Archive for the ‘Extinction’ Tag

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon? :   23 comments


No “Year In Review” From WordPress….So!

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon?!!

‘The geological history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.’

It would? So what exactly would happen if we just got rid of it altogether and there was no moon? Which there probably wasn’t so far as many of us were concerned over Christmas! But say we blew it up?!! Blasted it completely out of the sky? After all do we actually need this shiny ball in the sky anyway?









Sonic_moon_boom_tvtropes.org_creative commons license__moon_explosion___space_art_by_raju7

The Birth of a New Ring World Earth Surprised smile

All those tiny fragments of blown up moon would be far too small to stick back together and create a new, if rather misshapen and little moon, which would have at least managed a near normal gravitational pull on Earth…important scientific detail….

A lovely ring would form around Earth consisting of little lumps of moon shrapnel …very, very tiny ones…very pretty but trouble is they wouldn’t be content with staying out there in space. Oh no, they would much rather make a regular and devastatingly determined habit of periodically hurtling out of their ring-world and slam-dunking into the Earth’s surface, bombarding us with meteorites that should otherwise never have thought of coming anywhere near us…oh dear! Moulton moon rain, cities destroyed, countries obliterated….

Moon formedImage NASA JPL-CaltechOn top of which, if we have blown the moon sky high all those particularly dangerous outer space meteorites that had previously hammered the moon’s surface would no longer have anything to prevent them making a bee-line for Earth, happily re-creating the Moon’s surface on the home-world! Great! Craters everywhere… Even more cities destroyed, countries obliterated….








Axial Tilt of Earth Eye rolling smile

In between moon rocks and meteorite bombardments from the rest of the cosmos, Earth, minus the moon’s gravitational pull would develop a wobble…it had a little one before but it was stabilised by the Moon, which also protected it from the gravitational pull of the other planets…now it would have a huge wobble, and be pulled one way by Mars and another way by Jupiter – our planetary neighbours. Consequently with no moon to slow Earth’s orbit down we would be flying merrily around the sun in a wildly unhinged and erratic orbit…. shortening Earth’s day from 24 hours to only 8 – 10 hours.

Catastrophic seasonal changes Disappointed smile

moon_asexuality.orgOn top of which whilst currently we are worrying about global warming and climate change….or at least those of us with a scrap of common sense are, with the moon gone these problems will seem trivial….of course to the uneducated or just plain stupid they already are, but you “aint seen nothing yet!!”

Earth would be a very, very different place. As it would now be rotating so much faster, 160-200 km winds would be zooming across Earth’s surface.








With Earth’s now unstable axial tilt, we would see dramatic environmental changes over the course of thousands-millions of years – the loss of our conventional seasons and radical modifications in temperature would cause wide-ranging consequences for the growth of plant life and crops. This in turn would create some major headaches and very thorny problems for producing food for the billions of people dwelling on Earth. The animal world would have to adapt pretty quickly to a much shorter life pattern in terms of mating, migration and hibernation.


Moreover, the changing temperatures would lead to the loss of Earth’s N and S Poles. To an extent this is already happening but in such circumstances melting ice would have a hugely dramatic effect on the oceans which would rise to a point where they change the all the world’s coastlines.

Life on Earth both in countries and in cities would have no choice but to adapt pretty drastically in order to survive or disappear into extinction.


Tidal Chaos Confused smile

With no moon to affect the tides, which show a configuration related to the lunar phase cycle, Earth’s oceans would become very tranquil and still. Solar tides would have a very small effect; about half that of the Moon, so there would be the odd wave or two. (Assuming we hadn’t blown the Sun up as well 😉 ) Tides were also important in life’s early stages of evolution so this would be terrible news for sea life which would rapidly become extinct. Barely-there tides do not mix oceans which therefore do not circulate nutrients required for sea-life’s survival…so fishermen would quickly go out of business and no –one would be microwaving their “Fisherman’s Pies” ever again!

Game Over_Image Credit fpif.org_Photo Mykl Roventine-Flickr

     Not quite the useless lump rock some people seem to think it is then! Be right back

Happy New Year 2016!


Bone-crushing “Super” Ice Wolves!!   16 comments

Bone-crushing “Super” Ice Wolves!!



Around 12,000 years ago, in the icy forests of Alaska patrols of super-wolves could be found roaming, striking fear into the hearts of all who encountered them. They were much larger and much stronger than the modern Grey wolf, and sporting considerably larger teeth and far more powerful jaws, they were killing machines of very large prey.

This now extinct species, “Beringian wolves”, was discovered by Jennifer Leonard and a group of colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles. Whilst studying the permafrost-frozen remains of ancient time Grey wolves in Eastern Beringia, an area including Alaska and Northwest Canada, they were able to analyse DNA from the "super-wolf" bones, and also to study its genetic make-up.

They proved to be genetically quite different from the wolves we know today. On analysis of their DNA it became very obvious that modern-day wolves are not descendants of these extinct prehistoric "super wolves." They were shown to share a common ancestor, but were also found to be on two separate and diverging branches on the evolutionary tree.

IceWolfAnalysis of the genes found by Jennifer Leonard showed the heads of the Beringian wolves, were shorter and broader and possessing of deeper jaws than was considered usual. They also had very large teeth designed for shaving meat – of the nature that characterise dogs, cats and other carnivores specific to that group.

These hyper carnivores, had skulls adapted totally for the purpose of meat consumption and the use of a bite of such tremendous force that it could kill prey vastly larger than itself, possibly even the Great Mammoths of the time.

Their powerful jaws allowed the Beringian wolves to quickly wolf down carcasses, bones andGrey Wolf everything else, fast enough to avoid the need to fend off competition. This would have included a fierce variety of dangerous and powerful hunters, including the likes of the American lion and the Short-faced bear, the largest bear ever known.

It is possible that the ancestors of today’s Grey wolf found their way into the New World by crossing the Bering land bridge linking Asia to Alaska. They were medium-sized hunters, between coyote and the Dire wolf. With the extinction of the larger Dire wolves, the Grey wolf split into two distinct groups. One filled the evolutionary gap by developing a far stronger skull and fangs, (“super wolves”) thereby filling the gap the larger extinct predators (Dire wolves) left, whilst the second group evolved into a faster, more athletic breed (ancestors of today’s wolves).

Unfortunately, as is the way in evolution the first group of wolves with their specialist requirements for very large prey became its pitfall. When such prey died out during the last Ice Age, so too did the large bone-crushing "super" Grey wolf. Today this creature is lost to us forever.

Unless in some future time mankind figures out a way to re-create them by way of cloning… Not necessarily a wise move!!