Monthly Archives: May 2019

When scientists think of a very early Earth, they think of a hot, hostile place not too long after the birth of the solar system more than 4 billion years ago. This time in the Earth’s history is called the Hadean Eon, named after the ancient Greek God of the Underworld Hades, and would have been just about when the earliest oceans and moon formed. At these timescales of billions of years, this is a stark contrast from what we’d traditionally think of as ancient Earth. Many of us may imagine lush blue and green hues, which at this point hadn’t appeared yet. However, billions of years ago may have been when the building blocks of life first came together, way before plants and animals or even the first cells. Without the ability to travel back in time, scientists have to study places and systems that chemically look like what…

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In the 21st century you no longer need a fancy degree or an expensive lab to help contribute to science. In fact, all you need is a working smartphone and a connection to the internet. Citizen-science is a term used to describe a kind of crowd-sourced scientific research, where people with all different kinds of backgrounds from all around the world help to collect data for research that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to obtain. Programs like iNaturalist, where users can take pictures of animals and share the species and location to a large database, let scientists know where organisms are or where they could be. And these kinds of data are helping researchers learn just how endangered important animals are. The bumble bee is often cited as “keystone species” or species that are vital to a healthy ecosystem. Without their constant pollination, it would be much harder for…

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