Category Archives: Life on Earth

The Significance of Fossils in Revealing the Evolution on Earth

It’s ironic how calling a person a “monkey” or “orangutan” is considered offensive when we all know that humans are descended from these apes. Well, sometimes it is hard to find logic in the customs and practices of our society, but if you are willing to find the path of evolution that turned monkeys into the modern men, you may find the details in the fossil records.

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Scary Question: What Will Happen if Natural Resources Run Out?

On our wonderful planet, there are multiple natural resources that help make life easier. We use trees for making paper products and they provide us with oxygen. We use natural gas to heat our homes and coal to help us produce electricity. Freshwater fish are a staple in the American diet and we pump billions of barrels of oil out of the ground to fuel our automobiles.

But what happens when natural resources become scarce, or worse, when they run out?

What are the implications of such a thing? And how can we create environmental sustainability?

Here’s what you need to know.

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To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

From blob-like jellyfish to rock-like lichens, our planet teems with such diversity of life that it is difficult to recognise some organisms as even being alive. That complexity hints at the challenge of searching for life as we don’t know it – the alien biology that might have taken hold on other planets, where conditions could be unlike anything we’ve seen before. ‘The Universe is a really big place. Chances are, if we can imagine it, it’s probably out there on a planet somewhere,’ said Morgan Cable, an astrochemist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ‘The question is, will we be able to find it?’

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Earth can be a model for detecting vegetation on exoplanets

Back in December 1990, during its flyby of Earth, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies, pointed its instruments towards Earth, at the urging of Carl Sagan. And, it has found evidence of life on our planet. This can be a key to detect vegetation on exoplanets – which is a key to a possible intelligent extraterrestrial life.

In a paper published on Nature, researchers wrote “The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of abundant gaseous oxygen, a widely distributed surface pigment with a sharp absorption edge in the red part of the visible spectrum, and atmospheric methane in extreme thermodynamic disequilibrium. Together, these are strongly suggestive of life on Earth.”

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Largest 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 some great whites grow to more than 6 meters (20 feet) in length.

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Top 15 Largest Birds in the World

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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There are more microbial species on Earth than stars in the galaxy

For centuries, humans have endeavoured to discover and describe the sum of Earth’s biological diversity. Scientists and naturalists have catalogued species from all continents and oceans, from the depths of Earth’s crust to the highest mountains, and from the most remote jungles to our most populated cities. This grand effort sheds light on the forms and behaviours that evolution has made possible, while serving as the foundation for understanding the common descent of life. Until recently, our planet was thought to be inhabited by nearly 10 million species (107). Though no small number, this estimate is based almost solely on species that can be seen with the naked eye.

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Rainforests of the World (Infographic)

Rainforests are the oldest living ecosystems and without a shadow of a doubt, the most vital habitats on Earth. They cover only 6% of the Earth’s surface but yet they contain more than half of the world’s plant and animal species. According to the current estimates, around 40% to 75% of all biotic species are indigenous Notes 1 to the rainforests.

What’s more, there are probably millions of species of plants, insects, and microorganisms still undiscovered in tropical rainforests. They are responsible for 28% of the world’s oxygen turnover. More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest only, that’s why it has been described as the “lungs of our planet”.

Unfortunately, rainforests are rapidly disappearing due to deforestation. The loss is huge, and probably hundreds or even thousands of undiscovered species going extinct every single day. We are losing them forever.

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