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April 8, 2010

Using satellites to find skeletons

Posted: 12:14 PM ET

Sometimes when you're looking for something, and you really want to find it, the best thing you can do is step back from the situation a bit.

That's kind of what happened recently for scientists in South Africa, who announced Thursday that they found a new and important link in the human family tree. The University of the Witwatersrand archeologists didn't find the skeletal remains of a new hominid species, Australopithecus sediba, just by trudging around on foot.

They used satellite images from Google Earth.

[Read CNN's story about the find]

In 2008, when they started their search in Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, there were 130 known caves, which tend to yield archeological finds.

After the team surveyed the area with high-res satellite images, they discovered 500 caves, "even though the area is one of the most explored in Africa," writes Google's Michael Jones in a blog post. So, in effect, the satellites helped up the odds for a discovery - or at least gave researchers more places to look.

Google put together a cool list of other times satellite imagery has been used to make discoveries. I'll paste some highlights below, and let me know if you've heard of other instances. I'm sure NASA or others have used GPS to advance research, too.

Reef in Australia

A villa in Rome

Lizard in Mozambique

The fact that cows are magnetic (kind of)

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Filed under: Google • Google Earth • science • Scientists

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jp   April 8th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

Really, CNN, did you moderate and deem the foregoing comments as appropriate for posting???

citizenUSA   April 8th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

I think it's cool that we can use this technology to find a lizard in Mozambique. I'm sorry to make something political out of this but I can't believe we can find Osama Bin Laden or any of his dog pack using it. I want to believe we are trying like hell though.

scopesmonkey   April 8th, 2010 2:14 pm ET

I have heard of satellite imagery being used to discover ancient cities (Babylonian if I remember correctly, maybe Sumerian) in the deserts of the Middle East.

sigh   April 8th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

I am repulsed by the posts of jews, muslims and nazi's. What the heck do those comments have to do with scientific discovery? With all of the tech & knowledge at the fingertips of humanity, this is what we spew out? Shame, shame, shame.

Ancient skeletal remains shed new light on evolution « Fabriceulysse's Blog   April 8th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

[...] Blog: Using satellites to find skeletons [...]

Adam or Evolution? | Freed Hardeman University Exposed   April 8th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

[...] Blog: Using satellites to find skeletons [...]

Digger   April 8th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

A man in Pensacola last week used Google Earth to track down the owner of a boat illiegally dumped in the woods:

Person   April 8th, 2010 3:02 pm ET

Jeez, why didn't they use satellites to "find" the WMDs?

Gemini42   April 8th, 2010 3:02 pm ET

I was just at the Smithsonian last week. I'm sure these remains will find their way there .... fascinating!!!! I wonder if someone will find my skeleton 2 million years from now? What a cool thought, yes?

Mickrock   April 8th, 2010 3:50 pm ET

Austin and Bob must be throwbacks from the Apes.

Where is the Moderator?

Austin Billyputz   April 8th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

Nadia Malik above...u must be some religious idiot with the proclimation of yours that man is less than 10,000 years old. Carbon dating is very reliable...why do you deny that...ah yes...the old Adam and Eve children's story, eh?

YodaFett   April 8th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

I heard they will now use satellites to find that jelly sandwich i lost last week in the park near work.

GO EAGLES. McNabb is gone forever!!!

SpAde   April 8th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

I think this is a superb achieuement for science and technology,it will go into the pages of history.

Paul in ABQ   April 8th, 2010 4:16 pm ET

Austin, you beat me to the punch. Yes, Nadia, carbon dating is very reliable, and is based on rigorous science. Because of the relatively short half-life of carbon 14, this technique is only accurate to about 50,000 – 60,000 years ago. Other, science based, techniques are used for older dating.

Nadia, let me suggest you use a tool called "The Internet" to update your goofy statement regarding humans not being around for more than 10,000 years. Stay away from religious fundamentalist sites. They have no scientific basis.

The_VH   April 8th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

Interesting story, but nonetheless, this wouldn't be news if it weren't related to google and aggregation/indexing. Web 2.0/free culture/mashups/aggregators are helping kill intellectualism and scientific inquiry! I recommend reading "You Are Not a Gadget" by Jaron lanier.

nuk nuk   April 8th, 2010 4:37 pm ET

I used google imaging to try and find an honest policitian.
Results: 0

rgw   April 8th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

nuk nuk-sorry you will not find any...

sd   April 8th, 2010 6:07 pm ET

@citizenUSA Finding a person with a satellite and finding geographic structures such as caves are two different things. Whenever you gain resolution, you sacrifice scope. It's not as simple as people like to think. We could find him, but first we have to know where to aim. In the case of finding the buried skeletons, they where they wanted to look.

wywo   April 8th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

Good grief, I almost decided not to add my comments with some of this garbage. No insult intended to serious participants.

Satellite images were used last year in the Albuquerque mesa murders case, where 11 female skeletons and one fetus were found on the west mesa. Earth-moving construction equipment had covered some bodies to an 18 foot depth and so older satellite images were used for comparison to locate the bodies.

D   April 8th, 2010 6:37 pm ET

"Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and MAY NOT APPEAR ON THIS BLOG UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN REVIEWED AND DEEMED APPROPRIATE FOR POSTING."
Really? The comments you see are appropriate? On what planet?

Emeka   April 8th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

I wonder if sattelite will locate me in my bedroom?i shiver to think of that

Hoffmann,Ghana   April 8th, 2010 6:53 pm ET

I don't really care what they find with those satellites. There's so much hunger and poverty in various parts of Africa and beyond, and all these, the satellites could not detect. What I hear is people inventing very expensive equipments just to look for lizards and skeletons...What a pity.

