The Explosion That Starts Life

POOF! And there goes the first phylum! GIF by GIPHY

Ever wonder how kingdoms of animals ever started? What causes them? When? And ultimately, HOW? It’s CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION!

Cambrian Explosion is a relatively rapid appearance of animal kingdoms or known as phyla – a taxonomic term which means the primary kingdom of animals – which happened around 530 million years ago and lasted about 54 million years. If I were to fit the entire creation of universe in a year, then the Cambrian Explosion would happen during December 15th. When Cambrian explosion (or radiation, some might say) occurred, vast diversity of animals took place and rapid animal evolution happened, be it aquatic of land. Additionally, many scientists also believed that most animals that existed today originated from the explosion.

The dominant animals that lived during the period was aquatic, given that the Earth was practically ocean and land was hardly to be seen. Trilobites were assumed to be the dominant organisms but after future research, it was proven wrong and replaced with arthropods which was mainly dominant as aquatic organisms. It was later known that trilobites were a small part of arthropods family, which demonstrate their similar structure.

Trilobites – a subgroup of arthropod, source

Many had voiced out their theories as to how the explosion happened but the cause of it is still unknown. Many scientists believe that it was the sudden elevation of oxygen level and concentration of calcium in water that boost the evolution.

The graph showing rise in oxygen level, source

Theories like the environmental and ecological changes on Earth and how lagoons and islands are formed were also debated. The lagoons was said to provided shallow pools as the habitat  to live in and necessary food for the animals, thus creating the rapid appearance of animals. Some other theories claimed to have genetic reasons as to why the explosion happened. There are still many unresolved questions and remarks about the period, and scientists are still muddled as to how the evolution and diversification could have happened in such a short amount of time. Those questions aside, the Cambrian period had definitely marked such an impactful event in the timeline of our universe.


Tale of The Noseless Man

It is hard trudging through the development of astronomy throughout the decades without having controversies here and there. The astronomy world has many vivid figures, but nobody quite dramatic like Tycho Brahe. The man known to be genius but eccentric, wealthy but weak mathematics-wise.

He was about two when he was taken away from his parents – who were strangely alright with it – by his uncle who was a rich Danish noble. When his uncle died, Brahe was the one who inherited all of his uncle’s property, leaving him to live in a castle with bunch of weird entertainers and people he hired (talk about eccentricity).

Noseless man with heaping astronomical skills. Taken in IMAGE

The tale of his missing nose started with his lack of skills in mathematics and foul temper. He was having a disagreement with a Danish named Manderup Parsbjerg over a mathematics formula and due to scarce resources, they ended up having a sword fight to death. The duel resulted in Brahe having his nose sliced off. Thus, he was said to wear prosthetic nose and keep around some gold and silver noses for special occasions.

The solar eclipse that happened around 1560 boost Brahe’s interest towards researching astronomy. Having tonnes of wealth around him, he managed to build a protractor-like seat to observe the stars from a small rectangle hole on the wall (which is hard and needs a lot of concentration and patience). He was known to be the naked-eye observer as he would sit on the protractor as his assistant would adjust the angle of the seat as he instructed. His observation was able to prove Copernicus’ Saturn and Jupiter alignment and from that day onward, he aspired to compile astronomical predictions and readings as it was prized data at that time.

Descriptive image of how Brahe was observing the stars. Taken in TYCHONOSE (they have a great article about him, so go check it out!)

His astronomical tables were so sought after that the king of Denmark wanted to keep him. His data was proven to be scientific and vital as it was accurate and reliable.  Tycho Brahe was definitely one of the early astronomer who helped discover the cosmos, bringing one piece on information to another thus connecting them into strings of fact. He was indeed remarkable, as a man without a nose.