World Science Scholars

2.5 Malapa & Rising Star

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    • This Master Class was filmed in May 2015, shortly before Lee Berger made the announcement that their discovery was a new species named Homo naledi. You might notice that some of his phrasing intentionally skirts important findings as they were yet unpublished. What do you think are the merits of announcing a discovery as soon as it is made? What are the merits of waiting until the findings are peer-reviewed and published?

    • One of the merits is that you know that there is more to be found even in the places you’ve looked there is not an outage of fossils from newer species it’s just an outage of looking in the places you wouldn’t expect.

    • Soon announcement: “Common knowledgebase” is increased and larger group of people can estimate the new results
      Delayed announcement: Errors clearly visible to the small group of people can be detected, thus more confirmed data into the “common knowledgebase”

    • Announcements without having been peer-reviewed and published, are questionable and doesn’t have a big impact. A second announcement after post peer-reviewed and published, doesn’t have a big impact. One chance for a first announcement Unfortunately impact is necessary for support and money, and also to encourage future scientist.

    • Just when I had finished saying elsewhere in another course discussion that scientists use math as their language, I now realize that this is a sciemce that does not require mathematical equations. Mainly deductive reasoning and logical thinking, perseverence and painstaking documentation. This is time travel backwards!

    • Peer reviewed and published is more than a stamp of approval by the scientific community. It also means that a scientific paper was written, and when possible, data are available for further study. A paper containing (a) an introduction and literature review, (b) a meticulous exposition of the methodology used, (c) an objective and logical presentation of results, and (d) an unbiased discussion of implications for the field, is paramount for the advancement of the field.

    • Waiting for verification is important but introducing a theory that is awaiting approval should not be frowned upon.

    • It’s like discovering how to cook excellent quality, fresh Italian pasta with plain tomato sauce, and then finding out how much better it tastes after adding a few, selected spices

    • I just had my teeth X-rayed during by dental appt. I think I should save thoseXray copies and leave them on my grave so that archaeologists don’t dig me up to find my teeth and send it for age verifaction thousands of years from now. Is’nt it descecration of grave sites?

    • I think peer review and fact check of a finding are very much important before declaring the discovery of a fossil, because we cannot risk giving incorrect information.

    • The advantage of doing it quickly is that you can see how happy the author is, and the other has the hype, and all the media want to know it

    • You have to publish the bare details immediately to prove authorship of the discovery.

    • Here’s the image of what we found in our backyard.

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    • Making unsubstantiated claims prematurely can cause confusion.

    • “We aren’t ready to say it now.” Sounds like there’s more that is being shared.

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