JayT   April 8th, 2010 7:03 pm ET

Apr 8, 2010 5:10 PM | By Judy Lelliott and Sapa


The nine-year-old son of a Wits scientist found a fossil of a new hominid species that lived 1.95 million years ago. Speaking at the official unveiling of two partial fossils found in the Cradle of Humankind, Professor Lee Berger said his child Matthew found the fossil of the child on August 2008.

telfords change   April 8th, 2010 7:12 pm ET

as shock came over me: looking at all these comments i just realised all you americans are demented. You know, one flew over the cookos nest, like, hello! anybody there. It made me scared that you actually have nuclear weapons.

frank carter   April 8th, 2010 7:22 pm ET

Here we go again another brother found deep in the dark continent. It looks more like chimp then anything else...but after all they are the experts in all matters of humans.

slim   April 8th, 2010 7:43 pm ET

Jehovah created man, nothing just comes about from no where! the word of God long ago talked about the earth being a sphere be 4 science proved it. the can use their invensions to prove the bible true. we have been around 4 less than 10000 years, according 2 Gods counting its less than 7 days

well dont be looking here...   April 8th, 2010 7:46 pm ET


bob th builder   April 8th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

all of you who have bad things to say about my comments should bern i hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Abul'abbaas   April 8th, 2010 7:51 pm ET

Please can you use those satellite 2 bring the skelletal of 'Qaarun'

Donah   April 8th, 2010 7:57 pm ET

By second thought... I wonder why they always dig up old mamas and no old Papas.... ??
Yes... From the GripeVine....& Donah..//

yizhang1985   April 8th, 2010 10:27 pm ET

china is still a poor cuontry in the world ,and many chinese people need mony to improve their lives and buy essential things they need,so you may know why so many people in china love mony and worship money,but ,the love still exsits between people,and the tradition of moral minds is still spreading all over the contry. only a confused thing is that chinese government always like to disseminate some rich to foreigners which are not real the authorities deprive too many welfare of the society from the people to satisfy their the growth of the economy more and more,the appreciation of the real estate are also more and more ,so there are a hard life among all most people.CCP protects the cuontry,CCP deprives the country.we love it,we abhor it,we hope it can improve as the time goes by

Read more: China is a nation of 'money worshipers' |

windlock2433   April 8th, 2010 11:48 pm ET

What's next? A laser that can scratch my a** from space?

opinionated   April 9th, 2010 12:36 am ET

Austin and Paul i completely agree with you. Nadia, get a head on your shoulders and realize that despite what some extremely ignorant people may have told you, the hominid species has been around for much longer than 10,000 years.
Also, Muslims and Jews are not retarded in any sense. don't discriminate, you only sound stupid.

The_Mick   April 9th, 2010 1:17 am ET

nadia malik wrote: "I am certain that the human race have not been around for more 10,000 years. Carbon dating is pure fallacy with no scientific basis"
As a certified master chemist, let me say that carbon dating does have a scientific basis, although it's rarely used on anything as old as this fossil. The Sun bombards the atmosphere at a relatively constant rate and the atmosphere constantly contains 78% nitrogen. Some of those N-14 molecules are converted by the Sun's energy to C-14. That results in the the ratio of C-14 to the "standard C-12 being constant while we are alive and eating things that are plants or which themselves ate plants that incorporate that constant concentration of C-14 from the atmosphere. But after we die, the radioactive C-14 decays into other elements at a constant rate but the C-12 remains unchanged. So if you can determine the ration of C-14 to C-12, you can tell how long a carbon containing object has been dead.

Johnny   April 9th, 2010 1:31 am ET

Excellent post, The_Mick...

JewBear   April 9th, 2010 1:33 am ET

i think that finding images of skeletons with satelites is great even tho im 13........ maybe i can use it to find my dogs bones and the pb and j it ate

SpokaneW   April 9th, 2010 2:38 am ET

I agree with several of the previous thoughts regarding the appropriateness of these comments. If CNN cannot monitor these posts adequately, then the option to submit comments should be removed. Freedom of speech is a privilege and should not be abused. How sad when it is trivialized rather than used to it's fullest potential.

H. B.   April 9th, 2010 2:45 am ET

What should we do with the comments by haters and proselytizers? Should we flag their comments? How BAD does someone have to be to merit being flagged? What happens after that? Are they barred forever from commenting? Or is it just that the one comment gets removed?

CNN, are you listening?

I think the religious and hater comments, along with those which are off topic, should be removed. At the request of people who want to read comments relevant to the news item. For rational, on-topic discussion.

So would I be wrong to flag some of the nasty people commenting here? I'd like to see flagging bring up a menu, where you can click the REASON you want to flag something.

All this religious yippledung that we get, EVERY single time we read an article on science, is getting to be oppressive. And maybe that is precisely what it is intended to be. But it is also SPAM. It's trying to push something onto people without being invited.

I, for one, have had a bellyful of it.

I'd bet if we went into religious sites and tried to post comments about how inane their religious views are, we'd be "moderated" but good. And probably banned from making further comments.

Has anyone tried to do that? To bring a bit of reason into some religion's comment section? If so, what happened?

ordinary person   April 9th, 2010 3:19 am ET

I too am sick and tires of religous fanatics, mainly Muslim using every excuse to derail any rational forum into a one way tirade on Islam! Get a life and let other people live theirs! Unfortunatley there appears to be only one solution to this scourage of religious fanatism, the same one as in 700AD!

