Are the planets growing?

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby Anti University Dean » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:21 pm

I will attempt to interpret Miles Mathis hypothesis of gravity: What we mistakenly assume to be gravity is really a combination of gravitational attraction and electrostatic repulsion both following different exponential formulae. If this were not true orbits would be unstable because only velocity and distance related. A meteor impact which slows a moon's orbit would cause orbital collapse but this doesn't happen. Instead as the gravity pulls it in the moon senses a stronger repulsive force and it stabilizes. Conversely, if the impact speeds up the orbit it should spiral away but that doesn't happen. Instead the repulsion decreases more rapidly than the gravity, and the moon stabilizes. For a given charge, mass and velocity there is a given orbit. It seems to me he's not crazy IMHO.
So following this reasoning, the size of a planet could increase due to a simple phase change on the interior from a liquid to a gas or plasma, leaving the mass and hence gravitation the same but increasing the radius. A dinosaur species living during the time of one of these phase changes would perhaps, as the planet grows larger, have a lot less repulsion due to his increased distance from the center of charge, and slightly less gravity due to the smaller decline of gravity than of charge because of the different exponents the two different forces obey. Overall he would weigh more and die off.
I'm not sure how true this is though because his theory leaves no room for opposite charges. Nevertheless a few modifications could reach a slightly better hypothesis that includes them.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby scowie » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:09 am

I came to the same conclusion on orbits myself. It is when a planet/moon has some radial velocity with respect to it's parent that electrostatic repulsion becomes proportionally stronger or weaker compared to gravity. Gravity remains the dominant force though. If earth expanded without an increase in mass, that would decrease the weight of a creature, the opposite of what has occurred. The expansion must be from an increase in mass (imo, via accretion).
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby pavlink » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:53 pm

Huge Crack in the Earth Opens Up East of Yellowstone Caldera by Big Horn Mountains
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF4w7O46-7w

scowie wrote: The expansion must be from an increase in mass (imo, via accretion).

imo, new mass is created in the core through photon/particles spin up.
We live in a double star system.
We need to study double star systems.

Solar System as 4D energy vortex
http://files.kostovi.com/8835e.pdf
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:54 pm

Ancient mass extinction may have shrunk Earth’s creatures
http://news.sciencemag.org/evolution/20 ... -creatures
Ecosystems left in the wake of a mass extinction that occurred about 359 million years ago (artist’s representation shown) contained fish and other vertebrates that were much smaller than the species that lived before the die-off, a new study suggests.
About 360 million years ago, Earth’s seas were filled with myriad fishes, including creatures the size of school buses. Then a mass extinction hit the Age of Fishes. It killed off most of the big guys, according to a new study, and effectively shrunk most vertebrate species to the size of a human forearm or smaller. The findings imply that our planet’s next mass extinction—which some believe is already underway—could similarly shrivel any species that remain.

The ancient extinction happened about 359 million years ago, at the end of the Devonian Period. A 100,000-year-long cold spell triggered the growth of glaciers almost down to tropical latitudes, says Lauren Sallan, a paleobiologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Sea level fell substantially, wiping out much of the shallow-water habitat surrounding major landmasses. Because few creatures had yet moved onto land, many ecosystems were devastated. About 96% of the world’s vertebrate species disappeared, making it one of Earth’s five largest die-offs.

When Sallan and study co-author Andrew Galimberti of Kalamazoo College in Michigan, who is now at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, looked at the fossil record, they found interesting trends in body size during this period. The team compiled a list of more than 1000 species of vertebrates that lived in the 96-million-year interval straddling the mass extinction. During the 60 million years before the die-off, various types of fish and sharks had grown steadily in size, with some fish reaching the length of a school bus.

But in the 36 million years that followed the end-of-the-Devonian die-offs, the vertebrate species that had survived—or had evolved in its aftermath—were much smaller, on average, than those that lived beforehand. Immediately after the extinction, most surviving species measured less than 40 centimeters in length, the team found. And as time passed, average size of species in the ecosystems dropped even further. Neither climate nor oxygen levels in the atmosphere played a role in the overall shrinkage, the researchers report online today in Science.

Instead, the researchers point to an advantage of small size: Among today’s creatures, diminutive species tend to grow and reproduce faster, so that they can produce a new generation before they are killed by predators. Also, when animals breed more quickly, their populations can adapt to changing conditions more rapidly. A turbulent world may have pressured animals to adapt to changing conditions as quickly as possible, and thus they got smaller over time, Sallan says. Although some species grew in size after the mass extinction, she notes, they typically belonged to groups that later died out.

Many previous studies probably haven’t noted this “Lilliput effect”—named for the island of tiny humans in Gulliver’s Travels—because they looked at only a few species over a short period of time, says Peter Wagner, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In contrast, he notes, Sallan and Galimberti’s analysis assesses trends in body size over a broader time scale and among a wider range of species.

