evolution tree

Morocco’s Argania trees are infested with goats that eat the nuts and fruits that it produces. Local farmers condone and even cultivate this bizarre feeding practice because after the goats finish eating the fruit and nuts off the tree, they pass valuable clumps of seeds which are then pressed to create the sought after Argan oil.

Happy birthday to Charles Darwin! The famed naturalist was born on this day in 1809. 

Happiest at home with his notebooks and his microscope, he shunned the public eye. Controversy made him ill. This brilliant observer of nature kept his most original and revolutionary idea under wraps for decades. Yet today, two centuries after Charles Darwin’s birth, nearly everyone knows his name. What did Darwin do, and why does he still matter so much?

Learn more about this compelling figure in our online exhibition, Darwin

Darwin published only one tree of life in his lifetime, a foldout that appears in On The Origin of Species. But Darwin drew many trees over his career, including this one for primates, the last one he was known to produce, dated April 21, 1868. Learn more about these trees. 

Did you know? We may have Darwin’s children to thank for the surviving handwritten pages of the naturalist’s On the Origin of Species manuscript. Most of the original 600 pages are lost, and of the 45 pages that exist today, many were repurposed by Darwin’s brood of 10 children as art supplies! Read more.

Finally, the AMNH Darwin Manuscripts Project is a historical and textual edition of Charles Darwin’s scientific manuscripts. The database at its core catalogues some 96,000 pages of Darwin scientific manuscripts. Check it out

I’m going to make an evolutionary tree, or tree of life, for the monster species in Undertale.
Of course monsters don’t work like our organic real life forms, as explained in the game, monsters are made of mostly magic and a bit of matter, meaning they in some way chose their forms, and when they somehow reproduce that soul energy inherits part of the matter that made up the “parents” form.

Basically they work like demons in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, they are mostly magical energy, with a bit of matter in the form of the monster, which may look like something complex or living, but inside there’s no blood, they can be easily sliced through because they don’t have an internal skeleton, they are essentially magical styrofoam models, extremely realistic on the outside in the right form and appearance, but inside its just all magic. As soon as this magic is gone, such as when the soul is destroyed, the force manipulating and maintaining the small percentage of matter in their body is gone, so they turn to a dust of the matter that made up their body.

Too much determination, and they don’t have enough physical matter in their vessel to contain it and begin to lose control, as we see when they melt like in Undyne the Undyings case. In the case of the Amalgamates they melt and have to fuse together to form a vessel with enough physical mass capable of withstanding that amount of determination. When they are so loosely formed the different souls fight with their determination to maintain their original physical form, resulting in a form that is a mash up of several different monsters body parts. The Amalgamates show what monsters really are, just magic entities shaping physical matter into a form.

Of course, early monsters probably started as clouds of dust, magic entities with a primitive control over matter, eventually some were able to animate matter in a liquid form and control it by changing the viscosity and density and solidity. Thus the first primitive slimes were made.

So, I’m gonna make a visual version of this, but for now here is the the grouping, I’m like the Linnaeus of UnderTale.

The common ancestor is this gas/dust storm/liquid form, then early slimes formed and split off into their own kingdom, slimes, which includes the slime family in Snowdin, Moldsmal, Moldbygg, the shambling mass in the hotel lobby, the slime janitor, and possibly the ferry monster.

The common ancestor slime/liquid/gas/dust storm then splits off to two kingdoms, the inorganic replicants, and the organic replicants.

Inorganic replicates splits into the groups machina, pyro, and crystalline.
Machina includes all monsters that based their forms on human machinery that washed into the underground. This includes Tsunderplane, Woshua, and whatever made up Memoryhead.
Pyro are the fire monsters, Grillby, Fuku Fire, Pyrope, Heats Flamesman, and the black fire monster in Hotlands.
Crystalline is the crystal structure monsters, such as the snowman, Icecap, Snowdrake’s family, Cooldrake, the diamond boys, diamond hotel owner, Ice-E, possibly ferry monster, and Vulkin.

