Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hello Keira,

I have been looking at your comments and hope I can provide some answers to your questions. Remember, as your questions delve deeper into a subject, the answers can be more difficult to understand but this is what learning is about.  As we learn and understand simpler things, it can be easy to learn harder things. I am still learning as I search for answers. See what you can understand in the answers I try to give. What you have asked will appear in bold blue text.

Your comment from the beginning of March on the post…

Life But Not As We Know It

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

In my personal opinion, I think that Mars was once a beautiful planet, and there was life on this beauty. Since Mars did not have a very protective ‘umbrella’, Mars’ ‘umbrella’ shrank. Overtime, Mars got closer to the sun, burned, and sent life over to Earth, right past its ‘umbrella’. As Earth evolved, Mars lost its magnificent atmosphere, and moved behind Earth. Mars soon lost everything it once had owned, life and beauty. Now taking Mars’ place is Earth. As you may know, I have a plethora of questions to ask you. Do you think my idea may be possible?

Science doesn’t tend to talk much of the impossible and prefers the word improbable. To be impossible means there is absolutely no chance of something happening no matter what might change. Improbable means it’s not very likely so if something is improbable it can happen but it is far more likely it won’t. Based on what we know at this time, your idea comes under the improbable in some parts and probable (likely) in other parts.

Look at the video clip below from NASA. It is an animator’s view of the evolution of Mars based on the information NASA has. The journey starts about 4 billion years ago and shows a water planet up till today as we know it to be. Do you think it would have been beautiful? I know it still has a beauty today but not as a water world such as ours.

“Mars was once a beautiful planet” – I think this is probable if you mean having rivers, lakes and seas but improbable if you think it had trees and large animals moving through them. Life would have been simple if it had evolved. I think there is a good chance we will eventually show life existed on Mars and may still be in the soil in some areas.

Watch the video clip below looking at NASA’s findings on Mars. It shows us Mars probably had the right conditions for life to begin. With a proposed mission in 2020, we might be able to show Mars had life.

There is evidence Mars once had liquid water on its surface but the thin atmosphere can’t keep heat in as on our planet. The average temperature of Mars is around    -60C. With water freezing at 0C, liquid water isn’t likely. However, at Mars’s equator, summer daytime temperatures can reach 20C only to drop to -70C at night. While 20C is enough for water to be liquid on Earth, I think the thin atmosphere would only allow ice to turn to water vapour and not liquid on Mars.

Yes, Mars also has seasons because it is tilted only slightly more than Earth, You might remember a post about Earth’s tilt I wrote for your class, Earth’s Tilted Seasons.

Here is another video clip looking at Earth’s magnetosphere (umbrella) and the discovery of the outer and inner core. Mars doesn’t seem to have a molten outer core and solid inner core to create the magnetic field to protect it as we have on Earth.

Mars did not have a very protective “umbrella” – Mars probably had an “umbrella” (or magnetosphere) and much thicker atmosphere in its beginning but, as the core cooled, it lost much of it starting perhaps 4 billion years ago. Without the protection of a strong magnetic field, energy from the sun made Mars lose most of its atmosphere. Remember, it’s because of Earth’s liquid and solid iron core we have the magnetosphere (umbrella) to protect us.

As Earth evolved, Mars lost its magnificent atmosphere, and moved behind Earth. -  Earth and Mars would probably have formed at around the same time. Our sun was probably formed when a molecular (atoms of matter) “cloud” collapsed through gravity. Not all of the “cloud” was used in making up the sun. The matter remaining in what is known as the accretion disk started coming together under gravity. Much of this extra matter became the planets.

Formation of the Solar System

Earth Formation

Have you ever encountered someone who has an idea of how Mars lost its beauty that you think is true?

While I have not personally met a scientist who can say what had happened, there are a number of references and videos online to help us. As with all information on the internet, it’s best to use reliable sources such as NASA when looking for information. In sharing the video links I have given you, I first check links to see if they’re from a source I trust. I also find many with sometimes strange ideas from sources I don’t know. I usually don’t use these unless I have reason to believe they are accurate.