The team’s findings may have implications for the modern world, which some scientists propose is experiencing a sixth mass extinction—especially in marine ecosystems, where overfishing is rife. The new research “suggests that any future major extinctions of fishes could result in a long-term decrease in survivor’s body sizes,” says John Long, a paleontologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. The Lilliput effect may extend to other major groups such as mammals as well, some scientists have suggested.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby pavlink » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:38 pm

Neal Adams - Science: 01 - Conspiracy: Earth is Growing!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJfBSc6 ... F4E958728D


12/13/2015 — 24 HR EARTHQUAKE PROGRESSION ACROSS OVER 6,600 MILES OF THE WEST PACIFIC — JAPAN AT CENTER
http://dutchsinse.com/12122015-24-hr-ea ... at-center/
We live in a double star system.
We need to study double star systems.

Solar System as 4D energy vortex
http://files.kostovi.com/8835e.pdf
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby pavlink » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:09 am

Expansion of the Earth pulls away from bridge

Ontario's Nipigon River bridge fails, severing Trans-Canada Highway
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/northern-onta ... 25407.html
We live in a double star system.
We need to study double star systems.

Solar System as 4D energy vortex
http://files.kostovi.com/8835e.pdf
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:43 pm

I think that you're stretching that story a bit. GET it, "stretching." HA!
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby pavlink » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:02 pm

allynh wrote:I think that you're stretching that story a bit. GET it, "stretching." HA!

Поживём – увидим!
Wait and see!
We live in a double star system.
We need to study double star systems.

Solar System as 4D energy vortex
http://files.kostovi.com/8835e.pdf
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:26 pm

Oh, this is fun. It goes along with the earlier discussion way up thread about the electrical fields filling the earth. I highlighted a fun quote.

Rings
http://www.bldgblog.com/2016/01/rings/
In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.
ForestRings1 copy.jpg

ForestRings1[Image: From the thesis “Geochemistry of Forest Rings in Northern Ontario: Identification of Ring Edge Processes in Peat and Soil” (PDF) by Kerstin M. Brander, University of Ottawa].

“From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible,” the CBC explained back in 2008, “but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them.”

Since they were discovered on aerial photos about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters… Astronomers suggest the rings might be the result of meteor strikes. Prospectors wonder whether the formations signal diamond-bearing kimberlites, a type of igneous rock.

While it’s easy to get carried away with visions of supernatural tree rings growing of their own accord in the boreal forests, this is actually one of the more awesome examples of where the likely scientific explanation is also significantly more interesting than something more explicitly other-worldly.

Geochemistry of Forest Rings in northern Ontario:[Image: From the thesis “Geochemistry of Forest Rings in Northern Ontario: Identification of Ring Edge Processes in Peat and Soil” (PDF) by Kerstin M. Brander, University of Ottawa].

Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”

Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.

rings[Image: Screen-grab from Google Maps].

One of many things worth highlighting here is this suggestion that the trees are being influenced from below by ambient electrochemical processes in the soil, set into motion by the region’s deep geology:

Hamilton was testing an analytical technique over a Matheson gold deposit to determine if there was any kind of geochemical surface signal. To his surprise, there were signals coming through 30 to 40 metres of glacial clay.

“We’re thinking there’s no way metals can move through clay 10,000 years after glaciation.”

After ruling out transport by ground water, diffusion and gas, he theorized it had to have been lifted to surface on electrical fields.

He applied the same theory to forest rings and discovered that they were also giant negatively charged cells.

Any source of negative charge will create a forest ring.

In landscape architecture terms, a forest ring—which Hamilton describes [PDF] as “a plant assemblage that is different from the surrounding forest making the features visible from the air”—could be seen as a kind of indirect electrochemical garden taking on a recognizably geometrical form without human intervention.

In effect, their shape is expressed from below. For ambitious future landscape designers, note that this implies a potential use of plantlife as a means for revealing naturally occurring electrical networks in the ground, where soil batteries and other forms of terrestrial electronics could articulate themselves through botanical side-effects.

That is, plant a forest; come back after twenty years; discover vast rings of negative electrochemical charge like smoke rings pushing upward from inside the earth.

Or, of course, you could reverse this: design for future landscape-architectural effects by formatting the deep soil of a given site, thus catalyzing subterranean electrochemical activity that, years if not generations later, would begin to have aesthetic effects.

ForestRings3[Image: From the paper “Spontaneous potential and redox responses over a forest ring” (PDF) by Stewart M. Hamilton and Keiko H. Hattori].

But it gets weirder: as Hamilton’s fieldwork also revealed, there is a measurable “bulge in the water table that occurs over the entire length of the forest ring with a profound dip on the ring’s outer edge.” For Hamilton, this effect was “beyond science fiction,” he remarked to the trade journal Northern Ontario Business, “it’s unbelievable.”

What this means, he explained, is that “the water is being held up against gravity” by naturally occurring electrical fields.
ForestRings4 copy.jpg

ForestRings4[Image: From the paper “Spontaneous potential and redox responses over a forest ring” (PDF) by Stewart M. Hamilton and Keiko H. Hattori].

Subsequent and still-ongoing research by other geologists and geochemists has shown that forest rings are also marked by the elevated presence of methane (which explains the “stunted tree growth”), caused by natural gas leaking up from geological structures beneath the forest.

