BIOLOGY BLOG PAGE

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Here they are:

4. The word PREDATOR is fraught with meanings. It
means an animal that eats other animals. Most people
think of wolves, bears, and killer whales when asked to
name a predator. Few people ever look beyond this
superficial understanding of PREDATOR. The broad term
predator is usually subdivided into qualified categories,
as is usual human practice. Thus we have insectivores,
and further, ant eaters, and bee eaters. There are snake
eaters, fish eaters, snail eaters, bird eaters, etc. Now let
us consider the ocean. Most articles, when talking about
the biggest current predators, say it is the orca or killer
whale. Obviously this is really incorrect, but this wrong
idea is ridiculously widespread. Orcas have at least two
different ecological or morphological or genetic types,
the data is still unclear. One set is characterized by fish
eaters like the orca pod of Puget Sound. Deep ocean
orcas prey on everything, including whales. Many shore
based populations include seals, elephant seals, and
even sea otters in their diet. All of these are considered
predators, whether they specialize on mammals or fish.
But there are several other toothed whales, notably the
sperm whale and even Baird’s beaked whale, that exceed
the orca in size. The sperm can hit perhaps 70 feet in old
males, the beaked whales 40 feet, and the orca 35 feet or
so in big males. The sperm whale eats small and huge
squid, fish, skates, rays, and sharks, but apparently not
seals and porpoises. Their teeth are far larger than orca
teeth. The sperm whale is a predator by any definition, so
is the largest predator in the ocean….  OR IS IT?
Terrestrial animals are quite easily divided into flesh
eaters of all kinds, herbivores of all kinds, and omnivores
which eat both varieties of food. The oceanic animals are
quite different. ALMOST ALL OCEANIC ANIMALS ARE
PREDATORS. Some small ones like chitons, abalone, sea
urchins, sea cucumbers, and grazing snails eat plant life
and detritus. A few quite large ones, but only a few, like
dugongs and manatees and green turtles, graze on
macroscopic plant life. So we must re-evaluate the
biggest animals in the ocean, the baleen whales. Baleen
whales are toothless, the baleen strainers being formed
from mouth tissue. Teeth are not need to make a
predator, else no birds would qualify.  The smallest of the
baleen whales are bigger than all but a few of the biggest
fish and sharks. The biggest baleen whales, in mass, are
blue whale, bowhead whale, and fin whale, in this order.
There are also the humpbacks, right whales, grey whales,
sei whales, and smaller types. They eat a mixed bag of
food, from bottom dwelling fauna (grey whales), to fish
(many larger ones eat fish when abundant, or seek out
fish specifically, like humpbacks), to crustaceans. Yes,
all of the biggest animals subsist largely on crustaceans,
krill or copepods or other swarming species. So the next
time you see an article on Blue Whales, remember that it
is the very largest predator that ever existed, at over 200
tons. Blue whales are far larger even than the extinct
ocean lizards that dwarfed orcas, like the plesiosaur
Kronosaurus, or the biggest species, the giant mosasaur
Mosasaurus hoffmanni estimated at 58 ft. And the baby
blue whale is as big or bigger than almost any orca, even
at birth. Tyrannosaurus rex, at only maybe a maximum of
9 tons, must give way!
By the way, the recently
recognized giant sperm whale (killer orca maybe)
Leviathan melvillei, 60 feet long with 14 inch teeth, has a
full set of carnivorous teeth. The similar sized modern
sperm whale, has only teeth in the adult male. There is an
extinct much larger sperm whale known from Argentina.
Speculation is that the Leviathan melvillei ate baleen
whales. The point it, that this animal is called a predator,
while the sperm whales themselves are only squid eaters.



3. The idea of panspermy is very old. This is the theory
that life has reached earth by means of spore-like bodies
or genetic information, from distant planets. It may be
spread by comets or meteorites, the pressure of light,
etc, from spaces around other systems with living
ecologies. These tiny, radiation blasted, fragments may
or may not exist. Other people have spent careers
dissecting rocks which have been blasted off of Mars, the
Moon, Mercury, and other places, searching for trace
fossils. Many people have spent time looking for traces of
this life or life precursor, calculating probabilities, and
discussing the ramifications. I think that there is a much
better example of panspermy right in front of us, that is
being ignored. The Earth is filled with organisms in every
possible place. In recent years they have been found in
hot springs under the ocean at over boiling temperatures,
deep in the earth’s crust in sedimentary and in fissured
magmatic rocks, in the driest deserts, coldest glaciers,
most saline lakes, and in the atmosphere itself. I predict
that the solar system is filed with megatons of life,
perhaps mostly inactive as spores or broken down
organic genetic codes, but all coming from the earth.
Giant meteor strikes send meteors to Earth, even
apparently from Venus. But the reverse should also work.
The huge meteor that killed the dinosaurs probably sent
megatons of tektites and dust out of the atmosphere,
where it can easily spread everywhere in the solar
system. But even without this, how many spores have
slowly moved to the upper fringes of the atmosphere,
where solar flares, magnetic disturbances, or even
passing meteor trails, may give them their last kick
upwards to where the sun’s rays can push them onwards.
The prediction is that if we do find life or traces of life on
Mars, icy moons like Europa, and other places, it will be
from terrestrial progenitors.  
   See my article which is based on this idea, but
considers how life can evolve into and in space.
                 
CLICK HERE

2. Tradition has such a strong hold on us that it can be
hard to effect, or even think of, a change. Especially
where food items are concerned. Consider the simple
example of tea and coffee. Tea is used at very dilute
concentration, so you can get a year’s worth of tea, at
least, from a pound. Coffee is used at strong
concentrations, and the normal changes are to make it
even stronger, as in espresso. What if we changed it
around? We could make coffee very dilute, like teas. Tea
connoisseurs brag about their ability to taste very
delicate, dilute flavors of different tea. Many people
consider them little different from each other, or from
dishwater. I think it is especially funny when people like
the Brits brag about their taste for specific teas, then add
milk, sugar, and lemon, so there is basically no tea flavor.
At least coffee is so strong that it still can be detected
when it is culinarily mangled like that. I think if people
learned to like very dilute coffee, they could more easily
perceive differences between beans, than they could with
different teas. There is some existing precedent for this.
Some Yemenis and Somalis use the papery husk of the
dried coffee bean for their coffee beverage, very dilute
coffee.

1.Penis bones (the baculum) are found in almost all male
placental mammals, including gorillas and chimps, but
NOT humans. WHY? You might then think that male and
female animals have different numbers of bones, but not
true. Female mammals have an equivalent, the
baubellum.  (Men and women have the same number of
ribs. If you don't believe me, count them yourself.) Given
that other primates have penis bones, why can the
doctors not transplant say a section of rib into your
penis, giving you a permanent stiffie and negating the
need for Viagra?
AECPhotos


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