Out of the Earth, Out of the Blue

Greg Laden reports on a hominid fossil “recovered from the seabed near Taiwan” which reveals new levels of dental diversity among proto-humans and may qualify as a new species. Greg says the specimen known as Penghu “is yet another indicator that multiple different hominids lived on the Earth at the same time after the rise of Homo erectus.” But why was it located underwater? In another example of what lies beneath, Dr. Dolittle marvels at “an unexpected find and very exciting moment for researchers;” the discovery of small fish and invertebrates thriving below 740 meters of ice near the coast of Antarctica. Exactly how these animals survive in the stark ecosystem has yet to be determined. Meanwhile, on Uncertain Principles, Chad Orzel reflects on the history of surprising physics discoveries. He provides as an example the discovery of the muon in 1936, a subatomic particle that no one was even looking for. Chad writes, “The eminently quotable I.I. Rabi famously responded to the news by asking ‘Who ordered that?'” No one, but we’ll take it.