Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ice House Earth, Greenhouse Earth and those in-between times ... our planet and its peoples ... summary overview ... part 4/4


While writing these last three posts on our earthly beginnings and our appearance  ... every time I turn round another report comes out saying the scientists have found out more background to life on earth.

Egypt, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, Assyria:
The Fertile Crescent supported early man and where
Homo Sapiens encountered Neanderthal man

So this summary probably won’t really be a summary  - just a post nattering on about how much has changed over 4.55 billion years of earth, or over the 200,000 odd thousand years Homo Sapiens, as we know him, has been around.


We’ve learnt how earth began – then we’re told the scientists are studying the effects of the world transitioning between glacial periods, through research into the deep frozen cores collected in the Southern Ocean, around Antarctica, by studying the atmospheric carbon dioxide trapped inside them ...


The earliest known life on earth existed between 3.9 and 3.5 billion years ago, when sufficient crust had solidified following earth’s molten beginnings ...  life adapts in incredible ways ...  
 
Black Smoker
in Atlantic Ocean

... some of which we’re still finding out ... the ongoing investigation into the Mariana Trench – the deepest  part of the world’s oceans – where microbes are found everywhere ... they are very adaptable to conditions and will survive wherever they are ...


... and life lives around the black smoker in the Atlantic Ocean - researchers are still cataloguing ... 


Animals adapted to survive in a semi-frozen hibernative state until conditions are right for them to live again – usually to breed ... and then die, while the new forms start the cycle over again ...  for example the wood frog.


The wood frog - which lives in
North America
Early humans moved as they needed to survive ... sometimes putting roots down for thousands of years, as in Arabia ... before overcrowding sent them off on their travels ... ultimately all around the world.


Early Neanderthals lived in the last glacial period, within the current ice age – which occurred from approximately 110,000 to 10,000 years ago.  Neanderthals would have pushed south away from the European northern hemisphere ice sheets – where they ‘met’ the exploring, population explosion peoples from Africa.


Neanderthal sites marked in red -
including two in west England.
England and Europe are still joined.
It is estimated that the population of Neanderthals was approximately 70,000 at their peak.  Neanderthal fossils have been found south of the European line of glaciations (approximately 50th parallel north) – but none as far south as Africa.


Neanderthal man was better adapted to cold weather than modern humans ... but the ice receded and Homo sapiens marched on and in ...


The Female Perspective -
British Museum's Ice Age Art
The “Ice Age Art – Arrival of the Modern Mind” at the British Museum was incredible – more after the A-Z – but suffice to say that the sculptures portrayed people with muscular legs ... showing that to travel anywhere they had to walk.


We know that there’s more to us ...  than us: Biologists are discovering what a treasure trove the oceans’ coral reefs are in terms of finding potential cures;  animals display hidden intelligence ... perhaps because we haven’t been intelligent enough to realise earlier?!  Animals survive until natural extinction wipes them out – OR man interferes during his stay on earth.


Could a volcano wipe out human life – it is possible ... Mt Toba, in northern Sumatra, some 72,000 years ago erupted in what scientists believe is the upper limit of explosions that can physically occur on earth ...


House of the Centenary -
wealthy resident of Pompeii
a preserved wall painting ...
the earliest representation
of Vesuvius
... anthropologists believe that the event caused a sudden evolutionary bottleneck, with genetic implications that linger to this day.  Humanity was nearly wiped out ... but our ancestors clung on and bequeathed us our current existence.


Recent research into Vesuvius’ eruption in 79AD where the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were annihilated has shown that there were two causes of death ... which explains why the skeletons were so different.


The explosion at Mount St Helen’s gave the scientists their breakthrough ... the different pyroclastic effects were realised – the residents of Herculaneum were killed by a very high temperature gaseous flow, which burnt everything .... while the residents of Pompeii were engulfed in a hot gaseous flow, which killed them – but did not burn them ... they were then entombed under the ash.

