Looking Back

“Ian, what do you think of these tattoos?” I crossed the lab to have a look. They were quite decorative, for the times at least. Admittedly we have a very tiny pool to compare from, but we don’t normally see concentric designs on the tattooed flesh of Neanderthal man; a series of dots and lines running from the wrist to the elbow.

“Looks a little like morse code don’t it.” Bob had a good old look before smiling and nodding. “Yes it does, do you know any morse code?”

He was ragging me of course, morse code 1.5 million years ago. We checked, just to be thorough, it made no sense at all; and why would it, English 1.5 million years ago.

But there was something about it, it didn’t look like art, it had a different form to it, not many repeated patterns, but where there were, it was enough to remind you of reading a foreign script for the first time. The more we thought about it, and the more we looked at it, the more the idea took us.

A communication of some sort, but what, and in what form?

“What if we scanned it and put it through the old computer?” So that is exactly what we did.

The result when it came was astounding. You see it was communication, it was a pattern of four repeating letters, in differing pairs, it was a genome, it was a human genome.

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Lee Douglas

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