Do you think there could have been life on other planets, too?

In the video clip below from National Geographic, it asks what aliens might really look like. No one has proof of life other than on Earth at the moment so we don’t really know what life on other planets might look like. We may only have an idea of what might be needed. The clip shows on higher gravity planets, animals would need to be stronger and stockier (bigger) than on Earth or probably spindlier (thin looking) on a planet with less gravity. Some planets might only have life like the bacteria we have here. Until we find extraterrestrial (not of Earth) life, we can only guess.

While we have no proof at this time life exists on any planet other than Earth in our Solar System, I suspect life may be in many places across the universe in some form or other. We know life on Earth can exist in a very wide range of habitats (environments where life exists). Life can be found deep under sea near volcanic vents or locked in ice on mountains.

I have seen estimates of the number of galaxies in our universe being anything from 100 billion to 500 billion. For our galaxy, the Milky Way, the number of planets might be anything from 100 to 400 billion. If we take the lower estimates for galaxies and using the low estimate for planets in our galaxy to work out how many planets there might be in the universe, we would get…

100 billion (galaxies) x 100 billion planets = 10 hextillion planets

That is…

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in our universe

What a waste of space it would be if the only life in the universe was to be found on our small, blue planet.

Where do you get all these facts?

When I see posts or questions I find interesting, I sometimes remember information I have read or seen in the past. If I decide to write a post, I usually have to search for extra information online or in books in my library. I try not to post anything unless I believe the information I find is the best available in my research. Because of this, I sometimes have to make changes to posts if I later find I have made mistakes.

The skill is to know how to find information, work out whether it might be true then use it to help others.

Your comment from March 26 on the post…

How Did the Earth Begin?

First of all, I am wondering why early scientists thought that the sun and every other planets orbited around us?

When we look up at night, we can see the stars. Watch long enough and you notice them move. During the day, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Surely the sun, planets and stars must orbit the Earth because we see them move and not us. This was the thinking and it can seem reasonable. It's what we seem to see.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Consider this, you are on a speeding train looking out of a window. The landscape is zipping past your window very quickly. Is it the landscape moving or the train moving through it? While saying the train is moving might seem reasonable, surely this couldn't be true for the Earth? The Earth is so big compared to the small stars and planets in the sky. The Earth must be still and everything else in motion.

As early as the 3rd century BCE, a man named Aristarchus suggested the sun was the centre of the solar system but it wasn’t until the work of a man called Nicolaus Copernicus in the early 1500s a sun-centred (heliocentric model) solar system began to be accepted. It was also around this time the first telescopes seem have made an appearance. Astronomy had its start in astrology but started to emerge as science with telescopes allowing better study.

Optical Telescope dome at Warrumbungles National Park 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If they had had technology back then, would they still have thought that everything orbited around us?

There are still many people today who believe the Earth is at the centre of the universe (geocentric model). They believe it is fixed in place and doesn’t rotate on its axis. The more modern model has the Moon orbiting Earth. Further out the Sun orbits Earth while the other planets and their moons orbit the sun. The other stars and galaxies we see are all further out forming a sphere around central Earth. This comes down more to what I think is misguided faith (believing no matter the evidence against).

I see problems with the idea. As example, if the Earth didn’t rotate on its axis, to have day and night the sun and all of the planets orbiting it would have to orbit the Earth every 24 hours and this is not what we see. Secondly, spacecraft such as the two Voyager missions and missions to Mars were sent out based on known positions of the planets orbiting the sun. If the centre Earth model had been true, the Voyager and Mars missions would have failed.

Another question I have is about how many other galaxies are out there?

I have given information on this above. There are estimates there could be anything from 100 billion to 500 billion galaxies in the universe.

The number of people alive on Earth is heading towards 8 billion. Using the numbers above, there would anywhere from about 12.5 to 62.5 galaxies for every person on Earth. That’s a lot of galaxies.

