‘Retracing linguistic data essential to understand human evolution’: Italian philosopher of science at SIBF 2022
Science of life is a series of accidents, alternatives, and errors that has worked quite well for Homo sapiens, says famed Italian biologist
Sharjah, November 06, 2022
Human evolution and migration are intertwined to the cultural correspondence, opined Italian scientific philosopher and evolutionist Telmo Pievani during a cultural session titled ‘Science in Our Lives’ at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).
Held at Expo Centre Sharjah where SIBF 2022 runs until November 13, the panel session was moderated by Ida Zilio Grandi, Director, Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi.
“The science world was astounded at the discovery of six different species of the human race, who all migrated out of Africa. However, Homo sapiens is the only race that survived evolution so far and, I believe, the answer to the mystery is in culture and linguistics. There were no major changes in anatomy, genetics or several other factors that could potentially wipe out a species. Hence, we conclude that it must have been the change in thinking and thereafter,” he said.
Popularly known as the ‘Sherlock Holmes of the past’, the popular podcast host said that scientists today have the moral duty to make their research and methodologies understandable to the public. “Before presenting my first scientific research, my mentor reminded me how scientific breakthroughs must be accessible and transparent to the public. It is one of the main reasons behind writing children’s books on science.”
He added: “Children are more open to evolution, as a non-linear progression. Kids love curious narratives and are often happy when science admits to mistakes.”
Talking about serendipity in science, Pievani said: “Our species has differentiated itself from other human races with their prolonged periods of learning and perseverance. Images of a potential research, backed by strong theories, get busted very often in science. Serendipity is fundamental to science, and I believe it is an oriental thought process at core.”
Pievano said that the human brain is still undergoing massive evolution and creativity is a byproduct of accidents. “The universe proceeds through random DNA copying errors that fuel evolution and transform natural selection. The anatomical and functional jumble is in the human brain and our many bodily mismatches,” he concluded.