Compare & Contrast Essay: The Role of Women in Ancient Athens

Why I'm Not A Vegan | Food Renegade

This was so beautifully and honestly written, thank you

This essay presents a , and nearly half of the events happened during the timeframe covered by this essay's first half, which includes almost the entirety of Earth's history. Humanity's tenure amounts to a tiny sliver of Earth's history, and surveying pre-human events was partly intended to help readers develop a sense of perspective. We are merely Earth's latest tenants. We have unprecedented dominance, but we are quickly destroying Earth's ability to host complex life. As my astronaut colleague openly wondered, is ? Is our path of destruction inevitable, as we plunder one energy resource after another to exhaustion? Will depleting Earth's hydrocarbons be the latest, greatest, and perhaps final instance?

I think by now the whole food blogging world knows why I’m not a vegan

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consist of body plans, which scientists have used to classify all life forms, and all significant animal phyla had appeared by the Cambrian Period’s end. The Cambrian Explosion has been difficult to explain and there is still great controversy and many unanswered questions, and it has also been difficult to explain why significant change stopped the explosion. Once the basic body plans appeared and biomes were filled, new plans never appeared again. Why did all fundamental change stop? The emerging view is the same for why complex life with and never changed since then. Not only could innovation confer great benefits, but , further travel along the developmental path made it continually less feasible to backtrack, start over, and take another path, or choose a fundamentally different path. The history of life’s choices was reflected in organisms in several ways, and the source of that inertia began to be understood when biology and chemistry at the cellular and subcellular levels were investigated, particularly after DNA was sequenced and studied. The fact that have not significantly changed in several hundred million years points to the issue. Hox genes have not changed because they control key developmental steps in embryonic development. Not only do Hox genes work, there are no practical ways to significantly change them, as they lay the animal’s structural foundation. Hox genes are called regulatory genes, and the nature of seems to be why animals have not fundamentally changed since the Cambrian Explosion.

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But the branch of the that readers might find most interesting led to humans. Humans are in the phylum, and the last common ancestor that founded the Chordata phylum is still a mystery and understandably a source of controversy. Was our ancestor a ? A ? Peter Ward made the case, as have others for a long time, that it was the sea squirt, also called a tunicate, which in its larval stage resembles a fish. The nerve cord in most bilaterally symmetric animals runs below the belly, not above it, and a sea squirt that never grew up may have been our direct ancestor. Adult tunicates are also highly adapted to extracting oxygen from water, even too much so, with only about 10% of today’s available oxygen extracted in tunicate respiration. It may mean that tunicates adapted to low oxygen conditions early on. Ward’s respiration hypothesis, which makes the case that adapting to low oxygen conditions was an evolutionary spur for animals, will repeatedly reappear in this essay, as will . Ward’s hypothesis may be proven wrong or will not have the key influence that he attributes to it, but it also has plenty going for it. The idea that fluctuating oxygen levels impacted animal evolution has been gaining support in recent years, particularly in light of recent reconstructions of oxygen levels in the eon of complex life, called and , which have yielded broadly similar results, but their variances mean that much more work needs to be performed before on the can be done, if it ever can be. Ward’s basic hypotheses is that when oxygen levels are high, ecosystems are diverse and life is an easy proposition; when oxygen levels are low, animals adapted to high oxygen levels go extinct and the survivors are adapted to low oxygen with body plan changes, and their adaptations helped them dominate after the extinctions. The has a pretty wide range of potential error, particularly in the early years, and it also tracked atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The challenges to the validity of a model based on data with such a wide range of error are understandable. But some broad trends are unmistakable, as it is with other models, some of which are generally declining carbon dioxide levels, some huge oxygen spikes, and the generally relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which a geochemist would expect. The high carbon dioxide level during the Cambrian, of at least 4,000 PPM (the "RCO2" in the below graphic is a ratio of the calculated CO2 levels to today's levels), is what scientists think made the times so hot. (Permission: Peter Ward, June 2014)

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