British Museum's poster for the Summer Exhibition
Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum

The British Museum’s summer exhibition is titled “Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum” – it opens today until 29th Sepember.


From the recent Chelyabinsk meteor ... the scientists realised the actual ‘crash’ had much less impact than the ensuing shock wave – giving new possibilities as to the effects of previous meteor collisions.


Chelyanbinsk - Meteor trail burst
after explosion on 15 Feb 2013
Also what was incredible ... was how fast the technical data was correlated from the sightings and observations of the monitoring stations, weather satellites and mobile phone and video recordings ... so that within a month – tv programmes were being aired on its trajectory, impact and effects ...


Then it was 60 years ago that “The Secret of Life” was revealed by the microbiologists Francis Crick and James Watson ... Crick wrote to his son, in language distilled for a 12 year old, telling him to Read this Carefully so You Understand It ....

DNA quadruplex formed by
telomere repeats: see Wiki

... we have built a model for the structure of de-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid, called DNA for short.


To think that in these past 60 years we are understanding so much more – yet realising that we know so much less ...


... we can trace our DNA back 192,000 years to find our origins; we can re-examine Neanderthal man and find new interesting facts; we are on the road to establishing ways to combat various diseases ...


So much has happened to the earth ... the continents going walk about; earth’s mantle exploding in various ways ... volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis ... and we know that mass extinctions of life do occur ... there are two – five major extinction events in the world every million years or so ...


... while the ongoing slow evolution of life – flora and fauna alike – mean that we humans have not been privileged to observe a mass extinction ... hardly surprising, since they would probably occur so slowly as to be barely noticeable.

Mounted Neanderthal
Skeleton - American
Museum of Natural History

So now we move around in wheeled or flying tin boxes ... I can think of an English cousin, whose family were in South Africa when I was there, she met and married a South African, they came here for a while, and now live, with their two children, in Melbourne, Australia - shows us how populations move in today’s age.


To re-enact that 200,000 years ago ... would have taken 10,000 generations of peoples – whereas in the 21st century we can make that change to our habitat in 10 years or less.


The really important fact that comes out of all of this ... is that we are related to each other somewhere along the line ... and we are related to each and every aspect of flora and fauna out there ... SO WE NEED TO CARE FOR EVERYTHING (every living thing) ...

Wired Science – Southern Ocean exploration 



BritishMuseum website – What’s on ...

To all A – Zers ....
Please note that Stephen Tremp has had some hassles with his website – and can now be found here ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


47 comments:

Pearson Report said...

Hi Hilary - I've been catching up on my reading and this four part series is amazing, intriguing and quite educational.

Thank you for putting in so much effort and time to prepare these posts.

Smiles are coming your way,

Jenny@PEARSON REPORT
How did I make this link back, you ask - come take a look!

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

It's amazing all this knowledge and I for one have enjoyed reading your account on your blog. It does appear we all in the long run are related to each other in some aspect. Thanks Hilary for a most eye opener series of posts.

Yvonne.

Suzanne Furness said...

We should all respect and care for each other and our environment, as you say we are all connected somewhere. Your series of posts has been enlightening, Hilary, thank you.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful Easter :)

Linda said...

I've just been marathon reading this series. Totally fascinating how far we've come, how much knowledge we've gained, and how much we still have to learn. You have done an excellent job compiling and presenting all this information. Thank you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wonder if that eruption of Mt. Toba caused the great flood? I remember seeing a special years ago on Discovery that showed a couple possible ways the flood of Noah could've occurred.

Chatty Crone said...

Well this was a great close to a lesson. I learned a lot here. I have to say being a Christian - it stymies me a bit. I agree with a lot of it and some I don't. Just the timing and all - but that is the great part about life - we can all have our own point of views and it's all okay.
I wish you a very blessed Easter.
Love,sandie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jenny .. lots here isn't there! I enjoyed getting it all down .. as I kept on learning different things .. and different thoughts kept popping into my mind ... and more questions!