In the image below sourced from NASA through Wikimedia Commons, there are around 5500 galaxies in view. To make the low estimate for the number of galaxies in the universe (100 billion), you would need to show approximately 18 million photos showing 5500 galaxies.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

One more question I have is how did those giant stars form in the last video?

Let’s show that video clip again…

I would say it’s all a matter of matter and time.

Stars spend most of their “lives” as what is known as main sequence stars where they are burning hydrogen through something called nuclear fusion. Hydrogen becomes helium. Like any fire, the fuel can run out. As this happens the star’s core gets larger and starts burning helium and fusing it into carbon and oxygen. If the star has enough mass and other features, the star is known as a supergiant star.

The supergiant stars lose mass quickly. Some of these supergiants can be quite bright and losing mass very quickly. They are the hypergiant stars like the one in the video known as VY Canus Majoris. If it was at the centre of our solar system, it would be so big it would reach out beyond Jupiter.

The very large stars have been burning their fuel making new elements. When they get to the stage of making iron then eventually trying to fuse it, the star’s core can collapse and cause what is known as a supernova (a very big explosion of light and matter). What can be left behind could be a black hole (singularity), a neutron star, quark star or a magnetar.

Back in 1987 we were able to see a supernova explosion without using a telescope. A new star seemed to appear where only powerful telescopes might once have seen it. It eventually faded but I remember seeing what looked like a new dot in the night sky. Nova SN 1987A was about 168,000 light years from Earth. What this means is the light I was watching started out from the nova about 168,000 years ago. When we look deeper into space, we are looking back in history. Even the sunlight hitting you in daylight has taken over 8 minutes to reach us.

Look at the clip below. It gives information about SN 1987A and its jouney to supernova…

In the future, VY Canus Majoris will go supernova. What can be interesting is the matter thrown off when it does may be the resources other solar systems need to form.

Also, how did humans know that there are bigger stars than the sun?

Since the beginning of humans, they have been able to see stars in the sky. As knowledge and science has advanced, we have been learning more about the universe.

Optical telescopes brought the moon, planets and stars closer. Radio telescopes picking up the “sound” of space brought us more information. The Hubble telescope orbiting earth allowed us to see even further into space than telescopes on Earth. Computers help us model systems and calculate small changes in orbits of distant stars telling us of orbiting planets. We have learnt so much since the time the first cavemen looked up and saw the stars yet we still know so little. It’s like many things in life, the more we learn the more we realize how little we know.

 Parkes Radio Telescope

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Finally, do you think that there are larger stars than the last one in the final video in the post?

VY Canus Majoris is listed as the largest known hypergiant star. The important word is “known”. There could be far bigger stars out there somewhere. Perhaps if you become an astronomer you might discover a much larger star somewhere in the universe. What would you call it? It might still be called a hypergiant but it might have some properties making it different to hypergiants and the superhypergiants could be born. I would think such hypermassive stars would not last a long time before going supernova, or would it be hypernova? Science has many mysteries still to explain.

6 Comments

Year 4 students at Barwon Heads PS were looking at arrays for use in multiplication...

Arrays All Around

Hello Year 4,

After reading your post, I wondered what arrays I could find amongst my photo collection. Here are some I found...

Windows on an old prison at Port Arthur, Tasmania.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

4 rows of 8 windows

4 x 8 = ?

Artwork on a class wall

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

3 rows of 3 artworks

3 x 3 = ?

Pattern on a sofa

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

4 rows of 6 square patterns

4 x 6 = ?

Artwork on a class wall

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

4 rows of 7 artworks

4 x 7 = ?

Windows on Buckingham Palace

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

2 rows of 6 windows

2 x 6 = ?

Panels in a stained glass window

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

5 rows of 3 square stained glass panels

5 x 3 = ?

Tubes in an old steam boiler

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 5 rows of 6 steam boiler tubes

5 x 6 = ?