Circolo Luce Del Sud » Ancient skeletal remains shed new light on evolution   April 9th, 2010 5:40 am ET

[...] Blog: Using satellites to find skeletons [...]

Joe the plumber   April 9th, 2010 5:50 am ET

No that is me!

Jewboy   April 9th, 2010 9:03 am ET

I can't even read an article without the feaks of religion infesting it!
KIck off the radicals......( muslims, Jehovahs etc.) I don't like terrorism..... there should be a religion purge vavle on this site!!!!!!!!!!

AJ   April 9th, 2010 9:49 am ET


"Jehovah created man, nothing just comes about from no where"

Then who created Jehovah?

| commentonthisblog's Blog   April 9th, 2010 11:29 am ET

[...] [...]

Yul B Sorrie   April 9th, 2010 11:55 am ET

Can the satellite find my car keys?

Yul B Sorrie   April 9th, 2010 11:57 am ET

windlock2433 April 8th, 2010 11:48 pm ET

What's next? A laser that can scratch my a** from space?

No, but the testicle tickler IS in a beta test right now!

Bong hit for Jesus   April 9th, 2010 12:58 pm ET

Slim, I use to work with a religious idiot like you. He was wrong also.

RalphT   April 9th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

Can you imagine some ugly guy that lived 2 million years ago being approached by a friend in heaven and the friend saying, "Guess what, Barney, they found your skeleton on earth and now they think we all looked like you. Thanks a lot!"

Has anyone stopped to think that perhaps the skeletons we're finding are not representative of the whole?

Sency   April 9th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

this is an interesting use for technology

i am not sure its the best use of our time, though

Mongo   April 9th, 2010 3:44 pm ET

Amazing how much strife can be generated off of one blog...

This technology is not new; we are just innovating new ways to use the technology that has been around for generations now...Analyzing empirical data from multiple sweeps and multiple sensors allows us to determine change detection and aid mission planners with the tools to employ scarce resources to investigate prime sites rather than covering your eyes and sticking a pin on your map. Marrying up this data to historical contexts allows investigators to narrow their focus even more...It is the application of the technology along with well-practiced tactics, techniques and procedures (aka analysis) that allow us to do what we are doing today...I believe that is called progress. Progress ONLY occurs when someone wants to make something better or easier for the foot soldier toiling in their day-to-day efforts...

For the religous extremists/fundamentalists out there that want to believe that we have only been around for about 10,000 yrs or so and would rather blow us up or cut the heads off of us 'infidels' than listen to reason, I weep for you. Mohammad would weep for you. Mohommad once said, "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave," and instead you think we are practicing sorcery. Hey, even the Catholics had it wrong back in the days of Galileo but at least they admitted to their faults. You still believe that what was written by a MAN some 1440 yrs ago was all that you needed to know...How myopic...

Do yourself and everyone else a favor; open up a little with your fundamentalist views, breathe, and enjoy life- you'll live longer. Just because you want to think in one fashion does NOT mean everyone else on the internet wants to think the same way...If you want to participate in rational discussion of what the technology that is germane to this blog is describing, I am sure there is someone who might want to listen. Who knows? Maybe you might come up with ways to employ using this technology too and NOT for mission planning your next terrorist target...Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield during my next engagement...I, along with my compatriots, have our scopes dialed in for 500 meters and 1000 meters...

Good day to you, Sir...I SAID GOOD DAY.

Guest   April 9th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

I am a bit confused here. What does satellites finding skeletons have to do with religion??

For Nadia Malik....
Do you believe in Karma? If you don't, I can assure you will soon change your mind. Sounds like your an outcast in your life. So taking your anger out through slandering religion...not the smartest thing to do? If you really want to do something about your pathetic life, clean the dirt inside you first and then start talking about someone else. Just a little advice :)

Michael Daily   April 9th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

"a villa in rome" should be "a roman villa in Italy"

Mongo   April 9th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

@Spokane: Freedom of Speech is a right in this country, but this is a 'private' website – meaning not owned by the US Government. So if they wanted to, they 'can' moderate this comment section and remove offensive dialogue as they subjectively see fit. But is also a liberal website (or at least more liberal than and so they probably don't see anything 'so far' that might be offensive to the point of needing removal...The fact that has provided a venue for individuals from around the world to participate in dialogue like the comment section to this blog IS a privilege...The more it gets abused, the less people will frequent it based on the level of offensiveness. Once no one participates on the blog comments, then will not see a utility or need for the blog comment section and have it removed...
But if you see along the right side of this webpage, in a capitalistic society that we are in, this page is currently being 'sponsored' by those that have their ads on this page. So long as this page offers ad space, they will have this page and so long as people dwell on this page to see what others post on it for comment, that is also more ad-time for the masses to see the ad and maybe just one tenth of a percent of those masses might just click on the ad link and be redirected to their page...And that means money...Don't you just love it?

Brett from Oriskany,VA   April 9th, 2010 4:52 pm ET

I have never seen anything like this on CNN! Where did all the wackos come from? Where's moderation?Who needs commentary from people to ignorant to understand what is being discussed? They have Fox news.
Technology continues to amaze me. I think of Louis Leakey trudging around the Olduvai gorge in the 110 degree heat. I'm sure he'd have appreciated this. Hope to see many more finds.

nadia malik   April 9th, 2010 5:22 pm ET

the universe and everything in it was created by a supreme being and for a purpose, I wonder why the atheist just find it too difficult to accept in the face of overwhelming evidence. I consider an insult for wisentists to call humans a higher animal cause we have nothing really in common apart from the fact that we are both tenants on earth. So I urge the evolutionists to accept creation and change their faulty career on what would benefit the generality of the human race like finding the elixir for life or the philosophers stone

Bill   April 9th, 2010 7:47 pm ET

Nadia (from first post at bottom), How could you argue that we would be better off without understanding evolution. Atheists are the truly rational group, as we base understanding on facts. Where is the evidence of a supreme being. Often the religious turn toward a god because they don't have an answer to a question. Instead of looking for an answer, you turn towards a "supreme being". Base beliefs on facts, not on a lack of understanding.