Thanks so pleased to see you blogging again ..

@ Yvonne - great that you enjoyed the post ... that relationship between all humans is a bit of a surprise isn't it ..

@ Suzanne - we forget so often don't we .. that we are connected to everything ... many thanks and am glad I was able to open your eyes somewhat ..

@ Linda - yes it is (they are) long, but I just wanted to put the main things down .. so glad you've enjoyed the 4 posts ..

@ Alex - I'm not sure at all .. but there have been some (a few) major eruptions ... but your Discovery programme about the Noah's flood sounds interesting ...

I was abroad in the 80s .. and so missed out on various tv programmes and probably missed the Noah's Flood hypothesis or idea ..

Thanks so much for your comments - have a very happy and peaceful Easter ... Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandie .. I realised the Easter timing to finish this series isn't brilliant - but despite the reality of understanding ... I believe there is a higher link all around ...

... but as you say each to our own ... and it's wonderful when we allow ourselves to accept others' view points - which you've said so well here .. thank you!

Cheers and Happy Easter ... Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Interesting stuff, as always! I believe that my three kids caught a few of those frogs back in the day when they were younger.

Have a lovely weekend Hilary!

Blessings,
Karen

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Hilary you should totally turn this into a documentary :)

I hope you have a great Easter weekend!

Jo said...

Thanks for a wonderful series of posts Hilary. Food for lots of speculation - I have enjoyed every one of them.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

L.G. Smith said...

There's so much WOW in this post it's hard to know what to comment on. This is why I'll never stop loving to learn and why I visit museums so much. Love it. The last big exhibit I saw was the one on Pompeii. So fascinating to learn how they lived and died.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

What a series! And most informative. And environmentally friendly can relate to creating that positive environment amongst each other that so many of us, like you, aspire to see happen.

In harmony with nature and in our hearts, our minds. We are all related, indeed. All different, all equal.

Incidentally, when Mount St. Helen's erupted in 1980, my car got covered in ash. I was living in Vancouver, Canada. The distance between, some 325 miles.

Be well and the sun shone today!

In kindness,

Gary :)

juliet said...

Hilary, this is all so fascinating, and I love the way you put it together, and totally support your conclusion. Thank you; you are my history teacher by blogpost!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - the frozen frogs fascinated me .. and they've an incredible mechanism to survive .. children love to inspect things don' they ...

@ Keith - many thanks .. the BBC programmes are there and these posts are here - but very much appreciate your support for the series.

@ Jo - delighted you enjoyed it .. our knowledge is always changing - so there is lots to think about ..

@ Luanne - if only we can get many others to love to learn - that would help the world go round a little more easily. I love going to museums and exhibitions now, so can understand your desire to visit often - earlier in my life ... not so much.

I'd love to get to see Pompeii in Italy ... and I expect I'll get up to see the British Museum Summer exhibition ... but I was intrigued to learn about the different deaths.

@ Gary - the BBC programmes gave us so much interesting information to which I added a few snippets and stripped away other extras.

It would be incredible if the human being could realise we're all in it together - exactly as you say ...

Again another snippet of your history touched via my posting - strange but true! Love knowing that your car was covered in Ash from the Mount St Helen's eruption and thanks for the 1980 date.

They've learnt so much more from the ash clouds ... particularly since the Icelandic eruptions a few years ago - when we had fall out here .. not a lot, but darker skies.

Yes - a little sun has been around - we had the best sunny day on Wednesday ... not so good yesterday and it gave us a snow shower ... today - it's just cold out there and gloomy!

@ Juliet - it seems one thing I did learn at school was that I needed an introduction and a summary - those bits I remembered!!

So pleased you enjoyed the postings - much appreciated ...