To see the Battalion Bloggers post...

A Surprise Package Inspires Action! 

Hello Battalion Bloggers,

In your reply to my comment, there seems to have been interest in the chocolate treat available for Easter in Australia, namely the chocolate Easter Bilby. I thought I would find what I could buy to photograph for you to see. Below are two photos of an Easter Bilby. This one is packed with 150g of chocolate. You can see 30c from each sale goes to the Save the Bilby Fund.

The Save the Bilby Fund site also has information about bilbies as well as photos of bilbies. They are very cute little marsupials and, in my opinion, much cuter than rabbits. No, their site does not sell chocolate bilbies and it would be a long way for the Easter Bilby to travel to drop off chocolate bilbies in Canada. 🙂

April 9 - The secret is now out. With their fascination for the bilby, the Battalion Bloggers were sent three chocolate Easter Bilbies for Easter. As you can see in the pictures below, 30c from each was donated to the Save the Bilby Fund.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Here is a Wikipedia link for bilby information…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrotis.

A Visit to Mogo Zoo

I mentioned to Peng Peng I had visited Mogo Zoo recently so I thought I would share some photos I had taken on that day. Animals are fascinating and I am always looking out for more photos to add to my collection. All of the below photos were taken by me and I am giving permission for schools and students to use them graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

White Lion

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Snow Leopard

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Silvery Gibbon

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Pygmy Marmoset

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Meerkat

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Cotton Top Tamarin

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Common Green Tree Frog

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

African Serval

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

4 Comments

To see Heather's post about prefixes and suffixes...

Prefixes and Suffixes

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

Hello Heather, 

When I first saw your topic for the post I was curious. Words and something about words known as etymology are two of many interests of mine. Words because the more we know and understand of them, the more powerfully we can share with others.

Etymology is the study of where and how words began. Etymology can explain why words with silent letters came about or why other spellings or meanings exist.

You can try to find the etymology of words by going to this link. You will see a “search” box on the screen where you enter the word you want to trace…

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php

(It doesn’t include spellable.)

Your post was interesting for me not only because you shared words to help others grow in word power, you also made me think about how words begin.

Let’s look firstly at the word, "spellable". Believe it or not, spellable is a word although not shown in all dictionaries. As you know, it means able to be spelt. If people think it isn’t a word, here is a link…

http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/spellable

A little research and I find the word “spell” seems to have been around in some form for about 700 years but “spellable” is very different. I suspect it is much more modern and comes from our era. By using it, you are helping to make it a stronger word.

Made up words become real words the more people use them. Words can also change meaning over time.

Have you heard of an iPad? I’m sure you have.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

iPad is very modern and I think was invented by someone at Apple Computers but the way it’s said is what I find interesting. If we go back to the time I was your age and I heard someone say “iPad”, I would think they are saying “eye pad”, a medical dressing placed over an eye. Now, I have to listen to how it is used to know if people are talking about an “iPad” or an “eye pad”.

Words can be different in other countries. You walk on the sidewalk while we walk on the footpath. In USA, if you break the law you can go to jail yet here we go to gaol. Believe it or not, “jail” and “gaol” are said the same although many Australians are now using the US spelling.

Words can be very interesting and that leads me to what you have shared.

Your post on prefixes and suffixes is brilliant.  

You have set it out clearly and in an easy way for younger readers to understand. You may be a student in school but you are now also a teacher for younger children. To have knowledge and share it is a wonderful gift.

Can I come up with some words that have prefixes or suffixes?

I know one of the most confusing problems for many young learners is knowing which prefix to use. Look at these words…

impossible, unpossible, ilpossible

imlegal, unlegal, illegal

imnecessary, unnecessary, ilnecessary 

In each line, one word is correct and the others are wrong yet the im-, un- and il- prefixes can all make the words opposite. My choices for the correct words would be…

impossible,  illegal, unnecessary

Here is a link sharing some prefixes and suffixes people might like to try using…

https://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/content/4_WritingSkills/writing_tuts/spelling_LL/rules3.html

What is my favorite word that includes a prefix or a suffix? 

