#ScienceLooksGood

#Cosmos E2 - Cooler Than A Polar Bear's Toenails

(For all of my Cosmos recaps, please click here)

The 2nd episode of Cosmos, entitled "Some of the Things that Molecules Do", was awesome! Host Neil deGrasse Tyson took us through a journey of evolution, first looking at the establishment of villages after the first ice age, and how wolves began to rely on eating leftover food from humans.  This eventually led to certain wolves being favored by the humans (yes, including the "cuter" wolves"). This is known as artificial selection, or selective breeding - humans decided which wolves survived and reproduced, and thus all of the breeds of dogs that we know today come directly from our ancestor's hands.

She used to be a very vicious wolf.

She used to be a very vicious wolf.

Next, Neil deGrasse Tyson shrunk his spaceship to the size of a molecule to go inside of a polar bear, to analyze the mutation that caused a polar bear to turn white. (This reminded me of the movie Innerspace , where Dennis Quaid was made small enough to go into Martin Short's body.) The white bears had an advantage to sneak up on prey during the ice age. Eventually, this mutation won out, and polar beats were all white after generations of evolution. And then they ended up on the Lost island. Poor Black bears.

Outkast forever.

Outkast forever.

 

I'm almost blind, but at least I have eyes. Underwater organisms used to have no eyes - then a mutation led them to become sensitive to light. These organisms were able to detect night and day cycles and more accurately avoid prey and hunt for food. After generations of mutations, the sensitivity became concentrated at points near the front, which become eyes.

Neil deGrasse Tyson covers the five main apocalypses of history, where a significant amount of life on Earth was eliminated. Only one form of life survived them all - the Tardigrades. I need to roll with them. And of course, the cycle of disasters will continue - just a matter of when. I doubt it will be something where John Cusack is driving over fault lines and saving the world, but it will happen.

Check out the live tweeting Storify below!