Have very peaceful Good Fridays and a happy Easter weekend with friends and family ... all the best - Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, Since you mentioned both Pompeii and Herculaneum if you only had time to visit one, which city would you choose? Some travel advisors say Herculaneum is better because it's less crowded, and many artifacts are no longer in Pompeii. I still prefer the history of Pompeii, but would like your opinion. Another excellent post Hilary!

Julie

Gattina said...

The way our world has changed is amazing and it will continue ! I was so surprised when I saw this Neanderthal man who was found in a cavern in Spy in Belgium. Scientists reconstructed him just like he looked 35000 years ago (http://gattinawritercramps.blogspot.be/2012/01/35000-year-old-man-of-spy.html)We always thought Neanderthal men looked like apes, in reality they looked already like we look today !

Laura Eno said...

It's extraordinary how little say we ultimately have in the scheme of things. Huge events can wipe us out at a moment's notice. Sometimes I feel like a flea clinging to a dog's back, ready to be scratched off by a foot!
It's a humbling thought.

Kittie Howard said...

before overcrowding sent them off on their travels ... ultimately all around the world.

The sentence above really caught my attention as overcrowding is forcing dynamic changes now. Social scientists, from what I've read, don't predict a pretty outcome. But I do think we're all going to have to find some type of middle ground that enables solutions. Being re-active instead of pro-active can be a problem unto itself!

Thank you for taking the time to condense so much. I hope to return to your series once Easter is a warm memory.

Happy Easter!

Old Kitty said...

Now if only certain people stop seeing man-made borders as some kind of divine right or that non-humans are here solely to be used and exploited....! I think non human creatures are hardy souls and they do adopt but sometimes we humans change things so much that said creatures are unable to keep up and so fade away! Did you see that programme with Terry Pratchett visiting Borneo to see the fate of the orangutans? Grim. Ok, I am depressing myself now! LOL! Have a great Easter, Hilary! take care
x

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These posts are so interesting, Hilary! I'm enjoying them.

When reading about Ice Age people, I'm always so glad I live in the modern era! How miserable that must have been...

Happy Easter!

TALON said...

So very true, Hilary, that the more we learn, the more we realize how little we actually know. It's an exciting (and scary) time to be alive on this planet.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Did you ever hear the response to, "Curiosity killed the cat"? As far back as I can remember, I was always curious about things and seeking answers, but my mother would say, "But satisfaction brought him back." I have no idea if that's a common saying, or just something she came up with to counter anyone who had something cheeky to say about my constant questions and desire to learn, but bottom line, I LOVE that you're so curious, too, and better yet, that you take the time to share what you've learned with US.

Thank you so much. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series of posts.

Happy Easter!

Alexandra Heep said...

Lots surely has changed since I went to school, makes me feel old! Happy Easter and enjoy the A-Z challenge.

Sherry Ellis said...

I enjoyed reading this! It's interesting how we are all related and interconnected.

M Pax said...

I agree with your eloquently expressed sentiments, Hilary. We've only got this one world and one life. We should treat them well.

Happy weekend!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

If you think about the time that has lapsed, all the peoples that have inhabited the world at any even time, and it sort of makes sense that we may come back time and time again, hoping to get it right next time.

Hmm. Doesn't look like we're doing a good job, does it?

This is all so fascinating, Hilary. Thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - do you know .. I don't know - as visiting hasn't been on the cards .. but if Herculaneum is less crowded - I'd go there!

However - they must both be incredibly interesting places to look round ...

Julie - did you go .. did you take a Mediterranean cruise?

@ Gattina - the Spy Museum Neanderthal man is quite extraordinarily human looking isn't he - quite spooky ...

Your post - Neanderthal is worth going over to look at - thanks for the link here ..

Yes - Neanderthals look like us don't they ...

@ Laura - love your description .. but you're so right and we should be humbled by our microscopic place in the world ..

@ Kittie - the overcrowding is a real problem isn't it ... but the haves and have nots may become another major problem (if it isn't already) ...

