Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
The great book of questions and answers over 1000 questions and answers viny
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

The great book of questions and answers over 1000 questions and answers viny


Published on

1 Comment
No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. This ebook licensed to . Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this ebook is illegal.
  • 2. GrBigBk_Q_A 001-003 Foul 21/5/07 12:11 pm Page 1
  • 3. GrBigBk_Q_A 001-003 Foul 21/5/07 12:11 pm Page 2 Arcturus Publishing Limited 26/27 Bickels Yard 151–153 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3HA Published in association with foulsham W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd, The Publishing House, Bennetts Close, Cippenham, Slough, Berkshire SL1 5AP, England ISBN: 978-0-572-03335-4 This edition printed in 2007 Copyright © 2007 Arcturus Publishing Limited All rights reserved The Copyright Act prohibits (subject to certain very limited exceptions) the making of copies of any copyright work or of a substantial part of such a work, including the making of copies by photocopying or similar process. Written permission to make a copy or copies must therefore normally be obtained from the publisher in advance. It is advisable also to consult the publisher if in any doubt as to the legality of any copying which is to be undertaken. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: a catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Printed in China Created by: Q2A Media Editors: Ella Fern and Fiona Tulloch Cover design: Q2A Media/Steve Flight
  • 4. GrBigBk_Q_A 001-003 Foul 21/5/07 12:11 pm Page 3
  • 5. GrBigBk_Q_A 004-005 Content.qxd 21/5/07 12:10 pm Page 4 Contents Universe 6-25 Hoofed Animals 53 Galaxies 6 Odd-toed Mammals 54 Stars 8 Odd Mammals 55 The Sun 10 Whales 56 The Planets 12 Other Marine Mammals 58 The Hot Planet 14 Seabirds 60 The Earth’s Twin 15 Birds of Prey 61 The Red Planet 16 Songbirds 62 The King of Planets 17 Waterfowl 63 The Last Planets 18 Flightless Birds 64 Dwarf Planets 19 Penguins 65 The Moon 20 Fish 66 Comets and Asteroids 22 Friends and Enemies at Sea 67 Humans in Space 24 Sharks and Rays 68 Life of a Fish 70 Planet Earth 26-41 Reptiles 72 Earth’s Atmosphere 26 Lizards 73 Seasons and Climate 28 Turtles 74 Mountains, Valleys and Caves 30 Snakes 75 Other Landforms 32 Venomous Snakes 76 Oceans 34 Constrictors 78 Volcanoes 36 Crocodilians 80 Earthquakes and Tsunamis 38 Amphibians 82 Hurricanes and Tornadoes 40 Insects 84 Insect Life 86 The Living Planet 42-101 Origin of Life 88 Monkeys 42 Dinosaurs 90 Apes 44 Armoured Dinosaurs 91 Big cats 46 Plant-eating Dinosaurs 92 Bears 48 Meat-eating Dinosaurs 93 Canines 50 Other Prehistoric Animals 94 Elephants 52 Plant Life 96 Food for Plants 98 Trees and Shrubs 99 Aquatic Plants 100 Climbers and Creepers 101 Human Body 102-109 External Body Parts 102 Bones and Muscles 103 Digestion and Excretion 104 The Heart and Circulation 106 The Brain and the Senses 107 Reproduction and Birth 108 Falling Sick 109
  • 6. GrBigBk_Q_A 004-005 Content.qxd 21/5/07 12:10 pm Page 5 Continents, Countries and People 110-123 Forces and Motion 190 North America 110 Communication and Satellites 192 South America 112 Land Transport 194 Australia and Oceania 114 Water Transport 196 Europe 116 Air Transport 198 Africa 118 Asia 120 World Map 200-201 The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica 122 Index 202-208 World History 124-163 Ancient Mesopotamia 124 Ancient Egypt 125 Ancient India and China 126 Ancient Greece 128 Ancient Rome 130 Ancient Americas 132 Native Americans 133 Medieval Europe 136 Medieval China and Japan 138 Mughal India 140 Incas and Aztecs 141 The Renaissance 142 Discovery of New Lands 144 The British Empire 146 The Industrial Revolution 148 Scientific Revolution 150 The American Revolution & Civil War 152 The French Revolution 154 Napoleonic Wars 156 The World Wars 158 The World after World War II 160 Computer Revolution 162 The New Millennium – 21st Century 163 Art and Culture 164-177 Architecture 164 Art and Artists 166 Music 168 Theatre 170 World of Sports 172 World of Movies 174 World Religions 176 Science and Technology 178-199 Matter 178 Light 180 Sound 182 Heat 184 Electricity 186 Magnets 188
  • 7. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 6 Universe Galaxies The universe is a huge open space made up of billions of galaxies and an even larger number of stars. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. Our solar system, including the Sun, the planets and their moons, forms just a tiny part of the Milky Way. Quick Q’s: 1. What is the Big Q How was the universe formed? Bang theory? The Big Bang theory A The universe was born more than suggests that the 15 billion years ago. It is believed that the universe as we know universe began as a small ball of fire. This Early universe it today was created fireball grew larger and larger until one day it Scientists think that the early universe was a dense after a huge explosion cluster of matter, that has kept expanding from the or ‘bang’. Georges exploded, to form the universe that we know. Big Bang until now and is continuing to expand. Lemaitre proposed the theory of the Big Bang in 1927, and in 1929 Edwin Hubble Q How big is the universe? Q What is a galaxy? expanded on his work. A No one knows how big the universe A A galaxy is a group of billions of stars, 2. Which is the really is. There are at least 100 billion dust and gas bound together by gravitational largest galaxy? galaxies that we know of. However, this force. A galaxy can either be on its own or in Scientists do not know number keeps growing as better telescopes a cluster. Galaxies come in different shapes exactly. The largest are developed and we see more and more and sizes. Scientists have divided them into galaxies we know of are giant elliptical (oval) galaxies. On top of that, the galaxies are three categories based on their shapes – spiral, galaxies located in moving away from each other, causing the elliptical (oval) and irregular (no shape). the middle of a whole universe to expand. Some scientists believe group of galaxies. Expanding universe One of the largest that the universe will never stop expanding, Scientists think that stars and other elements in the is in the central while others think that one day it will begin universe are continuing to move away from each other galaxy in the cluster to shrink until it becomes a fireball again. due to the force of the original Big Bang. Abell 2029. 3. How big is the Milky Way? The Milky Way is huge. It takes the Sun about 250 million years to orbit once around the centre of the Milky Way. 4. What is Messier Object 31? The Andromeda Galaxy is also known as Messier Object 31, or M31. This galaxy is more than twice the size of Milky Way. But it is still not the largest galaxy we know of. 6
  • 8. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 7 Galaxies A galactic crash Q How did the Milky Way get its name? Sometimes, galaxies crash into one another due to the force of A In ancient Greek and Roman myths, it was gravity. But the stars in them are too far apart to cause any real believed that the goddess Hera (Juno) spilt damage. Our own galaxy is on a collision course with its neighbour milk across the sky and called the white streak Andromeda. The collision will take place in about five billion years it left a ‘river of milk’. The Romans called it and the two will merge to form an elliptical (oval) galaxy. Via Lactea or a ‘road made of milk’. This is how our galaxy came to be named the Milky Way. Q Is the Milky Way a part of a cluster of galaxies? A The Milky Way and three of its neighbouring galaxies are part of a larger cluster known as the Local Group (because they are closest to Earth). The neighbouring galaxies in the Local Group are called Andromeda, and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Of the 35 galaxies in the Local Group, only these three can be seen with the naked eye. Milky Way An artist’s impression of our galaxy, the Milky Way, based on observations made by modern telescopes. Our Sun is a small star on one arm of the galaxy. Try these too… Stars (8–9), The Sun (10–11), The Planets (12–13), Comets and Asteroids (22–23), Scientific Revolution (150–151) 7
  • 9. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 8 Universe Stars A star is a huge ball of gas and dust that gives out both heat and light. When the gases in the star burn out, it dies. A star can live for millions, even billions, of years depending on its size. Each galaxy in the universe is made up of several billion stars. Quick Q’s: 1. How many stars are Q What is a protostar? there in the universe? We know of about 70 A Stars are born in clouds of dust and sextillion (7 followed gases, mainly hydrogen. More and more gas by 22 zeros) stars in is pulled together by gravity to form a cloud. the universe. However, After a while the cloud begins to spin. This we are only able to see about 8,000 of these. makes the gas atoms bump into each other at Protostar high speeds, creating a great deal of heat. As An artist’s impression of the original ball of dust and gases that combine to form a protostar. 2. What are giant and the cloud becomes hotter a nuclear reaction dwarf stars? takes place inside, and the cloud begins to Scientists classify stars as giant or dwarf stars on glow. This glowing cloud is called a protostar. Q What is a supernova? The protostar continues to contract until it the basis of their size. The Sun is a dwarf star. becomes a star. A A supernova is a vast explosion in Supergiant stars – the which an entire star is destroyed. After the biggest in the universe explosion, extremely bright light is emitted – are at least 400 times bigger than the Sun. Q How long does a star live? for several days. Supernovas appear a billion times brighter than the Sun. Sometimes, a 3. What is a cluster A A star glows for millions of years until the supernova explosion can go on for weeks of stars? gases in its outer layer begin to cool, and the or even months. Supernovas mostly occur in Stars are usually hydrogen in the inner core is slowly used up. distant galaxies. The last supernova to take found in groups called The cool outer layer starts to glow red. When place in the Milky Way occurred in 1604. It clusters. Some clusters this happens the star is called a red giant. The was observed by the famous astronomer are made up of loosely packed stars, while red giant continues to lose its brightness until Johannes Kepler. The brightest supernova to other stars are packed it fades away. Depending on its size, a red be recorded so far is 1993J in the galaxy M81. tightly together to giant may die in an explosion, get compressed It was seen on 26 March 1993. But because form a dense cluster. to form a black hole or become a white dwarf. the stars are so far away, we may see a supernova explosion long after it takes place. 4. What kind of stars are binary stars? Pairs of stars are Q What is a white dwarf? called binary stars. Binary stars revolve around the same A A small star usually shrinks to form a dense white dwarf. The size of a white dwarf centre of gravity. is similar to the size of Earth. There are many white dwarfs in our galaxy but they are too 5. Which is the brightest known star? dim to be seen. Sirius B is one of them. The Pistol Star is the brightest known star in White dwarf the universe. It is about An enhanced image of white dwarf stars, which have 10 million times already shrunk to a size comparable to that of the brighter than the Sun. Earth. These stars are too dim to be detected without modern telescopes. 8
  • 10. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 9 Stars Q What is a black hole? The gravity near this point is so strong that any Dwarf stars When stars reach the end of their lives, their fires object that gets too close to the black hole is A Black holes are extremely compact space pulled into it. Even light gets sucked into it, start to die out, and then they become dwarf stars objects that were once massive stars. Sometimes which is why we can’t see a black hole. Scientists due to the gravitational a huge star begins to shrink until it is smaller use special instruments to detect a black hole’s pull of the matter inside. than an atom. This is called a black hole. The presence. They examine the effects it has on centre of the black hole is called ‘singularity’. the objects near it. Black hole Nobody can actually see a black hole, because the extremely strong gravity inside them does not even allow any light to escape, let alone anything else. This is an artist’s impression of what a black hole may be like. Heavenly pictures Try these too… By drawing imaginary lines between the Galaxies (6–7), The Sun (10–11), The Planets stars in the sky, you will notice the shapes (12–13), The Moon of animals or objects familiar to you. You (20–21), Humans in might see a crab, a dragon, a bear or Space (24–25), Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), other patterns. These star patterns are Scientific Revolution called constellations. Astronomers have (150–151), Computer identified 88 constellations in all. The Revolution (162), Matter (178–179), Light more famous ones are the Great Bear, the (180–181), Heat Little Bear and Orion, also known as the (184–185), Electricity Hunter. The constellations also include (186–187), Forces and Motion (190–191), characters from Greek mythology and the Communication and 12 signs of the zodiac. Satellites (192–193) 9
  • 11. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 10 Universe The Sun Our solar system is made up of the Sun, eight planets, three dwarf planets and many asteroids, comets and other space rocks. The Sun is the largest object in the solar system and is located right at its centre. The planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets travel around the Sun in an ellipse. Our solar system was formed about 5 billion years ago, and the surface of the Sun is about 4.6 billion years old. Quick Q’s: 1. What are sunspots? Q How was the Sun created? Sunspots are storms on the surface of the Sun. A Before it was formed, the Sun and the These storms appear rest of the solar system was a huge mass of as huge, dark spots in hot gas and dust called a solar nebula. This satellite pictures and so nebula spun faster and faster until the clouds Flaring up! are called sunspots. of gases, dust and ice particles clumped Solar flares on the surface of the Sun. Solar flares were observed for the first time in 1859. together and exploded, forming the sun. 2. How hot is the Sun? The Sun’s surface Q What is a solar flare? temperature is about 5,760 °C (10,400 °F), Q Why does the Sun glow? while its centre is an A Sometimes the Sun produces a huge incredible 15 million °C (28 million °F) – A The Sun is made up of huge amounts of amount of magnetic energy that sends out that is more than hydrogen and helium gases. Nuclear reactions jets of gas into space. These jets of gas are 150,000 times hotter at the centre of the Sun emit a large amount called solar flares and cause a sudden than boiling water! of energy that makes the Sun glow. That same increase in the brightness of the Sun. Solar energy travels through space and reaches us flares are often followed by the release of 3. How far is the as heat and light. electrically charged particles like protons Sun from us? and electrons. These are called solar winds The Sun is about and are known to travel at a speed of about 150 million kilometres (93 million miles) away from the Earth. Q What is a solar eclipse? 500 kilometres (300 miles) per second. A A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon Blocking the Sun In an annular (ring-shaped) eclipse, the Moon covers 4. What is the corona? comes between the Sun and the Earth, only the middle portion of the Sun, causing a bright ring The corona is the blocking the Sun from our view. In a total of light to appear around the Moon. glowing atmosphere solar eclipse, the Moon blocks out the Sun of the Sun that extends millions of kilometres from our view completely. In a partial eclipse, into space. The corona however, a part of the Sun is visible. During is 200 times hotter an annular eclipse, we can see a small ring of than the Sun’s surface! the Sun glowing around the Moon. When the Moon is nearer to the Earth it appears larger 5. Is the sun worshipped by people? and therefore covers the Sun completely, The sun has been although it is actually much smaller than the worshipped as a god Sun. However, in an annular eclipse the since ancient times by Moon is too far away from the Earth to block the Greeks, Romans and native Americans. the Sun out totally and therefore a ring of sunlight is seen. 10
  • 12. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 11 The Sun Q Is the Sun really a star? A joint effort The SOHO was launched jointly by the European A The Sun is a medium-sized star known as Space Agency and NASA. For over ten years, SOHO a yellow dwarf. It is younger and smaller than has been studying the most stars in the universe, but is very bright outer layers of the Sun. and extremely hot. In about five billion years, when all the hydrogen in its core has been used up, the Sun will change into a red giant star. After that, the Sun will evolve into a white dwarf before finally dying out. Q How did we learn about the Sun? A We have sent several solar missions into space to study the Sun and its characteristics. The first detailed observations were made by NASA’s Pioneer missions that were launched between 1959 and 1968. The Solar Maximum mission of 1980 made a detailed study of solar flares. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) launched in 1995, has been continuously collecting data regarding the Sun for the last ten years. In different directions! The Sun takes about 26 days on average to rotate on its axis. Since it is made up of gas, different parts of the Sun rotate at different speeds. The surface closest to the equator rotates faster than that closest to the polar regions. The Sun’s surface near the poles takes almost 36 days to complete one rotation. N Try these too… Surface of the Sun Galaxies (6–7), The There is constant activity Planets (12–13), The visible on the surface of Moon (20–21), Earth’s the Sun, as it pulses and Atmosphere (26–27), glows due to the heat and Scientific Revolution S light produced by the (150–151) nuclear reactions within. 11
