Charles Darwin sparked more than one controversy over the natural progression of life. One such case involved the evolution of coral atolls, the ring-shaped coral reefs that surround submerged tropical islands.
Coral reefs are actually huge colonies of tiny animals that need sunlight to grow. After seeing a reef encircling Moorea, near Tahiti, Darwin came up with his theory that coral atolls grow as reefs stretch toward sunlight while ocean islands slowly sink beneath the sea surface. (Cooling ocean crust, combined with the weight of massive islands, causes the islands to sink.)
A century-long controversy ensued after Darwin published his theory in 1842, because some scientists thought the atolls were simply a thin veneer of coral, not many thousands of feet thick as Darwin proposed. Deep drilling on reefs finally confirmed Darwin's model in 1953.
Michael Jasny, director of the NRDC Marine Mammal Project, contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
On June 9,2008, at least 60 dolphins stranded along the coast of Cornwall, England, in what was by far the largest common dolphin mortality ever seen
in British waters. For hours, rescuers tried to lead them back to sea — often unsuccessfully, as some of the animals were panicked and others just milled about in tight circles, resistant to saving. The f
orensic investigation that followed involved 24 experts from five countries and multiple government agencies.
Now their verdict is in, and the most probable cause was naval exercises.
IT MIMICS the leaping glides of flying fish and needs no external power. The Jump Glider could be the first in a new generation of robots, harnessing aerodynamic lift to travel further than it would if it simply hopped, and without using additional energy.
Jeff Henry takes a photo of his son, Joel Henry, 9, as they take a look at a 28 1/2-foot male basking shark that washed up on Misquamicut Beach in Westerly on Sunday.
Westerly — A 28 1/2 -foot-long male basking shark weighing several tons washed ashore in Misquamicut this morning.
The shark, located near 521 Atlantic Avenue, which is east of the state beach, has been attracting curious onlookers today who took photos and touched it.
A Misquamicut homeowner reported the shark to police about 7:15 a.m. this morning. Police then contacted the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management which then asked Mystic Aquarium to investigate.