My favourite word containing prefixes and suffixes is…

antidisestablishmentarianism

base word: establish

prefixes:   anti- dis-

suffixes:   -ment, -arian –ism

meaning: opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England

Now that seems like a mouthful of a word but have a look at this one…

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

It’s said to be a medical word for a lung disease but I can’t see it being used very often.

Here is a little fun with prefixes…

If we are given more money, we have an increase. If we are given less money, we have a decrease. Does that mean if our money stays the same we simply have a “crease”?

Can’t words be amazing?

2 Comments

Hello Lane,

After looking at the photo of the bearded dragon I shared with your class, I decided to rescan the original 35mm slides with a newer, better quality film scanner. Because you liked the bearded dragon, I thought I would share the new scans with you first. Slowly, I am scanning all of my old 35mm slides and photo negatives. I have already discovered long forgotten memories through these little windows to the past.

Below is the original scan of the bearded dragon slide made using a lower quality scanner...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

and here is the new scan of the slide plus another I haven't yet shared...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The new scans give finer detail and are truer in colour. This little guy was on the road as I drove to my first full time teaching school where I was the only teacher. Below is a photo of my first full time teaching school. I think you can get the idea it was a long way from towns. Children at the school lived on sheep and cattle stations and the closest town was 100km from the school.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Hi, Kennedy.

I wanted to share a photo of one of the tallest male eastern-grey kangaroos I have seen while out hiking...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This male was almost my height. We stood watching each other before I took this photo and he hopped away. The photo below shows a close up photo of a much smaller female. I think she has a pretty face.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

1 Comment

Daniel had some wonders about emus. A simple answer wouldn't have allowed me to share the information I had…

Hi Ross! I liked how you wrote each of us a comment. Thank you for sending us the animal cards because we got more wonders. What did the emus evolve from and what is the tallest bird? I wonder how the real name of the emu is pronounced. How can you tell the difference between a male emu and a female emu? If you didn’t send us the cards, I wouldn’t know that emus swim! Which continent is Polynesia on? We are so lucky that we blog with you, Ross!

Daniel, what wonderful wonders!

As can sometimes happen, a comment can lead to a post so let's see if I can answer your questions. I like challenges. 🙂

Let's work backwards through your questions.

1. Which continent is Polynesia on?

Polynesia isn't a continent. It is a collection of over 1000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. It includes Hawaii in the north, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the east, Tonga in the west and New Zealand in the south-west. The traditional people of the islands are known as Polynesian. Having heard the Maoris of New Zealand speaking their language, I have also visited Hawaii. Despite the two sets of islands being so far apart, I was able to recognise words similar to each area.  Polynesians share similarities in culture and language.

As well as Polynesia, there are two other major Pacific island groups, Micronesia and Melanesia. Melanesia includes New Guinea to  the north of Australia. Australia isn't part of these groups as it is both the world's largest island and smallest continent. The many cultures of the traditional people of Australia are very different to Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A Maori in traditional clothing.

2. What is the tallest bird?

The heaviest and tallest living birds are ostriches, native to Africa. They can weigh over 156kg and the males can be as tall as 2.8m. Next on the list are southern cassowaries found in northern Australia. Emus come along in 3rd place. The northern cassowary found in New Guinea comes in fourth. I have seen emus in the wild. I have only seen cassowaries and ostriches in zoos. Here is a Wikipedia link…

List of Largest Birds

When the Maoris first arrived in New Zealand (aka Aotearoa), they found a very large flightless native bird known as the moa. Look at the photo below of a reconstruction of the moa based on evidence from bones and fossils...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I photographed this moa in New Zealand's Auckland Museum. There were nine species of moas, this being one of the largest two. They could reach about 3.6m in height and weigh about 230kg.With the emus reaching up to only about 2m, the largest moas would have towered over them.