  • 13. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 12 Universe The Planets Planets are large masses of matter that orbit around a star. Our solar system consists of eight planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, which are called inner or rocky planets, and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which are the outer planets, or gas giants. Quick Q’s: 1. How did the planets Q How were the planets formed? Birth of planets The planets in our solar system were born when dust get their names? All the planets are A After the gaseous cloud called the and particles around the Sun clumped together. named after Roman solar nebula collapsed upon itself due to Earth gods. Venus is named the strength of its own gravity and formed after the Roman the Sun, the dust and particles around it goddess of love. The surface features of clumped together to form the planets. Venus are also named The heat of the Sun melted the ice particles Uranus Neptune after various goddesses. nearby and eventually these rocks grew larger For example the planet Saturn to form the four rocky planets. Some ice Jupiter has a deep canyon named Diana, after particles were too far away from the Sun to be the Roman goddess melted. These ice pieces combined with gases Gas giants of hunting. The four outer planets, the gas giants, are much larger to form the planets called the gas giants. than the Earth. 2. How many rings do Jupiter and Uranus have? Q What are the features of a rocky planet? Q What makes gas giants unique? Jupiter has three thin rings that cannot be seen even with the A The rocky planets are made up of rocks A The gas giants are bigger in size but and metals like iron and nickel. They are lighter, as they are mainly made up of gases most powerful telescopes. Uranus smaller than the gas giants but are very heavy. and ice particles. In fact, Saturn is so light has as many as It is because of their weight that rocky planets that it would float if placed in water! Gas 11 rings. rotate much slower than the gas giants. giants also spin extremely quickly and they have rings around them. These planets do 3. How many moons Rocky planets not have a hard surface. Jupiter and Saturn does Venus have? Among the rocky planets, the Earth appears blue from outer space because over 70 per cent of its surface is have a semi-liquid centre that is covered by a Apart from Mercury, Venus is the only other covered with water. layer of liquid gas. planet in the solar system that has no moon. 4. What about Pluto? Until recently, Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system. But in 2006, it was officially reclassified as a dwarf planet, because Mercury it is so small and its Mars gravitational field is not as strong as that of the major planets. Venus Earth 12
  • 14. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 13 The Planets Try these too… Q What are the distinguishing features 1 Galaxies (6–7), The Sun of each of the rocky planets? (10–11), The Hot Planet 2 (14), The Earth’s Twin A Mercury is the closest to the Sun and JUPITER 3 (15), The Red Planet (16), The King of therefore its temperature can be as high as 1 Amalthea Planets (17), The Last 467 °C (873 °F). Venus is covered with carbon 2 Adrastea Planets (18), Dwarf dioxide containing droplets of sulphuric acid. 3 Metis Planets (19), The Moon (20–21), Earth’s This traps the Sun’s heat and makes Venus 4 Thebe 4 Atmosphere (26–27) hotter than even Mercury. Mars, the red planet, is considered to be the only planet Jupiter’s moons after Earth where life could exist. As far as Jupiter, the largest planet Saturn’s moons we know, the Earth is the only planet that in the solar system, has so many moons that we are At least 46 moons orbit Saturn. Each moon supports life. constantly discovering is unique. Enceladus is among the shiniest new ones. This image objects in space. Titan’s atmosphere is shows some of the bigger Q What are the special characteristics moons and the gossamer rings around the planet. thicker than Earth’s. Here are the big moons, seen from behind the moon Dione. of the gas giants? The solar system Titan A Jupiter is the largest planet. It rotates The relative sizes of the eight planets and the Enceladus faster than any other planet and has the most three dwarf planets are Rhea moons. Saturn is set apart by its beautiful shown in this diagram Saturn rings, made up of dust particles and pieces of of the solar system. ice. Uranus is a strange planet where seasons Jupiter is the largest planet. The Sun, of Dione Mimas last for more than 20 years, while Neptune course, is much larger Tethys is the windiest planet in the solar system. than any of the planets. PLANETS 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Mercury 2 Venus 3 Earth 2 4 Mars 5 Jupiter 6 Saturn 7 Uranus 8 Neptune DWARF PLANETS 9 Ceres 10 Pluto 11 2003 UB 313 9 10 11 13
  • 15. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 14 Universe The Hot Planet Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun. It is also very small – about the size of Earth’s moon. It is named after the Roman messenger god because it moves very quickly. Quick Q’s: 1. How long does Q Why are nights on Mercury freezing cold, although it’s the planet closest to the Sun? Mercury take to orbit the Sun? Like all planets, A Unlike Earth, Mercury is not Mercury goes around surrounded by a thick protective blanket Sandy surface the Sun in an elliptical of air called the atmosphere. This means Mercury has a surface that is full of hills and steep (oval) orbit. It takes about 88 days to that the heat from the Sun escapes, leaving canyons, all of it covered with a mixture of sandy complete one orbit. the planet freezing at night. While the substances. The core of the planet is metallic, like all the rocky planets. temperature during the day can be as 2. How long is a day high as 467 °C (873 °F), at night it drops on Mercury? to -183 °C (-297 °F). Q What space probes have been launched Mercury goes around to Mercury? the Sun very fast, but rotates very slowly on its axis. Therefore a day Q What is the surface of Mercury like? A Mercury, being so close to the Sun, is on Mercury is equal to very difficult to explore. Space probes are 176 Earth days! A If you were to land on mercury, you unable to withstand the heat of the planet. would find a surface very similar to that of Only one space probe, Mariner 10, has visited 3. Why does Mercury the Moon. It has dust-covered hills, cliffs and Mercury so far. It photographed nearly half have huge craters? is dotted by craters. The planet also has a of the planet’s surface. A new probe, As Mercury has very little atmosphere, thick metallic core and Messenger, is on its way to Mercury. meteors do not burn a sandy crust. It was launched on 3 August 2004 up in the air. Instead, solar panel and is expected to return, after they fall on the surface, creating huge craters. photographing the whole planet, in March 2012. Another space mission will begin in 2013. 4. What colour is the Sun shade sky above Mercury? TV cameras If you were to look at the sky from Mercury, even during the day, it would appear black. This is because there is no atmosphere to spread the Sun’s light. Looking at Mercury 5. Which is the largest The Mariner 10 crater on Mercury? space probe is the The largest crater is only one to the Caloris Basin. It is have got about 1,300 kilometres Mercury close-up anywhere (808 miles) in From up close, the surface of Mercury can be near Mercury so diameter. It is also one seen to be pitted with huge craters. far. It is sending of the biggest craters in Any meteor that comes near Mercury falls photographs of the the solar system. on the surface and creates a crater, as there surface of Mercury is no atmosphere to burn the meteor up. regularly now. 14
  • 16. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 15 The Earth’s Twin The Earth’s Twin Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is also Earth’s closest neighbour and its size, composition, gravity and distance from the Sun are similar to the Earth’s. Venus is so similar to Earth, that it is often considered to be its twin. However, in reality, Venus is very different. Mapping Venus Q Why is Venus hotter than Mercury? Scientists have sent a number of space A Venus has a thick atmosphere, much missions to Venus to find out more about thicker than the Earth’s. The atmosphere is its size, atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide. This greenhouse gas interior and surface, especially its volcanoes. traps large amounts of heat within the planet. That is why Venus is hotter than Mercury, though Mercury is closer to the Sun. Q Are there volcanoes on Venus? Try these too… The Sun (10–11), The A There are more volcanoes on Venus King of Planets (17), The Q Why is a day longer than a year than there are on Earth. About 80 per cent Moon (20–21), Comets and Asteroids (22–23), Earth’s Atmosphere on Venus? of the planet’s surface is made up of smooth (26–27), The Poles – The volcanic plains, and there are two major A Venus goes around the Sun at a very mountain ranges with volcanoes that may Arctic and Antarctica (122–123) high speed. It takes only about 225 days to be active. The peak of Maxwell Montes, complete one orbit. However, it spins much the highest mountain on Venus, lies 11 Volcano on Venus There is far more volcanic more slowly on its axis, taking about 243 kilometres (7 miles) above the surface activity inside Venus than days to complete a rotation. Therefore, of the planet. Mount Everest rises only inside Earth; so, Venus has days on Venus are longer than years. about 9 kilometres (6 miles) above sea level. many more volcanoes. Spinning backwards All the planets rotate from west to east on their axes, apart from Venus, which spins in the opposite direction. On the surface of Venus, the Sun appears to rise in the west and set in the east. The planet might have been hit by a huge space rock, reversing the direction of its spin. Earth rotation Sun Venus 15
  • 17. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 16 Universe The Red Planet Martian moon The two moons of Mars are quite small compared Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is named after the to our Moon. They may be asteroids caught by the Greek god of war. It is also called the red planet because it glows gravity of Mars. red in the sky. The presence of rust (iron oxide) on its surface gives the planet its colour. Red planet The surface of Mars looks reddish brown due to the presence of iron oxide. Quick Q’s: 1. Can you see Mars Q What is the The scientists have also found signs of surface of Mars like? frozen water near the South Pole of from the Earth? Mars. It is believed that huge floods On a clear night, Mars can be observed with A The surface of flowed through Mars about 3.5 billion the naked eye. Between Mars is divided into years ago. The water from the floods July and September the northern plains may have once collected in huge basins. the Martian surface can be observed clearly flattened by lava flows, and through a telescope. the southern highlands marked by huge craters. The planet boasts Olympus Q Why are seasons on Mars longer than on 2. How many moons Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Earth? does Mars have? Mars has two moons A Mars and Earth are tilted on their axis in called Phobos and Deimos, which orbit Q Is there water on Mars? the same way. Therefore, Mars has almost the same kind of seasons as Earth. However, very closely to its surface. Both moons are believed to be A Scientists have found signs of water because a Martian year is equal to two years in rock layers. In 2006, the scientists saw new on Earth, each Martian season lasts twice as asteroids that were captured by the deposits of sediment on the surface of Mars. long as the seasons on Earth. gravity of Mars as they These sediments had not been there six years came close to it. earlier. According to scientists at NASA, this 3. Is there life is the strongest evidence so far that water still Q What kind of weather would you flows occasionally on the surface of Mars, find on Mars? on Mars? though other scientists say the sediments The atmosphere of Mars is 95 per cent could have been deposited by carbon dioxide A The temperature varies from -140 to carbon dioxide, 3 per frost or movement of dust. Samples of the 20 °C (-220 to 68 °F). The polar ice caps on cent nitrogen and minerals haematite and goethite have also Mars increase and decrease in size alternately 1.6 per cent argon. Traces of oxygen been found in Mars. These minerals are in winter and summer. Mars also has dust and water have also sometimes formed in the presence of water. storms, which can cover the entire planet. been found. Some scientists have claimed Olympus Mons Look out for Mars to have found traces The tallest volcano in the From 27 August 2006, of methane. This gave solar system, Olympus Earth and Mars have been rise to the speculation Mons towers 27 kilometres closer to each other than that there may be (16.88 miles) above the they have been in the last life on Mars, since surface of Mars. methane is a gas 60,000 years! It has begun produced by many to appear brightly in the animals. But other night sky, as seen here scientists pointed while looking south-east out that methane is from Poodle Rock in the also produced by Valley of Fire State Park, the mineral olivine, Nevada, USA. Now Mars which can be found will be the brightest on Mars. object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus. 16
  • 18. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 17 The King of Planets The King of Planets Jupiter is the first of the gas giants and the fifth planet from the Sun. It is the largest of all planets. In fact, more than a thousand Earths could fit inside it! Q How did Jupiter get its name? Q What is the Great Red Spot Great Red Spot? A The planet is named after the king of the Roman gods. It is indeed the king of the A Jupiter is a planets, not just because of its massive size, planet of storms. The but also because it rotates the fastest. It is the biggest storm area is fourth brightest object in the sky, after the called the Great Red Spot. Sun, the Moon and Venus. It has been raging for at least 340 years. It is so big that it can be seen from the Q How many moons does Jupiter have? Earth through a telescope. Giant ball of gas There are constant storms on Jupiter, during which A Jupiter has more than 60 moons. Galileo the winds can roar five Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer, saw Q How many explorations have been made times faster than the fastest hurricane on Earth. the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610. to Jupiter? Some of the big storms are They were named Io, Europa, Callisto and seen here in brown. Ganymede. By the 1970s nine more moons A Many explorations have been made to were discovered and today we know of 63. the king of planets. Pioneer 11 took the first Try these too… close-up images in 1974, studied the The Sun (10–11), Volcanic moon atmosphere and detected Jupiter’s magnetic The Planets (12–13), field. Space probe Galileo, launched in 1989, The Last Planets (18), Io, one of the four largest moons, lies The Moon (20–21), orbited Jupiter. In 2000, the Cassini probe Comets and Asteroids very close to Jupiter. There is a great deal took the best ever photos. (22–23), Scientific of pressure on this small moon, since it is Revolution (150–151), constantly being pulled by the gravity of Planet spotter Communication and Jupiter and the other large moons. This The Galileo space probe was the first to make an entire Satellites (192–193) orbit around Jupiter. tug of war generates a lot of heat, so Io is covered with active volcanoes. 17
  • 19. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 18 Universe The Last Planets Next to Jupiter are Saturn, Uranus and finally Neptune. Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system. Like Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus are made up of gases. All three planets have rings, but it is Saturn’s rings that are the most spectacular. Q Why do Saturn’s rings shine? Probing far A Saturn’s rings The Cassini space probe is expected to send us better photographs of the far planets. consist of dust particles and pieces of ice that can be quite large. The Q Why do seasons on Uranus last for ice pieces reflect light, over 20 years? causing the rings to shine. A Uranus has a very peculiar orbit, unique in the solar system. The planet is tilted in Saturn’s rings Q What gives Uranus and Neptune such a way that its poles face the Sun directly, Saturn has seven large their blue colour? so that Uranus spins from top to bottom. It rings, each made up of acts like a cylinder that is rotating on its ends thousands of smaller rings. These are among the A Both planets contain methane. Sunlight instead of rotating on its sides. Scientists brightest objects you can is reflected by clouds under the methane believe that another planet-like object might see through a telescope. layer. Only the blue portion of the reflected have crashed into Uranus, knocking it over light passes through the methane layer, so on to its side. The long seasons are caused by Quick Q’s: they appear to be blue. the planet’s unusual orbit. 1. How big are Saturn’s rings? Strange rotation Uranus rotates from top to bottom as it orbits the Sun. Saturn’s rings can be up to 1 kilometre Q Are there winds on Neptune? (0.6 miles) thick and stretch for over 280,000 kilometres A Neptune is the windiest planet in our solar system. Winds on this planet can (175,000 miles). 5 reach speeds of about 2,000 kilometres per hour (1,200 miles per hour). That is more 2. When were Saturn’s rings discovered? than ten times the speed of the strongest Saturn’s rings were first hurricane on Earth. observed by Galileo 4 Cloudy over Neptune through a telescope The clouds over Neptune are always being blown about in 1610. 2 by the strong winds on the planet. 3. Who discovered URANUS Uranus? 3 Uranus was the first 1 Pole planet to be seen 1 2 Equator through a telescope. 3 Juliet It was discovered in 4 Bianca 1781 by astronomer 5 Puck William Herschel. 18
