Science in Other Locations

Finally, we have seen the reputation Atlas enjoyed among the Greeks for sea-voyages, astronomy and being the first to advance that the earth was a sphere. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to find that his descendants out in the Pacific, the Polynesians, knew that the earth was round and had names for the equator and both tropics. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

What Buache gives us is an eerily precise representation of Antarctica as it must have looked when there was no ice on it at all. His map reveals the subglacial topography of the entire continent, which even we did not have full knowledge of until 1958, International Geophysical Year, when a comprehensive seismic survey was carried out. That survey only confirmed what Buache had already proclaimed when he published his map of Antarctica in 1737. Basing his cartography on ancient sources now lost, the French academician depicted a clear waterway across the southern continent dividing it into two principal landmasses lying east and west of the line now marked by the Trans- Antarctic Mountains. Such a waterway, connecting the Ross, Weddell and Bellinghausen Seas, would indeed exist if Antarctica were fee of ice. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

Is it just a pile of rocks placed in a semicircle, or proof that Aborigines were astronomers since ancient times? After years of meticulous examination, a group of Australia's most distinguished astro-physicists is starting to believe it's the latter. Dubbed Wurdi Youang, the egg-shaped ring of stones, about 50 m in diameter, has its major axis almost exactly East-West. At its Western end, at the highest point of the circle, are three prominent waist-high stones. In 2003, J. Morieson pointed out that some outlying stones to the West of the circle, as viewed from these three stones, seem to indicate the setting positions of the sun at the equinoxes and solstices. In a study published five years later, astro-physicist Professor Ray Norris from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) et other researchers confirmed these alignments, showing that the straight sides of the circle also indicate the solstices. Norris said the precise alignment of the stones proved it was constructed to map the movements of the sun. "This can't be done by guesswork, it required very careful measurements. If it goes back, let's say, 10,000 years, that predates the Egyptians, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, all that stuff," Norris said, adding that "There's enough evidence there that it looks like these people really did know about these special directions. (154)

Some Aboriginal people had figured out how eclipses work, and knew how the planets moved differently from the stars. They used this knowledge to regulate the cycles of travel from one place to another, maximizing the availability of seasonal foods … In recent years, it has become clear that traditional Aboriginal people knew a great deal about the sky, knew the cycles of movements of the stars and the complex motions of the sun, moon and planets. There is even found a sort of “Aboriginal Stonehenge,” that points to the sunset on midsummer day and midwinter day. (Magicians of the Gods)