The documentary, ‘What Darwin never knew’ provided insight into the leaps and advances in the field of genetic mapping, and the search for knowledge regarding our ancestry. Being exposed to these things early, I found it easier to accept that we came from apes and fish, than many other students during the days of my primary education. Watching this video made me realize, and rekindle much of the lost mysticism gathered back in the day, between the exhibits of dinosaurs and fighter planes at the local museum.
The genetic mapping of segments within our DNA intrigued me most. The true magic, for myself, lies within the sudden exposure to all the possibilities this research might hold. Keeping closer to the track, though, the video highlights the similarities we share with our genetic cousins on the face of the planet. Human embryos, with gills; the imagery, however bizarre, cannot be disproven as of yet. It truly makes you wonder, if history took a different turn, if the earth had developed differently, if our ancestors never left the water…the possibilities go on and on.
As a science fiction geek, and a physics classroom veteran, these ideas and developments opened an infinite spectrum of doors; a peephole into the infinite possibilities and forms life could have taken in our world. So, all in all, the video was knowledgeable, simplified so that those, lesser versed in the field of genetics like myself, would be able to understand the concepts with ease.
My father stressed the importance of history throughout my entire life. ‘A successful future is built on the lessons of the past’, and while this is partially the ongoing rambling of a middle aged man, I wish to sign off this post with the simple thought, that the work of looking into the past, and understanding how our race got to where it currently is, will perhaps solve some of the greatest mysteries and problems that plague us today.
And, as for the title ‘What Darwin never knew’, even though it is clearly a façade, I enjoyed feeling smarter than Charles, even for just a second.
Please enjoy a photo of a spider monkey, (Courtesy of National Geographic)