  • 20. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 19 Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) made a decision that changed the way we organize our solar system. The IAU announced the removal of Pluto from the list of planets. They reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet. Instead of nine, we now have only eight planets in our solar system. Q How is a dwarf planet different from Q How many dwarf other planets? planets are there in the solar system? A According to the IAU’s new definition, a planet is a space object that orbits the Sun A Apart from and has a nearly round shape. Its gravity must Pluto, Ceres and be strong enough to clear all other space Eris (UB313) have also been classified Promoted Since 2006, Ceres is objects (except satellites) out of its orbit. as dwarf planets. Until recently, Ceres was classified as a dwarf Dwarf planets also orbit the Sun and have a called the largest asteroid. It has a diameter planet. Before that, it was nearly round shape. But other space objects of about 950 kilometres (600 miles) and is simply the largest of the nearby are not cleared by the gravity of the in the asteroid belt between Mars and many asteroids that lie between the orbits of dwarf planets. They are not big enough for Jupiter. Eris is the largest of all the dwarf Mars and Jupiter. their gravitational fields to do this. Dwarf planets. It has a diameter of about planets are different from satellites, which 3,000 kilometres (1,850 miles). Try these too… orbit a planet and not the Sun. The Sun (10–11), The Distant Sun An artist’s impression of Q Are there any other dwarf planets? Planets (12–13), The Red Planet (16), The King of Planets (17), how the Sun would look from the surface of Eris, the furthest of the dwarf A Scientists are considering including The Last Planets (18), The Moon (20–21), Pluto’s moon Charon among the dwarf Comets and Asteroids planets in the solar planets. Charon does not actually go around (22–23), Scientific system. The Sun gives Revolution (150–151), almost no heat at that Pluto – they revolve around each other. The The New Millennium – distance and looks like planetoid Sedna and the asteroids Vesta, 21st Century (163) a bright star. Pallas and Hygiea are also being considered. Pluto’s moon Thrown off orbit Pluto (left) and its moon Charon actually go around each other, rather than Charon going around Pluto. Pluto was called the ninth 10 Scientists may soon reclassify Charon as dwarf planet. planet for 76 years. After 2006, it was reclassified as 6 a dwarf planet. 5 9 1 Sun 6 Jupiter 8 2 2 Mercury 7 Saturn 1 3 Venus 8 Uranus 4 4 Earth 9 Neptune 7 3 5 Mars 10 Pluto 19
  • 21. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 20 Universe The Moon There are many moons in our solar system, which orbit planets, just like planets orbit the Sun. Earth has one Moon, Mars has two small moons, Mercury and Venus don’t have any, while Jupiter has at least 63! The Earth’s Moon is made up of rocks, both solid and molten. Quick Q’s: 1. Does our Moon have Q Why is the Moon’s surface filled with craters? a scientific name? Astronomers call the Earth’s Moon Luna, A The Moon does not have an to distinguish it from atmosphere. Therefore, meteors and the natural satellites asteroids from outer space crash into its of other planets. Crescent Moon surface making craters. Tycho crater, one As the Moon orbits around the Earth, we see only a part of the biggest lunar craters, is more than of it that is lit up by the Sun, depending upon the angle 2. If the Moon is made by the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. cold and dark, how 85 kilometres (50 miles) wide. does it give off light? The Moon does not Q Why does the Moon appear crescent- give off light of its own. It simply reflects the Q What does the term ‘Blue Moon’ mean? shaped at times? sunlight that falls on it. Blue Moon refers to the second Full Moon A The shape of the Moon as seen from the to appear in a month. It is very rare indeed. Earth keeps changing. The changing shapes 3. Why can’t we see the Moon during the day? There are other definitions of Blue Moon as of the Moon are called phases. When the side During the day the well, but this is the most widely accepted of the Moon that faces the Earth is turned bright light of the Sun definition nowadays. away from the Sun, we are unable to see the blocks the soft glow Moon. This phase is called the New Moon. of light reflected by As the Moon travels in its orbit around the the Moon. Q How does the Moon cause tides in Earth, we start to see a small portion of the our oceans and seas? Moon that is lit up by the Sun. This is called 4. What are spring the Crescent Moon. The lit up portion seen tides and neap tides? When the Sun, the A Tides are caused by the gravitational by us slowly increases, and we see a Half Moon and the Earth force exerted by the Moon on our planet. Moon, then a Three-quarter Moon. When are in a straight line, This force causes the ocean to bulge out in the Moon completes a half orbit around the gravitational force of the Sun strengthens the direction of the Moon, making the tide the Earth, we can see the entire disc lit up that of the Moon rise. As the Earth is also pulled towards the by the Sun – the Full Moon. causing tides that are Moon, the ocean on the side facing away higher than usual. Neap These are called spring from the Moon also bulges out. So it is high Tide tides (although they tide there as well. In the region between the have nothing to do with two bulges (high tides) the water level the season of Spring). Spring Spring When the Sun and the decreases, causing low tides. Tides are higher Tide Low Tide Tide Moon are at right in the tropics due to the bulge of the Sun High High angles to the Earth, equator. Many forms of life on the coast are Tide Tide weaker tides, called Low Tide neap tides, are caused. tailored to the cycle of tides. Tides are important to wash away the debris off High and low The gravitational pull of the Moon on the Earth causes Neap the coasts. tides in the oceans and seas of the Earth. Tide 20
  • 22. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 21 The Moon Phases of the Moon The dark side We see different parts of the Moon lit up by the Did you know that we see only one side of the Moon Sun, depending upon how at all times? This is because the Moon takes the much of the Moon that is same amount of time to rotate on its axis as it takes lit up is facing towards us to go around the Earth. The side we see is called the or facing away from us. This is repeated in a cycle near side, while the one that is never seen is called every 28 days. the dark side. The first time people on Earth got to see the dark side of the Moon was when the first Try these too… astronauts made an orbit around the Moon, and The Sun (10–11), The took photographs. The astronauts lost touch with Planets (12–13), Humans Earth when they were on the dark side, because the in Space (24–25), Oceans (34–35), Forces and moon blocked their radio signals. Motion (190–191) 21
  • 23. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 22 Universe Comets and Asteroids Along with the Sun, the planets and their moons, several other objects made up of small pieces of rock, metal and ice are Mars also a part of the solar system. These objects are asteroids, comets and meteors. Mercury Quick Q’s: 1. What are sungrazers? Q Are asteroids planets? Venus Earth Some comets crash into the Sun or get A When the solar system was formed, so close to it that they some fragments of rock were left spinning in break up into tiny space. These huge space rocks that orbit the pieces. Such comets Sun are called asteroids. Like other planets, are called sungrazers. asteroids are also made of metals like iron Jupiter and have moons. Some of them are called 2. Where are asteroids minor planets. Asteroid belt found in the solar Most of the asteroids in our solar system can be found system? in a belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Most asteroids are found in a region Q Are asteroids dangerous? between Mars and Q How is a comet’s tail formed? Jupiter, which is known A An asteroid can be thrown off its orbit as the asteroid belt. by the gravity of larger planets, or if it comes A A comet is a mixture of ice, gas and 3. Do asteroids have too close to another asteroid. Once it is off its dust. Like asteroids, they too travel around moons? orbit, the stray asteroid often strikes the the Sun. As a comet nears the Sun, the ice The asteroid Ida has surface of other planets and moons. This on its surface melts and a jet of gas and dust a tiny moon, Dactyl. causes widespread destruction and creates particles is released to form a tail. Comet This was discovered huge craters. In fact, some scientists think tails can be as long as 10 million kilometres by the spacecraft Galileo in 1993. that an asteroid struck Earth about (6.2 million miles). 65 million years ago, causing the extinction 4. When will Halley’s of the dinosaurs. Comet be seen again? Halley’s Comet takes about 76 years to complete one orbit Q Are shooting stars really stars? around the Sun, so it is expected to be seen again in 2061. A Shooting stars are actually pieces of burning rock called meteors. A meteor is formed when a piece of debris in the solar 5. Why does a comet system, called a meteoroid, enters the Earth’s have a tail? atmosphere. As the meteor rubs against the air A comet is made up in the Earth’s atmosphere, it gets hotter and of ice and other material. As it nears hotter until it burns up in a streak of light. the Sun, these materials A meteor heat up. Solar wind and We can see a meteor without a telescope when it pressure from the Sun’s enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes, a number of radiation push them meteors are seen within a very short period of time. outwards to form a tail that always points away They leave a streak of light, which disappears very from the Sun. quickly. This is called a ‘meteor shower’, also known as ‘meteor storm’. 22
  • 24. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 23 Comets and Asteroids The great Siberian explosion Q Do meteors ever fall on Earth? On 30 July 1908 people living near Lake Baikal in Siberia saw A Sometimes small fragments of a meteor, a strange bluish light travel across the sky, followed by a loud called meteorites, crash on to the surface explosion and shockwaves that knocked people off their feet. of the Earth. Some are so big that they make The explosion took place near the Stony Tunguska River and was craters where they fall. Many meteorites have probably caused by a meteor. It flattened about 80 million trees. been found on the Earth’s surface. The best The meteor may have broken up about 10 kilometres (6 miles) known of these is the Barringer Impact above the Earth’s surface, so it did not leave a crater. Crater in Arizona, USA. This crater was created by an iron meteor that fell on the Earth about 50,000 years ago. The meteor was almost 40 metres (130 feet) in diameter and slammed into the surface at a speed of about 11 kilometres per second (6.8 miles per second), creating a crater that was more than a kilometre wide. Huge crater The Barringer impact crater in the USA was created by a meteorite impact 50,000 years ago. Q Where do comets come from? Regular visitor Halley’s Comet orbits around the Sun once A Comets originate in two different areas every 76 years, and is the most famous comet of the solar system. Comets from the Kuiper in human history. Belt beyond Neptune are called short-period, since it takes them less time than other Try these too… comets to go around the Sun. Comets from The Sun (10–11), the Oort Cloud take as long as 30 million The Planets (12–13), years to complete one orbit and are therefore Humans in Space called long-period comets. There are about a (24–25), Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), trillion comets in the Oort Cloud. The Oort Scientific Revolution Cloud itself is at the edge of the solar system, (150–151), Forces and almost a quarter of the way from the Sun to Motion (190–191) the next star, Proxima Centauri. 23
  • 25. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 24 Universe Humans in Space Ever since ancient times, humans have wanted to know more about the skies above them. They invented stories to explain the presence of the stars, the Moon and the Sun. Today, advanced technology helps us to travel into space and expand our knowledge about the world beyond our planet. Q How do space shuttles fly into space? A A space shuttle consists of two rocket boosters, three engines, an external fuel tank and two smaller fuel tanks. It also has an orbiter, which puts the shuttle into orbit. The rockets are used to propel the shuttle First woman in space into space. When the shuttle is about 45 Valentina Tereshkova was kilometres (28 miles) high, the rockets fall off Weightless games the first woman in space, into the ocean and the three main engines On board a spacecraft, astronauts dance in zero gravity, aboard Vostok 6 on as one colleague holds down a keyboard to play it. of the shuttle take over. Just before the shuttle 16 June 1963. goes into orbit, its engines are shut down and Quick Q’s: the external fuel tank is discarded. Q Is there no gravity in space? 1. What was the A All objects in space exert some first living being to orbit Earth? Q Why can’t I fly into space in gravitational force on each other. However, The first creature to an aeroplane? the gravitational force exerted by some orbit the Earth was objects, like the Moon, is much less than that a dog named Laika, aboard the Russian A All objects, even aeroplanes, are glued of the Earth. When humans are in space they spacecraft Sputnik 2 to the surface of the Earth by gravity. If you float around in the air, because there is on 3 November 1957. wanted to escape this unseen force, you would not enough gravity to keep their feet on have to travel at a speed of at least 40,000 the ground. 2. Who was the first kilometres per hour (25,000 miles per hour). person in space? Only space shuttles are designed to achieve Take off These three images show the space shuttle at its base On 12 April 1961, this speed. A mixture of liquid hydrogen fuel (left), at the moment of take off (centre) and on its way Russian cosmonaut and liquid oxygen is burned under high to space (right). Yuri Gagarin was the first person to travel pressure to help the shuttle’s rockets reach in space, aboard the this speed and push it out of the Earth’s spacecraft Vostok 1. atmosphere into orbit. Gagarin orbited the Earth once on this historic flight, which lasted 1 hour and 48 minutes. 3. Which was the first ever space station? Salyut 1 was the first space station. It was launched on 19 April 1971. 24
  • 26. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 25 Humans in Space Q Could I see the Sun rise and set from space? A Astronauts aboard a space shuttle orbiting the Earth actually see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day! This is because once in orbit, a space shuttle goes around the Earth at a speed of more than 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,400 miles per hour) and takes only 90 minutes to complete one orbit. Q Is it possible to live in space? A Today astronauts spend a great deal of time in space stations. A space station is a floating space base. It is like a spaceship designed so that astronauts can live in outer space for weeks, months or even years at a time. Unlike a spacecraft, a space station Many sunrises and sunsets cannot take off or land on planets. Other When astronauts are on board a spacecraft and orbiting Try these too… vehicles are used to transport people and the Earth, they are moving much faster than the Earth, so The Planets (12–13), materials to and from the station. Space they can see the Sun rise and set many times in a day. The The Red Planet (16), normal human biological cycle can be upset by this, so The Moon (20–21) stations are used for studying the effect of astronauts are given special medicines to help them sleep. long-term space flights on the human body as well as for space research. Looking back in time The Hubble Space Telescope works Q Is sending humans into space the like a time machine that can travel only way to learn more about it? into the past. It took pictures of the universe when it was barely a A Apart from sending billion years old – the universe is at astronauts into space, we also use least five billion years old now, though satellites, probes and telescopes to some scientists put its age as high as 14 study space. Like moons, man-made billion years. The Hubble Space satellites revolve around planets and help Telescope can look into the past us learn more about them. A probe is an because it takes billions of unmanned spacecraft sent into space to study years for light from objects other than the Earth. We have even the far ends of the put huge telescopes into orbit. The Hubble universe to reach Space Telescope, sent into orbit in 1990, is the telescope. When the best-known among these. It is better to the light reaches it have a telescope in space than on Earth, an image is captured, because then there is no atmosphere to and we can see what distort the image received by the telescope. happened in that particular However, the biggest telescopes are too big part of the universe long ago. to be sent to space. 25
  • 27. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 26 Planet Earth Earth’s Atmosphere The protective blanket of air that covers the Earth is called the atmosphere. The Earth’s atmosphere not only prevents too Q What are the gases that make up the much heat from entering the planet, but also protects us from Earth’s atmosphere? asteroids and meteors. The Earth’s gravity helps hold the atmosphere in place. A The Earth’s atmosphere is composed of many gases. Nitrogen is the main gas found in the atmosphere. It accounts for about 78 Quick Q’s: per cent and oxygen makes up 21 per cent. 1. What is a barometer? The remaining one per cent is a combination A barometer is used to of carbon dioxide and water vapour. There measure the pressure in the atmosphere. are also very small amounts of trace gases like When the pressure is neon and helium that go to make up the high, the weather will Earth’s atmosphere. be fine, sunny and still. When it is low, the Long way out weather will be stormy. The outer layers of the atmosphere extend far When the pressure into space. increases the liquid in the barometer is squeezed and when the pressure decreases it is Q What is the significance of the troposphere in the weather pattern? released. This change is recorded. A The troposphere is the layer closest 2. What is the Q How many layers does the Earth’s to the Earth’s surface, and it is here that exosphere? atmosphere have? weather is created. Air in the troposphere The exosphere is the rises and falls, helping to form clouds, rain final layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. It A The Earth’s atmosphere is composed of and snow. This layer stretches about 8–14.5 extends way into outer several layers. These include the troposphere kilometres (5–9 miles) above sea level. space. The air in the and the stratosphere. Each layer is divided A warm blanket exosphere is very thin, according to the temperature and density of The Earth is protected by layers of gases. SOHO sends but the temperature is very high, because the air in that layer. information about these layers back to Earth. Sun’s rays shine directly on it. Reflected radiation by atmosphere 3. Why is the ozone layer important? The ozone layer is important because it stops harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun from reaching the Earth. If the rays are allowed through Reflected radiation the atmosphere, they by Earth’s surface can cause severe health problems like skin cancer. Chemicals called CFCs have made Infrared radiation Absorbed a hole in the ozone emitted by Earth radiation layer above the North and South Poles. 26