Musa   April 9th, 2010 8:36 pm ET

Science&technologe is verry important in life, but history can tell the world abaut what hapone in 1million years ago!only the history of our let prophet.

Mr. Fart   April 9th, 2010 11:28 pm ET


gadfly   April 10th, 2010 12:58 am ET

I think some of the people posting on here are simply trolls having a bit of fun. If they aren't, they certainly are ignorant. 10,000 years indeed.

Reader   April 10th, 2010 1:14 am ET

The worst part about religious "fundamentalism" of any kind is that it's followers always ignore the parts of their holy books and even their own history which don't fit their narrow views. These people are, sadly, the ones so in love with their own words that they scream too loudly for anyone to hear the any voice, much less the voice of reason. At one time, the Islamic empires kept the words of the Greek philosphers alive for posterity. They were the heirs to the knowledge of Rome. The Moors were the greatest scientists of their day. When religious fundamentalism moves in, reason moves out.

Nomis   April 10th, 2010 8:20 am ET

OK, we found some old bones. Now what? This is too confusing. Get me out of here. Scotty, beam me up.

Sven Hoek   April 10th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

AP: Scientists report today using a satellite, they have been able to identify remnants of Ancient Sumeria dating back to the Third Rectification of the Vuldranei, a time during which Gozer the Gozerian came and appeared in the form of a large and moving Slorg. Many Shubs and Zhouls rued that day, the scientist reported. In the same report, scientists released a satellite photo image of a caricature Mohammed drawn by President Ahmadinejad of Iran in his "Dicatorial Palace" this past Tuesday

Satellites are your friends. Fanatics with their heads up their but, be they Christian, Jew, or miscellaneous are not your friend.

tomk   April 10th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

you didn't spell "retarted" correctly.

Steve   April 10th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

I thiink Nadia is just messing with us...too articulate not to see the inherent contradictions in the statements. "fess up Nadia – you are just playing us.

HetNet   April 10th, 2010 5:20 pm ET

What is this apparent illiteracy that always seems to go hand in hand with religious fanaticism?
I mean, if you can't even spell or construct a proper sentence, why would I think you might be any better informed about anything else?

Owl   April 10th, 2010 6:38 pm ET

Remember the old days not to long ago when comments lacked the rudeness, crudeness, and hatred towards fellow human beings.

Maybe if our leaders and talk show radio hosts would show some civility, the "Neanderthal" crowd would calm down.

Lee   April 10th, 2010 10:10 pm ET

It's really fun to watch all the liberals in here posting about the hate from those who don't agree with their view of things. If you want to see true hate, just read the comments under some Sarah Palin articles on CNN, or maybe take a trip over to DemocraticUnderground and read a while.
On the subject of finding skeletons, none of the stuff they find and dig up on earth ever lived here, except for what we know about in the immediate past. You know, humans, dogs, cat's, horses, elephants, etc. Our scientists believe everything we know about started with a big bang. And that's true. There was a humongous planet that filled almost the whole universe, and it was filled with some of the worst, meanest creatures of various sorts you've ever seen. Then one day, for no apparent reason, it blew up.

Of course, everything that was on it and in it, was blown out into the universe where it swirled around and around until it formed into a solid ball, or planet as we now know them. Our planet, earth, contains some of the remnants of that humongous planet, along with pieces of it's population, which included the various things we find and dig up here now. Now, this is only my theory, but it sounds more reasonable to me than what I've read from scientists.

oh please   April 10th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

they didnt use the tech to find a lizard- READ THE ARTICLE –

they found CAVES ok, CAVES and doing so, led them to find the remains.

the satelites cant see lizards ok?

Theyre not freaking SCI FI film doesnt exist that can do that so please READ

Jethro   April 11th, 2010 12:43 am ET

I can't believe this argument persists. Don't you people see that evolution is creation.

Lee   April 11th, 2010 1:26 am ET

Jethro said:
"I can't believe this argument persists. Don't you people see that evolution is creation."

I'll tell you what's even harder to believe, and that's that this argument even exists. The same people who support evolution will call on God when they're in pain or dying, yet deny there is one as long as they feel ok and everything is going along smoothly. What kind of person is it that can look around at what's here on this earth and say "yep, it's obvious to me that all this just happened and nobody had a thing to do with it"? Tell you what: it takes far more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe there was a God who did what He says He did and created all that we know about.

When you lay down at night and fall asleep, consider all that has to work just right for you to wake up the next morning, get out of bed, and go to work or whatever. Hold your hand out in front of you and open and close it, work your fingers. Then tell yourself "thank goodness for evolution"! Sounds sort of silly, don't it? lol

Harry   April 11th, 2010 2:34 am ET

@Lee: Silly? What sounds silly to me is thinking of all the complexity that is the universe and life and all the millions upon millions of years the universe, galaxies, solar system, planets, and organisms have had time to change and then globbing all that as the bored actions of an omnipotent deity (i.e. God).

All the permutations that have existed; some failing and some succeeding in producing life (if you want to call life success) just out of sheer chance/timing. All the intricacies involved in all the construction/mechanics/interactions of all the pieces/processes of organisms, the cycle of life, the planets, the universe. You catch my drift.