Somehow we need to think of others - all others: rich, poor, old, young, other continents etc etc and then the flora and fauna too ...

I enjoyed writing the posts and appreciate everyone's thoughts ..

@ Old Kitty - you've made a few good points here ... flora and fauna will adapt - us, who knows! But we don't ourselves any favours ..

I didn't see the Terry Pratchett programme ... I hope it comes back ... at the moment I thought more information was not really what I needed! Especially if as you mention it was depressing beyond belief ...

@ Elizabeth - so pleased you've enjoyed them - I learnt a lot putting them together.

I am rather glad I live in today's world ... though back then they didn't go to war?!

@ Talon - we do learn more, yet always there's those questions that come to the fore ... it is an exciting time for us - scary for future generations ...

@ Susan - amazing you came up with that phrase .. that's my story line in Nick Wilfords "Overcoming Adversity" anthology ..

I love your mother's response - how sensible .. no it's not a common saying (as far as I'm aware) ... but I love it!!

Thanks so much though - I'm just so delighted 'everyone' enjoys my curiosity - or my take on life per these posts.

It's a pleasure to post ... I love it ...

@ Alex - so much has been discovered - but at least some things are being answered now ..

@ Sherry - thanks so much .. it is fascinating how many links there are around this planet of ours ..

@ Mary - yes if everyone could realise we have one world and one life and we need to treat all parts well ..

@ Joylene - your ancestors came down from the north - as you mentioned in the previous post-comment ...

Your comment here is interesting .. because in the last couple of days there was a Science article mentioning that we might transition into other species ... so your comment about coming back again and again over time (there's 3.75 billion years when this could have occurred - earth would have cooled sufficiently by then) is a distinct possibility for all flora and fauna (including a form of us)

Your thought: we're not doing a very good job - it's our social interaction ... and that brain controlling power et al ... that seems to have got out of hand ...


Happy Easter everyone and let's hope Spring comes along in the northern hemisphere ... though they're saying we're in for a cold April ... in the meantime the A-Z will keep us occupied - have fun .. cheers Hilary

Val Poore said...

Another fascinating post, Hilary! I like the way you build up to your last and most important sentence. Still, the reading and research you have shown here is truly impressive. I love your blog!

M. Reka said...

Interesting stuff, as always. Hilary. Thanks for sharing with us.

I hope you have a great Easter weekend

Take care
marinela

Paula R C Readman said...

Thank you once again for your wonderful posting. Always a joy to read.
You would think we would take much more care of our planet than we do. I believe if & when mankind heads for the stars to find a new world we will do the same damage there too.
It is so very sad. :-( On the positive side I think I can see signs of spring in my garden as birds are collecting up nesting materials.. Bless them.

Annalisa Crawford said...

A brilliant final post to this series.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val .. many thanks and yes I do try and round each post off; so pleased you're happy to visit!

@ Marinela - pleasure ..

@ Paula - Delighted it's a joy to read .. and yes if only people could think beyond themselves.

Do you think we'll get to reach the stars - it's a long way off I feel ...

The Spring is just sort of deciding to come too - we're getting a bit of very cold Spring here .. but the birds are nesting .. and I think the pigeons might have had their eggs - they're always early ... because the pigeon was chasing the magpie away - and there are telling feathers on the lawn ... perhaps a 2nd dead chick ...

@ Annalisa ... many thanks glad you enjoyed the series ..

Cheers and Happy Easter to you all ... we have a little sun today! snow earlier though?! Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Amazing how it all came together.

I saw Gary's comment. I lived in Salem, OR when Mt. St. Helens erupted. I swept ash off our back deck more than once. And during the July 1980 eruption, I was in Portland, OR that day and have pictures of it.

A Lady's Life said...