Organic replicates splits into mythologica and biologica.
Mythologica contains species with forms that are organic but closer to mythological creatures than actual real biological creatures. Examples are the Hellboy “Oni” creature, the smiling jester devil, Madjik, Knight Knight, Glyde, dragons, manticore, Loox, Astigmatism, etc

Biologica is split up to include animalia, sedentaria, and humanoid.
Animalia includes
Avians, canines, fish, mollusks, rodents, Ursa, lapines (rabbits), reptile, amphibian, Temmie, feline, arthropoda, and ruminantia (deer, goats, giraffes, cows).
The sedentaria is based on the species that have hyphae or roots and tend to be stuck in the ground, like the dancing mushroom, Vegetoid, Parsnik, puzzle elder, OnionSan and the sentient ficus that judges you for your sins.
humanoid includes species that appear to be based on human parts, such the hand receptionist and big mouth, and the ficus NPC, possibly Papyrus.

Gaster and Sans, maybe Papyrus,are sort of unknown.


Oh, and there’s Jerry, but the evolutionary tree ditched him so I’ll just stick him in the corner.

vimeo

There are places in the world where stars are the only source of light. Their singularity is breathtaking, inclines to reflection and becomes the root of inspiration. Places like that are usually unspoiled, natural and intact. These are the places where humans live in symbiosis with nature.

Namibia is one of the few places on Earth with the lowest light pollution. There are national parks there where the light pollution is reduced to zero. That’s why it has become a hotspot for astronomy photographers like myself.

“Undisturbed Places” is a project made in Namibia and Botswana during Namib & Kalahari Desert Astroexpedition, organized by Safra-Go. Taking part in a month-long journey, I was able to collect 2TB of timelapse footage. What you are about to watch is a selection of the most beautiful locations I was able to film.

Why wildfires are necessary

Did you know that several forest species need fire to survive?

In the conifer-rich forests of western North America, lodgepole pines constantly seek the sun. Their seeds prefer to grow on open, sunny ground, which pits saplings against each other as each tries to get more light by growing straighter and faster than its neighbors. Over time, generations of slender, lofty lodgepoles form an umbrella-like canopy that shades the forest floor below. But as the trees’ pine cones mature to release their twirling seeds, this signals a problem for the lodgepole’s future: very few of these seeds will germinate in the cool, sunless shade created by their towering parents.

These trees have adapted to this problem by growing two types of cones. There are the regular annual cones that release seeds spontaneously:

And another type called serotinous cones, which need an environmental trigger to free their seeds:

Serotinous cones are produced in thousands and are like waterproof time capsules sealed with resinous pitch. Many are able to stay undamaged on the tree for decades. Cones that fall to the ground can be viable for several years as well. But when temperatures get high enough, the cones pop open.

Once it’s gotten started, a coniferous forest fire typically spreads something like this: flames ravage the thick understory provided by species like Douglas Fir, a shade-tolerant tree that’s able to thrive under the canopy of lodgepole pines. The fire uses these smaller trees as a stepladder to reach the higher canopy of old lodgepole pines. That ignites a tremendous crown fire, reaching temperatures of up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures, the serotinous cones burst open, releasing millions of seeds which are carried by the hot air to form new forests. After the fire, carbon rich soils and an open, sunlit landscape help lodgepole seeds germinate quickly and sprout in abundance. From the death of the old forest comes the birth of the new.

So however counterintuitive it may seem, wildfires are important for the wider ecosystem as a whole. Without wildfires to rejuvenate trees, key forest species would disappear—and so would the many creatures that depend on them. And if a fire-dependent forest goes too long without burning, that raises the risk of a catastrophic blaze which could destroy a forest completely, not to mention people’s homes and lives. That’s why forest rangers sometimes intentionally start controlled burns—to reduce fuels in order to keep the more dangerous wildfires at bay.  

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why wildfires are necessary - Jim Schulz

Animation by @provinciastudio

Charles Darwin published only one tree of life in his lifetime, a foldout that appears in On The Origin of Species. But Darwin drew many trees over his career, including this one for primates, the last one he was known to produce, dated April 21, 1868. Scholars suspect that Darwin, not a skilled draftsman, was likely using his trees as a tool for working out relationships in his own mind—a form of thinking out loud. 

“I think it was one step beyond doodling,” says J. David Archibald, author of Aristotle’s Ladder, Darwin’s Tree: The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order. “Darwin was a terrible artist, but a wonderful writer. His work led to an explosion of evolutionary trees. Evolution took over the iconography of trees and the non-evolutionists stopped using them.”

Read the full story on the Museum blog.