The appendix is a small, finger-shaped pouch attached to the large intestine. It has long been considered a vestigial organ, meaning that it has no function in the human body. However, recent research suggests that the appendix may actually serve as a reservoir for beneficial gut bacteria. The appendix is an example of a Phenotype Variation — a trait that varies among individuals. In fact, something like 1 in 100,000 people are born without an appendix. The presence or absence of the appendix is one example of a variation in humans. However, the presence or absence of the appendix is not..Read More/Comment

man holding scroll

First Mail, First Postal System

The first known postal system goes back to the Pharoah’s of Egypt circa 2400 BCE. Pharaohs used couriers to send out decrees throughout the Egyptian territory. The earliest surviving piece of mail dates back to 255 BCE and is also Egyptian.

Neanderthal-Denisovan Split

12,000 Generations Ago Neanderthals and Denisovans had a common ancestor about 300,000 BCE (current estimates range from 250,000 to 500,000 BCE and possibly as far back as 1.3 million BCE). Humans did not evolve from Denisovans nor Neanderthals, but both were the evolution descendant of a common ancestor with Homo Sapiens tentatively identified as Homo Heidelbergensis. After Denisovans and Neanderthals split, Homo Sapiens and Denisovans interbred up to and as recently as 30,000 BCE. Through DNA testing we can identify DNA that came from interbreeding with Denisovans. Denisovans became extinct about 30,000 BCE. They built shelters, wore clothes, used tools,..Read More/Comment

Gyeongbokgung Palace, South Korea

Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BCE)

The Xia Dynasty is the first documented government of ancient China. The first to adopt dynastic succession. In modern times, it was regarded as a myth created later by Chinese historians, but 20th-century excavations uncovered sites which corresponded to descriptions in earlier historians’ accounts. This fact is an important lesson on understanding how little survived the test of time. How much we will never know about the true progress of humans over our first 100,000 years. 

Pythagoras (570-495 BCE)

The Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was born in Ancient Greece on the island Samos which is about a mile off the coast of modern Turkey. History looks at Pythagoras as an educator and philosopher as well as a cult leader. He discovered the musical octave, used deductive reasoning, and embraced an early version of forms which was a stepping stone to Plato’s forms. His early theories on math as the answer to the universe are elementary and off course, but these first attempts led the path for future mathematicians to explore. He is most remembered for his Pythagorean theorem which..Read More/Comment

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE)

Augustine is known as the father of Western religious scholarship. He reconciled the science and philosophy of Aristotle with church beliefs. Contrary to modern racists who portray Augustine as a white man, Augustine was a North African black man. That fact is sure to make the racist religious right’s heads explode! My favorite translated Augustine quotes:  The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. There is no saint without a past, no sinner without..Read More/Comment

Realistic Earth Planet against the the star sky

Spherical Earth

The Greeks knew the Earth is spherical. For example, Pythagoras (570-495 BCE), Aristotle (384-322 BCE), and Euclid (circa 450 BCE) wrote about the Earth as a sphere. Eratosthenes (276-194 BCE) even calculated the circumference of the Earth to within 1%. He also wrote about the idea that India could be reached by sailing westward from Spain. Nearly 2,000 years later during the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue, most religious nuts believed the Earth was flat and he would fall off. What happened to truth? Although many educated people knew all along, the dogma of the brainwashed religious nuts over..Read More/Comment

Marble statue of the ancient Greek Philosopher Plato.

Socrates (469 – 399 BCE)

Socrates was a Greek philosopher and is frequently credited as the founder of Western philosophy. He left no writings, but his student Plato documented his philosophy. Some of my favorite translated sayings attributed to Socrates: Enjoy yourself — it’s later than you think. He who is not content with what they have will not be content with more. Do not praise someone wealthy until you known how they employ it. We should hear and see more than we speak. False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. He is rich who is content..Read More/Comment

Proto-Sinaitic script

155 Generations Ago The Proto-Sinaitic alphabet is considered the earliest trace of alphabetic writing and the common ancestor of both Ancient South Arabian script and the Phoenician alphabet. The ancient South Arabian script evolved about 900 BCE which continued to evolve into today’s Modern South Arabian languages. The Phoenician alphabet evolved into the Greek alphabet and all of today’s Western alphabets.