  • 28. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 27 Earth’s Atmosphere When the Earth gets hotter The atmosphere protects us from the Sun’s heat by reflecting a lot of it back into space. However, some gases in the atmosphere trap some of this heat, keeping the Earth warm even at night. This process is called the greenhouse effect and the gases that cause it are known as greenhouse gases. These gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, and CFCs. Humans are adding carbon dioxide and CFCs to the atmosphere all the time. Too much heat is being trapped, and the Earth is getting warmer. Global warming is leading to the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps and an alarming rise in sea levels. It will change the Earth as we know it. Dangerous additions The pollution of the atmosphere by factories and vehicles is creating a dangerous hole in the protective ozone layer above the Earth and increasing the Earth’s temperature. It also makes people fall ill more often. Q How does the stratosphere help us? A The stratosphere is the layer just above the troposphere. It extends upwards from the troposphere to about 50 kilometres (31 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Compared to the troposphere which is full of moisture, the stratosphere is dry. The stratosphere contains the ozone layer. Ozone absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Q Is the temperature the same in the different layers of the atmosphere? Try these too… A The temperature in the South Pole Seasons and Climate troposphere is between -52 (28-29), Origin of Life and 17 °C (-62 to 62 °F). The (88-89), The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica temperature in the stratosphere (122-123), Light (180- Expanding hole is about -3 °C (26 °F). The 181), Communication next layer up, called the and Satellites (192-193) mesosphere, is very cold. The A hole above our heads temperature here is as low as - For over 20 years, scientists have noticed an 93 °C (-135 °F). In the outer expanding hole (seen here in pink over the South layers of the atmosphere the Pole) in the ozone layer above each of the poles. This is due to the increasing use of chemicals that temperature starts to rise again, go into our refrigerators and aerosol cans. because there is more heat from the The hole means we have less protection from the Sun. Temperatures in the outer layer ultraviolet rays of the Sun. These harmful rays can can be as high as 1,727 °C (3,140 °F). cause skin cancer. 27
  • 29. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 28 Planet Earth Seasons and Climate The Earth not only orbits the Sun, but also rotates on its own axis as it does so. The Earth’s axis is in fact tilted – meaning that Q What are the factors that influence neither of the Earth’s poles faces the Sun directly. This tilted weather on the Earth? axis is responsible for weather and different climates. A Temperature, rainfall, wind, cloud and atmospheric pressure are the main factors Quick Q’s: Q How is weather different from climate? that influence weather patterns across the 1. What causes day world. Wind is caused by the unequal heating and night? The Earth turning on A Sunlight falls at varying angles onto of the Earth’s surface. When the air above the Earth’s surface, heating up each of its a certain region becomes warm and light, it its axis is responsible for day and night. At regions differently. The difference in rises and the heavier cool air sweeps across any time, half the temperature eventually leads to different from another area to take its place. This Earth faces the Sun, types of weather. A climate is when particular movement of air is called wind. Atmospheric where it is day, and half faces away, where weather conditions prevail in a place for an pressure also affects the movement of wind, it is night. extended period of time. So we can talk which always flows from a region of high about the weather tomorrow or this month, pressure to that of low pressure. The 2. Does the Sun really but when we talk of climate we are talking difference in pressure between the two areas rise in the east? of much longer time periods – decades or determines the speed with which the wind The Earth spins in an even centuries. blows. If there is a small difference, we feel eastward direction. This makes the Sun a breeze. If the difference is large, it leads appear as if it is rising to a storm. If the wind is flowing over a large in the east and setting in the west. Q What is a season? water body such as a sea, it can pick up moisture and carry clouds and rain with it. 3. Why are days longer A Each season is a period within a year Low pressure usually means stormy weather defined by distinct weather. The tilt in the and rain, while high pressure usually means in summer and shorter in winter? Earth’s axis is responsible for seasons. In lots of sun and not much wind. There are The angle at which temperate and polar regions four seasons are other factors, such as the ocean currents sunlight falls on a recognized – spring, summer, autumn and created by the Earth’s rotation, which also particular area winter. Some tropical and subtropical regions influence weather. determines the length of day and night in have a rainy season (sometimes called a The blowing wind that region. During monsoon season) and a dry season, while The wind always blows from an area of high pressure to summer the Sun stays others have hot, rainy and cool seasons. an area of low pressure. above the horizon longer, making the days longer. 4. What is the Coriolis effect? The wind moves to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. This is called the Coriolis effect. It is caused by the Earth’s rotation. It is mainly responsible for thunderstorms and hurricanes. 28
  • 30. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 29 Seasons and Climate Q How are clouds formed? Water stored in Snow melts ice and snow Condensation down to Water stored in A The Sun’s heat causes water in the streams Precipitation the atmosphere oceans, rivers and lakes to evaporate and Transpiration form water vapour. The warm water vapour Evaporation rises upwards, and as it rises, it cools down. As a result, the water vapour in the air condenses to form clouds containing tiny droplets of water. These droplets grow larger in size and finally fall down as rain. Sometimes, the temperature is so low that these droplets freeze into ice crystals and fall down as snow. Water stored in oceans The water cycle All the water in the Earth’s atmosphere, both on its surface and underground, is a part of the water cycle. The water is recycled again and again. Cold places Solstices and equinoxes The closer you are to the North or South Pole, the colder it is. Some animals have adapted so In the northern hemisphere the they can survive in the freezing temperatures. longest day falls during the summer, on 21 June, when the northern half of the Earth is tipped towards the Sun. This is known as the summer solstice. In the extreme north the Sun does not set at all during this period. During the winter solstice (22 December), the northern part of the Earth is tipped away from the Sun, resulting in the longest night of the year. On 23 September and 21 March the Earth is positioned in such a way that the length of day and night is equal (12 hours each). These days are known as the autumnal and spring equinoxes respectively. Q Which is the place on the Earth that has Try these too… the coldest climate? Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), Plant Life A The climate of Antarctica is the coldest (96–97), South America (112–113), Australia and on Earth. Nearly all of Antarctica is covered Oceania (114–115), with an ice sheet about 2.5 kilometres thick. Africa (118–119), Asia (120–121), The Poles – The lowest temperature recorded on this The Arctic and Antarctica continent is -89.6 °C (-128.56 °F) at Vostok (122–123), Scientific research station at the centre of the East Revolution (150–151) Antarctic Ice Sheet. 29
  • 31. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 30 Planet Earth Mountains, Valleys and Caves Mountains are formed when two of the continental plates that make up the Earth’s crust collide. The force caused by the Q How is a valley formed? collision pushes both plates (also called tectonic plates) upwards, creating a mountain. Valleys and caves are also natural features A A valley is a low-lying area of land that created by erosion and the movement of the Earth’s crust. is usually found at the foot of mountains or hills. The most common way valleys are formed is by the erosion of land from Q Can we live on mountains? running water. River valleys are formed by the action of the river. As a river flows A It is not easy to live on high mountains. downhill, it cuts through the land like a The weather is extremely cold and not knife. Over thousands of years the river Climbing mountains suitable for farming. At very high altitudes, erodes the land to form a valley, usually in Scientists climb mountains to study them. oxygen levels are so low that it becomes the shape of a V. In contrast, valleys formed difficult to breathe without an oxygen tank by glaciers are often U-shaped, because they Quick Q’s: and mask. are formed by rocks carried in the glacier 1. Which is the highest that erode the soil. mountain peak in the world? Q How are mountains different Plate 1 Mountains Plate 2 At a height of about from plateaus? 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level, Mount Everest is the A Like a mountain, a plateau is higher highest peak in the than its surrounding area. However, plateaus world. It is a part of the Himalayan mountain have a flat top, while mountains have peaks. range that was formed Like mountains, plateaus are formed when about 10–15 million two continental plates collide, but erosion years ago. due to wind and water flattens the top. Forming a mountain Plateaus are not as tall as mountains. In fact, Mountains are formed when two of the Earth’s tectonic 2. How big is the some plateaus, such as the Tibetan Plateau, plates collide. The crust is forced up between the two Grand Canyon? plates, giving birth to the mountain range. lie between two mountain ranges. The Grand Canyon is about 446 kilometres U-shaped valley (277 miles) long and Glaciers carry stones that scour out the soil, forming roughly 1.6 kilometres U-shaped valleys. Rivers, in contrast, usually form (1 mile) deep. It is V-shaped valleys. made up of several layers of rock, each one older than the one above it. Q What is a canyon? 3. How are glacial A A deep valley with cliffs on both sides is called a canyon. Sometimes a large river may valleys formed? run through a canyon. The Grand Canyon in When glaciers slowly flow downhill, they Arizona, USA is the world’s largest canyon. collect many pieces It was formed by the Colorado River. Millions of rock on the way. of years ago, this region was covered by sea. These pieces scrape against the valley floor, Slowly, a part of the sea floor was pushed up digging deeper into to form a plateau. Over the years, rainwater it, until a U-shaped collected to form a river. This river cut into valley is formed. the rocks on the plateau to form the canyon. 30
  • 32. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 31 Mountains, Valleys and Caves Caves of lava Q What are caves? When volcanoes erupt, lava flows down the side of the volcano. The surface of A Caves are huge holes under the ground, the lava cools and becomes solid, while in cliffs or under the sea. Caves can be hot lava continues to flow underneath it. formed in many ways. Most rock caves, Once the eruption is over, there is a especially limestone caves, are formed by hollow tube, or cave, left behind rainwater that seeps into tiny cracks in the underneath the hard crust of lava. rocks. The rainwater contains minerals and chemicals that slowly causes the rock to dissolve, leaving behind a large hole. This process may take several thousand, or even a few million years. Q How are sea caves formed? A Sea caves are formed by waves that wear away the rocks at the base of a cliff. These rocks are usually very weak and have tiny cracks in them. The continuous Sea cave pounding of the waves causes the tiny Sea caves are most cracks to widen and soon the rocks begin common in areas where to crumble and form small hollows. the rocks on the coast are soft. These hollows keep expanding as sand, gravel and rocks brought by the waves erode their inner walls. Some sea caves are Try these too… submerged during high tide and can only Other Landforms (32–33), Volcanoes be seen when the water goes down at low tide. (36–37), Earthquakes and Tsunamis (38–39), Rift in the Earth South America When two of the Earth’s plates (112–113), Australia move away from each other, the and Oceania (114–115), Normal soil covering them falls down Africa (118–119), Asia Faults and forms a rift valley. The rift (120–121) valleys in East Africa now form Q What is a rift valley? a series of lakes. Earth’s Crust A A rift valley is created when two tectonic plates pull away from each other, leaving a low space in the middle. The Great Rift Valley is the best known rift valley in the world. It covers a distance of over 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles), stretching from northern Syria in West Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. It began to form about 35 million years ago, when the African and Arabian tectonic plates began to pull apart. Mantle Even today it is still growing, as East Africa slowly separates from the rest of Africa. 31
  • 33. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 32 Planet Earth Other Landforms Rivers, lakes and streams are natural bodies of water that are found across the world. When it rains or when snow on Q What are waterfalls? mountains melts, the water flows down the slopes, forming streams. Several streams join together to form a river. Small A Sometimes the surface over which a river rivers drain into larger rivers. The water in rivers keeps flowing flows drops suddenly. Then the water flows until it reaches the sea, though a few rivers hit very dry desert over to form a waterfall. There are different land and dry up. kinds of waterfalls. A cascade waterfall flows down a series of natural rock steps. There are no steps in a free-falling waterfall. In a Quick Q’s: fan waterfall, the water spreads out as it falls 1. Which is the largest down. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest freshwater lake in the world? free-falling waterfall in the world. The water Lake Superior, one of falls 807 metres (2,648 feet) without any the Great Lakes of interruption. Often, the sunlight falling over North America, is the a waterfall creates a rainbow. largest freshwater lake in the world. This lake is over 560 kilometres (350 miles) long and about 257 kilometres Q Do rivers flood? (160 miles) wide. Largest freshwater lake A Yes, they do. Rivers often overflow their 2. What is the Sahara Lake Superior in North America is the largest banks and flood the land around them. This known for? freshwater lake in the world by area and the can happen when there has been a lot of rain The Sahara is the third largest by volume. or a lot of snow has melted in the mountain largest hot desert in where the river starts its journey. Floods are the world. Located in Africa, it spreads Q How are lakes formed? often very destructive. They can damage across Mauritania, crops and houses and kill people. But in the Morocco, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Libya, A Sometimes, rainwater collects in big long run they can also do some good. They Chad, Egypt, Sudan hollows in the ground to form lakes. These bring fresh soil down the river and spread it and Eritrea. hollows can be formed by the movement on the flooded land. Egyptian farmers have of the plates that make up the Earth’s crust, been dependent on the annual flooding of 3. Which is the or by moving glaciers. Lakes are also formed the Nile for thousands of years. The Amazon longest river? by landslides that leave huge depressions in and the Ganges rivers regularly bring fertile The Nile is the longest the ground. Most lakes and rivers contain soil to the agricultural areas downstream. river on Earth. It flows freshwater. In places containing a large for 6,695 kilometres Longest river (4,184 miles). amount of salt, lake water can be salty. The ancient civilization of Egypt started along the banks of the Nile. View from space 4. Why is Lake This photograph, taken Baikal special? from an artificial satellite, Lake Baikal in shows Lake Baikal in southern Siberia is southern Siberia. The size the deepest lake in of the lake has been the world, with a reduced in recent years, maximum depth as more and more of its of 1,637 metres water is taken away (5,371 feet). It has for irrigation. It is been around for considered to be one of almost 30 million years. the most serious problems in the region. 32
  • 34. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 33 Other Landforms Try these too… North America (110–111), South America (112–113), Australia and Oceania (114–115), Europe (116–117) Largest desert The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert. It spreads right across northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east. Sand and rock cover most of the dry Sahara, but there are oases where people have lived for centuries. Q What is a desert? Cold desert Most deserts are hot during the day, but some deserts A A desert is a dry region with very little are in the coldest parts of the Earth. Some cold deserts are rainfall. During the day, temperatures can rise covered in ice throughout the year, allowing very few plants to above 50 °C (122 °F). However, nights in a grow. Cold deserts are also not very suitable for animals. Few desert can be extremely cold. Most deserts species can survive such extreme cold for long periods are covered with sand and rocks. Animals and of time. Antarctica is the largest cold desert in the world. plants that live in this habitat are specially Patagonia in the southernmost part of South America and adapted to life with little water and extreme Gobi in Mongolia are also cold deserts. changes in temperature. Q What are montane deserts? A Some deserts, located at very high altitudes, are known as montane deserts. They are common in the Himalayas. Some, like the Tibetan Plateau, are relatively flat. Very few animals can survive the extreme cold and dryness, but the yak lives in Tibet. Q What is an oasis? A For most part deserts are dry and have no water bodies. However, small springs with trees and plants growing around them can be found in certain places. These isolated regions are called oases. An oasis is vital for all forms of life in the desert. 33