Daleri Rileda   April 11th, 2010 3:59 am ET

Evolution has nothing to do with party lines or anything and it is not science, it is not factual so let's just get rid of it. We don't need it. It's useless. It does no one any good. It doesn't benefit anyone and it is not even true. There is no basis for it. A few bone fragments prove nothing. The sea life is always going to be found at the bottom of the sea floor and everything else is going to be above that. Objects do not do what people believe they do. They don't order any of the information of life forms. You can't credit objects for making anything. No machine part ever works apart from design and life forms are made of nanomachines that work with purpose and intent by orders from a preexisting design. It literally takes billions of digits of observable directives that order the formation of nanomachines to make us what we are. No element that we are made of is without purpose or intent. That means the entire universe made of the very same elements is also by design. That means our Designer/Creator is greater than the deepest deep field in every direction. He stretched out the universe in such a way that everything works as it does in a highly calibrated way. Teach the observable facts of Creation. Don't teach the fantasy baseless false cult belief of evolution.

Guy Kimble   April 11th, 2010 6:39 am ET

This is America Buddy!

oxbobend   April 11th, 2010 8:41 am ET

Stories about creation will be found in your local library, under FICTION. Stories about evolution will be found under the science section. Some people's kids.

nadia malik   April 11th, 2010 11:18 am ET

No evidence for evolution

There is no evidence that evolution has occurred because no transitional forms exist in fossils i.e. scientists cannot prove with fossils that fish evolved into amphibians or that amphibians evolved into reptiles, or that reptiles evolved into birds and mammals. Perhaps becuase of this a surprising number of contemporary scientists support the Creation theory.

nadia malik   April 11th, 2010 11:20 am ET

The eye that enables some organisms to see in the dark is so complex that no proven theories for its evolutionary development have yet been put forth. The Compound Eye "has all of the hallmarks of intelligent design and defies attempts to explain it through natural mechanisms".

nadia malik   April 11th, 2010 11:50 am ET

By then humans would have developed wings for easy mobility to other planets and I wont be too surprised if humans end up being amphibians once more so that we can overcome sea creatures in their domain. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAH

Mary   April 11th, 2010 12:36 pm ET

Gee, there are a lot of really ignorant people posting about this topic. Why don't you all go back to ding-dong school and let the grownups comment on this important scientific discovery.

Daleri   April 11th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

Amphibians don't even grow the same way as other animals. Some people on this blog are not addressing the issues. Objects cannot do what you believe they do. There is no science behind evolution. It is all fantasy. Your fantasy of things evolving has no basis and there is no evidence of it happening. Evolution fantasy does no one any good. We need to get rid of it because it is useless and baseless.

nadia malik   April 11th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

thanks Daleri.
I wish Mary and oxbobend had a little common sense. Alas! common sense is not even common fro the look of things

nadia malik   April 11th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

It is now very obvious that the more education someone gets, the more foolish he/she becomes. The scriptures said that anyway. For your information evolutionists, I can confidently say that the Bible is light years ahead of any science or scientific discovery. I am a non practicing moslem but have more faith in it than the quran

Lee   April 11th, 2010 7:04 pm ET

@Harry-Yeah, I catch your drift.

But have you ever noticed how many if's, maybe's, we thinks, etc., are in scientist's description of what they're telling people? To me, that makes it sound like they don't know. I understand that humans know certain things for a fact, and it can be depended on. But this business of teaching evolution, with all those if's, maybe's , we think, in it, is just guesswork. If some people want to think and believe they descended from monkeys, that's fine with me. It don't cost me a dime extra for them to believe that. The problem is, they want to force everybody else to accept that as fact. I can't, and won't, go along with that.

Tim   April 11th, 2010 11:09 pm ET

Quote from The_Mic:
As a certified master chemist, let me say that carbon dating does have a scientific basis, although it's rarely used on anything as old as this fossil. The Sun bombards the atmosphere at a relatively constant rate and the atmosphere constantly contains 78% nitrogen. Some of those N-14 molecules are converted by the Sun's energy to C-14. That results in the the ratio of C-14 to the "standard C-12 being constant while we are alive and eating things that are plants or which themselves ate plants that incorporate that constant concentration of C-14 from the atmosphere. But after we die, the radioactive C-14 decays into other elements at a constant rate but the C-12 remains unchanged. So if you can determine the ration of C-14 to C-12, you can tell how long a carbon containing object has been dead.
Just curious, if a global event changed the "constant" amount of nitrogen in the air from 78% to 74% (or 82%), would not all subsequent carbon dating have to be modified to account for the change in the atmosphere?

So, if a global event happened, let's say 4000 years ago, and we didn't take that into account, wouldn't all carbon-dating before that point be skewed/inaccurate?

Or, if the amount of solar energy that penetrated the earth's atmosphere were to change (due to a global event), would that not also skew any prior carbon dating?

Basically the point is, with all we know has changed about our planet over the millennia, is it really inconceivable that the "constants" you require for accurate carbon dating are actually "variables" that can be changed by global events?

A True Muslim   April 12th, 2010 7:24 am ET

I just want to share a cautionary note regarding some of the comments here.

The Qur'an is very clear on the point of evolution. It states that God created man from a lump of alluvial clay in stages, perfecting him over time. On that basis the vast majority of Muslims believe in evolution as a part of the creation process. In other words, we don't see a conflict between scriptures and science.