But these weren’t the largest known birds to have ever lived. Does a bird thought to be more than 3m tall and weighing around 400kg sound big? Here a link to an extinct giant bird…     Elephant Bird

3.How can you tell the difference between male and female emus?

emu (eem-you)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

The most important answer to this question is the birds can but let's see what I can find to help us. By looking at the photo above, I can't tell the difference between the male and female emus. They look very alike but it seems they can sound different. Males can grunt a little like a pig and, if they're caring for chicks, can whistle to their chicks whereas females make a more booming sound.

When I look at emus, I try to imagine them featherless with teeth in their beaks. When I do this, I imagine something like a dinosaur. Look at the photo of a dinosaur skeleton I photographed when at a museum in London. It has a long tail and clawed upper arms whereas  emus have a short tail and stumpy wings we don't notice because of their feathers but there are similarities such as in their feet and the way they moved. I suspect the dinosaur was a fast runner and I know emus can run at up to 50 kilometres per hour as I have been driving a car and slowed to see how fast nearby emus were running.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 Of course, looking something alike doesn't mean they are alike. There can be similarities between very different animals simply because they need to do similar things so let's look at some ideas on the evolution of birds.

4. Where did emus evolve from?

The Evolution of Birds

For a long time people thought all of the dinosaurs died out with the great extinction caused by a large meteorite hitting Earth but we now believe this wasn’t completely so. We know the large dinosaurs couldn't survive the changes in the Earth but early mammals survived because they were small and fur covered. Fossils have shown this but what about the small dinosaurs?

I have seen information on two main types of dinosaurs...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

No, I didn't take the dinosaur photo when I was young. In 1989, I visited a dinosaur display. 🙂

the sauropods (lizard-footed) including the largest dinosaurs (one is pictured above)…   Sauropods

and the ornithopods (bird-footed)...    Ornithopods

By their names, you might think we would be looking at ornithopods but it’s the sauropods I find most interesting, as it seems these dinosaurs include the ancestors of birds.

A type of sauropod dinosaur are the therapods (beast-footed)...     Therapods

Could some dinosaurs fly?

 Look at the photos I had taken when a "DInosaurs of China" collection visited Sydney in 1983...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This high quality fossil from China shows a winged reptile and the photo below shows a reconstruction of how they may have looked. These fliers weren't dinosaurs although many think of them as being dinosaurs. They were not the ancestors of birds.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We had no evidence dinosaurs had feathers until a very fine fossil was found in 1861, an archaeopteryx (are-key-op-ter-ix). Look closely at the photo below and you will see the fossil below is so fine you can see feathers yet it appears to have claws on its wings. This was not the fossil of a flying reptile. If the feathers hadn't been present, it would most likely to have been thought to be a small sauropod dinosaur. After the fossil was discovered, we could see a link between the dinosaurs and birds.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In  the photo below, you will see how the archaeopteryx might have looked. Fossils don't preserve colour so the colours are only guesses but sometimes ancient feathers have been discovered in amber and can show colour. Because feathers trapped in amber are rare, scientists can't test them without destroying them to find out more but they have been found to be very old feathers.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Since the discovery of the archaeopteryx, more examples of fossils appearing to have feathers have been found...

Feathered dinosaurs

Scroll down the link and you will see a diagram known as a cladogram. The diagram shows a clade. Clades show an ancestor and all of its descendants sort of like a family tree humans use to show their family. Notice the ancient ancestor starts with therapods and leads to birds?

All dinosaurs didn’t become extinct, some evolved into the birds we see today.

Do any modern birds have claws?

I once wondered if any modern birds had clawed wings and the answer was no until I read about the hoatzin of South America. The hoatzin is also known as the "stinkbird" which gives us the idea it is a little smelly.