  • 35. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 34 Planet Earth Oceans Arctic Ocean Oceans occupy about 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. There Atlantic are five oceans in the world. They are the Atlantic, Pacific, Ocean Indian, Arctic and Antarctic oceans. The surface under the Indian oceans is called the ocean floor. Like land, the ocean floor also Pacific Ocean has natural features like plains, valleys and mountains. Ocean Antarctic Ocean Quick Q’s: 1. Which is the largest Q Which ocean is also known as the Oceans of the world of all oceans? Southern Ocean? The five oceans of the world cover over 70 per cent of the surface of the Earth. The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest and A The Antarctic Ocean is also called the Island Arc Active Volcano deepest ocean. It has Southern Ocean. Until recently, the Antarctic an average depth of Ocean was considered to be a part of the over 4,000 metres (13,100 feet). It has the other main oceans, as it was actually formed world’s deepest trench from parts of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian – the Mariana Trench oceans. In the year 2000, however, it was near Japan. The Challenger Deep in the officially named the ‘Southern Ocean’. Mariana Trench is the deepest point on Earth – about 11,033 metres (36,200 feet) deep. Q What is the ocean floor like? 2. What causes an A The ocean floor is far from flat. The Oceanic Trench ocean current? edges of islands and continents gently slope Not a flat floor An ocean current is into the surrounding water to form an area The ocean floor has mountains and valleys. Some of the a mass of water that called a continental shelf that is higher than mountains are tall enough to rise above the surface and keeps moving in one form islands. direction. Surface rest of the ocean floor. A continental shelf currents are caused by usually extends about 75 kilometres (47 miles) wind and the Earth’s rotation. Underwater out to sea but some, like the Siberian shelf Q What causes the formation of mountains currents are the result in the Arctic Ocean, can extend up to 1,500 and valleys on the ocean floor? of differences in kilometres (932 miles). The continental shelf temperature and salt content of the water. contains large deposits of petroleum, natural A Like the rest of the Earth, the ocean gas and minerals. It also receives the most floor is divided into tectonic plates. The sunlight, so marine life thrives here. The movement of these plates is responsible for 3. What is a point where the continental shelf starts to features like ridges, trenches, and valleys. black smoker? plunge steeply towards the deep ocean floor Ridges are formed when two plates drift When water seeps into the crust of the ocean is called the continental slope. It is here that apart. Boiling rock from inside the Earth, floor through cracks, it the deep canyons of the ocean are found. called magma, oozes out through the cracks may be heated by the between the plates and cools to form a ridge. magma below. As pressure builds up Trenches are formed when a heavier plate within the crust, the sinks down under a lighter one. hot water shoots up N. Equatorial through these cracks. Ocean currents N. Equatorial These jets of warm N. Equatorial The water in the oceans and seas is always in motion, S. Equatorial water are often black due to the rotation of the Earth, the gravitational pull due to their mineral S. Equatorial S. Equatorial of the Sun and Moon, and the difference in temperature content, so they are and salt content of the water. These movements form called black smokers. strong currents in the oceans, both at the surface West Wind Drift and deep down. 34
  • 36. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 35 Oceans Try these too… Q What is a mid-ocean ridge? Q How are waves different from tides? Volcanoes (36–37), A The ridges on the ocean floor are A Waves are caused by wind, while tides Earthquakes and Tsunamis (38–39), Hurricanes and connected to form a single chain called a are the regular rise and fall of the ocean’s Tornadoes (40–41), mid-ocean ridge. The mid-ocean ridge is over surface caused by the gravitational pull of the Whales (56–57), 80,000 kilometres (50,000 miles) long and is Sun and the Moon on the water that is in the Seabirds (60), the longest mountain chain on Earth. On ocean. Waves are formed when winds blow Sharks and Rays (68–69), Life of a Fish (70–71), average, these mountains lie about 2,500 over the surface of the ocean. Stronger winds Electricity (186–187) metres (8,200 feet) below the ocean surface, create larger waves. The water in a wave with their peaks sometimes breaking above. normally moves in circles. As a wave The breaker approaches the land it is slowed down by the Breakers are higher when Mountains the seabed slopes down North American Eurasian down there rising slope of the seabed. But it is the Plate Plate quickly from the shore. The mid-ocean bottom portion of the wave that is slowed The beaches of Hawaii and ridge exists on down. The top part of the wave keeps moving Australia are famous for the floor of all and crashes on to the shore as a breaker. their high breakers. the oceans in the world. The diagram Iceland shows a part of the mid-Atlantic ridge, which extends below Iceland. Beach Surf Mid-Atlantic Many volcanoes lie Deep water Ridge along the ridge. Atlantic Ocean Q How are volcanic islands formed? A Volcanoes under the sea are responsible Feeling the heat for the formation of volcanic islands. As magma keeps oozing out of a volcano, it can The temperature of the water from an underwater hot spring collect, causing the volcano to grow and rise can be as high as 400 °C (752 °F). However, this water is rich above the ocean surface as an island. in minerals, helping some unusual creatures like giant tubeworms and eyeless shrimps survive in an environment where nothing else can live. Q What is special about the Hawaiian group of islands? A Volcanic activity does not always take place near plate boundaries. There are some places deep inside the Earth that are much hotter than others. As a result, there is constant volcanic activity above these spots, known as hot spots. This activity leads to the formation of underwater volcanoes. The constant movement of tectonic plates eventually shifts the volcano away from the hot spot. Soon, another volcano is created in the area near the hot spot. This often leads to the formation of a chain of islands, such as the Hawaiian Islands. 35
  • 37. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 36 Planet Earth Volcanoes A volcano is a mountain through which molten rock and gases erupt from the Earth’s crust. Volcanoes are named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. Q How are volcanoes formed? A Volcanoes are formed by tectonic plates colliding with each other. The heavier plate Volcanic rocks is usually forced down below the lighter one, Hardened lava from where part of it is melted by the heat of the volcanoes forms new rocks. crash. The melting plate forms magma or molten rock that collects below the surface Quick Q’s: of the Earth in magma chambers. As the 1. Which is the highest volcano on Earth? amount of magma increases, the pressure Hot water inside the chamber rises. This creates Old Faithful is a geyser of hot water in the Yellowstone Mauna Loa in Hawaii is National Park, USA. It erupts from the Earth every the highest volcano on a mountain, or volcano. The volcano has a 90 minutes, on average. Earth. It rises about 4 cone, from which gases and lava may trickle kilometres above sea out. When the pressure gets too high, the level; below that, it extends to 5 kilometres whole chamber explodes, ejecting the Q Do volcanoes erupt regularly? down before it reaches magma. This is a volcanic eruption. the seabed. Its massive weight has pushed the A Volcanoes may be active, intermittent, volcano down a further dormant or extinct depending on how often 8 kilometres below the they erupt. Active volcanoes erupt often. seabed! So Mauna Loa Intermittent volcanoes erupt at regular is 17 kilometres (56,000 feet) from its Continental intervals. Dormant volcanoes have been base to its summit. Crust inactive for a long time. They are the most dangerous because they are merely ‘sleeping’ 2. Which is the most Oceanic Crust Mantle and can erupt without warning. Extinct active volcano? volcanoes have not erupted for thousands of Mount St Helens in years. It is difficult to distinguish between Movements of the Earth Washington State of USA is the most active The tectonic plates that cover the Earth can move in dormant and extinct volcanoes because some volcano. It last erupted various ways, and are constantly rubbing against one volcanoes may remain quiet for a long time in 1980. another, sometimes violently. before suddenly becoming active again. 3. What are geysers? Q What are the various things that happen Active volcano Mount St Helens is the most active volcano in the world. Geysers are jets of hot during a volcanic eruption? It last erupted in 1980. water that erupt from the Earth. When water trickles down into the A Magma, or molten rock, erupts through hot molten rock under the surface of Earth during an eruption. the Earth’s crust, it is Magma that comes out is called lava. It can be heated up. As the water becomes hotter, the thick and slow moving or thin and fast. Pieces pressure builds up, of rocks and ash also erupt from the volcano. finally causing it to Pumice stone, a light rock full of air bubbles, spurt out. is formed in an explosive volcanic eruption. These volcanic materials are called pyroclasts. 36
  • 38. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 37 Volcanoes Ring of fire Q What are the different types of volcanoes The ring of fire around the Pacific Ocean has on the Earth? been responsible for some of the most destructive A Volcanoes are classified according to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in human their shapes and the type of material they Ring of Fire history, including the are composed of. A shield volcano is a gentle 1906 San Francisco sloping volcano that has long-lasting, gentle earthquake and the eruptions. Most of the volcanoes in the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. The biggest Hawaiian islands are shield volcanoes. A strato earthquake ever recorded volcano is a steep volcano shaped like a cone. was also in the ring of When it erupts, it emits gases, ash, pumice fire – the Great Chilean and lava. These volcanic eruptions are earthquake of 1960, 9.5 on the Richter scale. accompanied by deadly mudflows, making strato volcanoes the most dangerous among the volcanoes on Earth. Famous strato Q What is the ‘ring of fire’? Try these too… The Hot Planet (14), volcanoes include Mount Vesuvius in Italy and Mount Fuji in Japan. A The area encircling the Pacific Ocean is The Red Planet (16), Oceans (34–35), Origin called the ring of fire because most of the of Life (88–89), Earth’s active volcanoes are located in a ring Dinosaurs (90), North America (110–111), around it. The massive Pacific plate is South America expanding continuously at the edges of the (112–113), Australia and ocean and hitting the other smaller plates Oceania (114–115), Europe (116–117), next to it. The collisions cause frequent Africa (118–119), Asia volcanic activity and earthquakes. The ring of (120–121), The Poles – fire stretches from New Zealand, along the The Arctic and Antarctica (122–123), eastern coastline of Asia and along the western Ancient Americas (132) coast of North and South America. An island disappears One of the largest volcanic eruptions recorded in recent history occurred on the island of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883. The eruption was so massive that most of the island disappeared The cone shape into the sea (pale blue area between the two small islands). The cone-shaped volcano, known as a strato volcano, may be the most famous, but is only one of many Over much of the world, the sky was dark with ash for days. types of volcanoes. Q Are there volcanoes under the sea? A Volcanoes form under the sea in the same way as on land. When two oceanic plates collide, one may get pushed under the other. The heat generated by the crash causes one plate to melt and form magma. The hot magma rises and forms an underwater volcano, just as it does on land. The Vailulu volcano in Ta’u Island in the Pacific Ocean is an underwater volcano. 37
  • 39. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 38 Planet Earth Earthquakes and Tsunamis The Earth is made up of a boiling hot, liquid centre covered by San Francisco 1906 The notorious San a crust. This crust is broken into pieces called tectonic plates, Francisco earthquake which move around, sometimes colliding into each other. These in 1906 destroyed collisions lead to earthquakes, some so small that they are hardly most of the large buildings in the felt. But some earthquakes are so massive that they cause the city. Tramlines ground to shake violently, destroying houses and killing people. were ripped up as the roads buckled Quick Q’s: 1. Which is the worst Q Do earthquakes occur everywhere? under them. earthquake in history? A Earthquakes usually occur along a region In 1556, an earthquake struck three provinces called a fault, where broken rocks under the Q Where is an earthquake most dangerous? in China. About Earth’s surface rub against each other and 830,000 people were killed in the disaster. cause tremors. Faults are marked by cracks on A The point inside the Earth where the It was the worst the Earth’s surface, caused by the movement rocks first begin to break is the focus of the earthquake in history. of tectonic plates. Most faults are located near earthquake. The point on the Earth’s surface the edges of the plates, but small faults can be that lies directly above the focus is called 2. Can we predict found far away from the boundaries. the ‘epicentre’. This is where the earthquake earthquakes? is strongest. In a major earthquake, the No, we cannot. The maximum damage takes place at the movements of the Earth are too complex Q How do faults produce earthquakes? epicentre, and there is less damage as you get further away from it. The epicentre is for us to be able to predict earthquakes. But we do know the A Faults allow the rock fragments that form directly above the hypocentre, the actual the Earth’s crust to move about. Over a location of the energy released inside the lines along which the Earth’s plates meet, period of time, plate movement builds up Earth. Seismic waves ripple out from the so we know the areas pressure, causing rocks along a fault to bend hypocentre. After an earthquake, scientists that are more likely or break with a jolt. This sudden movement can find the centre by looking at the seismic to have earthquakes. releases energy that moves through the surface wave data from three separate locations. of the Earth in the form of waves. This is an The extent of the damage caused by an 3. What is liquefaction? earthquake. The energy moves out in a circle earthquake may also depend on the Liquefaction is caused by the violent shaking from the point where the movement occurs. nature of the soil. of the ground during Fault in the Earth an earthquake. Moist soil or sand turns into The San Andreas Fault in slurry, like quicksand. California, USA, is one This liquid can suck in of the few faults in the entire buildings. Earth’s surface that can actually be seen by any observer on the ground. 4. Is a tsunami the Most of the other faults same as a tidal wave? are covered by soil or A tsunami is diffeerent water. These faults mark from a tidal wave. the lines on the Earth’s A tidal wave is surface where two generated by high tectonic plates of the winds, but a tsunami is Earth meet. As a result, caused by underwater areas around these faults earthquakes, landslides are the ones most prone or volcanic eruptions. to volcanic activity and earthquakes. 38
  • 40. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 39 Earthquakes and Tsunamis Q Do earthquakes occur only on land? A Earthquakes also occur under the ocean. Sometimes, massive earthquakes that start on the ocean floor can create giant, destructive waves called tsunamis. These waves move at great speeds (up to about 800 kilometres or 500 miles per hour) and can travel thousands of kilometres across the ocean. In deep water, the waves are not very high. They gain strength and height as they approach the shore. Tsunamis can be about 30 metres (98 feet) high. These huge waves break on to the shore with a great deal of force, bringing down trees and large buildings. When disaster strikes Earthquake effect On 26 December 2004, a tsunami spread across the Indian Ocean, killing over Q Do earthquakes cause destruction every An earthquake can lead to a deadly avalanche or time they occur? 250,000 people. The tsunami was caused a landslide that can cause by an underwater earthquake that occurred near the island of Sumatra, A Some earthquakes are extremely more damage than the original earthquake. destructive. A strong quake can topple Indonesia. The tsunami hit the coasts of buildings and bridges, trapping people about 15 countries. Its effect was felt underneath them. If gas pipes and electrical even in the southern tip of Africa, about wires break, they can start fires that rage for 8,500 kilometres (5,300 miles) away from several days. Earthquakes can also cause the epicentre of the earthquake! landslides and avalanches. The violent shaking of the Earth sometimes loosens chunks of snow or mud that slide down the slopes of mountains and hills, burying Old instrument The ancient Chinese houses and people under them. invented an instrument that reacted to tremors in the Earth – a ball Q Can an earthquake be measured? dropped from the mouth of the dragon into Before A Earthquakes are measured using the the mouth of a frog, warning people about a possible earthquake. Richter scale. It was developed in 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg at the California Institute of Technology. This scale Try these too… uses numbers from 1 to 10 to measure the The Hot Planet (14), intensity of an earthquake. Each increase Mountains, Valleys and of one point on the scale means a ten-fold Caves (30–31), Oceans (34–35), Volcanoes increase in the strength of the earthquake. (36–37), North America So a level 5.0 earthquake is ten times stronger (110–111), South than a level 4.0 earthquake. The Richter scale America (112–113), After Australia and Oceania works by measuring vibrations around the (114–115) epicentre of an earthquake. 39
