In February of 2017, the magazine "Nature" made public an unpublished document in the Winston Churchill , ex-prime british minister, presented a reasonable way the conditions necessary for life on other planets and the possibility that there are other civilizations besides our own in the Universe. The assay, preserved for decades in the US National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri (USA), was written in 1939, when Europe was on the brink of contention.
he was Not the only text in which the statesman showed his passion for science. Other 14 pages unknown, from the same era have been rescued from the files of Fulton. In this case, Churchill exposes its knowledge, nothing trivial at the time, about the evolution. And despite being a controversial issue then (even today in some circles), you address it without a hint of argument or feelings are not scientists: "Even you and I descend from an inhabitant of the sea of look a bit awkward," he says.
"just like with his essay on extraterrestrial life, I quickly discovered that while some of the details were incorrect or inaccurate (for information that was not yet known), Churchill had an excellent understanding of the overall picture," he says in the magazine "Scientific American", astrophysicist and popularizer Mario Livio , author of "The golden ratio", who has brought to light two texts.Selection naturalWinston Churchill - Baxter Brown Watson / US National Churchill Museum
The influential politician begins his brief description of the history of life with a story of how the Earth was formed, and although what is known about it has changed in the past few years, demonstrates his familiarity with ideas such as the plate tectonics is responsible for the formation of mountain ranges, something "quite remarkable", according to Livy, if one takes into account that the geophysical accepted this theory at the end of the decade of 1950.
Regarding the origin of life, Churchill acknowledges that "it remains a complete mystery" (it still is in great part) and refers boldly to the panspermia , the possibility that life on Earth came from outer space. In his view, the earliest form had to have been sustained from inert matter, and only developed thanks to the energy of the Sun. From there it focuses on the darwinian evolution , proving to know their rationale: "In every generation there are some members with features something different. If gives them an advantage against the environment or for the production of offspring, then, after many generations, the entire population would move to that feature," describes. And speaking of natural selection as an important factor for the change."creepy Monsters"
But for Livio, the most fascinating feature of the book is when it comes to human evolution. Churchill accepts that we are merely a natural product of darwinian evolution, as is any other living being. Refers to dinosaurs as "big creepy monsters of fantastic shapes and appearance of nightmare", and suggests that his disappearance was caused by the extreme temperature changes that resulted from geological events. Today we have convincing evidence was the product of an asteroid impact near the Yucatan peninsula, that generated something similar to a nuclear winter all over the world.
Regardless of the precise cause, Churchill deduced, correctly, that warm-blooded mammals began to prosper after this event. A branch of creatures similar to monkeys, concludes, "the flow of the various currents which lead to the monkeys, modern great apes, and one, at least, to the man." And notes with admiration how the drawings of the caves of France and Spain, created by "men and women" prehistoric , competing in quality with the modern art.
In a style that Livy describes as "inimitable", Winston Churchill ends the essay with a few sentences that are very valuable today as before the Second World War. He points out that the evolution of life on Earth shows that we have been able to survive the vagaries of fate and who, "in days of doubt and depression, we can find comfort in this thought and in the study of our history written in rocks on a time scale counts for a million years." Yes, we go forward as a species, but, as explained by Livio, now continue to do so largely depends on our own actions.Updated Date: 22 September 2019, 06:01