“Spying on Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures” –Scientists Pursue Undiscovered Species of Whales Swimming Below Since the Eocene


“Once upon a time—in the Eocene epoch—whales were quadrupeds. They walked on land. One primitive cetacean ancestor, Pakicetus, is thought to have been a canine-size, shore-living creature with a doggy tail and clawed paws. It probably had fur (hair typically fails to fossilize, so on this point there is debate). With its tiny, wide-set eyes, Pakicetus displays a sheepish expression in many artists’ depictions—as if ashamed at having gone extinct.”


Life & Death of the Kepler and Dawn Spacecrafts –“Oceans of Dwarf Planets to the Search for Earth’s Twin”


Among its many findings, Dawn helped scientists discover organics on Ceres and evidence that dwarf planets could have hosted oceans over a significant part of their history—and possibly still do. The Kepler Mission, meanwhile, launched in 2009 and revealed that there is statistically at least one planet around every star in our galaxy.


“Endangered” –The Pando (Not the Blue Whale), Earth’s Largest Existing Organism


“If this were a community of humans, it would be as if a whole town of 47,000 had only 85-year-olds in it,” says Paul Rogers, an ecologist at Utah State University and Director of the Western Aspen Alliance. “It’s been thriving for thousands of years, and now it’s coming apart on our watch. Where is the next generation?”


The Secret of the 700-Million-Year Gap in Earth’s History –“Life Appeared”



There is a 700-million year gap in Earth’s history, and in that time one of the most transformative events happened: life appeared. This missing epoch could hold not just the secret of humanity’s first ancestor, but could guide our search for life on other planets.


“2100” –Beyond the UN Climate Change Report: ‘MIT Predicts Earth’s Point of No Return’



Our Blue Planet is in the grips of the Sixth Mass Extinction: The best-case scenario projects that humans will add 300 gigatons of carbon to the oceans by 2100, while more than 500 gigatons will be added under the worst-case scenario, far exceeding the critical threshold. In all scenarios, says Daniel Rothman professor of geophysics and co-director of MIT’s Lorenz Center, by 2100, the carbon cycle will either be close to or well beyond Earth’s threshold for catastrophe.



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