  • 41. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 40 Planet Earth Hurricanes and Tornadoes Sometimes the weather becomes wild. Blizzards, thunderstorms, hurricanes and heatwaves are some examples of extreme Q How does a hurricane form? weather conditions. Such severe weather often causes a great deal of damage to both life and property. Hurricanes and A When the air above the sea is heated it tornadoes especially are very destructive. rises, creating an area of low pressure. Cooler wind moves in to take place of the warm air. The Earth’s rotation causes the rising hot air Quick Q’s: 1. Can hurricane winds Q What is a hurricane? to twist and form a cylinder. As the warm air rises higher, it cools down and forms huge be measured? Hurricanes are divided A Hurricanes are large, violent storms that thunderclouds and finally becomes a into five categories form over the ocean near the equator. These hurricane. Meanwhile, the cooler air at the depending on their storms are accompanied by winds that travel bottom also becomes warm, adding more wind speeds. Category at an average speed of about 119 kilometres energy to the storm. 5 hurricanes are the worst, causing per hour (74 miles per hour). Hurricanes maximum damage. usually occur between June and November. Winds of a category 5 hurricane can reach Q What is the eye of a hurricane? speeds of about 250 kilometres per hour (155 miles per hour). A The centre of a hurricane is called the eye. The eye is an area of clear skies, light Category 1 hurricanes are much weaker, and winds and no rain. It is also the warmest part only travel at 119–153 of the storm and is surrounded by a wall of kilometres per hour heavy rain and strong winds. People faced (74–95 miles per hour). with a hurricane usually experience the heavy rain and strong winds first, then there is a 2. What is a storm surge? period of calm as the eye passes over the area, Sometimes the strong followed by more stormy weather. winds of a hurricane can cause the water Huge destroyer level in the ocean to Eye of the hurricane In 2005, Hurricane Katrina, seen here in a satellite rise. Huge waves hit This satellite image clearly shows the eye of the image, destroyed large parts of the city of New Orleans the coast along with hurricane, an area of calm in the middle of the storm. in the USA. the storm, causing severe flooding. This is called a storm surge. 3. What is the Fujita scale? The Fujita scale is used to measure the intensity of a tornado. It ranks tornadoes by the damage caused to man-made structures. 4. How did tornadoes get their name? The word tornado is from the Spanish tomear, meaning ‘to turn’. 40
  • 42. GrBigBk_Q_A 026-041.qxd 21/5/07 12:15 pm Page 41 Hurricanes and Tornadoes Chasing the storm Q What is the worst hurricane on record? Most of us would prefer to stay as A The hurricane that ripped through the far away as possible from all Caribbean islands of Martinique, St. Eustatius violent storms, especially and Barbados in October 1780 is the worst on hurricanes and tornadoes. Some record so far. It killed nearly 22,000 people. people however, chase hurricanes However, this hurricane does not have a and tornadoes. For these people, name, because the practice of giving human confronting a storm is exciting. Storm chasers use special names to major hurricanes started during equipment to locate and follow storms. They usually have a World War II. well-equipped vehicle fitted with the latest technology, including cameras, radios, scanners and first-aid kits. The videos, photographs and all other data collected by storm chasers have helped scientists understand hurricanes and tornadoes better. Air Current Water Spout The making of a storm Warm air rises from the sea, taking water with it in the form of a funnel, and starting a storm. Q What is a tornado? A A tornado is a black, funnel-shaped storm that is highly destructive. These storms usually form where cold polar winds mix with warm, moist tropical winds. They start as rotating thunderstorms called supercells. Gradually the spinning wind in the supercell forms the funnel of a tornado. The wind in the funnel spins so fast that it sucks objects into it like a vacuum cleaner. Waterspout Q What is a waterspout? When tornadoes pass over water, they suck Q What is Tornado Alley? A Tornadoes usually travel across land. the water up into tall spinning columns called However, occasionally, tornadoes pass over waterspouts. A Tornado Alley is an area that extends water. In these cases, the high-speed winds across the Great Plains of the USA, from suck in water, creating tall columns of Try these too… central Texas in the south to the border of spinning water called waterspouts. These Seasons and Climate Canada in the north. The conditions in this waterspouts are weaker than land tornadoes (28–29), Communication region are most suitable for the formation and occur in warm tropical oceans. However, and Satellites (192–193), Water Transport of severe tornadoes, which occur during they are still strong enough to cause huge (196–197) spring and early summer. damage to any boat or ship caught in them. 41
  • 43. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 42 The Living Planet Monkeys Monkeys belong to the group of mammals called primates, which also includes apes and humans. All three species share certain characteristics, such as narrow noses and five fingers and toes. However, unlike apes and humans, many monkeys have tails. Monkeys from Asia and Africa have noses that point downwards, while monkeys from Central and South America have broad noses and nostrils that open sideways. Quick Q’s: 1. Why is the Japanese Q What are the common characteristics of primates? macaque also known as the snow monkey? The Japanese macaque, A All primates have a large brain, and their commonly known as eyes face forwards, allowing binocular vision. the snow monkey, is Most of them have thumbs on both hands one of the few primate species that live in and feet that can be used for grasping. cold regions. They are Their highly developed brain helps found in the mountains them to remember things, and to of Honshu in Japan. When it is very cold, understand others. these monkeys move near hot springs to keep themselves warm. Q How many primate Top of the forest Colobus monkeys are usually found at the top layer of branches in species are there in the world? 2. What is grooming? African rainforests. Monkeys and apes A There are more than groom each other’s fur using their hands. This 350 species of primates in the Q What does a monkey eat? helps not only to get world, divided into two groups. rid of parasites and dirt but is also an important Small to medium-sized A Most monkeys will eat whatever part of socializing. primates, such as lemurs and they come across, including birds’ eggs, fruit lorises, have long whiskers and the sap from plants. Several species 3. Why are monkeys and well-developed senses of of monkey will even attack and eat called social animals? smell and hearing. The rest other monkeys. Howler monkeys Most species of of the primates, including of South America and colobus monkeys live in humans, apes and other monkeys of Africa eat groups. The size of a group depends on monkeys, are part of the the leaves of any how much food is ‘humanlike’ category. This group type of tree. The available and if there consists of about 175 species. digestive system are predators around. Most of these primates have flat of leaf-eating faces and a poor sense of smell. monkeys is similar 4. Do howler to that of other monkeys howl? Big hug Snow monkeys herbivores, like Howler monkeys make a peculiar barking are often found deer and cows. sound. They can huddling near hot be heard up to springs to keep Ringed tail 3 kilometres warm. Lemurs are easily (1.9 miles) away. identified by their ringed tails. 42
  • 44. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 43 Monkeys Q Why are spider monkeys so called? A A spider monkey is a species of New World monkey (from the American continent) that has long, slender, spidery limbs. It displays great acrobatic skills, using its hands and strong tail to grip branches as it swings through the trees. Spider monkeys only travel on particular routes through trees, marking the branches with their own individual scent as they go. Q What is a tarsier? A Tarsiers are very different from other monkeys. They have enormous eyes, long feet and are active at night. Tarsiers eat insects, but also prey on small birds, lizards and snakes. They use their long back legs to leap Five hands? on to prey. Holding the prey with The spider monkey of central and South America Try these too… their hands, they kill it with their has a tail whose tip is so well developed it can almost Apes (44-45), Venomous sharp, pointed teeth. be considered a fifth hand. Each tip even has its own Snakes (76-77), Other unique ‘fingerprint’. Prehistoric Animals (94-95), South America (112-113), Africa (118- Night hunter 119), Ancient India and Tarsiers have huge eyes that help them to find prey China (126-127) in the dark. Alarm calls Monkeys use several methods of communication. A few species of monkey that live alone use scent to communicate. Urine, faeces or special scent glands are used to mark territory or to let other monkeys know they are ready to mate. Monkeys that live in groups communicate using signs and calls. Some species, like the African vervet monkeys, use different alarm calls for each of their main predators – eagles, leopards and snakes. The monkeys react differently to each call. When they hear the eagle alarm call, the monkeys hide among dense vegetation. At the sound of the leopard call they climb as high as possible. 43
  • 45. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 44 The Living Planet Apes Apes are primates with long arms, a broad chest, and no tail. In danger Early apes evolved several million years ago, long before humans. The siamang is distinct for two reasons. First, two fingers on each hand are fused Only six species of ape survive today. Gibbons, siamangs and together. The second is the large throat orangutans live in Asia, while gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos pouch found among the males. The male are African apes. siamang can inflate this pouch to make loud calls. The siamang is under serious threat as forests are being cut down. Quick Q’s: 1. Which species Q Which is the largest of all apes? is known as the crying ape? A Gorillas are the largest apes. Adult males Chimpanzees are are about 1.8 metres (6 feet) tall and weigh crying apes. They up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds). They have bark and produce huge heads, a bulging forehead and a crest loud calls to warn the rest of the group about with thick muscles on top of the head. approaching danger. Although they are portrayed as aggressive and dangerous killers, gorillas are in reality shy, 2. Is a siamang also peaceful vegetarians. They are extremely an ape? intelligent and can learn complex tasks. Each The siamang is a evening, gorillas make nests using leaves and black-coloured gibbon twigs in which they curl up and sleep. found in Malaysia and Sumatra. The siamang Gentle giant is one of the three Gorillas do not attack species that form the anyone unless group of lesser apes. provoked. It is the largest of the lesser apes, growing to a height of about 1 metre (3 feet). 3. What are bonobos? Bonobos are a species of chimpanzee, discovered in 1928 by American scientist Harold Coolidge. They are the closest relatives to humans. They walk on two feet longer than any other apes feet. Some bonobos in captivity have learnt to speak a human language. Unlike other apes, a bonobo society is controlled by a female. Today, bonobos are found only in the forests of central Congo in Africa. There are so few of them that they are in danger of becoming extinct. 44
  • 46. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 45 Apes Q Where can you find orangutans? People of the forest Orangutans are so close to humans that they A Orangutans are the largest Asian apes, can imitate many of our actions. found in the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The word orangutan means ‘man of the forest’ in the Malay language. They have large, bulky bodies, thick necks and long arms. They move by swinging from one branch to another. But because they are so heavy, they frequently have to climb down and walk on their four limbs. Orangutans are Try these too… omnivores, which means they eat both meat Monkeys (42–43), Other Prehistoric and plants. They are extremely intelligent and Animals (94–95), often use objects as tools, such as the big, Africa (118–119), Asia broad leaves that they use as umbrellas. (120–121), Ancient India and China (126–127), Unfortunately, despite being officially Discovery of New Lands protected, they are in danger of extinction (144–145), The Industrial because of deforestation and hunting. Revolution (148-149) Q Why are gibbons known as lesser apes? Q What is brachiation? Long hands Gibbons are lesser apes found in China, India and A Gibbons are smaller than the other A Brachiation is a method by which gibbons parts of Southeast Asia. These apes can swing apes. They live in pairs rather than large and spider monkeys move about. In this type across large distances groups. They do not make nests and from of movement, they swing through tree from one branch to the a distance they look more like monkeys than branches with their arms. They can swing other using their long arms. Gibbons can also apes. But their skulls and teeth are more like distances of about 15 metres (50 feet) at leap across distances of those of the great apes. speeds of 56 kilometres (35 miles) per hour. up to 8 metres (27 feet). Fatal bushmeat Many species of apes are killed for their meat. The meat of these wild animals is known as bushmeat. In some parts of Africa, chimpanzees in particular are hunted for food, though this is illegal in most countries. Apes can also be carriers of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Ape hunters often come into contact with the infected blood, and this is one of the ways that humans are suspected to have contracted AIDS. 45
  • 47. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 46 The Living Planet Big cats A big cat is a cat that can roar! This group includes the lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard. They have large eyes, sharp teeth, Q Is the cheetah a big cat? excellent hearing and powerful limbs with sharp claws. Most have long tails and coats that are either striped or spotted. Big A The cheetah is not actually a big cat as it cats are found in all continents except Australia and Antarctica. cannot roar, but purrs like our domestic cat. However, it has many other characteristics of a big cat, and is sometimes regarded as the Quick Q’s: 1. What do cats use Q How are big cats different from smallest member of the big cat family. It is other cats? the fastest of all land animals, and can run their tongues for? at a speed of up to 110 kilometres per hour A cat’s tongue is rough and covered with A Big cats are similar to our pet cats in (70 miles per hour) over a short distance. sharp, hook-like many ways. However, only big cats can roar. projections called This is because of a difference in the papillae. Cats use their tongues to clean the structure of a bone that is present in the flesh from the bones of mouth of all cats. This bone, called the hyoid their prey and to bone, connects the tongue to the roof of the groom themselves. mouth. In small cats, the hyoid is hard, while in big cats the hyoid is flexible, helping them 2. How does a jaguar kill its prey? open their mouths really wide and roar aloud. The jaguar uses its powerful jaws and Hidden weapons sharp teeth to pierce Big cats usually draw their claws into the paw (left) the skull of its prey and extend the claws (right) when about to jump between the ears. on their prey. Its strong teeth can even break open turtle shells. Q What is special about the claws of a big cat? 3. Are white tigers albinos? White tigers are not A All big cats – except the cheetah – have albinos. A true albino retractable claws. These claws can be drawn would not have stripes, into the paw when the cat is not using them. Roaring apparatus but white tigers have This prevents the cat from getting hurt while The flexible hyoid bone of the big cats allows them to roar. prominent stripes. They are not a separate grooming. The cheetah has short claws. It species, but differently- Living in a pride uses them to get a good grip on the ground coloured members of Lions are the only big cats that live in prides. Each pride while chasing its prey at high speeds. the same species. Their has one adult male with three or four lionesses and their colour is caused by a cubs. Male cubs are thrown out of the pride as soon as mutation in their they become semi-adults. genes, which rarely occurs naturally. In Q Why do the eyes of a big cat glow in recent times, the first the night? pair of white tigers was found in a forest in central India. Since A The eyes of a big cat – or any other cat, then, most white tigers for that matter – have a mirror-like tissue in we know of have been them that gather even the faintest light and bred in captivity and so focus it on an object, making it clearly visible can usually be seen only in zoos. to the cat. It is this mirror-like structure that causes the cat’s eyes to glow in the dark. 46