What interested me was its chicks. The chicks have two claws on each wing to help them climb around the trees where they live but they are true birds and not left over from the dinosaur days. The young lose the claws as they become adults. Below is a photo of a hoatzin chick I found on Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

This photo was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

This photo was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

The Evolution of the Emu

Science tends to classify birds into orders and into further groups within orders. For the emu, it is grouped with other ratites, or flightless birds including the ostrich, cassowary and New Zealand's moa and kiwi. In the link below, you will see another cladogram, this time of birds. The ratites come off very early on and are separate from all other birds so you could say they are closer to the first birds to have evolved.

Classification of Modern Bird Orders 

One last photo, this time a close up look at the emu's legs...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Emus are modern birds and not dinosaurs but, when I watch them walk, I can imagine them being dinosaurs striding or running across the land perhaps being chased by a carnivorous dinosaur. What do you think?

Eevie left a reply to a comment I left on her class blog. She shared history can be hard to understand. I suggested using our imagination to picture events in history. I also suggested drawings and pictures can help us better understand.

At present I am involved in the long task of scanning 35mm slides, negatives and photos into my computer. I thought I would share some of my "windows into history" and what I know about them. Let's go back in history...

 

The Year: 1998

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We are looking south along ANZAC Parade. I am on the stairs leading to the Australian Way Memorial. In the distance we see the white Old Parliament House and behind it is the new Parliament House. In 1998, John Howard was Prime Minister (1996-2007). The scene today is still much the same but what happens if we look at an older photo from 1984, fifteen years earlier...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

The scene looks almost the same but, if you look carefully, you can see the new Parliament House is being built. The photos show me the new Parliament House was being built in the 1980s but was open by the 1990s. When Australia became a nation back in 1901, Canberra was sheep grazing country. Can you imagine the above photos without the lake, roads and buildings when sheep were grazing on the grass?

In 1984, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister (1983-1991). It was during the time of Bob Hawke most Australians celebrated the bicentenary (200th) anniversary of the first settlement of Europeans in Australia in Sydney. Part of the celebrations involved ships from around the world re-enacting the First Fleet journey with convicts to Australia.

The year: 1987. Prime Minister Bob Hawke visited the First Fleet ships in Hobart, Tasmania.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In January, 1988, the First Fleet re-enactment fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour and was greeted by thousands of people lining the harbour's shores for Australia Day (January 26).

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Can you imagine what it might have been like for the convicts and soldiers arriving on the First Fleet back in 1788?

How do you think the Aboriginal people living around the harbour back then might have felt seeing the ships arrive?

You have probably heard about the voyages of Captain Cook and how, back in 1770, he was the first European known to have sailed along the east coast of Australia. There were drawings back then but cameras hadn't been invented. Look at the photo below. I would love to be able to say I could travel back in time to see the Endeavour sailing along our coast in 1770 but this photo was taken in 2012. It is a replica of Cook's Endeavour. Young people today can experience being part of the crew aboard this sailing ship. As well as photos and drawings, there are places we can visit to experience history. Perhaps you have visited Ballarat's Sovereign Hill? I will soon be scanning some slides taken there in 1984.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What do you think it was like to be a sailor on the Endeavour? If you are interested, the link below will take you to another of my blogs where you can see more photos and some video of the Endeavour replica when it visited Twofold Bay at Eden in N.S.W. in May, 2012.

HMB Endeavour at Twofold Bay

What was Sydney like early in its history? There weren't any cameras to take photos back when the First Fleet arrived in 1788 but there were drawings made of the early settlement. Using these drawings, the early 1980s saw the building of Old Sydney Town set in the early 1800s. Children could visit Old Sydney Town to see what Sydney was like nearly 200 years ago. Old Sydney Town was living history...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Can you imagine what it might have been like to be a child living in Sydney back in the early 1800s?

What about the Aboriginal people who lived around the new settlement way back then? Much of the culture of the original people of the Sydney region has been lost but there are still reminders of their history. In 1991, I visited an area of Sydney's Royal National Park in order to photograph rock carvings left by the original people of Sydney. They will eventually be lost to erosion but my photos have kept a window to the past open. Can you see what animal is shown in the carving?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Did you guess a stingray?

