Earth secrets

Things we don not know for sure – how it’s happening, how was created, how it is. Questions that people do not know the answer!

Genetic Clocks

A human’s genes provide a blueprint for making that human — and they can also tell time. We present the work of Steven Benner using genetic clocks and fossils to figure out what certain genes do… The human genome — or blueprint for life — is made up of thousands of genes . . . And each gene does something different. Steven Benner is a …

Bioluminescence: Livings lights, Earth’s Own Aliens

In order to see as many living lights as possible we are beginning our dive after dark. The light show we will witness is visible light made by living creatures also known as bioluminescence. Fireflies are bioluminescent. So are a few other land dwellers, like some earthworms, centipedes and fungi. But on land, bioluminescence is rare. By contrast, in the oceans, bioluminescence is very, very …

Panthers from Florida and conservation

The panthers from Florida once roamed the southeastern United States. Now, the few panthers left in the wild are confined to remote cypress swamps in southwestern Florida. The panthers are the most endangered species of mammal in the U.S. It’s estimated that there are fewer than 100 left in the wild. These last panthers live in the tip of Florida, south of Lake Okeechobee. They’re …

How old is the Earth in contrast to the rest of the universe?

Scientists believe that the Earth is about four and a half billion years old. That’s pretty old — but not as old as the rest of the universe. Back in 1862, Lord Kelvin calculated how long Earth might have taken to cool from its original molten state. He concluded that Earth was born 20 to 400 million years ago. Then scientists learned about radioactivity — …

Clouds are white or different colors. Why?

My question is, why are the clouds white? At midday, when the sun is high in the sky or the clouds, light scattered off the water droplets in clouds is composed of all the colors of the rainbow. When you mix every color of visible light — all the reds and greens and yellows and blues — you see white. On the other hand, at sunset, the …

How do herds form?

Nature enthusiasts are fascinated by herds of animals like elephants and elk But you’ll probably never see a herd of cats. Why some animals gather together as herds? Many animals display herding — or group-forming — behavior . There are three main ideas as to why. Protection from predators is probably the main reason. With more bodies, there are more eyes to watch for danger. …

Why do octopuses have three hearts?

Are three hearts better than one? And is it possible to sleep underwater? The answer to both questions is yes — if you’re an octopus. Octopuses need all three hearts to circulate blood through their bodies. Two of the hearts are called branchial hearts. They sit right behind the eyes and are connected to an octopus’s gills, where oxygen gets into its blood. From there, …

The survival tactics of horned lizards

In the mid-16th century, when Spain sent its first scientific explorers to Mexico, Francisco Hernandez reported seeing a lizard squirt blood from its eyes. Horned lizards — found primarily in Mexico and the American Southwest. Imagine a horned lizard — fat and brown with horns pointing from the back of its head — sitting in the sand. It sees a fox approaching. The lizard sits …

Ocean Guilds

The great white shark and the Salmon shark are closely related — each part of what’s called a shark “guild.” Up next — a scientist talks about tracking the movements of shark guilds. Speaking with Randy Kochevar, a scientist with California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kochevar is principle investigator of TOPP — the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics project. It uses electronic tags to track the largest predators …

Ancient Microbes

For decades, scientists assumed that Antarctica‘s Lake Vida was entirely frozen — and devoid of life. But Peter Doran suspected there might be liquid water — and even life — at the bottom of the lake. Peter Doran is an Earth scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1996, he sampled the thick layer of ice covering Antarctica‘s enormous Lake Vida. He found …

Carbon Below

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, makes up a tiny fraction of Earth’s atmosphere, and yet CO2 can have a big effect on long-term warming of our planet. A scientist talks about how Earth deals with CO2. And in the U.S., even though we have approximately 5% of the world’s population, we give off about a quarter of fossil fuel emissions. So we’re far and away the …

The biggest meteor known to collide with Earth?

What’s the biggest meteor that we know of that hit the Earth? And when and where did it hit the Earth? Computer models suggest that, early in Earth’s history, a piece of debris not much less massive than Earth might have slammed into us and created Earth’s moon. But there’s no direct evidence for this collision and records of recent impacts are also hard to …