Hello. My name is Antonio. I decided to quit an IT career to pursue a long time passion – anthropology/archaeology.
Although the journey has been quite challenging, I have completed a B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology/Archaeology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ. I’ve also earned a Documentary Filmmaking certificate from Rutgers Mason Gross School of Arts.
(UPDATE 2/2016: I will have the distinct privilege of starting a Masters degree in the fall of 2016.)
My academic interests include human origins, hominin evolution, paleoenvironments & its effect on hominin adaptations, archaeology, geology, anthropology, genetics, and technology.
Other interests that stimulate my curiosity are botany, paleobotany, medicinal plants, the anthropology of shamanism, and prehistoric agriculture.
A major source of inspiration in my life is the astrophysicist Carl Sagan. He has seduced my mind & heart with the beauty of science and the wonders of the cosmos. I highly recommend reading his book, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.” He is part of the influence that led me to pursue a career change.
The evolutionary story of Humans is an incredible journey. No two-hour motion picture can truly encapsulate this vast story.
Primitive humans faced the toughest challenges across the brutal and unforgiving geological landscapes. In time, they learned to create tools and domesticate agriculture. This started to give rise to a settled life and the days of hunting-gathering slowly dwindled. Language, thoughts, crafts, and writing started to brew unhurriedly.
In a time that had no electricity, no media, no vehicles, no hospitals, and no industrial cities, humans attempted to identify with the unknown. Rumbling earthquakes, thunderous skies slashed with swords of lighting, volcanoes that angrily belched lava into the atmosphere – are some of the environmental processes that our primitive ancestors witnessed. Many responded by attributing much of these events to a god or gods. Ancient history is peppered with fascinating stories: The Pharaoh, whose job was to make the Sun rise and set everyday; the Incas who believed gods resided on the towering mountains, undertook long journeys to reach these heights and sacrificed young children to appease the gods; or the ancient Indonesians, who hurled the young down the mouth of a fiery volcano.
History is littered with countless similar stories.
These early religious thoughts evolved through time. Though we now have an understanding of geological processes and no longer sacrifice humans to appease gods, there are hundreds of religions existing today. Every one of them has their own unique flavor, their own beliefs, their own morals and ethics, and their own practices. Every so often, we may encounter a new extreme religious leader or an emerging religion, such as Scientology, who believes that an entity called Xenu brought billions of his people to Earth millions of years ago and killed them with hydrogen bombs. From my understanding, the ‘essences’ of the murdered remained on Earth, causing harm to humans, in which that Scientology can detect with a meter and assist you in eradicating the “evil spirits” using lengthy (and costly) auditing sessions.
Here is a timeless quote from my hero:
“We humans long to be connected with our origins so we create rituals. Science is another way to experience this longing. It also connects us with our origins, and it too has its rituals and its commandments. Its only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts — no matter how fond of it we are — must be discarded or revised. Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It is only a tool, but it is the best tool we have — self-correcting, ever changing, applicable to everything. With this tool we vanquish the impossible; with the methods of science we have begun to explore the cosmos. For the first time scientific discoveries are widely accessible. Our machines — the products of our science — are now beyond the orbit of Saturn. A preliminary spacecraft reconnaissance has been made of 20 new worlds. We have learned to value careful observation, to respect the facts even when they are disquieting, when they seem to contradict “conventional wisdom.” –Carl Sagan
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” -Carl Sandburg