Archive for the 'Biology' Category

Why Ducks are better than Dinosaurs

Most people prefer a good Tyrannosaur to a lowly duck. It’s a matter of choice of course, but when thinking about dinosaurs you probably have visions of ruthless predators with teeth the size of meat cleavers, or titanic herbivores bigger than small buildings, whereas ducks tend to float around in ponds inquiring after handfuls of bread.

However palaeontologists and biologists have revealed evidence that the humble duck may have triumphed over the mighty dinosaurs.

Continue reading ‘Why Ducks are better than Dinosaurs’

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Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life

Heard of the Goldilocks zone?

It’s the idea that an area of space around a star will be at the right temperature for life to exist. Not too hot, not too cold, hence Goldilocks.

It’s a bit like standing around a campfire on a very cold night. Stand too far away and you freeze, stand too close and you catch on fire and burn to death.

It’s the same with planets orbiting stars too, if they’re too far away then water freezes and life can’t emerge, and if they orbit too close the planet is roasting hot and nothing can live.

It gets a bit more complex than this though, but complex in a fun way. Oh and its also got some pretty big implications for the search for extraterrestrial life…

Continue reading ‘Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life’

Some BIG Implications of Evolution

In a previous post I described how evolution works.

Lots of people have some vague ideas about evolution, but don’t really know how it actually happens. Don’t worry if this is you, most people are like this, even some scientists! (Mostly physicists)

You can read the post here if you want; I tried to make it as simple but as accurate as possible.

And once you begin to understand evolution, you realise there are some pretty huge implications…

Continue reading ‘Some BIG Implications of Evolution’

Life in our Solar System – Mars

In this series of posts I’ve looked at planetary bodies in our Solar System that could support life, from the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, to the cloud layers of Jupiter itself, to the ephemeral-once-jungles of Venus, I’ve even looked at Earth itself.

Now one of my favourites, Mars, the Red Planet.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Mars’

How does evolution work?

Most people have some pretty vague ideas about what evolution is, but most of us don’t really know how evolution actually happens.

(Some people even claim evolution isn’t real, but that’s about as sane as saying the Earth is flat, or that the Phantom Menace is better than the Empire Strikes Back).

In this post I’ll try and explain how evolution happens as simply as possible, and tell you why in the future human’s won’t evolve six fingers, wings, or two heads.

Continue reading ‘How does evolution work?’

Life in our Solar System – Earth

In previous posts I’ve looked at some likely, and some less likely, candidates for planets or moons in our solar system that could harbour life, including Jupiter, three of it’s moons, two of Saturn’s moons, and Mars and Venus.

Now its time for Earth. Yep, you read right.

In 1990 NASA used the Galileo spacecraft to look for life on Earth. Why bother you scream, whilst hurling your cup of tea violently against the wall? Well, NASA did it to test how well spacecraft like Galileo can find life on planets and moons from space. Call it a proof of concept, if NASA can find life on Earth, then at least they know the tech works, and hopefully won’t miss signs of life on other planets.

Here’s what they found on Earth:

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Earth’

Life in our Solar System – Venus

In previous posts I’ve looked at the possibility that alien life could be found in our solar system, on three of Jupiter’s moons, in Jupiter itself, and on two of Saturn’s moons.

This time we’re moving nearer to home, to the planet closest to our own, Venus, the second rock from the Sun.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Venus’


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