What we do see, too often, are false arguments purported by people mascarading as Muslims. None of the contrary arguments I have seen here are consistent with Islam.

nadia malik   April 12th, 2010 8:24 am ET

I thought the quran said it was from a clot of blood (we need to find out where the blood came from in the first place). Just another case of inconsistency in the quran. Thats what you get when a demon dictates to an illiterate murderer and paedophile who suddenly elevates one of the 365 gods of the arabs to the status of a mighty bloodthirsty god

nadia malik   April 12th, 2010 8:34 am ET

I hope its a fait accompli and obvious fact that about 80% of the quran was plagiarized from earlier books – torah, bible and other books which could not make ii into the bible. The only original contents in the quran are the hate verses against infidels

Jim   April 12th, 2010 8:44 am ET

Carbon dating is accurate if you assume that the levels of radioactive carbon have been uniform throughout time and the object has never been under water. The levels of radio active carbon may not have been constant and if the object was ever under water then the parent and child leach out at different rates so the dating is flawed. But wait I seem to remember something about a world wide flood. Another consideration, it has been suggested by scientists (with mounting evidence) that the speed of light is not constant but was thousands of times faster at the big bang than it is now. (Google and verify) If true then all of the dating techniques are flawed.

korean   April 12th, 2010 9:58 am ET

wow!! there are so many comments!!

jack merridew   April 12th, 2010 10:06 am ET

:"It is now very obvious that the more education someone gets, the more foolish he/she becomes. The scriptures said that anyway. For your information evolutionists, I can confidently say that the Bible is light years ahead of any science or scientific discovery. I am a non practicing moslem but have more faith in it than the quran"

hahaha. . . . oh god. . . . . perfect

keep telling yourself that to make yourself feel more enlightened than the successful and affluent

Craig Landrum   April 12th, 2010 11:33 am ET

I don't worry overmuch about fundamentalists that insist that the world is less than 10,000 years old. As more and more of the high-paying jobs require a technical and scientific background, there will always be a need for manual laborers to pick the lettuce, sling the burgers, or mow my children's lawn. Eventually that is the only type of employment that intentionally stupid people will be able to find.

Anyone that eagerly believes – without question – outrageous things that other people tell them, seem sort of pitiful and desperate to me. It is so easy to learn and be informed in today's society that to willfully take an uninformed stance is pretty much the same as withdrawing from the human race. Civilization – as it always has – will only march forward based on knowledge and scientific advances and you either choose to be a part of that advance or not. Those who choose not to follow will become increasingly marginalized and their offspring doomed to second-class status.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

If all of the "religious fundamentalists" are wrong about God, then when they die, they will spend eternity completely oblivious to their prior lives and the fate of their soul. Because, when we die – thats it – we turn to dust ?

However, if they are correct about God, then when all of the non-believers die, they will spend eternity with full knowledge that they are seperated from God and possibly even in torment for all of eternity ?

Hmmmm...I think the "fanatics" have it figured out. I'm going to "err"
on their side ; – )

JoeGuest   April 12th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

Scott – look up Pascal's wager, and the rebuttals to it.

silverecho   April 12th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

It seems to be a tie between the intelligent people who are actually discussing the article and the morons who are discussing everything else.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

If i'm reading his theory correctly, Pascal is basically saying "better safe than sorry", when it comes to believing in God.

I can see where what I posted in my previous comment sounds similar to what Pascal said.

I don't believe in God out of necessity, i believe in my heart as easilly as I believe this blog exists...always have..always will. And if I need reassurance of God's existence I can just look around me..(see my second post)

The point I was really trying to make i guess was that fundamentalists are not "necessarily" the misinformed group here.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

Joe, thanks for that info by the way. very interesting.

Network   April 12th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

What a bunch of dorks, the article talks about finding caves and a bunch of hate mongering trolls start spewing filth..... ~big Sigh~

JoeGuest   April 12th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Scott – I think you got the crux of Pascal's argument.

I agree that fundamentalists are not "necessarily" misinformed, but you have to be careful to ensure everyone is talking about the same "informed about what". Science and faith don't really overlap (see Gould's magisteria concept).

Which is why I don't think fundamentalists that believe in, for example, a young earth, can use faith to dispute the science, any more than science can use the data we see to dispute someone's faith.

The trouble occurs when we try to overlap science and faith.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

I totally agree Joe.

There is no definitive evidence to disprove either belief system.

Christians are required to believe without proof.

John: 20:29 says (Jesus talking to doubting Thomas)

You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.

I hope that intelligent people are able to ask the question "what if i am wrong ?" what if there is a God ?

Sam   April 12th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

If biblical decedents ate from a tree promising the “fruit of knowledge” then start using it. Get up off your lazy-boy chair, turn off that big screen TV during football season and for the gods sake… power down your PC. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree after all. At least Atheists have common sense on most all topics, where as, religion seems to sway compulsively on every topic.

JoeGuest   April 12th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

And that is where we will have to disagree. Science is not a belief system – it is a process we use to examine the natural world. Science requires evidence – faith does not. Science will change over time – faith will not. That, I believe, is the fundamental difference.

JoeGuest   April 12th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

I was replying to Scott, not Sam, for any of you following at home.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

But what if you are wrong ?

Scott   April 12th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

i was replying to Sam "But what if you are wrong ?"

Scott   April 12th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

I stand corrected. Science is not a belief system. But it is of men, and men have been wrong. So that means science could be wrong, no ?

Scott   April 12th, 2010 2:44 pm ET

And thre is compelling evidence on both sides, regarding creation versus evolution or whatever...

My argument (and i'm not arguing, just provoking thought) is,
if you are wrong about God, you sacrifice eternity. Isn't that worth reconsideration ?

