How do archaeologists tell the difference between a deformed organism and a organism with an evolutionary adaptation?


How do scientists actually KNOW?? How do they tell if some phony hack from southeastern Macedonia on the verge of an alcoholic breakdown compiled with a methamphetamine addiction is just trying to fund his “research” aka Russian bride ring?



  1. 0 Votes

    (It’s always easiest when the questioner answers their own question! Lol.)

    The answer is, of course, just as you were observing, scientists have to play the odds. Now that works very well, for example, going back 100,000,000 years and looking at fossils, because the only plants and animals we’re liable to know about were the very, very successful ones. There were literally billions of some of them, over 100,000s or 1,000,000s of years. The chances of finding some whacked out Tryannosaurus Rex that got high on mushrooms and did Gaia dances under the moon — assuming there was only one of them — is literally over 1,000,000,000 to one. (The species lived for 1.5 million years.)

    There are quite a few things in life and in science we depend on that are far more uncertain than that!

    But your question really becomes worrying dealing with situations that are unique, or close to unique. What is Stonehenge doing there? What really happened to Pharaoh Tut? Was Nero genetically mentally ill, or was he poisoned by the lead-lined pipes Roman nobility drank from?

    If you read history (I do, I have a degree emphasizing historiography) then you know that it’s possible to get repected scholarly books with wholly different interpretations of even very recent, well-understood events. (You can get about five major opinions on whether slavery in the US South “worked”.)

    None of this is very satisfying, but that in a way, too serves its purpose, because it impells people such as you and me to get out there with shovels and discover something new. To add a little more certainty to what’s known.

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