Hamilton himself wrote, in a short report for the Ontario Geological Survey [PDF], that forest ring formation “may be due to upward methane seepage along geological structures from deeper sources,” and that this “may indicate deeper sources of natural gas in the James Bay Lowlands.”

Other hypotheses suggest that these forest rings could instead be surface indicators of diamond pipes and coal deposits—meaning that, given access to an aerial view, you can, in effect, “read” the earth’s biosphere as a living tissue of signs or symptoms through which deeper, non-biological phenomena (coal, diamonds, metals) are revealed.

ForestRings5[Image: Forest ring at N 49° 16′ 05″, W 83° 45′ 01″, via Google Maps].

Even better, these electrochemical effects stop on a macro-scale where the subsurface geology changes; as Hamilton points out [PDF], the “eastward disappearance of rings in Quebec occurs at the north-south Haricanna Moraine, which coincides with a sudden drop in the carbonate content of soils.”

If you recall that there were once naturally-occurring nuclear reactors burning away in the rocks below Gabon, then the implication here would be that large-scale geological formations, given the right slurry of carbonates, metals, and clays, can also form naturally-occurring super-batteries during particular phases of their existence.

To put this another way, through an accident of geology, what we refer to as “ground” in northern Ontario could actually be thought of a vast circuitboard of electrochemically active geological deposits, where an ambient negative charge in the soil has given rise to geometric shapes in the forest.

ForestRings6[Image: Forest rings at N 49° 29′ 48″, W 80° 05′ 40″, via Google Maps].

In any case, there is something pretty incredible about the idea that you could be hiking through the forests of northern Ontario without ever knowing you’re surrounded by huge, invisible, negatively charged megastructures exhibiting geometric effects on the plantlife all around you.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about the future of the “sacred grove” for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, based on a paper called “The sacred groves of ancient Greece” by art historian Patrick Bowe. I mention this because it’s interesting to consider the forest rings of northern Ontario in the larger interpretive context of Bowe’s paper, not because there is any historical or empirical connection between the two, of course; but, rather, for the speculative value of questioning whether these types of anomalous forest-effects could, under certain cultural circumstances, carry symbolic weight. If they could, that is, become “sacred groves.”

Indeed, it is quite thrilling and strange to imagine some future cult of electrical activity whose spaces of worship and gathering are remote boreal rings, circular phenomena in the far north where water moves against gravity and chemical reactions crackle outward through the soil, forcing forests to take symmetrical forms only visible from high above.

For more on forest rings, check out the CBC or Northern Ontario Business or check out any of the PDFs linked in this post.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:27 pm

This was the original article from 2008. This was posted briefly in the Forum in the long ago and the far away without being connected to anything.

The mysterious forest rings of northern Ontario
http://www.cbc.ca/news2/background/tech ... rings.html
An Ontario Geological Survey map of documented forest rings in Northern Ontario. Note that the size of the rings on the map is to show the distribution of different-sized rings, they are not proportional to the map scale. (Courtesy Ontario Geological Survey)
In Depth

Strange phenomenon

Last Updated May 21, 2008

By Elle Andra-Warner

The Cheecka Ring is a ring measuring about 1 kilometre in diameter, located 20 km east of Hearst, Ont. Scientists believe it was formed by a natural gas deposit. (Courtesy S. Hamilton, OGS)

It is a strange phenomenon: thousands of large, perfectly round "forest rings" dot the boreal landscape of northern Ontario.

From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible, but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them. They range in diameter from 30 metres to 2 kilometres, with the average ring measuring about 91 metres across. Over 2,000 of these forest rings have been documented, but scientists estimate the actual number is more than 8,000.

What causes these near-perfect circles in the forest?

Since they were discovered on aerial photos about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters. Some explanations put a UFO or extraterrestrial spin on the phenomenon. Astronomers suggest the rings might be the result of meteor strikes. Prospectors wonder whether the formations signal diamond-bearing kimberlites, a type of igneous rock.


Stew Hamilton, a Sudbury-based geochemist with the Sedimentary Geoscience Section of the Ontario Geological Survey, says forest rings are caused by giant, natural electrochemical cells — big centres of negative charges called reduced chimneys — that are frequently situated over metal or mineral deposits, or methane. (Courtesy Ontario MNR)

"We have been working on the rings since 1998, and there have been many developments, but there are still many unanswered questions," says Stew Hamilton, a Sudbury-based geochemist with the Sedimentary Geoscience Section of the Ontario Geological Survey.

Hamilton first became interested in the rings in 1997 when Sudbury prospector and geologist Bob Komarechka asked him about the potential kimberlite link. Now he has some new theories about how the giant rings were created, and his paper discussing some of the strange electrical phenomena that occur over the rings has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysics.

According to Hamilton, the forest rings are caused by giant, naturally occurring electrochemical cells — big centres of negative charges (called reduced chimneys) that are frequently situated over metal or mineral deposits or methane (a natural gas source).

Think of them as huge natural electrical batteries with a negative charge in carbonate soil and surrounded by oxygen that carries a positive charge. The current from the batteries — the negative charge — travels outward and where it meets the positive charge, acidic conditions are created that eat away at the carbonate soil, causing it to drop in a circular depression around the natural battery.

