The Epic History of Biology

By Anthony Serafini | Go to book overview

Epilogue

Where biological curiosity will lead in the years to come is anyone's guess. It is, I think, inevitable that someone, someday, will clone a human being. Should that happen, our traditional concepts of "personhood," the soul, and much of our ethical tradition will behold itself in turmoil. That said, it is an unarguable truth that the field of bioethics will simply continue to expand as more and more troubled scientists, philosophers, theologians, and laypeople try to meet such crises.

In geology a spectacular claim emerged in January of 1993, adding to the continuing controversy over "catastrophism." At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the geologists Michael Rampino of New York University and Verne Oberbeck of NASA's Ames Research Center in California claimed that asteroids colliding with the earth might have initiated movements of the continents, producing debris long supposed to have been caused by glacial movement. Such collisions, some thought to have originated some 250 million years ago, could have triggered the mass extinctions the are thought to have occurred at that time. According to some estimates, close to 96 percent of all species perished in that cataclysm.

In paleontology, a remarkable find also occurred in 1993, when Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago found a complete skeleton of the most primitive dinosaur so far discovered. This adds tremen

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