Monday, November 8, 2010

IS life's fate extinction?

This is my little haha to my group members because they are being bad students and they want to do homework for other classes rather than this.

As I write this, none of my group members on on the internets to help discuss what our point of view is on this. I'll just go with what my opinion is on it, and they'll have to go along and smile and nod. By this time in the presentation, they should be smiling and nodding because they are such wonderful sports about it.

The best part is that they probably won't check what I've written until it's time to present and then TAH-DAH! this pops up. And they won't be able to do anything about it.

Back on topic.

Life's fate is most definitely extinction. In the 13.7 billion years that we have estimated the universe to be in existence, the Earth has only been around for 4.5 billion years of that and life on Earth just 2 billion.

There have been so many extinctions that killed off more than half of the species and eventually, there will be one that kills life off completely because something or some species ruins it for everyone.

That doesn't mean that somehow, somewhere in the universe, there's other life. But it's unlikely that we'll find them and they'll probably end up going extinct, just like us.

Life will probably continue to pop up in places all over the universe, but they will all inevitably die out.

DIE HUMANS, DIE! ~ The Animals.

Humans have caused the amount of CO2 released into the air to increase significantly, causing the global temperature to rise by 1 degree. We have caused some soils to become unfertile when farming, and we have poured chemicals into the water and earth. Basically, we suck. We kill the earth. Antarctica is melting, all because of global warming. The seals and penguins and fish are losing their habitats.


Geologically, the Late Carboniferous collision of Laurussia (present-day Europe and North America) into Gondwanaland (present-day Africa and South America) produced the Appalachian mountain belt of eastern North America and the Hercynian Mountains in the United Kingdom. A further collision of Siberia and eastern Europe created the Ural Mountains.

Continental Jigsaw Puzzles! Buy yours now!

Earthquakes and volcanoes show the edges of the plates. Earthquakes and volcanoes are distributed at the edges of the tectonic plates, because the crust is thinnest there. When the crust is thin, the mantle inside the earth has an easier time of getting up. Also, at the edges of plates, when the plates collide or slip underneath each other, the friction causes earthquakes.
Here is a website, where there is a picture of earthquake predictions at the bottom!

Fossil distribution also shows evidence of plate tectonics. Archaeologists have found fossils on the west coast of Africa of the same species as fossils on the east coast of North America. These fossils are mostly of land-locked animals that would not have been able to cross oceans. Clearly, these continents were once the same continent, but broke apart.
Here is a picture of fossil distribution across S.America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and India...

Closer to the ridges, the sea floor is newer. Because of the recycling of the oceanic crust, the sea floors closer to the ridges are newer, while the sea floors closer to the trenches are older.
Here is a picture of the ages of the sea floors...

What died?

In the Carboniferous Period, extinctions were mostly marine organisms. Species that went extinct were mostly invertebrates that lived entirely in the seas. Horn corals, trilobites and some forms of crinoids began to go extinct as the Permian Era began.
During the Permian Era over 90% of oceanic species went extinct or were severely harmed. Land species were not as severely decimated, but some species, (like the pelycosaurs) died out completely.

Pictures: Upper Left: Horn coral
Left: Artist rendition of Pelycosaurs.

The coolest comic on plate tectonics ever.

Merriam-Webster defines plate tectonics as "a theory in geology: the lithosphere of the earth is divided into a small number of plates which float on and travel independently over the mantle and much of the earth's seismic activity occurs at the boundaries of these plate".

 The earth is like a giant stove and the continents are like the water in the pot on top. The things on the sides spread away and in the middle, it goes upwards, so everything else spreads around.

The Earth has trenches in the ocean and at the bottom of the trenches, new land from magma is being created, spreading the other Earth outward. In other places in trenches, one plate goes under, while the other goes up. This is called subduction.

Probably the most boring post of this whole thing.

 The world during the current mass extinction looks a little something like this.

CAN extinctions be advantageous?

