separate species (e.g., Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus). Cadell Last on the Huffington Post urges caution in jumping to conclusions for what this means for our classification systems, but he also encourages excitement at learning how widely this species had migrated from Africa. Carl Zimmer discusses the difficulty of classifying species at the New York Times. The news story from Science as well as the original research article can be seen if you have access to Science (probably through a library). Here is a slideshow of the discovery and artistic reconstructions.
A new book on Cambridge University Press explains a decade’s worth of genomic evidence for human evolution: Human Evolution: Genes, Genealogies and Phylogenies. Where is human evolution going? Some clues are offered in A review of The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health & Disease. There are those who see transhumanism in our future. Michael Burdett offers some thoughts on it at Marginalia. And why stop with transhumanism if we can build a full-fledged cyborg?
Jumping back to the beginning of the process, chemists consider the self-assembly of some molecules and what this might tell us about the origins of life on earth. The Faraday Institute’s Ruth Bancewicz offers some theological reflection on the scientific explanation for the origin of life. Lord Kelvin also thought science and belief in God is compatible, as do more and more people: check out God of Evolution’s testimonies page for personal stories of faith evolving through engagement with science.
Finally, although it has little thematic continuity with any of these other stories, we can’t help pointing you to this story for its headline-grabbing audacity: German computer scientists prove God exists using a Macbook and Kurt Gödel’s modal version of the ontological argument.