The Sunni-Shiite Conflict, Islam & The American Media.

The Sunni-Shia conflict is something that raged on since the beginning


of  Islam, and it will surely go on for countless centuries. Both groups


share the same principles of Islam, but I guess what you would call,


"slight technicalities" separate the two. The main different is that Shia


Muslims believe that when Muhammad died, leadership should've have


been passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law. They have not recognize


elected Islam leaders throughout history, and instead follow a line of


Imams that hey believe to be chosen by Muhammad or God Himself.


Sunnis believe that an elected official capable of leadership should be


elected, and the leaders power may be revoked by the people as


necessary. Shia Muslims feel hostility toward some of the elected


leaders that were Muhammad's companions, because of their opinions


and actions. There are, of course more minor details


The media in general, especially the American media, are out to catch the action.


The money is in the action-packed battles and scandal-filled feuds, and in this


strongly capitalist society, money is all that matters. They don't need to stop and


waste time on detail. That is when your average American gets bored, and


switches channels to learn more about Paris Hilton's newest felony, or Lindsey


Lohan's progress in rehab. The reality is, Americans sometimes tend not to care


much about complicated and ancient details. The media is trying to portray the


conflicts occurring for no apparent reason, other than Muslims living in countries


such as Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan or Pakistan are barbarian anarchists. That is


more interesting and entertaining than a reporter standing in the studio, explaining


the details. America being a primarily Christian nation, they want people to look


how the Muslims are handling their differences, and then here, all the Christian


sects live together peacefully. Actually, the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland


have a bloody history of fighting. The average American is extremely ill-informed


by the media. It is not convenient enough to look into a complicated item of


interest. It is easier to turn the TV on and trust the friendly reporter that he is


telling the absolute truth.

            Even for those who understand the differences between the two sects, it


is hard to understand why there is a war going on over a few small details.


You'd think, "Why can't they just settle their differences and get along?" That is


kind of like saying, "Why can't conservatives and liberals just get along? They


aren't much different." That is eerily similar to the Shia and Sunni war, because


America is in the same type of civil war. Conservatives vs. Liberals. The actual


meaning of the two groups is long since unknown, as all you can do is pin


political stances and opinions on the two groups, such as all liberals being against


the death penalty, and all conservatives are against abortion. This very strongly


relates to the two Muslim sects. What a lot of Americans can't understand is the


strong passion and love and hate the followers are brought up with. That is all


they know, and they will fight for it to the end. Their life is no price to pay for


fighting God's war. This is the same with Muslims and Jews and Christians and


Muslims and so on. We all kill each other because God told us to.

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New fossils suggest human ancestors evolved in Europe, not Africa

Experts argue the jaws of an ancient European ape reveal a key human ancestor.

Surprising Science
  • The jaw bones of an 8-million-year-old ape were discovered at Nikiti, Greece, in the '90s.
  • Researchers speculate it could be a previously unknown species and one of humanity's earliest evolutionary ancestors.
  • These fossils may change how we view the evolution of our species.

Homo sapiens have been on earth for 200,000 years — give or take a few ten-thousand-year stretches. Much of that time is shrouded in the fog of prehistory. What we do know has been pieced together by deciphering the fossil record through the principles of evolutionary theory. Yet new discoveries contain the potential to refashion that knowledge and lead scientists to new, previously unconsidered conclusions.

A set of 8-million-year-old teeth may have done just that. Researchers recently inspected the upper and lower jaw of an ancient European ape. Their conclusions suggest that humanity's forebearers may have arisen in Europe before migrating to Africa, potentially upending a scientific consensus that has stood since Darwin's day.

Rethinking humanity's origin story

The frontispiece of Thomas Huxley's Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature (1863) sketched by natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As reported in New Scientist, the 8- to 9-million-year-old hominin jaw bones were found at Nikiti, northern Greece, in the '90s. Scientists originally pegged the chompers as belonging to a member of Ouranopithecus, an genus of extinct Eurasian ape.

David Begun, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, and his team recently reexamined the jaw bones. They argue that the original identification was incorrect. Based on the fossil's hominin-like canines and premolar roots, they identify that the ape belongs to a previously unknown proto-hominin.

The researchers hypothesize that these proto-hominins were the evolutionary ancestors of another European great ape Graecopithecus, which the same team tentatively identified as an early hominin in 2017. Graecopithecus lived in south-east Europe 7.2 million years ago. If the premise is correct, these hominins would have migrated to Africa 7 million years ago, after undergoing much of their evolutionary development in Europe.

Begun points out that south-east Europe was once occupied by the ancestors of animals like the giraffe and rhino, too. "It's widely agreed that this was the found fauna of most of what we see in Africa today," he told New Scientists. "If the antelopes and giraffes could get into Africa 7 million years ago, why not the apes?"

He recently outlined this idea at a conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

It's worth noting that Begun has made similar hypotheses before. Writing for the Journal of Human Evolution in 2002, Begun and Elmar Heizmann of the Natural history Museum of Stuttgart discussed a great ape fossil found in Germany that they argued could be the ancestor (broadly speaking) of all living great apes and humans.

"Found in Germany 20 years ago, this specimen is about 16.5 million years old, some 1.5 million years older than similar species from East Africa," Begun said in a statement then. "It suggests that the great ape and human lineage first appeared in Eurasia and not Africa."

Migrating out of Africa

In the Descent of Man, Charles Darwin proposed that hominins descended out of Africa. Considering the relatively few fossils available at the time, it is a testament to Darwin's astuteness that his hypothesis remains the leading theory.

Since Darwin's time, we have unearthed many more fossils and discovered new evidence in genetics. As such, our African-origin story has undergone many updates and revisions since 1871. Today, it has splintered into two theories: the "out of Africa" theory and the "multi-regional" theory.

The out of Africa theory suggests that the cradle of all humanity was Africa. Homo sapiens evolved exclusively and recently on that continent. At some point in prehistory, our ancestors migrated from Africa to Eurasia and replaced other subspecies of the genus Homo, such as Neanderthals. This is the dominant theory among scientists, and current evidence seems to support it best — though, say that in some circles and be prepared for a late-night debate that goes well past last call.

The multi-regional theory suggests that humans evolved in parallel across various regions. According to this model, the hominins Homo erectus left Africa to settle across Eurasia and (maybe) Australia. These disparate populations eventually evolved into modern humans thanks to a helping dollop of gene flow.

Of course, there are the broad strokes of very nuanced models, and we're leaving a lot of discussion out. There is, for example, a debate as to whether African Homo erectus fossils should be considered alongside Asian ones or should be labeled as a different subspecies, Homo ergaster.

Proponents of the out-of-Africa model aren't sure whether non-African humans descended from a single migration out of Africa or at least two major waves of migration followed by a lot of interbreeding.

Did we head east or south of Eden?

Not all anthropologists agree with Begun and his team's conclusions. As noted by New Scientist, it is possible that the Nikiti ape is not related to hominins at all. It may have evolved similar features independently, developing teeth to eat similar foods or chew in a similar manner as early hominins.

Ultimately, Nikiti ape alone doesn't offer enough evidence to upend the out of Africa model, which is supported by a more robust fossil record and DNA evidence. But additional evidence may be uncovered to lend further credence to Begun's hypothesis or lead us to yet unconsidered ideas about humanity's evolution.