Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pre-Cambrian consensus

An interesting article in the NYTimes today on pre-cambrian animals
and geology. I remember from my freshman biology class the Cambrian
explosion, when all the different animals first appeared in the fossil record.
The NYTimes article shows how that record was changed, that now the
Ediacaran period has been added to the geologic timesscale before the
Cambrian, and some complex precambrian animals have been found.

The irony is the first discoverer of these animals submitted the information
to a conference and scientific journals, but was rejected.

Sprigg was excited by both the unusual appearance of the fossils and by their age, which he believed to be the beginning of the Cambrian, and made them the oldest animal forms yet seen. But despite their potential importance, Sprigg’s discoveries were ignored at an international geology meeting and his paper describing the fossils was rejected by the leading journal, . Sprigg moved on to other, more rewarding pursuits in the oil, gas, and mining industries.

This is the way that science should work, new physical information should eventually
cause the theories to be rewritten. What shouldn't happen is a consensus view should
prevent the collection of new information for 50 years. Even something that is very proven, such
as geological history can be updated with bette information. I don't think the NYtimes
noticed the irony, their normal website is all global warming, all the time.

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