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Natural Adaptations are incredible.
Posted: 06 August 2011 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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At first I was going to name this thread:
“Check it out, Reindeer see in UV light,”
but quickly realized there’s so much other weird stuff being discovered this could be a fun drop box.

EarthSky // Blogs // Biodiversity Posted May 29, 2011
Reindeer see a twilight world in UV light
by EarthSky
The UV light that causes snow blindness in humans is life-saving for reindeer in the Arctic.
Arctic reindeer see deeply into the ultraviolet (UV) part of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the same time, they can safely handle an amount of UV light that would cause snow blindness in humans. That’s according to a study from University College London, which will appeared in the May 12, 2011 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

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Posted: 06 August 2011 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You know, sort of like the Cuddle Fish story.

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Posted: 06 August 2011 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This is why I must laugh at those who profess, that the earth is so finely tuned for human life.  Even in the most extremely hostile parts of earth (no light, no oxygen, sulphur rich, extreme heat, extreme cold) where humans would perish instantly we can find abundant life which uses survival techniques completely alien to humans.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 06 August 2011 06:38 PM

You know, sort of like the Cuddle Fish story.

As I recall insects see well into the infra red, I have no clue about the wolf spider (8 eyes), but whales and bats have sonar. I sincerely believe that al living things alive today have at least one area of extraordinary evolutionary progress which exceeds human natural capabilities.

Our advantage is that we can achieve all these extraordinary capabilities with technology.

[ Edited: 07 August 2011 12:18 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 07 August 2011 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Write4U - 06 August 2011 09:19 PM

This is why I must laugh at those who profess, that the earth is so finely tuned for human life.

  I see it as just the reverse - all life including human is finely tuned to fit the earth environment in which the organism lives.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam. - 07 August 2011 01:19 PM
Write4U - 06 August 2011 09:19 PM

This is why I must laugh at those who profess, that the earth is so finely tuned for human life.

  I see it as just the reverse - all life including human is finely tuned to fit the earth environment in which the organism lives.

Occam

Precisely. Life tunes itself to environment.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Life might be tuned, but it’s not that finely tuned.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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mid atlantic - 07 August 2011 04:28 PM

Life might be tuned, but it’s not that finely tuned.

Yea but it knows how to recover, like a fine jazz musician     cool smile

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Posted: 07 August 2011 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Evolution, Nature’s Artist.

That could even qualify as a God.

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Posted: 10 August 2011 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Wow, I heard a fascinating interview with Charles C. Mann who’s written “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.”  He likens Columbus’ voyage (and the floodgates that opened) as the coming back together of Pangea after millions of years of continental separation.  I knew there was a lot of cross travel of flora and fauna between the “old” and “new” worlds, but it’s much greater and fascinating than I imagined surprise, surprise.
I read his “1491” about the new world before Columbus arrived a couple years ago and it was excellent.  From the interview I’m sure “1493” will be just as well written and revolutionary an eye-opener.

August 8, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/138924127/in-1493-columbus-shaped-a-world-to-be

“In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” goes the old elementary school rhyme.

But it was Columbus’ activities in the years that followed, says writer Charles C. Mann, that really created the New World. When Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492, his journey prompted the exchange of not only information but also food, animals, insects, plants and viruses between the continents.

“It was a tremendous ecological convulsion — the greatest event in the history of life since the death of the dinosaurs,” says Mann. “And this underlies a huge amount of history learned in schools: the Industrial Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, the rise of the West — all of these are tied up in what’s been called the ‘Columbian exchange.’

Mann writes about the changed world after Columbus’ voyage in 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, a sequel to his 2006 pre-Columbian history, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. He tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that almost nothing we consider locally grown was, in fact, native to the Americas.

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Posted: 21 August 2011 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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More fantastic adaptation in action:

Rainforest Collapse Drove Reptile Evolution

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2010) — Global warming devastated tropical rainforests 300 million years ago. Now scientists report the unexpected discovery that this event triggered an evolutionary burst among reptiles—and inadvertently paved the way for the rise of dinosaurs, 100 million years later.

This event happened during the Carboniferous Period. At that time, Europe and North America lay on the equator and were covered by steamy tropical rainforests. But when the Earth’s climate became hotter and drier, rainforests collapsed, triggering reptile evolution.

Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London, UK explained: . . .

Here’s another cool story. 
110503133042.jpg

First Rainforests Arose When Plants Solved Plumbing Problem

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2011) — A team of scientists, including several from the Smithsonian Institution, discovered that leaves of flowering plants in the world’s first rainforests had more veins per unit area than leaves ever had before. They suggest that this increased the amount of water available to the leaves, making it possible for plants to capture more carbon and grow larger. A better plumbing system may also have radically altered water and carbon movement through forests, driving environmental change.
{...}
Flowerless plants then and now have relatively few veins. But their work shows that even after flowering plants evolved, it took some time before they developed the efficient plumbing systems that would allow them to develop into giant life-forms like tropical trees. . .

They go on to explain there seem to have two different development bursts of development before modern plant-plumbing was achieved… fascinating.

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Posted: 22 August 2011 03:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Write4U - 07 August 2011 12:13 AM

As I recall insects see well into the infra red, I have no clue about the wolf spider (8 eyes), but whales and bats have sonar. I sincerely believe that al living things alive today have at least one area of extraordinary evolutionary progress which exceeds human natural capabilities.

Our advantage is that we can achieve all these extraordinary capabilities with technology.

Well, yes. No other animal has our reasoning brains.

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Posted: 22 August 2011 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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We’ve got one physical advantage over everybody else: we can throw rocks much better than any other species. To test my claim, repair to the chimpanzee area at your local zoo. Taunt its occupants. Irritated, they will fling feces at you—but they can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Retrieve their missiles and return them with telling precision, thereby proving the superiority of Homo Sapiens over Pan troglodytes. Thrust your fists triumphantly into the air and strut away proudly.

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Posted: 22 August 2011 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’m not sure about that, Chris.  A friend who volunteered at the Washington DC zoo, mentioned that some workmen upgrading the large monkey house were annoyed by the primates’ curiousity and chased them away.  The monkeys climbed to the top of the tall cage and quite precisely aimed streams of urine at the workers below. 

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Posted: 22 August 2011 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yeah, but they weren’t using their throwing arms for that…

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Posted: 22 August 2011 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Quoting Chris:

thereby proving the superiority of Homo Sapiens over Pan troglodytes.

  Well, yes, that example certainly proves that we are far more advanced at using our throwing arms, but does my example mean that they are far more advanced at using their genitalia?  LOL

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