Happy Easter to you Hilary

This is very interesting as we go back to discover things about ourselves to fit into the missing links.However I don;t think we ever will find all the answers as the earth churns like a mixer.
It takes things from above and covers them and as they go deeper under ground they are being crushed and churned and melted and along with it all the evidence is destroyed.
We might even never know that there was man, like us, living before the time line and evidence
we have of when human life began.
This is why we have only trust and faith to rely on today.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane .. there was so much more - but I was muddling myself!

It's interesting how blogs attract salient comments - I bet that dust was piling up ...

.. then the photographic records you've got - presumably near the starting your photographic passion - must be amazing to see ..

@ A Lady's Life .. the earth churns in its own style .. and who knows what is where now from over 3 billion years ago - you're so right.

Happy Easter to you both .. Hilary

Denise Covey said...

Hilary...amazing. I have visited Pompeii and was enchanted at this postcard from the past. Hard to believe humans have been around so long and still surviving despite their attempts to self annihilate! I am not in the A-Z but will pop around weekly to catch up on my lessons.

Happy Easter...Denise

Betsy Brock said...

God created an incredibly complex and beautiful earth and I agree we should take great care with it. I have gone snorkeling a few times and the instructors warned us about stepping on the coral in the reefs. We needed to preserve it for generations to come!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Denise - sorry you're not joining us - but understand the need to write etc.

Interesting to read you've visited Pompeii .. it must be so fascinating to see. I'm not sure what the world or parts of it are doing at the moment - it's a dodgy time .. self-annihilate is a good description.

Happy Easter to you ...

@ Betsy - I've never snorkelled .. but imagine it is beautiful - and earth is just an amazing place - as you say an incredibly complicated creation.

Thanks Denise and Betsy - have lovely Autumns or Springs ... cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hi Hilary, We didn't go yet, but are in the process of making plans for a family cruise. Thanks so much for your input, and I'll let you know when we decide. Happy Easter!
Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. I thought a cruise was in the air somewhere!

Enjoy it - sounds a glorious way to see the Mediterranean ... Karen Walker went but can't remember if she 'did' Italy .. worth asking her perhaps ...

Cheers and just love that decision-making build up !! Happy Easter - Hilary

Lynn said...

I love that sentiment "we need to care for everything (every living thing)".

I've decided not to do A to Z this year, but look forward to reading your A to Z posts - that's how I connected up with you finally.

Mason Canyon said...

I always learn so much for your posts. They are interesting, intriguing and informative. Wishing you a Happy Easter.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Jannie Funster said...

That DNA model is a work of art.

How wonderful for you to see the exhibit.

I wonder if they dug under the ash to find the Pompeeians? So much that can be told if we know what to look for.

As to intelligence in animals, I see it in my birds which I was not aware of before I became an avian owner. All creatures are to be revered.

I wish you a very very HAPPY EASTER.

xoxooxoxoxoxoxo

And from Blue Bunny. oxoxo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - yes: I'd seen you over with Jannie hadn't I - so good we met up .. and I look forward to you popping in at times .. I'm enjoying my theme!

@ Mason - thanks so much for this lovely comment - I hope you're having a happy Easter time ...

@ Jannie - all the DNA photos are amazing aren't they - then what the DNA tells us is quite extraordinary ...

The Ice Age exhibition is incredible .. and I'm looking forward to looking through the book.

They have been digging out Pompeii and investigating the site for the last 500 years .. on and off - obviously in the 21st century there won't be so much damage, as we're more aware of what needs to be done, and technically we have the abilities and equipment to do it.

It's interesting how animals and birds adjust isn't it .. so delighted you love your birdies - I remember when you got them ..

Wishing everyone a happy Easter and week ahead ... cheers Hilary

Tina said...

Nice end to your series. Loved the bit about how mobile we are these days...that's for sure. I'm a prime example of that: from the cold Scandinavian climate to MD to CO in one lifetime...

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. thanks so much - you and your parents are prime examples aren't they - and I settled in South Africa for a while.

Good to see you here and thanks for sparing time at the start of the A-Z .. to call in for this last post ..

Cheers Hilary