from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Even after centuries of study, the incredible diversity of life on this planet never ceases to amaze. Tracing the history of plants and animals reminds us just how small a slice of that history we represent — apart from the fact that life has been kicking around for some 3.5-billion years, there are living specimens on the earth today that individually date back to the early stages of human civilization. Here are a few articles about lifeforms past and present that will make you feel young, insignificant or both:
- These giant lime-green blobs in the Andes look pretty alien — but they are actually among earth's oldest organisms. "Llareta" plants are related to parsley, they grow about a centimeter a year, and some specimens are estimated to be over 3,000 years old. [url]
- The ugly, solitary welwitschia mirabilis plant is the last of its genus, family and order, and has a history going back 200-million years. Individuals can live thousands of years, and it's probably the most 'unique' organism on earth, with all its genetic relatives having died off long ago. [url]
- A recently-discovered dinosaur has taken the title of largest dinosaur ever, weighing up to four times as much as an apatosaurus. It lived 95-million years ago, meaning even its time on earth is dwarfed by that of the aforementioned ugly plant. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.