How it all started

The origin of Ontario's methane-based forest rings, according to Hamilton's theory, lies in the glaciers and glacial lakes that at one time covered the province. As the glaciers began receding from northern Ontario about 10,000 years ago, they left behind a mix of clay and other glacial sediment.

Bacteria began eating the dead plankton and other organic matter left in the clay, a process that can only last a few thousand years before the organic matter is consumed, a short time, geologically speaking. This produced methane, a chemical that is the principal component of natural gas. In the case of forest rings, the methane is released into the atmosphere partly through the depressions of the rings.

So why the perfectly formed circles?

"Because force goes out in a circle," Hamilton says. "For example, throw a stick in the water. At first it makes a stick shape when it hits the water, then perfect circles go out from that. Electricity is just the same."

Gordon Southam, a geo-microbiologist at the University of Western Ontario, has just begun working with Hamilton on the biogeochemical aspects of forest rings.

"We debate back and forth on the various theories on forest ring formation. I find it extremely interesting any time that water-rock interactions release materials that support the growth of the biosphere; we're very interested in litho-trophic [rock-eating] bacteria," Southam says.


Rings in farmer's fields in Southern Ontario's Essex County, a few kilometres from the Michigan border, formed by oil deposits. (Courtesy Ontario MNR)

"In the case of forest rings, they appear to create anoxic [oxygen-free] conditions that support methane-producing bacteria below ground and methane-oxidizing bacteria near the earth's surface."

A map of forest rings in northeastern Ontario devised by Hamilton also seems to indicate that the creation of these anoxic conditions appears to be coinciding with permafrost melting, which is causing new activity in the biosphere.

Why is northern Ontario lord of the rings?

Although northern Ontario has the highest concentration of forest rings, you can also find them in the Yukon, Quebec, Russia and Australia.

"For years, we have been puzzled as to why Ontario has so many, and we now think we have some of the answers," Hamilton says. "We have measured the isotopic signature of natural gas in a number of rings, and it suggests the gas is very geologically young and is likely still being produced today and constantly escaping into the atmosphere. Northern Ontario has the youngest and most extensive glacial clay deposits in the world, and therefore we also have the most rings."

He estimates 80 per cent to 85 per cent of the region's rings are methane-based, with the rest being a result of kimberlite; hydrogen sulfide (recognizable by its "rotten egg� smell); metal-based sources such as nickel, copper and zinc; or buried peat. These, too, are all sources of negative electrical charge and have a capacity to create similar electrical fields as methane.

"On the one hand, the rings are a large potential source of relatively clean natural gas. On the other hand, they are constantly venting methane into the atmosphere, which has a greenhouse gas equivalent that is more than 20 times that of carbon dioxide," said Hamilton.

He is keen to see companies develop technology to extract the gas and use it as energy.

"Extracting the gas would therefore be doubly beneficial and also fairly easy from a technical point of view."

Source of charge unclear

And what about those other exotic theories of forest rings?

"It is definitely not a UFO thing, crop circles, tree-killing fungus or meteors falling from the sky," Hamilton laughs.

He does admit, though, that forest rings have "a million mysteries." For example, the electrical field found inside the forest rings is a puzzle that needs to be solved.

"It shouldn't be there," Hamilton says. "Something is creating a huge electrical field, and we think it might be millions of chemical-eating micro-organisms in the soil."

Hamilton, University of Ottawa geochemist K�iko H. Hattori (chair of the department of earth sciences) and graduate student Kerstin Brauneder are the only Canadian scientists currently studying forest rings. This summer, they will test their hypothesis by generating chemicals in test tubes and adding some forest ring micro-organisms (bacteria) to the chemicals.

"To see a perfectly round forest ring in the middle of the forest is really very strange," said Brauneder, whose master's thesis is titled Origin and Distribution of Forest Ring-Related Methane.


The R2 Ring is a 300-metre wide ring located about 40 kilometres south of Hearst, Ont. The geological source of the ring is unknown, but its shape can be clearly seen in this aerial photograph of the forest. (Courtesy S. Hamilton, OGS)

"This summer, Dr. Hamilton and I will be sampling soils over five forest rings near Timmins and Hearst. Together with Dr. Southam, we will try to recreate a small-scale forest ring phenomena in-vitro, in a test tube, to see where and how methane-producing microbial communities grow. Understanding the methane-cycle of the rings is important, because we are hoping the methane could eventually be used as a new energy source for isolated communities."

Calling the forest rings the "world's largest petri dish," Hamilton said the testing will be the first step to recreating, in the lab, the mysterious electrical field process.

"Our hypothesis is that with the forest rings, millions of micro-organisms are creating a massive, low-voltage electrical field that causes their food, the chemicals, to come forward to them. The bacteria don't have to move — the food keeps coming to them along the electrical field they have created," explained Hamilton.

This, he said, also poses an intriguing question: "Are micro-organisms changing and modifying geology?"

"It is a new paradigm for us. What science doesn't understand is the most interesting, and we're having a lot of fun working on the many pieces of the strange puzzle. This is beyond science fiction — it is unbelievable."