Photos can also give us more direct glimpses into the past. The photo below was taken in 1987 and shows the gravestone of Mary Agnes Hurley who died in 1871 at Hill End, N.S.W. when she was 25 years old. Do you think she might have been married and have had children? 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Old photos and drawings can let us better know people from the past. Let's go back to 1940 for the photo below. It shows a signaller soldier, my father, when he was 21. With the outbreak of World War II, he joined the army and was sent to Singapore. With the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942, he spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war. Without photos, I would never have seen him as a young man.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Going back to 1915 and the First World War, I have the photo below...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I never knew or met this young man from the past yet he is my Great Uncle Ernie (my father's uncle). He went to fight in France and never returned.

History can seem hard to understand but using our imaginations and what we can learn by reading, visiting historical sites, seeing replicas or dioramas, watching videos or looking at photos and graphics from the past, history can become alive.

Class 4B is learning about the world's oceans and has started their studies by recalling information about Australia. Due to restrictions in links in the comments section of their blog, I have written this quick post to share links to some of the relevant posts. Below is a link to their blog post...

Our Country, Australia

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Hello 4B,

I found your post about Australia interesting. A number of times I have written posts about Australia, its geography and its animals. I thought I would share some links if you are interested.

You will see a number of photos on the posts have the following message under them...
"Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes."
This means I have given you permission to use the photos for school use so you are able to use the photos with the message in projects or presentations. Here are the links...

Australian Animals

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2014/02/14/more-about-australian-animals-for-the-battalion-bloggers/

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/11/29/more-on-australia-the-outback-and-its-animals-for-battalion-bloggers/

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/07/05/some-australian-mini-beasts/

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/05/17/desert-dwellers-and-adaptation-in-australia/

Geography

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2014/01/16/australian-red-centre-for-declan-and-connor/

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/10/24/about-australia-for-a-student-with-some-questions/

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/05/08/comparing-population-densities-of-australia-canada-great-britain-new-zealand-and-u-s-a/

 

There are also posts on humpback whales migrating from the Southern Ocean...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/10/20/humpback-whale-migration/

http://rossmannell.edublogs.org/2013/10/19/whale-watching-from-merimbula/

 

We have so many interesting things to learn about in our world. Being and island continent, the sea is an important feature of our geography. We have contact with three of the worlds oceans, Pacific, Indian, and Southern, as well as the Tasman Sea, Timor Sea, Coral Sea and Arafura Sea.

I think you are going to discover interesting information in your studies of the world around us. 🙂

Ross Mannell
Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

2 Comments

Mrs. Watson's K/1/2/3/4 class shared a wonderful post on some claymation they prepared. They were inspired by the Wallace and Gromit style of claymation ..

Watch Out Wallace and Gromit!

Hello K/1/2/3/4,

I was fascinated by your post about claymation animation. Cartooning and animation has been one of my hobbies for some time. I thought I would share some of the activities I have had with classes in the past. This first video clip was used to show how a simple object like a stapler can come to life through stop motion animation...

In 2003, my class had the chance to try their own stop motion. They used either objects or drawings to make their animations. They positioned the objects, took a photos, numbered the photos to make a sequence then used Quicktime's "Open Image Sequence" to animate them. Sound was added. Here are their results...

My favourite stop motion animation with a class was made back in 2000. All of the students in the sequence are now adults so I can share the result. We used the school playground. Each student positioned themselves as though sitting on a motorbike. I would take a photo, call out "next", they would move slightly then freeze, another photo would be taken and so on until the sequence was made. At the end, one unfortunate student forgot to check before crossing the road. We should always look carefully before crossing roads. Like the above stop motion, the photos were numbered to make the sequence and Quicktime was used to animate. Here is the result...

With such an interesting post, I can't wait to see the claymation animations you produce. 🙂