Category Archives: Life on Earth

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland where the 1,600 km (990 mi) long Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the middle of the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water spread over the 6,000-15,000 km2 area. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. (1)

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Nile Crocodiles Have Been Found in Florida

Four Nile crocodiles have been found in Florida by scientists from the University of Florida. Between 2002 and 2004, the researchers have studied populations of crocodiles in the state. Previously, using DNA analysis, they found three Nile crocs: one was a foot long hatchling sitting on a porch in Miami. Another was found on the property of a private zoo in Homestead, and a third, also in Homestead, a 10-pound (4.5 kg) female, was captured in a public park.

Finally, more recently, in March 2012, a three-foot-long (1 meter) female was trapped in a canal in Homestead. The researchers tagged this one and released her to nature. Two years later, it recaptured and the team calculated its growth rate (40.5 cm/year – 15.95 inches/year) and movement. “The most likely route of travel by waterway (i.e., canal) illustrates that this animal traveled at least 29 km (18 miles) from its original capture site.”

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Largest prehistoric mammals

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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Top 22 most powerful bite forces in carnivore land mammals

Bite force is an important property of carnivore ecology because these amazing animals need to kill their prey as easily as possible, and the bite force is a vital factor in this context. Here are the top 22 most powerful bites in carnivore land mammals.

The values below are average bite forces at the canine tips and taken from the most recent and accurate 2007 research titled Bite Forces and Evolutionary Adaptations to Feeding Ecology in Carnivores by Per Christiansen and Stephen Wroe of the Ecological Society of America.

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Humpback Whale Thanks to its Rescuers After Being Freed From Nets

An amazing and wonderful video that I came across a few years ago: Michael Fishbach, co-founder of The Great Whale Conservancy, his family and friends rescued a Humpback Whale from fishnets, and after being freed, the whale shows amazing appreciation to the rescuers.

The Great Whale Conservancy was launched in 2010 to advocate for the great whales, they need our help and protection to survive, to learn more about our current efforts and find out how we can work together.

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Top 5 largest prehistoric cats

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.

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).

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A giant prehistoric crocodile discovered in the Sahara: Machimosaurus rex

National Geographic grantee Federico Fanti and his research team have unearthed a sea-dwelling crocodylomorph (a teleosaurid) skeleton in southern Tunisia, in the Sahara desert: Machimosaurus rex. It is the world’s largest marine crocodyliform, and was previously unknown to science. Its length is estimated at more than 30 feet (9.14 meters). The giant was probably weighed three tons.

The fossil dates back 130 million years ago. The head of the crocodile alone is over 5 feet long. The discovery proves that this animal lived 25 million years past the hypothesized global extinction at the end of the Jurassic period.

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The World entered a new geological era called “Anthropocene”, scientists say

According to a study titled “The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene” and published on Science Magazine, we, humans, changed the world so much that now we can say the world entered a completely a new geological era, “Anthropocene”.

The term is not new. As early as 1960s, Soviet scientists used the term to refer to the Quaternary, the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). The Quaternary follows the Neogene Period and spans from 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago, the world’s recent period of repeated glaciations) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today, began after the last major ice age).

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The shark that glowing in the dark has been announced as a New Species: the “Ninja lanternshark”

In 2010, during an expedition of the Spanish research ship Miguel Oliver, the researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered a new type of shark in the Pacific Ocean near Central America, off the coasts of Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica. The shark was glowing in the dark. Now it is officially a new kind of shark: its scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi (it features a tribute to the famous 1974 novel “Jaws” author Peter Benchley), but since it is pure black, it is called “Ninja lanternshark”.

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