Cosmography, n. the science which describes and maps the main features of the heavens and the earth, embracing astronomy, geography and geology. A description or representation of the universe, or world, in its main features. Taken from the Gk. Kosmographia description of the world.
Catastrophism, n. Geol. the doctrine that certain vast geological changes in the earth’s history were caused by catastrophes rather than gradual evolutionary processes.
A revolutionary new understanding of the Earth history began to emerge in the closing decades of the Twentieth Century. This new vision entails the realization that Earth is an intrinsic part of a cosmic environment and that events and conditions beyond the limits of the terrestrial domain have played a decisive role in determining the progression of life on Earth. But it also carries far-reaching implications for the future of Man and civilization on this planet, in that it is now realized that at least some of the interactions between the Earth and the cosmos are profoundly catastrophic. There is no exaggeration whatsoever in employing the term ‘catastrophic’ to describe the extreme alterations of Earth’s ecological and environmental balance that have repeatedly taken place over the lifespan of our planet. The reality of extreme environmental catastrophes has now been scientifically documented beyond equivocation. However, the implications of this new insight into the workings of Nature has so far managed to escape the attention of the vast majority of humanity, including those scientists, professionals and policy makers who should be heeding the portentous warnings clearly conveyed by the ever growing mass of new data and evidence.
In conjunction with this emergent understanding of Earth’s catastrophic history is the realization that Human history on Earth, its culture and civilization, is far older and richer, and far more profound than recognized by mainstream scholars and scientists only a generation ago. Ancient Man, it now appears, was far more culturally and scientifically sophisticated than the stereotypical Paleolithic primitive even recently envisioned by anthropological orthodoxy. Allied with this recognition of ancient achievement is the growing appreciation of the extreme antiquity of modern homo sapiens on Earth.
While the prevailing view of the past holds that history began in the Middle East around 5,000 years ago, it should be bourn in mind that modern humans appear to have occupied this planet for at least 150,000 years. It is becoming increasingly likely that the true history of man on Earth is far deeper and more complex than recognized up to now by established interpretations of prehistory.