Sam   April 12th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

Scott: Religion is exactly what it is.. Religion. Science begins with theory and then turns to fact until disproven or more excitingly, built upon. Science is encouraged to be proven wrong. Let me explain. No one is offended when new facts or theories are presented. But try digging into the past of any religion, many ppl become very angry if there believe system is disproven. In fact, Dante’s Inferno is a great place to start and nothing is scientific about it. Every one just believes… or was crucified by questioning it.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Science is a wonderful thing. I'm not trying to dispute scientific findings. Although they are wrong at times.

Religion is a wonderful thing, and it is wrong at times..and bad things have happened in the name if religion.

I am not pitting science against religion.

The original topic I believe was a possible piece of evidence that was found in a cave that may or may not support the theory evolution.

The topic then turned to religious versus scientific theory on the origin of the universe. And I am merely posing the question. "What if there is a God and you are wrong ?"

Andy   April 12th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

My religious affiliation has nothing to do with the scientific discoveries made in the past 200 years. Science answers questions regarding what I can construct from what I see in front of me. To me, religion answers the "why" questions in a way that allows me to harmonize myself with my place in the Universe and my purpose for being here. Anything more than that is pseudoscience and self-delusion.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

Again, I am not disputing the validity of either science or religion.
I'm a religious person who is a professinal in the field of computer "science". I love science.

The problem with this discussion often seems to become a territorial dispute of sorts. "don't tell me i'm wrong your wrong" kind of thing.

Everyone is out to prove they are correct.

As a Christian, i've asked the question "what if I am wrong" ? If I am wrong – oblivian when I die. I turn to dirt and I am none the wiser.

I'm asking those who might ridicule my beliefs, what if you are wrong ?

buster   April 12th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

Scott – I think any scientist (and many atheists) will happily concede that they may be wrong about any number of things. Facts can lead to contradictory theories, and some contradictions cannot be resolved with certainty. In addition, it is impossible to prove the negative, so even an atheist cannot say with certainty that there is no God, just that they have not seen evidence of one that compels them to believe. I defy you, however, to find that kind of openmindedness in the faithful about their faith.

Sam   April 12th, 2010 3:42 pm ET

I am very comfortable with knowing that there is not a heaven, hell. I am very comfortable knowing when I die my cremated remains will be scattered on earth and will contribute to the same life cycle process that everything else goes through when it dies.
If I am wrong and there is an eternal life after death, I would not base it on religion and fantasize (heaven or hell) what it would be like. It would just be a natural process of what has always happened theoretically. It has not been scientifically explained because there is not any factual information to base and test a legitimate theory yet. (But the big bang theory is coming along nicely.) So, If there is an eternal life after death I would not base on religion and I think I would not even have an awareness of it if dead. And if that is the case, I feel the whole debate is interfering with what we can do in this life time instead of imagining “what it would be like” every night at bed time or having someone tell me. I feel evolution is very plausible if I compare it based on the extensive research that has gone into proving the religious possibilities of where we came from.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

Buster – great point. christians do tend to be stubborn and often judgemental of non-christians. part of the reason christians get bad press sometimes. (lets face it alot of the time)

we're not a whole lot different from atheists in our ability to be "christ-like". the only difference is our's what we believe saves us in the end.

for me, personally – i know the truth, and you are correct i'm not open to anything else

buster   April 12th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

Back on the original topic – I think the discovery discussed in the article is a terrific example of applied technology, and I look forward to new finds and new information in the future. Given that we continue to find new things alive in the world today that we never knew about, there are surely many discoveries about our past to look forward to that will surprise and illuminate.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 3:54 pm ET

Well Sam, at least you had the guts to answer the question.

Scott   April 12th, 2010 3:55 pm ET

And buster, on the original topic. gottaa love google earth, huh ?

Sam   April 12th, 2010 4:05 pm ET

Thank you Scott.

Bob Hope   April 12th, 2010 5:02 pm ET

Interesting how we want freedom of speech, only if the right things are said. Some say it is a privilege, not a right. Others talk about posting comments that do not have to do with this article, which has nothing to do with this article. Freedom of speech means you have to take the bad with the good. I do not support any comments posted. I am just stating an observation.

zunedog   April 12th, 2010 8:57 pm ET

i lost my keys,how do i get a hold of these people?

Sadge   April 13th, 2010 2:01 am ET

At first I was annoyed with the distraction of the religious discussion Vs. the scientific process comments... then I thought there must be some connection or we wouldn't be spending this much time discussing it. Life is certainly an amazing phenomena...

JOKER   April 13th, 2010 5:08 am ET

I read last week that Dick Cheney's wife used google earth to find his wenis. Unfortunately however, according to Mrs. Cheney, technology in the video enhancement arena has not advanced significantly enough to locate his brain, though she's yet to give up hope.

poopsicle   April 13th, 2010 8:24 am ET

did ya find my uncle eddy????hes three feet tall and he has a really big beard.....i love him

poopsicle   April 13th, 2010 8:25 am ET

oh and aunt harriot

Joe   April 13th, 2010 10:08 am ET

WOW. I wanted to see how they actually did it but all the posts are mostly junk. I like to bear hunt and also treasure hunt. Hidden caves figure highly in these endeavors.

Perhaps they just looked for openings but a lot of cave entrances are very small and many covered over or hidden by branches, rocks, and leaves, etc ...

Also what are they looking for. There are no signs that say cave here with an arrow. Does water run put of caves, is there an animal path, can they be seen at certain times of the day only, does it look like a hole from space. It is not as simple as you might expect.

