Geoscience 101

geo science earth knowledge

I know, the name of this article might sound like a course you took in college. And it a way, its meant to be. This article serves as an introduction to the geoscience field. More commonly known as Earth Science, this field is an all-encompassing catch-all for sciences relating to the study of the Earth.

At the very root of it, is the desire to explain how the various systems on the planet operate. Pulling from other sciences like physics, chemistry and mathematics, geoscience seeks to explain how everything from how the atmosphere works, how our planetary weather system works, to what makes volcanoes explode.

There are several fields that fall under the geoscience, or Earth Science, umbrella.

They are:
Geology
Physical Geography
Geophysics
Soil Science
Oceanography
Glaciology
Atmospheric Science

Students and practitioners of geoscience apply the scientific method to their study of the earth. By observing natural earth events and taking measurements of data, they formulate hypotheses on the functions of the various earth systems.Continue reading →

Desmostylians

large skeleton

A New Look at an Interesting & Puzzling Mammalian Order

Abstract: Desmostylians were a group of Mid-Tertiary marine mammals which bore superficial resemblance to modern Hippopotami. After enjoying a brief evolutionary radiation during the early and middle Miocene the group became extinct without descendants before the Miocene closed.

Although Desmostylian remains are known from a number of localities around the northern pacific rim they are generally of fragmentary nature. Do to several specialized adaptations Desmostylian habits and phylogenic affinities are highly speculative and many drastically different hypotheses have been proposed over the last century. New finds since the 1960’s have greatly expanded our knowledge of these animals.

The Miocene genera Desmostylus and Paleoparadoxia are now represented by mounted skeletons in both the U.S. and Japan and a newly described member, Behemotops, has pushed the groups known geologic range back into the Oligocene. Additionally, Behemotops offers new clues as to the origin of the Order Desmostylia. Tusk examples from Desmostylus, and cheekteeth from Paleoparadoxia and Desmostylus in the N.S. Brown collection are illustrated.Continue reading →