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 ...
... 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.
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
... 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.
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
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.
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
Big Think – Coral Reefs: Nature’s UnderwaterPharmacies
Big Think - The Hidden Intelligence of Animals
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 ...
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