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Animals of Earth
Transcript of Animals of Earth
Once, people considered animals to be just 1 big bunch. Animals were animals were animals. Then things began to change as people began to classify animals into different groups. For example, honeybees don’t share that much with humans, except that we both like honey. They are grouped according to several characteristics, such as what types of food they eat, whether they shed their skin all at once or a bit at a time, how they reproduce, and several more.
Mammals started to become the dominant
kingdom of Eukaryota (or Eukarya, which are
multi-celled organisms) about 65 million years
ago. There are several characteristics about
mammals that separate them from other groups;
here are some:
They drink milk from their mothers.
Only mammals have hair.
Mammals are warm-blooded. That means that their body temperature is not affected by the climate they are in.
Mammals have more developed brains than other animals.
Most mammals give their young protection and/or train them for life, whereas other animals often have their young, then leave them.
The majority of mammals give live birth.
Reptiles are unique animals because they have scales. Although
many reptiles mean no harm, some snakes strangle their prey or
have poison in their fangs. There are 4 types of reptiles:
• Lizards and amphisbaenians
Lizards usually have 4 limbs and a tail. They also have ear
openings on the outside of their bodies. Most lizards can see,
although the Texas Blind Lizard doesn’t HAVE eyes. Some snakes
are also classified as lizards. Amphisbaenians are mostly snakes.
Almost all amphisbaenians don’t have legs, but some have tiny front legs.
They dig holes underground.
Here’s something to tell your pet turtle: It is the only kind of reptile with a shell! They go into their shells for protection and other reasons. Turtles live in hundreds, if not thousands of places. They live on land, freshwater, saltwater, and in captivity. They live longest in captivity (as pets or zoo animals). The most endangered species of turtles are sea turtles. There are several reasons for this, and here are two: Their eggs are threatened by humans, birds, and more. Also, they are captured often.
Crocodilians are- you guessed it- crocodiles, caimans, and alligators! They usually live near freshwater. There are over 20 species of crocodilians. They are mostly limited to parts of the United States and China. They use their tails to swim. They have a snout, big jaws, and webbed feet.
Most tuataras live off the coast of New Zealand. They are closely related to dinosaurs.
Let’s take a break from complex life and go down to simpler things. Single-celled organisms are the world’s oldest life, and still remain today. Most are helpful, but some are colds *Sniff*, Pollen *Ach-oo!*, and the flu *Cough!*.
Well, simple life comes in a simple explanation, so that's it!
*http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/faq/ (click link)
A unique feature of birds is feathers.
They are the only living things that have
them. About 9,700 species exist. The
smallest living bird is the bee
hummingbird of Cuba. The largest bird
ever was the elephant bird, which weighed
1,000 lbs. The largest bird now is the ostrich. Birds (and sometimes their eggs) are a large source of food. Chickens and their unfertilized
eggs are a very well-known example of this. Their
meat is very popular, and their eggs are
popular for breakfasts. Birds eat the seeds of plants
which makes birds important in a very gross way:
they poop out the seeds! Believe it or not, plants
still grow from the seeds (provided the seeds fall into the right into the right place).
Frogs are good examples of amphibians. They
start life as tiny little eggs. Then, they hatch into
cute little tadpoles (they’re also called
polliwogs, but I heard they don’t like to be
called that). Then, they grow back legs, and
then front legs. Then their tails shrink away. And their
gills disappear and they form lungs! It’s a miracle! Before you know it, they’re frogs! Anyway, amphibians are some of the only animals to conquer land AND water! Amphibians are weird because they have no hair, feathers, or scales. They have skin, though. They actually drink through their skin and keep their poison there. Oh, and some reasons amphibians are endangered are global warming and habitat loss. Want to help amphibians out? Do something to help slow down global warming (since it’s a gradual thing, we can’t stop it), such as walking instead of driving. And recycle your paper to save trees.
Insects are tiny and have 6 legs. Scientists
have found over 1 ½ MILLION species of
insects. Some insects make good things (like
bees and honey), but ones like fleas and
mosquitoes are dangerous and just plain
ANNOYING! Insects live everywhere, and some are even in the oceans. Did you know that caterpillars are insects? They only have 6 real legs. Insects also have an exoskeleton, a skeleton on the outside of their body. There are also 2 types of insect larvae (babies). Nymphs, which look like adults, and naiads, which don’t.
Endangerment and Conservation of Animals
Looking at Endangerment
Who doesn’t love a visit to the zoo?
