One of the most surprising facts about the Earth is how we easily forget that what an amazing and interesting planet we live on. As Carl Sagan pointed out, “It’s home, it’s us”. It is the only world known planet to support an atmosphere with free oxygen, liquid water on the surface, and, perhaps this is the most important amazing, life. Here are 50 scientific facts about the Earth.
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What are the biggest great white sharks ever recorded? The great white shark (scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias) is not the biggest shark (that title goes to the whale shark), but they are the largest predatory fish on Earth. According to the Guinness World Records Book, full-grown adults are average 4.3-4.6 meters (14-15 feet) in length, and generally, weigh 520-770 kg (1,150-1,700 lb). But there are many (unconfirmed) claims of huge specimens up to 10 meters (33 feet) in length. Newspapers and home photo albums are full of unconfirmed huge great white tales. And although few have been properly authenticated, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the largest great white sharks grow to more than 6 meters (20 feet) in length.
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Birds (Aves) range in size and weight from the 5 cm (2 in) and 1.6-2 grams bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) and 104-156 kg (229-344 lbs) ostrich. Here are the top 15 largest bird species in the world (by body weight).
Birds form one of six basic animal groups, with the others being amphibians, fish, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles. They are endothermic vertebrates, characterized by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. They reproduce by laying of hard-shelled eggs (eggs fertilize inside the female). The fossil record indicates that birds are the last surviving group of dinosaurs. So, they are also termed avian dinosaurs.
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Here are the top six largest fish species (within around 33,100 described species).
But, first of all, what is a fish? At first, it looks like an easy question, but in fact it is not. There are a wide range of animals we call “fish”, so it is not easy to define what makes a fish “a fish”. A general description: “a fish is any member of a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits” (wikipedia).
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All fishes have a brain protected by a braincase, and an obvious head region with eyes, teeth, and other sensory organs.
Another unique and interesting friendship between a wild reptile and a man, like the famous story of Chito and Pocho. This Japanese man, named Nobumitsu Murabayashi, keeps a giant caiman as a pet, and even walks with him in the town center of Kure City, Hiroshima, Japan – with the permission of the city hall.
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Like crocodiles, snakes also suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration in the internet era. In fact, it is very difficult to measure how large actually a snake is, especially if it’s really big. So, how big are the largest snakes actually?
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The largest insects on Earth – preparing such a list is not an easy task. Because, how can you identify the “large”? It is a relative term: if you mean the “bulkiest” by largest, for instance, this title may go to the Goliath beetle (Goliathus), which are among the largest insects on Earth, if measured in terms of size, bulk, and weight. They measure from 60–110 millimeters (2.4–4.3 in) for males and 50–80 millimeters (2.0–3.1 in) for females, as adults, and can reach weights of up to 80–100 grams (2.8–3.5 oz) in the larval stage, though the adults are only about half this weight. Or maybe Actaeon beetle (Megasoma actaeon) claims the title, which is a rhinoceros beetle, a member of the Scarabaeidae family. They can be up to 7 centimeters (2.8 in) across, with a body length of up to 13.5 cm (5.4 in) long by 4 cm (1.6 in) thick.
If you are looking for the “heaviest”, check out the Giant Weta, the heaviest insect in the world. A female giant weta filled with eggs can reach up to 70 grams!
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If you search for the fastest land animals on the Internet, you will find many “fastest animals” lists, most of them are popular “top list” sites. But, in fact, there is a tendency to overestimate the speed of fast animals. Even the speed of the world’s fastest land animal, cheetah’s speed is usually highly overestimated.
Measuring an animal’s speed is a very hard task, and very few of them were properly authenticated. Some of them are really fast, that’s true, but what is the exact number? This information is usually not measured correctly.
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After the extinction of the dinosaurs, approximately 66 million years ago, the rise of mammals begun. There were mammals on earth before that date, but after the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event (a mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth, including all non-avian dinosaurs), mammals took over the medium- to large-sized ecological niches. Some of these mammals reached enormous sizes, and usually, they were larger than today’s counterparts (with the exception of whales). Here are some of the largest prehistoric mammals ever known.
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Like all prehistoric counterparts of today’s animals, the prehistoric cats were usually larger, heavier and more robust than today’s felines. Here are the top five largest prehistoric cats.
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For a comparison, male African Lions sometimes exceed 250 kg (550 lb) in weight. Reported body measurements in males are head-body lengths ranging from 170 to 250 cm (5 ft 7 inches to 8 ft 2 inches), tail lengths of 90–105 cm (2 ft 11 in–3 ft 5 in). Male Siberian (Amur) tigers have a head and body length of between 190–230 cm (75–91 in) and weigh between 180 to 306 kg (397 to 675 lb).