Susan   June 7th, 2010 10:57 am ET

I long ago made my peace with evolution and the creation of the Bible. Whether it took a hundred billion years or 10,000 is a miracle that we were created. Everyone save your energy getting up in arms about this subject. Amazing how all natural things of this world work together and need. in million of cases, one another to survive.
Evolution? Creation? One day when I leave this old body I do believe I will understand and have knowledge of what exactly happened. Until then, I say amazing the tech we have. My son was on foot thru out the mountains in Afghanistan and from his photos it made it clear to me why it is so extrememly difficult to track anyone in those caves. Just abt impossible to get back into the ravines unless you know where a path is...

Bob   June 7th, 2010 11:14 am ET

There is no god.

Ein Vogel-frei   June 7th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

lizards . . .skeletons . . .blogtrolls . . . .all just reminds me of my Dad's wise saying about finding things: it's always in the last place you look. How old was I when I realized the truth of this – because after you find it, you stop looking?

DS   June 7th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

They interperet the satellite images to find or identify geologic information that leads them to where caves are likely to be.

DS   June 7th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

That was for Joe, not Susan, sorry

just a thought   June 20th, 2010 12:33 am ET

I've read a lot of hate on this board and that is quite sad. Just because we disagree is no reason to be rude. That applies both to the hateful comments against fundamentalist religious beliefs and to the holders of those beliefs.

Many Christians, myself included, have no problem with science and think that science only helps explain God's works and our appreciation of them. So attacking any religion on the basis of a few peoples remarks is totally uncalled for. Even about 40% of scientists (based of Gallup polls) like Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project from 1993-2008) believe in God, so insinuating that only the unintelligent can have religious beliefs is faulty logic.

Please, don't attack all of a religion/political viewpoint based on the views of a few.


(disclaimer... I'm not only a Christian, I'm a scientist, and a liberal)

Mekhong Kurt   October 4th, 2010 6:39 am ET

nadia malik wrote "the universe and everything in it was created by a supreme being and for a purpose, I wonder why the atheist just find it too difficult to accept in the face of overwhelming evidence."

"Overwhelming evidence." WHAT evidence, nadia? Some stories records, at the earliest, several decades after their supposed occurrence? Stories of fantastic magic circulated among mostly illiterate people? Or is it "evidence" when someone says, "I KNOW it's true because GOD SPEAKS TO MY HEART!!!" Yeah, right. If God speaks to so many hearts, how come He doesn't settle the issue for once and for all and appear as a giant image out in space talking to everyone - sound to our ears - all simultaneously? Actually, maybe several images spaced around the Earth, so everyone could see at least one simultaneously. Then do something neat like maybe make the Sun go out for a second on the daytime side, and the stars vanish on the night side. And do that repeatedly, using different ways of demonstrating godly power - maybe empty the entire world's oceans and seas all for a second or two, then letting them refill? - over months.

In any case, why should anyone accept one particular story over another. Everyone who claims this stuff to be true claims THEIR fairytale is SPECIAL and DIVINE and it's BLASPHEMOUS even to doubt it. But why *shouldn't* I worship, say, the Egyptian sun god, Ra? (Who, by the way, is a partial model for Christ.) Why should I believe that Pacific islanders, for example, who were born after Christ but before they had any contact with the outside world are damned to hell forever just because they hadn't converted to Christianity? Is the Christian god that cruel? Damn people who don't even KNOW to hell forevermore? Well, how about keeping that god locked up and in chains?

Nadia, there isn't a shred of SCIENTIFIC evidence. Another point you probably can't understand any better is that neither can science DISprove the existence of a god or several gods. Evidence? What evidence? The Bible? Even Christians can't agree among themselves - look at the differences, for starters, between the Catholic Bible (and there's no disputing the Catholics were the first organized church on the block) and, say, the St. James Version widely used by various Protestant denominations. There are comparable disputes in the other two Abrahamic religions, Judaism (Reformed, Orthodox, etc.) and Islam (Shiite, Sunni, Sufi, etc.).

Don't forget this historical fact, which sometimes shocks a devout Christian who has never considered it before: Christ was a JEW. He allegedly started a new religion, but he was born and raised a Jew. In Judaism.

But I'm probably wasting my breath. Fundamentalists think "The Flintstones" is a documentary series.

Mekhong Kurt   October 4th, 2010 6:51 am ET

"Lee April 10th, 2010 10:10 pm ET

It's really fun to watch all the liberals in here posting about the hate from those who don't agree with their view of things. If you want to see true hate, just read the comments under some Sarah Palin articles on CNN, or maybe take a trip over to DemocraticUnderground and read a while."


You're right, Lee. Sometimes reading the comments from the Loony Left and the Wingnut Right (the latter whom you conveniently omit) reminds me of what Fox offers up as "fair and balanced" news.

Why do people shake their heads at times? Well, what else can anyone do when some people believe (to take a single example) that Palin gazing at Russia across the Being Strait gives her foreign policy experience? Oh - I forgot: she also went to Canada for medical care, apparently a long time ago, though. So, since she looks at Russia and got a dose of medicine or some such in Canada, she's well-prepared for the 3:00 A.M. call. She might be a great lady - but presidential she is not. And don't blab about others aren't presidential, either. So what? For someone ELSE to lack presidential timber doesn't mean Palin somehow magically has ANY, much less MORE. That's like me saying that if you killed someone then if I kill someone, mine doesn't count.

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twertwert   August 25th, 2013 11:52 am ET














They are hammer our organs and hipotalamus when publish.

Personal training Long Island   January 11th, 2014 11:22 pm ET

I guess it is a cool thing. It's not what i thought when i first read the title. Really the satellite's are really just narrowing down locations.

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