Four Modern Breakthroughs that Ancient Science Just Missed

The ancient Greeks achieved some amazing things—and almost achieved several more.

  • Anaximander of Miletus / Evolution & Life’s Aquatic Origins: Anaximander was one of the first philosophers and the author of the earliest known philosophical text. He lived in the Greek city of Miletus in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) during the early 500’s B.C.E.—the age of Buddha, Confucius, and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. His observations led him to conclude that life sprang from the seas or from warm water covering the Earth. He also thought that the first animals were fish and that humans and other land animals descend from those fish. His logic, however, didn’t match Darwin’s. Fish fossils seem to have influenced Anaximander, but his main inspiration came from the fact that young fish aren’t dependent on their parents: they swim free the moment they hatch. So the very first fish could survive without parents. Young humans and land animals, on the other hand, do depend on parents, so the very first land creatures couldn’t have survived without parents. Their parents, then, must have been … fish. Anaximander had limited evidence and a convoluted theory, so his idea didn’t catch on. But 2500 years later, evolutionary theory reached similar conclusions, though for different reasons. Continue reading “Four Modern Breakthroughs that Ancient Science Just Missed”