The Moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite. It is also the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits. It formed about 4.51 billion years ago from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia (this is known as the Giant Impact Hypothesis and is the most widely accepted explanation of the formation of the Moon). This impact happened not long after the Earth has been formed. But, what if that giant impact never happened? What would the Earth without Moon be like?Continue reading Earth without Moon – what would it be like?
By studying lunar craters, scientists have discovered that the asteroid impacts became more frequent about 290 million years ago. So was just a matter of time for dinosaurs to becoming extinct.Continue reading Dinosaurs were already doomed as the frequency of Asteroid Impacts increased 290 million years ago
We only see one side of the moon, because it is tidally locked to the planet Earth (tidal locking the situation when an object’s orbital period matches its rotational period). What if the Earth was tidally locked to the Sun?Continue reading What if the Earth was tidally locked to the Sun?
What if the Earth’s history (our planet’s age is approximately 4.54 billion years), compressed into just one year, let’s say the year of 2018? @YearOnEarth just did that. At midnight on the 31st of December 2017, Chris Jennings started a little project for the incoming year: tweeting the entirety of the geological history of the Earth, compressed into the year of 2018.
The result is an amazing timeline of the Earth’s history.Continue reading What If Earth’s History Compressed Into The Year of 2018
What would convince you that aliens existed? The question came up recently at a conference on astrobiology, held at Stanford University in California. Several ideas were tossed around – unusual gases in a planet’s atmosphere, strange heat gradients on its surface. But none felt persuasive. Finally, one scientist offered the solution: a photograph. There was some laughter and a murmur of approval from the audience of researchers: yes, a photo of an alien would be convincing evidence, the holy grail of proof that we’re not alone.Continue reading Proof of life: how would we recognise an alien if we saw one?
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.Continue reading The Significance of Fossils in Revealing the Evolution on Earth
If you are one among the many who have watched the movie Rio and have fallen in love with the adorable lead named Blu, then I have some terrible news for you! As on this date, the Spix’s Macaw has been declared “extinct as in wild”.Continue reading 8 major extinctions due to human interference
Birds (Aves or avian dinosaurs) 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.Continue reading Top 15 Largest Birds in the World
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.Continue reading There are more microbial species on Earth than stars in the galaxy
In 1981, when I was nine years old, my father took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although I had to squint my eyes during some of the scary scenes, I loved it – in particular because I was fairly sure that Harrison Ford’s character was based on my dad. My father was a palaeontologist at the University of Chicago, and I’d gone on several field trips with him to the Rocky Mountains, where he seemed to transform into a rock-hammer-wielding superhero.