The author is a freelance writer based in Thunder Bay, Ont.

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:06 pm

These guys just don't GET it. HA!

New analysis finds no evidence that climate wiped out Australia’s megafauna
https://theconversation.com/new-analysi ... auna-53821
During the period from 60,000 to 800 years ago, the world lost most of its big animals, or “megafauna”. The cause of this mass extinction is controversial, nowhere more so than in Australia.

Australia’s megafauna consisted of an amazing variety of bizarre creatures including giant wallabies and kangaroos; great wombat-like beasts such as Diprotodon, Zygomaturus and Palorchestes; and colossal birds and reptiles.

Did we lose these animals because of drastic climate changes? Or was it overhunting by ancient Aboriginal people, or indirect effects of people changing the vegetation with fire? Or perhaps some combination of these?

Our new study, featuring the most accurate dates ever compiled for these extinctions, finds that most species went extinct just a few millennia after humans first appeared in Australia, meaning that the arrival of humans was the decisive event in the megafauna’s demise.

Finding the cause

To decide between the possible causes of climate change or human impact we need to compare the timing of extinction with human arrival and climate change. The graphic below shows three possible scenarios that could arise once the dates of these events have been established reliably.

01 copy.jpg

Three possible scenarios: the megafauna could have died out soon after humans arrived in Australia, or long afterwards, or before. Note that the time axis runs from right to left. Frédérik Saltré

In the first scenario, most animal extinctions occur soon after humans arrive. If there is no evidence for any large changes in climate at or immediately before this time, we might therefore conclude that humans were responsible.

In the second case, the animals go extinct after a period of coexistence with humans. The longer the coexistence, the more likely that other drivers like climate change could have contributed to the animals’ demise. Alternatively, the slow pace of the eventual extinction could reflect gradual growth of human populations to sizes at which they begin to have impacts. Again, the key is whether the climate changed remarkably during this interval of coexistence.

The final possibility is that the extinctions preceded the arrival of humans, who therefore had nothing to do with it. If the climate changed noticeably when the animals went extinct, we can be confident that climate change was the main cause.

This seems straightforward, but the problem is getting good data to reconstruct these timelines. Dating techniques often give us highly uncertain (or even dodgy) estimates of the ages of fossils and other ancient material. And because of poor preservation in Australia’s harsh climate, we have fewer fossils than in other parts of the world.

Building a reliable timeline

In our study, published in Nature Communications, we and our colleagues reconstructed the first reliable extinction timelines for 16 megafauna groups in Australia. We then matched these dates against the timing of humans' arrival in Australia, and against six different measures of prehistoric climate.

Our first challenge was the variable quality of fossil dates. Some published dates are either too uncertain to be useful, or are based on questionable or outdated techniques. We previously developed a system to assess the reliability of fossil dates, and we applied this to all published dates on Australia’s megafauna.

The next problem was using the fossil dates to work out when species went extinct. Unfortunately, the youngest fossil almost never indicates the true timing of extinction. Fossilisation is so rare that it’s practically impossible that the last individual of a species will wind up as a fossil. Extinction could be many thousands of years later than the date of the youngest fossil.

Several mathematical techniques can estimate the window of true extinction from a series of dates. We used these methods to infer extinction timing for those megafauna with enough reliable dates for analysis. We also used the same methods to estimate the time of human arrival from archaeological dates.

Last, we aligned these timelines with several climate measures going back to 120,000 years ago – temperature and precipitation variations, ice core data indicating relative temperature, El Niño intensity, and the speed at which a species would need to migrate to track the shifting climate conditions. We then checked to see whether large changes in these climate measures happened around the same time as any of the extinction events.

The result was remarkably clear. We found a peak of extinctions around 42,000 years ago – around 13,000 years after the arrival of humans. There was no correlation between extinction and any of the climate indicators (whether or not we allowed for time lags between climate changes and extinction).

This suggests that if climate did have a role, it was only minor or localised and cannot explain the broad pattern of extinctions over the whole continent.

Extinctions began when humans first arrived, but the peak in extinctions came 13,000 years later. This is an intriguing delay. On one hand, it clearly allows plenty of time for people to have become widespread and affect the continental ecosystem; on the other, it suggests that human impacts emerged only gradually. This may show that human populations in Australia grew very slowly at first, as suggested by other analyses of the archaeological record.

02 copy.jpg

Distribution of extinction times for all megafauna genera (in blue) and appearance time of first human (in red) estimated by a set of mathematical techniques. The gap between the two highest peaks represents the period of human–megafauna overlap. Note the time axis runs from right to left. Frédérik Saltré

Is it that simple?

