Field of Science

Ernst Haeckel, Evolution and Japanese Anime

Ernst Haeckel, German naturalist and artist, was born February 16, 1834. He was one of the first biologists to accept the theory of evolution and created phylogenetic trees to show the relationships of various animals (including humans). 

It´s curious to note that one of Haeckel´s drawings features also in the 1995 anime „Ghost in the Shell“, when the puppet master - a sentient A.I. - discusses evolution as descent with modification:

A copy is just an identical image. There is the possibility that a single virus could destroy an entire set of systems and copies do not give rise to variety and originality. Life perpetuates itself through diversity and this includes the ability to sacrifice itself when necessary. Cells repeat the process of degeneration and regeneration until one day they die, obliterating an entire set of memory and information. Only genes remain. Why continually repeat this cycle? Simply to survive by avoiding the weaknesses of an unchanging system.” 

Ghost in the Shell, the final battle in the museum.

How Groundhogs Can Change A Landscape

We don’t know how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if he could chuck wood, but we know how much sediment he moves per year…
Biogeomorphology, also referred as ecogeomorphology or sometimes as zoogeomorphology, is the study of the links between ecology and geomorphology, or in simple terms between life-forms and landforms. Such interactions range from simple tracks left by an organism in the landscape to the complex cycles of energy and matter transfer (like for the element carbon) between the biosphere and the lithosphere.
The role of animals in the evolution of a landscape is still poorly studied, but one of the most interesting processes modifying a landscape involves digging animals. Read On...

The Origin Of Geological Terms: Feldspar


“What’s in a name?” asked William Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet. It may also be of interest to explore the origin of some common terms used in geology in an upcoming series, like feldspar, the most common mineral on earth´s surface Read On

Charles Darwin And The Search For Extraterrestrial Life

In August 1881, the journal Science (a short-lived predecessor of the modern journal) published an article based on letters exchanged between two amateur geologists – British Charles R. Darwin and the German Otto Hahn – discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Just some years earlier, Darwin had published On The Origin of Species, arguing that complex life forms evolved very slowly over time from simple ones.
However, Darwin faced a major problem with his theory. At the time, based on erroneous calculations of the cooling rate of earth by physicist Lord Kelvin, the Earth was believed to be just some million years old.
Accordingly, the planet seemed too young to explain the modern complexity and diversity of life. However, if already complex microorganisms existed in space (the existence of which would predate the formation of Earth), and only later they evolved in terrestrial animals, could solve this apparent contradiction.