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Saturday, 27 January 2018 00:00

Could a Newly-Discovered Stone Be from Space?

Generally, when geologists find rocks and stones, they can immediately identify them. Even if they aren’t familiar with a discovery, they can trace it to something found in the immediate area. But a pebble recovered more than two decades ago in Egypt so far doesn’t match anything previously found in our solar system.

The pebble, named the Hypatia stone, has been studied extensively over the years, with scientists announcing in 2013 that it had not come from Earth. This was based on the compounds found on the stone, which can’t be traced to anything on our surface.

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The news spread quickly, with the media telling the world that skull fragments found in Morocco were identified as being approximately 300,000 years old. The fragments—belonging to three adults, a child, and an adolescent—meant that homo sapiens may have roamed the Earth 100,000 years earlier than previously thought, igniting excitement among archaeology fans across the globe.

But scientists say evolution is far more complicated. Evolutionary biologist Jean-Jacques Hublin and his team dubbed the skulls “early Homo sapiens,” but others in the field are more skeptical. Some have expressed disdain for the way Hublin and his team were so quick to say this is proof that the “earliest” Homo sapiens was around 300,000 years ago. Evolution is gradual, the experts point out, with no definite beginning or ending.

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If the Earth survives until the year one million, what will it look like? The National Geographic Channel is currently tackling that question with a new series called Year Million, which illustrates how the planet will look in the faraway future.

The series, which premiered May 15th, explored how artificial intelligence will possibly surpass human intelligence, how disease treatment will help humans live longer, virtual reality, the internet, and more. Actor Laurence Fishburne narrates the series, which features some of the best minds in science today, including Brian Green, Ray Kurzweil, and Michio Kaku.

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