So it looks like humans did it, but we should note that our findings apply at the scale of the entire continent of Australia. Although our data are the best currently available, they do not rule out effects of climate on extinctions on a smaller regional scale. We still have a lot to learn about the details of the disappearance of our megafauna.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby Aardwolf » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:45 am

Did we lose these animals because of drastic climate changes?
So their proposition is that large animals struggle because of climate change. Do you think they have ever heard of a quite hardy animal called a polar bear? The largest land carnivore on the planet. Their survival is a result of their size. In a climate disaster the larger animals would be the last to go, probably by running out of food.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby querious » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:39 pm

Anti University Dean wrote:A meteor impact which slows a moon's orbit would cause orbital collapse but this doesn't happen. Instead as the gravity pulls it in the moon senses a stronger repulsive force and it stabilizes. Conversely, if the impact speeds up the orbit it should spiral away but that doesn't happen. Instead the repulsion decreases more rapidly than the gravity, and the moon stabilizes. For a given charge, mass and velocity there is a given orbit. It seems to me he's not crazy IMHO.

This kind of reasoning violates conservation of energy. You're thinking is that if there's any change in orbital velocity, the object has to escape or fall down.

if an impactor slows a moon down, it loses kinetic energy. But as long as the moon retains enough kinetic energy to remain in orbit, it will, just at a lower altitude. Lower Kinetic energy = Lower Potential energy

The opposite applies to an impactor imparting kinetic energy.

There's no NEED to postulate a repulsive force to keep orbits stable.
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby Aardwolf » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:17 pm

querious wrote:
Anti University Dean wrote:A meteor impact which slows a moon's orbit would cause orbital collapse but this doesn't happen. Instead as the gravity pulls it in the moon senses a stronger repulsive force and it stabilizes. Conversely, if the impact speeds up the orbit it should spiral away but that doesn't happen. Instead the repulsion decreases more rapidly than the gravity, and the moon stabilizes. For a given charge, mass and velocity there is a given orbit. It seems to me he's not crazy IMHO.

This kind of reasoning violates conservation of energy. You're thinking is that if there's any change in orbital velocity, the object has to escape or fall down.

if an impactor slows a moon down, it loses kinetic energy. But as long as the moon retains enough kinetic energy to remain in orbit, it will, just at a lower altitude. Lower Kinetic energy = Lower Potential energy

The opposite applies to an impactor imparting kinetic energy.

There's no NEED to postulate a repulsive force to keep orbits stable.
In that case maybe you could share the solution to the n-body problem with us.
Aardwolf
 
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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread postby allynh » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:41 am

Here's another article about Australia's megafauna. They still don't GET it. HA!

The lost giants that prowled the Australian wilderness
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160208 ... wilderness
Australia's wildlife is unique. The vast majority of the animals that live there are not found anywhere else – and things were no different 1 million years ago during the Pleistocene: the age of the super-sized mammal.

Before humanity became Earth's undisputed superpower, giant beasts of all shapes and sizes dominated every continent, from the mammoths of Siberia to the ground sloths of South America.

In typical Antipodean fashion, the Pleistocene mammals of Australia were different. On most of the continents it is placental mammals that dominate, but Australia was (and still is) the heartland of the marsupials.

Australia's Pleistocene marsupials were closely related to the pouched, fluffy creatures that still hop and scurry around the outback today. But some of them could grow to the size of small cars, or possessed teeth longer than knife blades.

These monster marsupials were not the only giants. Their numbers were swelled by 5m-long lizards, half-tonne birds and giant, dinosaur-like tortoises. The result was a truly nightmarish biological assemblage.

None of these animals survive today – although exactly why that's the case is a mystery. Humans, with their advanced hunting techniques and use of fire to modify the landscape, may have played a central role in the megafauna's disappearance, but this idea is still a matter of heated debate.

Even if we cannot be sure that the arrival of Australian Aboriginals on the continent had catastrophic effects on its native animals, it seems that the animals had a rather spiritual effect on the humans. The Aboriginal mythological "Dreamtime" includes a cast of monstrous creatures, many of which bear a close resemblance to some of the real-life monsters that once stalked Australia's plains. Are the myths based in fact? Perhaps: after all, these creatures are far stranger than anything dreamed up by humans.

Diprotodon octatum: largest marsupial (Credit: Stocktrek Images Inc/Alamy Stock Photo)
Diprotodon octatum was the largest ever marsupial (Credit: Stocktrek Images Inc/Alamy Stock Photo)

Diprotodon

Weighing two tonnes, the Diprotodon comfortably holds the title of largest marsupial ever. In size and appearance it looked superficially like a modern rhinoceros, but the Diprotodon seems to have had a social lifestyle more like that of an elephant, another mammal with which it shares anatomical similarities.

What the Diprotodon most resembles, however, is exactly what it is: an enormous wombat.

Early European colonists searched feverishly for a living specimen of this fabulous creature
Like its modern counterpart, Diprotodon possessed powerful, clawed feet that were most likely used to tear at vegetation and dig for roots. Unlike modern wombats, Diprotodon would have had no need to extend its digging operations further underground for shelter, as only the hardiest of predators would have targeted it.

Hundreds of Diprotodon skeletons have been unearthed in Lake Callabonna, a dry salt lake in which multiple family groups seemingly wandered in search of food during the dry season, only to fall through the brittle surface and become trapped in mud.

The bunyip, a lake monster that drags unsuspecting passers-by into its watery lair, may be a cultural Aboriginal memory from the days when many Diprotodon wandered the swamps of Australia. This popular idea was first suggested in the mid-19th Century.