When mass extinctions occur many species that compete for food, resources and die off, leaving the survivors a better habitat and stuff. When all the Antarctic fishies died, the Notothenioid's survived because of their weird mutant powers. (LIKE SUPERMAN)
Before dinosaurs died out, mammals were small rodent-like animals trying to avoid getting stepped on long enough to pass on their genes. If the dino's hadn't died, I wouldn't be typing this right now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gorgeous pictures that complement the first post.

I'm a baby f!@#ing seal!
I'm eating a penguin a la mode!

If all your friends dove off a cliff, wouldn't you?
Aren't my teeth beautiful?


Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on Natural Selection. Natural selection is based on the idea that the organisms gain mutations, or variations in their genes, and the ones who don’t gain variations are eliminated from the struggle for existence. 

These are the 5 requirements for Evolution:

1. There is variation in traits.
2. There is differential reproduction.
3. There is heredity.
4. The environment provides challenges.
5. There is a struggle for existence.

In the case of the seals, seals have evolved from freshwater animals to saltwater animals. Some little baby seal was mutated so that he could swim in saltwater as well as freshwater, and that skill came in useful when all of the freshwater fish started to die out. The other seals died, and the baby seal that could swim in saltwater as well as freshwater went into the salt water and found other seals that could swim in salt water as well. And that is how evolution works with seals.

In the case of penguins... There was a penguin who didn’t want to fly. He was born with flippery wings. There was no more food in the sky, so he went into the sea because he saw fish in the sea. He could eat fish, so that was good! And he swam in the sea one day, and caught a fish! So more fishy flippered penguins were born, and the penguins evolved into flightless birds so they could have more food.

A long long time ago, Antarctica was warm. As Antarctica moved north, the oceans around it grew colder. As it got colder, some fish died, and more and more fish died. But, inside the fishies, there were anti-freeze genes! A baby fish mutated so that he had anti-freeze protein, and he could survive in the cold! More and more fish gained this trait, and they could survive in the cold cold waters of the Antarctic.

See second post for pictures.

How do plate tectonics and evolution go together?

Plate tectonics can have a big effect on evolutionary change. For example, about 30 million years ago, South America and Antarctica were the same landmass. A continental shift ripped Antarctica from the tip of South America, changing the water currents. The previously warm water slowly became colder, and fish were forced to migrate. Some of them moved south, others north. As the seas got colder, most of the fish died out. One species fish mutated antifreeze in it's blood, so it could survive. Soon this species was the only one left, and it branched into sub-species, populating Antarctica's seas.

One of the many species of Notothenioid fish:

Why in the world (OR OUT OF THIS WORLD?!) did everything go extinct?

The Carboniferous Period began 354 million years ago, during the Paleozoic Era. It lasted for about 64 million years, and ended about 290 mya. The name Carboniferous comes from the large amounts of carbon loaded coal that formed during the period. The end of this period is marked by global climate change due to glaciers covering the South Pole. Because of this extinctions were mostly oceanic invertebrates and coral species. Their extinctions would continue in the Permian Era.

The Permian Era began about 290 mya, and lasted until 248 mya. The greatest mass extinction ever on this earth
took place at the end of this 42 million year period. No other extinct
ion has ever killed so much life on the planet. 90% to 95% of oceanic species went extinct or were harmed severely. On land the damage was less severe, but pelycosuars and other species went completely extinct.
There are several mass extinction theories for this period. One is volcanic activity. The extinctions could be explained by huge amounts of volcanic activity, worse then any has been experienced since written history. Another theory is that a comet or meteor may have hit the planet, causing a chain of events that would have caused changes to temperature and sea levels. Others think that the formation of Pangea upset the balance of climate that happens when ocean waters can affect more of the land surface. No matter what caused the extinction, it was large and important enough to bring an end to the Paleozoic Era. Life on Earth would never look the same.
Similarly, the current mass extinction will leave the world quite different. If present trends continue, at least one half of all species on earth will be extinct in less than a century. The theories are pretty obvious: habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species and climate change, mostly due to humans.