Seeing all the mammals, amphibians,
birds, all of that animal life. It’s an
animal bonanza! Now let’s hope we
can keep it that way. Several things,
including global warming are causing
populations of several animals to go down and even causing species to go extinct. We all probably know these things are called endangerment (shrinking populations) and extinction (animals disappearing from the face of the earth), but what you might not know are the causes of them (we'll get to that in a minute).
The IUCN Red List statuses are:
LC-Least Concern: Populations starting to decrease.
NT-Near Threatened: A little less hopeful.
VU-Vulnerable: Getting worse.
EN-Endangered: Cause for concern.
CR-Critically Endangered: Critical population loss.
EW-Extinct in the wild: Only living in captivity
EX-Extinct: Dead as a dodo.
Additionally, there are two more classifications for plants and animals, but these aren’t used as often:
NE-Not Evaluated: They haven't looked at the species (yet).
DD-Data Deficient: Not enough data found
One of the most problematic causes on
endangerment is global warming.
Not only are humans speeding it up, but it
is gradual. In the past 100 years, global
average temperatures have raised 1ºF,
which may not seem like much, but it is
enough to melt glaciers and change ocean currents. The changing ocean currents have made habitats, well, different. Rising temperatures bleached corals, which provided a feeble hideout for colored fish, which fell victim to predators.
Now pollution is not only what
causes global warming, but it also
harms animals by getting in their
lungs. What I really want to talk
about is how it causes global
warming. It’s actually very simple:
1. Pollution pumps co2 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, causing it to thicken.
2. That makes the atmosphere trap in more heat, like a greenhouse. That’s why they call it the greenhouse effect.
3. Earth heats up. People use more power for air conditioning. Repeat.
Habitat loss is when human activity causes animals to, well, lose their habitats. Habitat loss is a MAJOR problem in the Amazon rainforest, like pollution in the Amazon river. In fact, habitat loss is the most major cause of endangerment! Oh, and the highways in the United States (which contribute to habitat loss) could fill the state of Indiana!
One way we can help endangered marine life is no throw those plastic things that hold 6-packs of cans into the ocean. Some animals mistake it for an edible jellyfish (edible to them, not you) and choke on it. They can also get caught in it. You can also switch to catch-and-release fishing, instead of eating your fish. Also, national parks are helping endangered species. Yellowstone could cause a super-eruption that could kill all life on Earth, but that’s a different story. As for the pollution/global warming problem, you can walk or ride your bike instead of using your car. All of this will lead to a happy, healthy animal kingdom!
So, let’s sum it up. Animals are beautiful, moving, living things that keep our green Earth alive. They all have different properties, but all share the Earth, and we must protect endangered animals from losing their share.
The largest mammal (and animal) ever to live is the 100-foot long Blue whale, with other whales trailing behind.
2012 was a big year for all primates (a group of mammals that includes humans) with the first primate discovery in over 20 years. The new primate is known locally as a lesusla. It is classified as vulnerable (for more on this, see epilogue Part I) because its living area is only 6,500 square miles. Did you know that monotremes are mammals that lay eggs? The only monotremes are platypuses (or platypi) and echidnas (which are spiny anteaters). Platypi were considered hoaxes when first shown in Britain in the 1800’s. Echidnas, as babies, begin to grow spines in only a few hours.
Here’s some more about blue whales: there were once over 100,000 of them but whaling dropped their populations to below 1,000. Fortunately, whaling was outlawed, and blue whales populations have increased to over 5,000, but that is still a small fraction of the once tens of thousands that roamed the oceans. Other whales are endangered too, and some closely related species to whales, like narwhals (basically small whales with unicorn horns). Overall, we could do a lot to help mammals of the oceans and seas.
Fish have a large variation in size. The stout
infantfish, which lives in the Great Barrier Reef,
grows only 7 millimeters (mm) long, while the
whale shark grows up to feet. Fish can be
vertebrates (which have bones) or invertebr-
ates (which don’t). There are 20,000+ species of fish, some of which are endangered. Fish have gills, to extract oxygen from water. A very important feature is a swim bladder, which is an air sac that is located near the dorsal fin in the back of the fish. This allows a fish to swim freely. Fins also allow them to quickly move. Fish can even rewind (or go backwards, that’s just what I like to call it). They even have senses. They can smell with their nostrils, but hopefully it doesn’t hurt when water gets in there!
For more about fish, go here:
All retrieved February 27, 2014
by Hunter Long