Certainly there have been incidences of Aboriginal Australians identifying Diprotodon bones as belonging to bunyips. Early European colonists searched feverishly for a living specimen of this fabulous creature – but without success.

Procoptodon (Credit: Natural History Museum, London/Science Photo Library)
Giant prehistoric kangaroos (Procoptodon) (Credit: Natural History Museum, London/Science Photo Library)

Giant short-faced kangaroo

Procoptodon goliah, the largest of the so-called short-faced kangaroos, is also the largest kangaroo known to science. Standing 2m tall and weighing almost three times as much as a red kangaroo, these hulking marsupials were a walking contradiction – a kangaroo that could not hop.

They possessed "short faces" with eyes that were almost forward-facing, like our own
Analysis of extinct and extant species has suggested that the Achilles tendons of these monster 'roos would not have withstood the impact of the hopping motion – unlike the kangaroos we know and love today.

Instead, they probably shuffled around on large, one-toed feet, in a bipedal fashion that is very unusual in the mammal world – even though it is the way we humans get around, of course.

And just like humans, these kangaroos possessed a key adaptation for such a lifestyle: a well-developed set of buttocks. Such musculature is absolutely key if an animal is to balance while lifting one leg at a time off the ground.

Intriguingly, their walking style is not the only thing connecting these kangaroos with humans. As their name suggests, they possessed "short faces" with eyes that were almost forward-facing, like our own. This, combined with the kangaroos' primate-like teeth, gave them uncannily simian features, although it is fair to say any confusion with modern apes or indeed humans is unlikely.

The skull of a marsupial lion (Credit: National Geographic Creative/Alamy Stock Photo)
The skull of a marsupial lion (Credit: National Geographic Creative/Alamy Stock Photo)

Marsupial lion

With all of these big juicy slabs of marsupial meat wandering around, it is little wonder that enormous predators evolved.

Elsewhere in the world this niche would have been occupied by dogs or big cats, but not in Australia. Enter top Pleistocene predator Thylacoleo carnifex to banish any remaining thoughts that marsupials are cute and cuddly.

The marsupial lion had the most powerful bite force for its size of any known mammal species
The 1m-long marsupial lion was not a true lion, of course. This creature was in fact closely related to the Diprotodon, but at some point in its evolutionary history, it took a drastically different course from its herbivorous cousin.

In fact, the marsupial lion is a true testament to the power of evolution to "make do" with the raw materials at its disposal.

The group that Diprotodon belongs to is not blessed with scary canines of the type seen in most predatory mammals. What they do have, however, is large, forward facing incisors that allow them to slice through tough plant matter. In the marsupial lion, these incisors developed into huge, pointed weapons that were perfect for taking down large prey.

Thylacoleo also possessed oversized premolars with slicing edges that would have allowed it to butcher a carcass with ease.

In fact, simulations have indicated the marsupial lion had the most powerful bite force for its size of any known mammal species, living or dead. It might have had unpromising evolutionary roots for a predator, but this beast really was a force to be reckoned with in the ancient outback.

A pair of Palorchestes (Credit: Natural History Museum, London/Science Photo Library)
A pair of Palorchestes (Credit: Natural History Museum, London/Science Photo Library)

Palorchestes

Initially characterised as another giant kangaroo species, the Palorchestes genus has undergone several major makeovers since its initial description in 1873. As more fragments of skeleton have emerged, new theories have been proffered by palaeontologists as to what these creatures looked like.

Deep lower jaws would have been the perfect anchor for a long, prehensile tongue similar to that of the giraffe, while a recessed nasal cavity suggested the presence of a small trunk, which has given rise to the common depiction of Palorchestes as a group of marsupial tapirs – some of which grew to 2.5m in length.

But they are also clearly close relatives of the Diprotodon, based on anatomical similarities such as powerful claws. This creates the impression that Palorchestes could be sizeable, rotund creatures something like trunked ground sloths.

Intriguingly, Aboriginal rock art dating from the time that Palorchestes was still alive lends weight to this depiction. Paintings of creatures that look remarkably like the scientific reconstruction of Palorchestes suggest not only that those reconstructions are accurate, but also that these animals bore some significance to the early settlers of Australia.

This is not the first time insights have been gained from studies of ancient Aboriginal rock art. Paintings of animals resembling marsupial lions indicate that, like modern tigers, they had striped markings, lending support to the theory that they too were camouflaged ambush predators.

Artist's impression of Dromornis stirtoni (Credit: Jaime Chirinos/Science Photo Library)
Artist's impression of Dromornis stirtoni, with its chicks (Credit: Jaime Chirinos/Science Photo Library)

Dromornis

Not all of the Australian megafauna were marsupials. The continent was also once home to large birds, some growing to 3m tall. Enter Dromornis stirtoni, a bird that looked superficially like an ostrich or an emu – but that was actually more closely related to ducks and geese.

Both Dromornis and Bullockornis disappeared from the continent long before humans arrived
This has earned one related species, the 2.5m-tall Bullockornis planei, the fanciful nickname "Demon Duck of Doom".

