Discovering the Incredible Journey of Life on Earth – 40 Fascinating Facts

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1Warm-Bloodedness

Warm-Bloodedness

It’s hypothesized that warm-bloodedness evolved in mammals and birds because it provided defense against fungal infections. Very few fungi can survive the body temperatures of warm-blooded animals. By comparison, insects, reptiles, and amphibians are plagued by fungal infections.


2. The Roman Catholic Church fully accepted the Darwinian theory of evolution back in 1950. They accept it, provided that Christians believe that God created all things and that the individual soul is a direct creation by God and not the product of purely material forces.


3. Ancient human DNA shows just how recent adult lactose tolerance is, in evolutionary terms. 20,000 years ago, it was non-existent. Today, about one-third of all adults have tolerance. That lightning-fast evolutionary change suggests that direct milk consumption must have provided a serious survival advantage.


4. Ants manage large-scale infrastructure projects with no coordination at all. Each ant acts alone, solving problems such as removing obstructions as they are encountered. Research points to the simple, evolutionary energy-saving principle of: “If you do not need to communicate, don’t!”


5. The word ‘theory’ in ‘theory of evolution’ does not imply scientific doubt about its validity. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of facts.


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6Dogs

Dogs

Dogs evolved the specific muscles that give them the ability to raise their inner eyebrows more than 33,000 years ago; as they were domesticated. It’s an evolutionary trick used to manipulate humans.


7. The Stoned Ape Theory, which is a controversial theory from Terence McKenna states that a lot of our advanced human evolution came as a result of the ingestion of psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms by our primate ancestors.


8. The extra layer of skin over the eye of 90% Asiatic people is called the “epicanthic fold” and it is theorized to have evolved as a protection against cold and snow blindness.


9. Scientists say caesarian births are “affecting human evolution” because women with narrow hips are spreading this genetic predisposition to their daughters.


10. Humans are the sweatiest primates alive. We have up to five million sweat glands producing a maximum of three gallons of sweat per day. The production of sweat glands is inversely related to the production of hair, and the evolutionary loss of our hair is connected to our success as a species.


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11Geosmin

Geosmin

The smell of the air after a storm is caused by Geosmin: a chemical released by dead soil bacteria. Humans are hypersensitive to it, capable of detecting it at a concentration of 5 parts per trillion. It is theorized that in our evolutionary past this helped us seek out water.


12. A saltwater lake on the Pacific island of Palau was cut off from the ocean sometime in the past and it is now inhabited with a particular species of jellyfish. As natural predators have been sealed off from the lake, this species of jellyfish have harmless stingers due to evolutionary regression. Therefore swimming in the lake is safe and permitted.


13. Due to human interaction, domestic sheep have evolved to require humans to shear them. Their wool never sheds.


14. The human eye is different from most animals in that we have a large sclera, the white part of the eye. It’s theorized that we evolved this so we could silently communicate where we are looking.


15. Depression (characterized by low energy, social withdrawal, etc.) is believed to be an evolutionary response that was advantageous to many humans to reduce the likelihood of them catching contagious diseases.


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16Women vs Men

Women vs Men

Studies have found that women are better at discerning shades of colors, while men are better at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance. These evolutionary details are linked to a hunter-gatherer past.


17. The Plantaris is a small muscle in our calves that is believed to have been used by our ancestors to grip with their feet. It is so weak that it is considered functionally obsolete and arguments have been made that humans are evolving it out. It is absent in 7-10% of the population worldwide.


18. Photosynthesis is most likely so efficient because plants evolved to use quantum mechanics, like superposition, to aid efficient energy transfer. These are the same concepts we are struggling to utilize to make better computers today.


19. We see the colors that we do because that is just about the only spectrum of light that passes through water, the area where our eyes first evolved. There hasn’t been any evolutionary reason on land to see any broader spectrum.


20. Exposure to platinum can turn snails into their evolutionary decedents, the slug.


21Walking Fish

Walking Fish

A species of cavefish in Thailand has been documented walking and climbing waterfalls in a manner similar to four-footed creatures such as salamanders, in a find researchers call “huge” in evolutionary terms.


22. Rosacea is a skin disease that is found mainly in those of Northern European descent and it is also known as The Curse of the Celts. In reality, it is actually an evolutionary adaptation acquired by ancestral Celtic people to fend off bacteria during seasonal periods of low ultraviolet levels.


23. People on the Solomon Islands have a gene that causes blonde hair, despite their dark skin. This gene is unrelated to the one that causes blondeness in European peoples and evolved independently.


24. The avocado evolved to appeal to extinct megafauna (e.g. the giant armadillo) in order to facilitate seed dispersal via ingestion and excretion. This is why the avocado has such a sizeable seed.


25. The theory of “monster under the bed” is an evolutionary leftover from our hunter/gatherer days. In the human past, children would fear bedtime because of the threat of wild animals.

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