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.
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.
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Adélie penguins use hundreds of pebbles to build nests to keep eggs safe from floodwater in Spring. These stones are valuable to them, and they fight over them, steal them, and even have been known to trade them for sex.
The penguins are socially monogamous, but mated females will pair off with a single male in a one-time-hookup in exchange for stones. Sometimes, they don't actually have sex either, and just take the stones.
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.
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!
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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