Browne-like, I wonder what a Leakey 200,000 years hence -- quite likely on present trends of the family's dedication to this field -- might deduce from our remains. And what might they miss? What could they never know?
Today, there are many more chemicals in greater volume in the environment that are hormonally active and therefore interact with breast cells in detrimental ways. One hundred years ago, they didn't exist and breast cancer was a relatively uncommon disease.
In her powerful TEDTalk, Louise Leakey shares that we are big brained, upright and walking hominids. It's that big brain that differentiates us from our homo erectus brothers, including the chimpanzee and great apes.
Where did the atoms of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, and iron (all essential for life) come from? When Joni Mitchell sang "We are stardust," she was poetically giving the correct answer to this question.
What if we made our first obligation to the planet and those already here, and that means not just humans, but as conservationist Dave Foreman calls them, "wild things" (all other living beings on earth)?
What the fossil record does is force us to contemplate our place on the planet. We are but one species of several hominids that inhabited planet earth and like our distant cousins who went extinct fairly recently, our time on planet earth is also finite.