Category Archives: Evolution

How and Why Sleep Evolved

Sleep. We all need it, and most of us don’t get enough of it. And even if we get the average recommended amount (the good old 8-hour dosage), that takes up about a third of our lives overall.

But why do we sleep, from an evolutionary standpoint? The fact that it’s so widespread in the animal kingdom attests to it having some kind of vital function. But it just seems like a waste of 8 hours, more or less.

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The end of the world: a history of how a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst

Thomas Moynihan, University of Oxford

It is 1950 and a group of scientists are walking to lunch against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. They are about to have a conversation that will become a scientific legend. The scientists are at the Los Alamos Ranch School, the site for the Manhattan Project, where each of the group has lately played their part in ushering in the atomic age.

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Humans walking on two legs because of exploding stars, new study says

Walking on two legs is an evolutionary leap that led humans to conquer the world. But, why humans are walking on two legs? It’s still unclear. Now, according to a new study published on the University of Chicago’s Journal of Geology, the reason might be exploding stars a few million years ago.

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8 Things that make Life on Earth Possible

Earth, our blue planet is an oasis in the vast, cold, and dark space. It is the only planet we know of that can support life. The fossil record tells us that life on Earth has lasted at least 3.5 billion years (the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old), with the oldest physical traces of life dating back 3.7 billion years. And, if some kind of disaster doesn’t intervene, our planet should continue to host life for at least another 1.75 billion years. Here are the 8 things that make life on Earth possible.

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Two neutron stars collided near the solar system 4.6 billion years ago

According to a new study published in the May 2, 2019 issue of Nature, 4.6 billion years ago, two neutron stars collided near the early Solar System (actually about 1000 light years from the gas cloud that eventually formed the Solar System). This violent collision has created heavy elements like silver, gold, platinum, cesium, and uranium. Study says 0.3% of the Earth’s heaviest elements have been created by this event.

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Is bigger always better, or will the tiny inherit the Earth?

As I scuba dive in Oslob Bay off Cebu Island in the Philippines, I see a tiny shadow dart over the surface of the spherical coral block – a minute fish, a goby of the genus Eviota, among the smallest vertebrates in existence, only about a centimetre long and less than 1/10th of a gramme light. It’s about a million times smaller than myself, with the same basic vertebrate body: a spinal cord, a bony skull, a brain, kidneys and a liver. With the exception of gills and lungs, the tiny fish and I share similar sets of organs, just at a very dissimilar size.

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How big is the blue whale? Watch to see

The blue whale (scientific name: Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whales (Mysticeti). Up to 31 meters (102 feet) in length and 190 tonnes (210 short tons) in weight, it is the largest extant animal and also is the heaviest known to have existed. But it’s hard to conceptualize how big these wonderful animals really are. To put things into perspective, Facts in Motion channel prepared a video titled “Blue Whales Are Way Bigger Than You Think”. The video also explains the evolutionary reasons behind how and why blue whales get that large.

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How seeing snakes in the grass helped primates to evolve

Evolution has favoured the modification and expansion of primate vision. Compared with other mammals, primates have, for example, greater depth perception from having forward-facing eyes with extensively overlapping visual fields, sharper visual acuity, more areas in the brain that are involved with vision, and, in some primates, trichromatic colour vision, which enables them to distinguish red from green hues. In fact, what separates primates from other mammals most is their much greater reliance on vision as the main sensory interface with the environment.

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