Great Flood

Here’s an item that’s been going around just now — sent to me independently by two readers shortly after I had noticed it myself in the science newsletters.

Prior to the warmest part of the current interglacial period, large areas of what is now the western Persian Gulf were above sea level — constituting a large, fertile area, with extensive riparian wetlands that might be seen as a greatly expanded version of today’s Shatt-al-Arab. It now seems according to work by researcher Jeffrey Rose,that this region might have been home to a significant human community, destroyed long ago as the sea level rose.

We read:

Historical sea level data show that, prior to the flood, the Gulf basin would have been above water beginning about 75,000 years ago. And it would have been an ideal refuge from the harsh deserts surrounding it, with fresh water supplied by the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Baton Rivers, as well as by underground springs. When conditions were at their driest in the surrounding hinterlands, the Gulf Oasis would have been at its largest in terms of exposed land area. At its peak, the exposed basin would have been about the size of Great Britain, Rose says.

The original paper, in the journal Current Anthropology, is subscription-only, but you can read more of the story here and here.

Meanwhile, speaking of anthropology, the feud between physical anthropology (the study of the natural history of the hominid group) and “cultural” anthropology, which has always been at least as much a social/political endeavor as a scientific one, and far more so lately, has been intensifying lately. Many are saying that cultural anthropology, especially as it is represented in academia today, has no standing to call itself a “science” at all. (My late mother, a physical anthropologist, would surely have agreed.)

Learn more here.

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One Comment

  1. JK says

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/12/17/old.babylonian.math/index.html

    Posted December 18, 2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink