Tag Archives | natural history

New Zealand’s Lost ‘Eighth Wonder Of The World’ Found Deep Underwater

110203124824-largeKiwi scientists have discovered portions of the Pink and White Terraces, a natural wonder which was ravaged by a 19th century volcanic blast. Sadly, the remnants are buried at the bottom of a lake, meaning they will remain hidden away from the eyes of humans. Science Daily reveals:

They were called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Until the late 19th century, New Zealand’s Pink and White Terraces along Lake Rotomahana on the North Island, attracted tourists from around the world, interested in seeing the beautiful natural formations created by a large geothermal system. But the eruption of Mt. Tarawera on June 10, 1886, buried the terraces in sediment and caused the lake basin to enlarge, engulfing the land where the terraces stood. For more than a century, people have speculated whether any part of the Pink and White Terraces survived the eruption.

This week, scientists from New Zealand’s GNS Science, in collaboration with engineers and scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and NOAA-PMEL, located portions of the long-lost Pink Terraces.

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A Third Of Texans Say Dinosaurs And Humans Coexisted

Does a third of the population believe that “The Flinstones was a documentary”? In a poll, one out of three Texans say that humans and dinosaurs lived together at one point. Oh, and, the majority say that humanity did not develop from an earlier species. The Texas Tribune reports:

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

[Professor David] Prindle recall[s] a line from comedian Lewis Black. “He did a routine a few years back in which he said that a significant proportion of the American people think that the ‘The Flintstones’ is a documentary,” Prindle says. “Turns out he was right.”

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Did All Life Originate From A Proton-Powered Rock?

New Scientist writes on the possible origin of life on Earth:

The most counter-intuitive trait of life could be one of the best clues to its origin. At one time everyone assumed that cells got their energy using straightforward chemical reactions. However, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Peter Mitchell argued, correctly, that life is powered not by the kind of chemistry that goes on in a test tube but by a kind of electricity; the energy from food is used to pump positively charged hydrogen ions, or protons, creating an electrochemical gradient.

Proton power drives not only cell respiration, but photosynthesis too: energy from the sun is converted into a proton gradient in essentially the same way as the energy of food. This suggests that proton power is no late innovation but evolved early in the history of life, an idea supported by the tree of life. The obvious explanation is that both inherited this machinery from a common ancestor – the progenitor of all life on Earth…

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