Earth without Moon – what would it be like?

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 …

Dinosaurs were already doomed as the frequency of Asteroid Impacts increased 290 million years ago

By studying lunar craters, scientists have discovered that asteroid impacts became more frequent about 290 million years ago. So was just a matter of time for dinosaurs to become extinct.

What If Earth’s History Compressed Into One Year

What if the Earth’s history (our planet’s age is approximately 4.54 billion years), compressed into just one year? @YearOnEarth just did that. At midnight on the 31st of December, Chris Jennings started a little project for the incoming year: tweeting the entirety of the geological history of the Earth, compressed into one year. The result …

Proof of life: how would we recognize an alien if we saw one?

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 …

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 …

Top 15 Largest Birds in the World

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 are from one of six basic animal …

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 …

What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of ‘big data’

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 …