  • 48. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 47 Big cats Black panthers Q Are black panthers also big cats? Black panthers are actually leopards or jaguars with A Black panthers are actually black more than the usual amount of melanin. leopards or jaguars. They are the result of a condition called melanism that is common among jaguars and leopards. This is when the Q How do big cats mark black pigment called melanin in the root of their territory? the fur is produced in large quantities. It is this condition that gives black panthers their A All big cats are highly colour. A few leopards and jaguars have less territorial – each individual has melanin than average. This gives them a a particular territory that greyish colour, and they are often known as includes hunting grounds, dens white leopards or white jaguars. and water holes. Big cats do not like to share their territories, even with members of their own species. They Q Are teeth important to big cats? warn other cats off by marking these territories, usually by spraying urine or A Big cats rely on their teeth to kill prey. scratching trees. Sometimes, big cats rub They have strong jaws, with three pairs of their cheeks against rocks, trees or any incisor teeth, one pair of canines, two or other object. Other cats usually leave the three pairs of premolars, and one pair of area once they smell or see the signs. Try these too… molars. Apart from jaguars, all the other big Other Prehistoric cats drive their large powerful canines into Animals (94–95), South the neck of their prey, between the gaps in America (112–113), Europe (116–117), the backbone. The teeth cut through the Africa (118–119), spinal cord, often killing the prey instantly. Asia (120-121) The small but sharp incisor teeth located between the canines help the cat scrape Solitary hunter meat off the bones. The molars help to Adult leopards usually live crack the bones open when the cat is feeding. by themselves except Jaguars usually attack their prey on top of during the mating season. But they require a smaller the skull, piercing it in between the ears. territory than a tiger or They can do this because they have wider jaws a pride of lions. than those of other big cats. Mixing breeds A ‘liger’ is born to a male lion and a female tiger. This hybrid big cat looks like a lion with stripes. Some ligers have manes, while all ligers love to swim – just like tigers. Ligers can grow to be giants. Some of them even reach a height of about 4 metres (12 feet) and weigh over 400 kilograms (900 pounds). ‘Tigons’, which are born to a male tiger and a lioness, do not grow as big. 47
  • 49. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 48 The Living Planet Bears Bears can be found in a wide range of habitats, including mountains and Arctic regions. There are eight species of bear – Great swimmers Polar bears are the spectacled bear, the sun bear, the giant panda, the Asiatic excellent swimmers black bear, the American black bear, the brown bear, the sloth and spend almost bear and the polar bear. as much time in water as they do on land. Quick Q’s: 1. How do you know Q Do the eight species of bear have any common features? when a bear is angry? When threatened or agitated, bears stand A All species are fairly up on their hind legs. similar, although there They probably do this are slight differences in to appear larger to their enemies. They size and diet. Bears have also use their clawed stocky bodies, powerful limbs, paws to slash at thick fur and a short tail. They an attacker. have elongated heads, rounded ears and long snouts. They have a keen 2. How does the giant sense of hearing and smell. panda spend most of its day? All bears, except the polar bear, The giant panda bear are omnivorous. Their varied diet eats about 18 kilograms includes roots, nuts, fruit, berries, (40 pounds) of honey, caterpillars and ants. Bear bamboo leaves and Ferocious grizzly stems or about 40 teeth are small, and are mainly The brown bear, known as the grizzly bear in kilograms (85 pounds) used for defence or as tools. The North America, is a ferocious predator. When of bamboo shoots each threatened or during a fight for a mate, molar teeth are broad and flat, day. It spends up to grizzlies stand up on their hind legs and 14 hours just eating. suitable for shredding and use their long-clawed forepaws to fight. grinding fruit, nuts and berries. 3. What is special about the Kermode bear? Q Which is the largest of all The Kermode bear is a type of American black Q Do bears have claws like cats? bear species? bear. It inhabits the rainforests of British A Bears have four limbs with A The polar bear is not only the Columbia, Canada. paws. Each paw has five long, largest of all bears, but also the largest The Kermode bear is sharp claws. Unlike cats, bears carnivore on land. Found in the Arctic the only black bear to have a white coat. cannot retract their claws. They regions, polar bears can grow to a use them to climb trees, open length of 2 metres (7 feet) and can termite nests and beehives, dig for roots, weigh up to a massive 800 kilograms 4. Which is the smallest bear in the world? and catch prey. All bears have long, (1,760 pounds). They have creamy white fur Sun bears are the shaggy fur. The colour of that blends in with the ice. Polar bears are smallest of all bear fur varies from excellent swimmers and move quickly on land species. Even so, species to species. and in water. They prefer to eat meat, and they grow up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) in their diet mainly consists of seals and young Sharp claws length and weigh up walruses. During the summer when ice floes Bears have pads on their to 66 kilograms (sheets of ice) melt and food is scarce, polar feet to help them walk (146 pounds). and sharp, curved claws. bears feed on berries and bird eggs. 48
  • 50. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 49 Bears Q Where can you find black bears? Q How do sloth bears eat? Try these too… North America A There are two kinds of black bear A The sloth bear has a flexible (110–111), South America (112–113), – Asiatic and American. The Asiatic white snout that is very useful for Europe (116–117), Asia black bear inhabits the temperate digging food out of the (120–121), The Poles – and subtropical forests of Asia, ground. The sloth bear The Arctic and Antarctica (122–123) while the American black bear uses its long claws to rip is native to North America. The open the nests of ants and Asiatic black bear is also known termites. It then uses its as the moon bear because of the snout and hairless lips to white, crescent-shaped mark on form a kind of suction its chest. Its coat is mostly black tube that sucks in its prey. in colour, although bears with Good climber brown coats are not Bears climb well and can uncommon. The American judge which branches will black bear is the smallest take their weight. They often climb high to reach of all North American a beehive that has their bear species, but it favourite food, honey. can still grow up to Bees cannot sting them 1.8 metres (6 feet) through their thick fur. in length and weighs about 40–300 Sleeping the winter away kilograms (90–660 Some bears, like brown bears, black pounds). Most of bears and polar bears live in places that these bears have have very cold winters. Since food is a glossy black coat, scarce in the winter, these bears spend although some are the time sleeping in warm, cosy dens. honey-coloured. Pregnant bears usually give birth during the winter in these dens. Before they go into their winter sleep, bears fatten Moon bear themselves up during the summer and The Asiatic black bear autumn when food is readily available. is common in many This winter sleep is not the same as parts of Asia, such as hibernation as the bear can easily wake Siberia and Japan. In some places it has up. Also, a bear’s body temperature does been domesticated not drop as drastically during the winter and taught to do as that of hibernating animals. tricks, though this practice involves cruelty to the bear and is now illegal. 49
  • 51. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 50 The Living Planet Canines The canine family includes dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, dingoes and jackals. Though dogs were probably the first animals to be domesticated by humans, wild canines can still be found in every part of the world. Wolves and wild dogs live in large packs, while the other canines are solitary or live in small groups. Q What makes canines good hunters? A All canines have a keen sense of hearing and smell. As a result, they can locate prey a long way off. Wild canines are very determined hunters, willing to chase prey over long distances. They also have several Fierce hunters Wild African hunting dogs sharp teeth used for killing, feeding and are feared by other defence. Canines use their chisel-like incisors animals because they do for cutting food and grooming. These are not give up the chase. located in the front of the mouth. Next to them is a pair of dagger-shaped canine teeth Quick Q’s: used for fighting and hunting. Q What is the structure of a wolf pack? 1. Which is the fastest canine in the world? A Wolf packs have a breeding male, called Greyhounds are the fastest canines in the Q Can canines run fast? the alpha, which rules over the others in the pack. He asserts his authority by using world. They have been known to run at speeds of up to 70 kilometres A Canines can run extremely fast and have dominant body posture, facial displays, a lot of stamina. This ability is due to their growls, barks, scent marking and at times, per hour (44 miles per hour). African hunting long legs and ankle bones. Canines have a even fighting. The alpha’s mate, called beta, dogs are also very fast highly flexible backbone that can be arched is the second in command. and can maintain as they run. Their feet are small, and all their speeds of 50–60 toes have strong but blunt claws. Their small, kilometres per hour (31–37 miles per hour) for very long distances light feet and limbs help them to Q Do foxes live in groups like wolves? run more efficiently than other while chasing prey. animals with larger A Some species of fox, like the red fox, legs. Wolf packs and live in small groups, but foxes usually hunt 2. What is unique about fennecs? hunting dogs are alone. A male and female fox pair defends Fennecs are the known to chase their the territory in which they hunt and raise smallest canines. These prey for hours. their young. Sometimes several female foxes, tiny foxes are only 65 They finally usually a mother and her daughters, live in centimetres (2 feet) long from the top of overtake a group with a single male. The younger their ears to the tips of animals adults in a red fox group act as helpers, their tails, and weigh that may assisting the breeding pair in defending less than 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). These be faster their territory and caring for the young. desert-dwellers have than them huge ears that help over short Desert fox them to dispel excess Fennecs live in the hot Sahara desert. Their coats can heat from their body. distances. repel sunlight in the day and conserve heat at night. 50
  • 52. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 51 Canines Wolf pack Wolf packs are closely knit and usually all members are related to one another, though distantly. The pack hunts and feeds together, though smaller family groups may sleep separately in dens that are close to one another. Coyote legends Coyotes are of very major cultural significance to Native Americans. Most Native American tribes have a character called Coyote in their legends. According to various stories, this character can be a trickster or a hero. The coyote also appears in creation myths of many tribes. In fact, the Navajo tribe regards the coyote as God’s dog. Q How do canines hunt larger animals? A Canine packs hunt larger animals using a technique called relay hunting. In this method, one member of the pack chases the prey for a while, then another takes over. Each member of the pack takes a turn in chasing until the prey becomes exhausted. The canines then immediately surround the prey and move in for the kill, often attacking from Howling wolf behind and injuring their victim. In this There are many myths way, canines are able to take on very surrounding the howling large animals, such as bison. of wolves. Wolves were believed to howl at the full moon. However, this is because they are more Q Why do wolves howl? likely to hunt on a bright night and they howl to A Howling is a popular method bring the pack together. of communication among wolves. Try these too… It helps pack members communicate North America with each other, even when moving (110–111), South through thick forests. Howling can America (112–113), be used to gather pack members at Europe (116–117), Africa (118–119), Asia a specific location. It can also help (120–121), Native a wolf lay claim to its territory and Americans (133–135) warn off rivals. 51
  • 53. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 52 The Living Planet Elephants Tragic tusks Elephants have often Elephants are the world’s largest land animals. They are divided been hunted for their precious ivory tusks. into three different species – savannah, forest and Asian elephants. Savannah and forest elephants are together known as African elephants. Q How do elephants use their trunks? Quick Q’s: 1. Do the members of Q How are African elephants different A The elephant’s trunk is a combination from Asian elephants? of its nose and upper lip. The elephant uses a herd stick together? its long, flexible trunk to grasp objects, pluck The members of a herd feed, bathe and A African elephants are larger and have leaves, break off branches and carry heavy migrate together. They less hair. They have bigger, fan-shaped ears. objects like logs. While strong, the trunk is usually stay very close Both male and female African elephants have also very sensitive. Small, finger-like to the leader. They also protect one another tusks. In contrast, Asian elephants have lower- projections at the end help elephants to pick from predators. The hanging ears and only the male members up small objects. The trunk is also used to young, sick and old are have tusks. The savannah suck in water for drinking or to spray water especially well-defended by the healthier elephant is light grey, over the body for bathing. Elephants members. When faced while forest and Asian pick up dust with their trunks in with danger, the head of elephants have dark the same way when they want to the herd leads the rest away. When the leader grey skin. have a dust bath. When lying in dies, the next oldest water, the elephant sticks its trunk female takes over. Big pet out to breathe. Elephants use the Asian elephants have nostrils at the tip of the trunk to been domesticated by 2. Do elephants eat capture the scent in the air. a lot? people for centuries. The trunk is then placed in The elephant’s their mouth, where special digestive system is very weak. It can digest Q Are the elephant’s tusks really teeth? organs identify the scent. only 40 per cent of the food it eats. It has to make up by eating a A The tusks of an elephant are simply Moving in a herd A herd of African elephants moves towards a watering great deal. An adult elongated incisor teeth. A calf is born with a hole. Note how the young members of the herd are eats about 140–270 pair of incisors that are replaced within 6 to surrounded by older and stronger members for kilograms (300–600 12 months. The second set grows into tusks. protection. Elephant herds are led by the oldest female. pounds) of leaves and grass every day. 3. How big are the tusks of an African elephant? An African elephant’s tusks are between 1.8–2.4 metres (6–8 feet) in length and weigh about 20–45 kilograms (50–100 pounds). Those of an Asian male are only about 1.5 metres (5 feet) in length and weigh about 30 kilograms (70 pounds). 52
  • 54. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 53 Hoofed Animals Hoofed Animals Try these too… North America (110–111), South The nails of some mammals are large and hard enough for them America (112–113), to walk on. These nails are called hooves and such animals are Africa (118–119), Asia (120–121), Ancient called hoofed animals, or ungulates. This group includes pigs, Americas (132) hippopotamuses, camels, giraffes, goats and cattle. Hollow weapon Q How did the hippopotamus get its name? Camel’s cousin The llama is found in the Antelope horns are hollow and light. But they are still formidable weapons. A The word hippopotamus means river Andes mountains. horse in Greek. The hippopotamus spends a large part of its day in shallow water and Q How are llamas different from camels? usually comes out only at night. A Llamas are found in South America. Although they are in the same family as Q Do hippopotamuses sweat blood? camels and even look a lot like them, llamas do not have humps. They are usually white, A Common hippos do not have sweat with black and brown patches. Alpacas are glands, but their pores secrete a reddish-pink similar to llamas but much smaller. fluid which is often mistaken for blood. This fluid gives their skin a shiny appearance and prevents it from cracking in the heat. Q Is there any difference between antelope and deer? Q How many species of camels are there A All species of antelope have pointed, in the world? hollow horns that are permanent. Deer have branched antlers that they shed every year. A There are two species of camels. They Deer antlers are solid and bony. Only male are the Bactrian and the Arabian camel. The deer grow antlers, while both male and Bactrian camel has two humps on its back, female antelope have horns. while the Arabian camel has one. The humps contain fat that provides the animal with nutrients when food is not available. Living tall The giraffe is the tallest living mammal. An adult male giraffe can grow to a height of about 6 metres (20 feet). In contrast, the giraffe’s body is not as long as that of most other hoofed animals. Its front legs are slightly longer than its hind legs. Giraffes’ necks can be over 1.5 metres (5 feet) in length, but only have seven vertebrae (neck bones). Its long neck and extraordinary height help the giraffe to pluck leaves that are beyond the reach of other animals. Giraffes Two humps also have tongues that can be extended as far The Bactrian camel (above) is found in the Gobi desert of as 45 centimetres (18 inches)! Mongolia. The Arabian camel is found in Asia and Africa. 53