Phoenician Alphabet

133 Generations Ago The Phoenician alphabet is a direct continuation of the Proto-Canaanite script circa 1300 BCE. Starting about 900 BCE, the Phoenician alphabet thrived and was adapted by others. It evolved into use by many languages including Greek, Old Italic and Anatolian scripts. These early uses of the alphabet evolved into the alphanumeric alphabet. 


40 Generations Ago Spaces between words started circa 1000 CE because those copying texts found it easier and faster to copy if they introduced spaces between words. The 1215 Magna Carta is a good example of this quality of writing which included word-spacing, uppercase, and lowercase, but no punctuation, nor paragraphs. 

Upper and Lowercase Starts

50 Generations Ago Uppercase and lowercase started circa 800 CE. Notice in the image above of an actual book from 460 CE that although it is missing word-spacing, punctuation, paragraphs, and lowercase it does make use of two colored text as well as margin notes to orient the reader. Many pre-printing press books very well made and gorgeous with very creative pages.

Law of the Twelve Tables

The Twelve Tables were rules citizens had to follow, and limits on the powers of the government. This idea was used several times during Roman history to force the Patricians, aristocrats, to consider the views of the plebeian citizens, commoners. In 451 BCE, plebeians went on strike to protest the tyranny of magistrates. The Twelve Tables came out of that strike. These bronze tablets were set up in the Forum of Rome for all citizens to see and students to study. Content examples: Table I – when a person is accused of something, both accused and accuser must be present..Read More/Comment

Noah’s Flood Myth

The legendary story of Noah’s flood occurred in the year 2348 BCE if you believe Ussher’s biblical timeline he made up in 1654. However, this flood myth is clearly based on the Sumerian flood story documented in the Epoch of Gilgamesh circa 2100 BCE. The Epoch of Gilgamesh is regarded as one of the earliest surviving notable literature. I think it is interesting to note that the first section of the Epoch of Gilgamesh refers to a time span of 241,200 years prior to the great flood. To me, it is interesting that around the proposed date of the great..Read More/Comment

Sumerian Civilization

Human DNA today is the same as 50,000 BCE. There is no doubt there were many dozens and perhaps thousands of civilizations prior to the Sumer civilization, but Sumer is the earliest known, or at least the earliest well known. The Sumer civilization first established between 6500 and 4100 BCE. We know quite a bit about the Sumerians because they immortalized their writing in clay tablets which will be around long after all the paper books on Earth right now have deteriorated. Sadly, we know almost nothing about prior civilizations because very little evidence survived the test of time. The Sumerians..Read More/Comment

Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE)

Some of my favorite translated meditations include: Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

Confucius (551 – 479 BCE, died age 72)

Confucius is remembered for his practical applied philosophy. His sayings are a reflection of many centuries of common sense sayings making his philosophy deeply Chinese. Some of my favorite translated sayings are: The man who knows he can, and the man who knows he cannot, are both correct. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life. You are what you think. All people are the same; only their habits differ. Roads were made for journeys,..Read More/Comment

Oldest Known Air Breather

The millipede Pneumodesmus newmani is the oldest air-breathing animal known to date. This ancient denizen of the Scottish waters once roamed the Earth during the early Silurian era. The millipede likely supplemented its oxygen intake through air as well as using its gills while in water.      

LUCA – Last Universal Common Ancestor

The last universal common ancestor (LUCA) is estimated to have lived approximately 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago. It is the organism from which all current life on Earth descended from. Your greatest grandparents. Although no LUCA fossils have yet been found, geneticists can study LUCA by analyzing the genetic information of its descendants. LUCA’s genetic legacy pervades all life on our planet, and the study of LUCA serves as a reminder of our intimate connection to the living world around us. As Carl Sagan once said, “We are all connected; to each other, biologically. To the Earth, chemically. To..Read More/Comment

Animals, Plants, and Fungi Split

Eukaryote cells evolve into three separate lineages, the ancestors of modern plants, fungi and animals. Later animals evolve into the animal kingdom which includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, crustaceans, arachnids, echiniderms, worms, mollusks, and sponges.

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