Whether that nickname is appropriate or not is unclear. These birds possessed enormous beaks that would be just as capable of crushing seed pods as skulls. On the one hand, the lack of predatory hooks on their bills or talons on their feet suggest a herbivorous lifestyle, but on the other hand the sheer power and offensive capability of their heads hints they showed at least some degree of predatory behaviour.

Both Dromornis and Bullockornis disappeared from the continent long before humans arrived. But some of their relatives – including the 2m-tall Genyornis – were very much a part of the Pleistocene megafauna that greeted the first Australians. They, too, were captured for posterity in Aboriginal rock art.

As the eggshells of these giant birds are surprisingly well preserved across Australia's fossil beds, they have served as a useful proxy for extinction dates in different regions. These shells have helped to implicate humans in the extinction of the Australian megafauna.

Varanus priscus was a huge lizard (Credit: Stocktrek Images Inc/Alamy Stock Photo)
Varanus priscus was the largest land-living lizard in history (Credit: Stocktrek Images Inc/Alamy Stock Photo)

Megalania

Another record breaker, this time a world champion; Varanus priscus, commonly known by its antiquated genus name Megalania – was the largest terrestrial lizard the world has ever known.

Megalania was a goanna lizard, a relative of today's infamous Komodo dragon, and conservative estimates have predicted that it was at least 5.5m long.

This would make Megalania the largest venomous animal ever to have lived
Early descriptions of Megalania fossils by the likes of palaeontology superstar Sir Richard Owen described a truly monstrous creature, more like 7m in length, which sat unchallenged at the top of the food chain. As understanding of ancient Australian ecosystems has increased, and the importance of mammalian predators such as the marsupial lion appreciated more fully, Megalania's status has shrunk, along with its projected size.

However, even at "just" 5.5m, this giant lizard would have been one formidable predator.

Like its relative, the Komodo dragon, Megalania was armed with a lethal arsenal of curved teeth. A 2009 investigation into the poorly understood predatory ecology of Komodo dragons, which also incorporated some comparative anatomy of Megalania teeth, indicated that the dragons possess a venom delivery system. By association, Megalania may well have done so too.

If so, this would make Megalania the largest venomous animal ever to have lived.

Meiolania platyceps was a monster tortoise (Credit: Smokeybjb, CC by 3.0)
Meiolania platyceps was a monster tortoise (Credit: Smokeybjb, CC by 3.0)

Meiolania

Like Megalania and other pumped-up reptiles from Pleistocene (including the 9m-long Bluff Downs Giant Python), Meiolania platyceps was certainly big enough, at 2.5m, to hold its own in the company of Australia's giant marsupials.

Crafty humans were not intimidated by these walking tortoise fortresses
This massive tortoise not only dwarfed any modern specimens, it also possessed a pair of impressive horns on top of its head. Such devilish appendages would have prevented these reptiles from withdrawing their heads into their shells, as most modern tortoises do when faced with a threat.

However it's fair to assume that Meiolania platyceps was not one to run away from a fight.

In addition to a heavily armoured front end and a large, domed shell, these tortoises possessed spiked tails that would have made potential aggressors think twice before taking a bite out of them. The combination of features means Meiolania platyceps superficially resembles a group of armoured dinosaurs called the ankylosaurs, which could hold their own against Tyrannosaurus.

Unfortunately, crafty humans were not intimidated by these walking tortoise fortresses. While the fate of Meiolania platyceps remains unknown, a clue is offered by some bones unearthed on the Pacific island of Vanuatu belonging to a close relative, M. damelipi.

Unlike their larger cousins, who went extinct during the Pleistocene, these tortoises survived well into the age of humans, only to be exterminated by a seafaring people called the Lapita around 2,000 years ago.

Remains of butchered leg bones found in rubbish pits give an indication as to the gastronomic fate that might also have befallen Australia's giant tortoises.

The last known thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) (Credit: Dave Watts/naturepl.com)
The last known thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) (Credit: Dave Watts/naturepl.com)

Tasmanian Tiger

The Thylacine serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who doubts humanity's ability to annihilate species. Unlike most of Australia's megafauna, which went extinct tens of thousands of years ago, these wolf-like marsupials survived on the island of Tasmania well into the 20th Century; long enough, even, for film footage of them in captivity to exist.

It seems unlikely that thylacines will ever rise from the ashes
Though not as "mega" as most megafauna, thylacines were powerful apex predators capable of hunting other sizeable marsupials such as kangaroos and wallabies. This, ultimately, was their downfall, as European settlers in Tasmania inferred from their predatory appearance that they were responsible for attacks on sheep.

The local government placed a bounty of £1 per thylacine head, and this, combined with increased habitat degradation by humans and competition with settlers' dogs, led to total extinction by 1936.

Though unconfirmed sightings continue to this day, and Tasmania's landscape is both inaccessible and theoretically amenable to supporting such creatures, it seems unlikely that thylacines will ever rise from the ashes.

It is a reminder that, while we may lack scimitar-like teeth, crushing beaks or horned heads, it is humans that are the most lethal of all megafauna.
allynh
 
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