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The largest creature to have ever flown in Earth's skies had a wingspan of 10.4 meters (34 feet). That's about the size of a bus. It is called Quetzalcoatlus and it was a pterosaur about the size of a giraffe.

Taking off and landing becomes an issue for such a large creature. It is thought that it used the same muscles for flying as it did for taking off, using its wings and a running jump to vault itself into flight. It then would soar like a Condor, flapping infrequently.

i feel like my whole life as a millennial has just been watching dinosaurs get less and less cool

X-Ray Superbubbles in Galaxy NGC 3079

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA, CXC, U. Michigan, J-T Li et al.; Optical: NASA, STScI

apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190305.ht #APoD

The oldest known mammal species to evolve on Earth was a small shrew-like creature known as Juramaia sinensis which lived about 160 million years ago. Descended testicles are a mammalian trait thought to have been present in the earliest mammal species. So it's quite likely that anything 160 million years old is literally old as balls.

I'm sure you're all well aware that weather on gas giants can get a little out of hand but you may not be aware that there is a hexagonal vortex on top of Saturn.

It's about 32,000 kilometers wide, and it rotates in lockstep with Saturn's rotation. Scientists are fairly sure they know how it came about by recreating it with simulations in New Mexico. The simple simulation started with an eastward jetstream and slowly took its recognizable shape on its own when reacting to small perturbations.

Neptune was discovered in 1846 using mathematics. Neptune's orbital period is 165 Earth years. It has only been 173 years since 1846, meaning that since its discovery, it has only been shortly over 1 Neptunian year since its discovery.

Project OpenWorm is an open science endeavor to fully simulate a simple virtual organism (the worm 𝘊𝘢𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘴) at the cellular level, in its entirety.

The goal is to simulate every of the 959 cells of the worm, but it must start with simulating the 302 neurons and 95 muscle cells.

prostitution and currency in nature Show more

30 years ago, we didn't know if any exoplanets existed, today we wonder if there are any stars that DON'T have planets...

The Schmidt pain index is named after a guy named Justin Schmidt who went around stinging himself with every insect he could find and rating the pain.

He wrote a book about his experience with these 83 stinging insects called "The Sting of the Wild"

A day on Mars lasts 24 hours and 37 minutes, and it is called a sol. Mars' year is 687 Earth days.

Neon is the 4th most abundant element in the universe, however it's very rare on Earth. The fact that it doesn't chemically bind into any solids, and is lighter than air, caused most of it to be lost to space early in Earth's history.

Today it makes up only 18 parts per million of the Earth's atmosphere, and can be seperated by cooling air down into a liquid.

Finally we come to the upsettingly named Xenophyophore, a protist that is usually 4 inches in diameter, with the largest ones growing to be about 8 inches! This is the largest single celled organism.

They get so big in part by having thousands of nuclei inside of that one cell of theirs. They don't actually produce their shells, they just kind of gather bits of dead animal debris and their own excrement to build it.

You could fit 100 billion human cells into an average sized one of these.

Also we shouldn't forget about 𝘝𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢 𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘢, the photosyenthetic counterpart to these bottomfeeders. It's known as Sailor's Eyeball or as Bubble Algae. These massive single celled organisms can get up to 2 inches across in the largest cases! It can root itself to the sea floor or just freely float, and is quite popular among aquarium enthusiasts, however it has a tendency to take over tanks and kill off everything, and popping it only causes it to reproduce.

Just goes to show that not even viruses can escape the sniffles.

There are Viruses that infect OTHER, typically giant viruses and they're called Virophages.

"Giant viruses" were themselves discovered in 2003 and their genome size was comparable to simple bacteria, and 2 to 3 times as complex as a normal virus.

The virophage, Sputnik, was strictly dependent on co-infection with a Mimivirus into an acanthomeba. Sputnik's infection hurts Mimivirus, making them 70% less infectious, making Sputnik akin to bacteriophages, hence the name virophage! A virus-virus!

@starwall i had no idea a single celled organism could be so big!!! that's incredible!

Gromia are one of the oldest bodyplans to exist, and they've survived more than a few mass extinctions. Scientists speculate they may be as old as 1.8 billion years, and they certainly pre-date multicellular life which only appear in the fossil record first around 600 million years ago.

Also, I love their squishy existence and badly want an aquarium for a few of them. They're adorable, motionless grape critters that are just one big cell. Fantastic!

Sadly, not much else is known about them because collecting live samples has turned out pretty tricky. It encases itself in a soft, porous shell called a "test", but despite this, scientists report them as being squishy and fragile, softer than a grape.

Meet 𝘎𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘢 𝘚𝘱𝘩𝘢𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢, or Bahamian Gromia. It's a grape sized, (1.2 inch) single celled collusus of a protist that spends its days glacially slowly rolling across the ocean floor.

This gentle giant scoops up nutrients and other, smaller microbes by sending out pseudopods that also reach out in front of it and drag it along the seabed. They leave long trails behind them, and some fossilized remains of these trails go back nearly 1.2 billion years!

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