  • 55. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 54 The Living Planet Odd-toed Mammals Some mammals have an odd number of toes or hooves. This group includes animals like horses, zebras, rhinoceros and Q Does the tapir belong to the same family tapirs. Horses, zebras and donkeys have only one toe in each as zebras and rhinos? foot, which is in the form of a hoof. A rhinoceros has three toes. Tapirs have four toes in their front feet, three in their hind feet. A Although it looks a lot like a pig, the tapir is in fact closely related to zebras and rhinos. This animal has a short, muscular trunk and is about 1 metre (3.2 feet) tall. It has splayed hooves, which help it to get a firm grip on soft, muddy ground. Staying in a herd Mother and child Plains zebras are among Baby tapirs are various the most common animals shades of pink and have seen in the African prominent stripes. Their savannah. They usually colour changes to grey do not go very far and white and the stripes from watering holes. fade as they grow older. Quick Q’s: 1. Where did the horse Q How can you tell the different types of zebra apart? come from? The earliest ancestor of the horse lived in A There are three main kinds of zebra – North America about the plains, mountain and Grevy’s zebra. The 55 million years ago. plains zebra, found in the African grasslands, It was the size of a small dog, and did is the most common of all three species. It is not look anything like striped all over and its stripes are wider than today’s horse. But its those of the other two species. Mountain teeth were like any horse we know today. zebras are native to the mountainous regions This animal went of southwest Africa. They have a white belly. through many changes Grevy’s zebra is the largest of the zebra over millions of years Under threat before the modern species. It has a mane that stands up straight, Indian rhinos have one horn, while African rhinos have horse evolved. large ears and narrow, closely set stripes that two. The horns are supposed to have healing properties extend all the way down to its hooves. and are used in various forms of traditional medicine. As a result, rhinos have been hunted and now their 2. Where are tapirs numbers have grown alarmingly small. There are so few found? There are five species of tapirs in the world. Q How many species of rhinoceros are there? Javan and Sumatran rhinos left that the species is under threat of extinction. Three of these are found in the A There are five species of rhinoceros in rainforests of South the world today. They are the Sumatran, America, while the Javan, Indian, white and black rhinoceros. other two inhabit parts of southeast Asia and The white and black rhinoceros are found in Iran. All tapirs prefer Africa, while the others live in Asia. All rhinos water to land and have thick skin with folds. They have short, spend a great deal of time in lakes and thick legs and a tiny tail. They are solitary streams. animals that come together only during the mating season. 54
  • 56. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 55 Odd Mammals Odd Mammals Most mammals share certain characteristics. The majority of mammals give birth to live young and look after them, and most of them (apart from some sea mammals) have four limbs and live on land. But there are some exceptions, such as platypuses, anteaters and bats. It’s a Q Do any mammals lay eggs? mammal The platypus lives A The duck-billed platypus and the spiny in and around rivers in eastern Australia anteater lay eggs. They are found in Australia, and Tasmania. The male Tasmania and New Guinea. They were among has a spur on the hind foot that can secrete poison. the first mammals on Earth. Apart from laying eggs, they are similar to other Following its echo mammals. They are warm-blooded, have hair and produce milk to feed their young. But Bats use a special sense of vibration, called neither anteaters nor platypuses have any echolocation, to find food and to navigate. teeth. They have snouts that look like beaks. They emit sounds that bounce back as echoes after striking an object. Bats can identify the direction, distance, speed, and sometimes, even the size of an Q Why do some mammals like kangaroos object by listening to this echo. carry their babies in a pouch on their bellies? This special technique helps them to find food and avoid obstacles in the dark. A Kangaroo babies are born early, before they have finished developing. When the baby is born, it climbs into its mother’s pouch where it remains for several weeks until it is strong enough to move about on its own. The baby may remain in the pouch for more than a year, climbing out to play more and more often. Apart from kangaroos, koalas, possum and wombats also carry their babies in a pouch. All the mammals that do this are known as marsupials. Q How are bats able to fly? A The front legs of bats act as wings. Each leg has four long fingers to support the wing. Big jumper Try these too… The wings have a double layer of skin The kangaroo can jump South America stretched between the finger bones and so far that it is difficult (112–113), Australia attached to the side of the body and to the to catch one. Their and Oceania (114–115), numbers have grown Europe (116–117), hind legs. Bats have three pairs of flight Africa (118–119), many times in the absence muscles, attached to the upper arms and of predators in Australia, Asia (120–121) chest, that give them the power to fly. where they live. 55
  • 57. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 56 The Living Planet Whales Whales might live in the oceans and might even look like very large fish, but they are mammals. Like most other mammals, whales give birth to live young and breathe with their lungs. Whales belong to a group of animals called marine mammals. They are among the largest animals on the planet. Quick Q’s: 1. What is blubber? Q Why do whales have holes on their heads? Blubber is a layer of fat found between the A Whales do not have gills like fish. Instead skin and flesh of all they take in air through nostrils like all the whales. It preserves other mammals. The nostrils of whales, called There she blows body heat and stores blowholes, are located on top of their heads. Whale hunters and whale watchers spot whales by the energy as well as keeping whales afloat. Every once in a while, whales come to the fountain of water coming out of their blowholes. surface of the water and open their blowholes to breathe. 2. Do whales live as a family? Q Is that a fountain of water coming Most whales are social out of the blowhole? creatures. They travel and feed in groups called pods. Many of A The whale opens its them migrate long blowhole to breathe out stale distances in groups air. When this air between their feeding comes in contact and breeding grounds. with the colder air outside, the 3. What do whales use water vapour in their tails for? the atmosphere The tail of a whale is divided into two parts, condenses. This called flukes. While looks like a fish move their tails fountain or sideways to swim, whales swim by moving spout. their flukes up and down in the water. 4. Which is the largest whale in the world? Blue whales are not only the largest whales, but also the largest animals ever to live on Earth. They can be as long as 34 metres (112 feet). They are also the loudest animals on Killer whale Earth – 1.5 times as The killer whale or orca is the most common member of loud as a pneumatic the family of marine mammals that includes whales and drill. But they use such dolphins. They can be found in all the oceans of the a low frequency that we world. They are highly social animals and travel in stable cannot hear them. groups, led by the oldest female member of the group. 56
  • 58. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 57 Whales The baleen comb Long way home A humpback whale and its comb of Every year the California grey whales migrate for about 20,000 baleen (inset). kilometres (12,427 miles). They migrate all the way from the There was a time when Arctic Ocean to the Mexican coast and back. This is the longest baleen was migration undertaken by any mammal. In total, the California used in grey whale spends about one-third of its life migrating. women’s clothing, and many whales were hunted for it. Q Do whales like to play? Try these too… Oceans (34–35), Other A Although they are very big, whales can Marine Mammals (58–59), Origin of Life be playful. Sometimes they pop their heads (88–89), North America above the surface and float motionless. This (110–111), Australia and Q Are whales vegetarian? behaviour is known as ‘logging’. Some whales, Oceania (114–115), The Poles – The Arctic and like humpback whales and orcas, leap right out A Whales are divided into two main groups of the water, which is known as ‘breaching’. Antarctica (122–123), Native Americans – toothed whales who hunt for prey and Whales also stick their tails out and splash (133–135), Discovery of New Lands (144–145) baleen whales, who feed on krill, plankton them around. This is called ‘lob-tailing’. and other tiny marine creatures in the water. The giant Toothed whales, including killer whales, Only a small part of this sperm whales and beluga whales, have small, blue whale is seen above sharp teeth in their jaws. These teeth are used the surface of the ocean. Unlike other baleen to kill prey. Baleen whales, including grey whales, blue whales do whales, humpback whales, bowhead whales not live in large groups. and blue whales, are toothless. Instead, they These huge animals need a have sieve-like structures, called baleen, that lot of space in which they can get enough food to hang from their upper jaws. The whales swim support themselves. In with their mouths open, taking in lots of autumn, which is the water rich in tiny animals such as krill and mating season, they can sometimes be seen in plankton. The prey gets trapped in the comb- pairs. Female blue whales like edges of the baleen plates and the whale give birth once every two licks the food off the plate. or three years. 57
  • 59. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 58 The Living Planet Other Marine Mammals Seals, walruses and sea lions fall in the group of ‘fin-footed’ mammals who can move across land using their fins. All species in this group take to the water almost every day, and get their food underwater. There are 18 species of seals today, making them the largest group of fin-footed mammals. Quick Q’s: 1. Which seal dives Q Why are seals good swimmers? the deepest? Weddell seals are not A Seals have a torpedo-shaped body that Large colony only good swimmers, makes it easy to move through water. They Seals live in large colonies on remote islands. also have strong limbs shaped like paddles The colonies are divided into nurseries, an area for but also great divers. half-grown seals, and an area for adult seals, which is They have been known that help to propel them forward. nearest to the sea. to dive to depths of over 500 metres (1,600 feet), and stay there for more than an hour. 2. Which are the largest and smallest seals in the world? Seals range in size from 1 metre (3 feet) to over 5 metres (16 feet). Galapagos fur seals and ringed seals are the smallest, while the male southern elephant seal is the largest in the world. 3. Why was the sea otter hunted so extensively? The sea otter has the densest and most luxurious fur among all mammals. The brown fur has up to 394,000 hairs per square centimetre! This fur was sought after by the richest people in the Q Why do seals appear clumsy while eighteenth and walking on land? nineteenth centuries. So the sea otter was hunted all over the A Most seals are very clumsy on land. North Pacific, until it Their front limbs are of no use for walking, was almost extinct. The and they slide on ice with great difficulty. animal has been protected from hunters Some types of seals have longer, more mobile Sleek predator in recent decades and it flippers, so they are better adapted for is showing signs of A seal becomes a sleek, fast predator the moment it is in moving on land. When on land, seals are water. Most seal species are able to stay submerged and recovery. most vulnerable to hunters. chase their prey for many minutes without breathing. 58
  • 60. GrBigBk_Q_A 042-059.qxd 21/5/07 12:14 pm Page 59 Other Marine Mammals Fast asleep Walruses can be found sleeping on rocky beaches most of the time. Occasionally, one of them will slip into the water, hunt for a while, then return to the beach and go to sleep once more. Q How are walruses different from seals? A Walruses are much bigger than seals. They inhabit the Arctic regions at the edge of the polar ice sheet. The most unique feature of the walrus is its tusks, which are actually a pair of elongated upper canine teeth. Walruses use these tusks not only to defend themselves, but also as hooks to climb out of the water on to the ice. Male walruses have bigger tusks, which they use during courtship fights. Like all marine mammals, walruses have a layer of blubber that protects them from the cold. The siren Dugongs and manatees are the sirens of Greek mythology. Ancient sailors probably mistook these animals for creatures that were half-fish and half- human, giving rise to the legends of beautiful half-women-half-fish who lured sailors to their death. In reality, however, dugongs and manatees are very different from the sirens of legends. They are heavy animals, like a huge, thick sausage, tapering a bit towards the tail. They swim slowly near the shore, eating sea grass and other underwater vegetation. They are better described by their other name – sea cows. Star performer Sea lions are highly intelligent. They are popular at aquarium shows, where they catch Q What do sea lions eat? and throw balls with ease. A Sea lions are the largest member Try these too… Whales (56–57), North of the eared seal family. An average male America (110–111), Steller’s sea lion weighs 907 kilograms South America (2,000 pounds). These animals eat only small (112–113), Australia and Oceania (114–115), The fish, squids and octopus most of the time, Poles – The Arctic and though they have been known to prey on Antarctica (122–123) other seal species from time to time. 59
  • 61. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 60 The Living Planet Seabirds Birds that spend most of their time at sea are called seabirds. These include skuas, gulls, terns, auks, penguins, pelicans, petrels, gannets and cormorants. The earliest seabirds had teeth and lived in the Cretaceous period, which began 146 million years ago. Modern seabirds have been around since the Palaeogene period that began 65 million years ago. Drying up After fishing, cormorants have to spread out their wings to dry as they do not have waterproof feathers. Quick Q’s: Q Do seabirds ever live on land? 1. Are most Q How far does a seabird migrate? seabirds white? A Seabirds come on to land to lay their Seabirds are white, grey or black. These eggs. The snow petrel nests 483 kilometres A Seabirds migrate a long way to lay eggs. colours help them (300 miles) away from the sea on the Antarctic The Arctic tern holds the record for flying hide from enemies continent. Although seabirds usually fly and longer distances than any other bird. When it and also from prey. Their legs and beaks fish alone, most of them nest in colonies on is summer in the northern hemisphere, it are sometimes land. The colonies house anything from a few flies up to the Arctic. And when brightly coloured. dozen to more than a million it is summer in the southern birds. Murres build their hemisphere, it flies all the way 2. How do seabirds nests close to each other to Antarctica. The terns travel catch their food? for protection, while 20,000 kilometres (12,000 The albatross feeds on fish and krill that are albatrosses prefer to miles) each way! Other long found on the surface leave space between distance flyers include of the water. Gannets their nests. sooty shearwaters, and boobies dive to pick up prey. Some, albatrosses and Good divers phalaropes. While many like the chinstrap Murres dive beneath the penguin, dive and surface to feed on fish. seabirds fly over the open chase their prey. Skuas and frigate sea, many are happy to birds are known to keep close to the shore. steal food from others. Q How are seabirds different from other kinds of birds? 3. Is so much salt good Q What kind of parents do seabirds make? for birds? A Seabirds have adapted to life around Seabirds have salt glands on their face that saltwater. Birds like the albatross that fly A Seabirds make good parents. They nest excrete some of the salt long distances over the open ocean have at safe spots and are careful with their eggs. they take in. But the salt long, strong wings to help them glide, while Both the mother and father care for their does not seem to harm birds that dive for fish have shorter wings. All young. Some seabirds care for their young for the birds – seabirds live longer than other types seabirds have webbed feet so that they can six months, while some, like frigate birds, of birds. In fact, the skim the water’s surface or dive down in to watch their young for fourteen months. albatross can live the water with ease. Seabirds have lots of for up to 60 years. feathers that are packed densely, to keep out the water. A thick layer of down keeps them warm. Strange nest Good dads Petrels make their nests Unlike most birds, the with pebbles. They move male phalarope guards to land only to breed. his eggs until they hatch. 60
  • 62. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 61 Birds of Prey Birds of Prey large, forward-facing eyes soft, round wing edges for slow flying Birds of prey (raptors) are meat-eating birds that use their beaks and claws to hunt. There are about 500 species of birds of prey. The largest of them is the male Andean Night vision condor, and the elf owl is the smallest. Owls can see and hear well at night. Q Which birds are raptors? Q Do birds of prey have special wings? A Vultures, hawks, eagles, kites, falcons, A Falcons have thin, pointed wings. These harriers, buzzards, owls, secretary birds and help them to fly fast, and to change their Majestic birds ospreys are all types of birds of prey. Of these, direction while chasing their prey. Their wings Eagles are larger than only owls hunt at night. Female raptors that also enable the falcons to dive suddenly to most other raptors, feed on live prey are often larger than the catch their prey. Hawks and eagles have and they are more powerfully built. Their males, although male and female vultures are rounded wings that help them soar, without large pupils give them the same size. Vultures feed on carrion, or flapping their wings, high up on air currents. good night vision. dead animals, instead of live prey. They are able to mark their prey even from high up in the air. Q What makes raptors such good hunters? Q What do raptors eat? A Raptors have larger eyes than most other birds and have excellent colour vision. They A All raptors are meat-eaters. Some, like have a sharp, curved beak and strong feet eagles, feed on rodents, snakes, lizards and with powerful claws (talons). Raptors’ sharp fish. Most vultures feed on carrion. Vultures ears can hear prey moving and detect how have a sensitive sense of taste, so they are able far away it is. to detect if food is poisonous. Some vultures, Bald and beautiful like the palm nut vulture, eat the fruit and Vultures do not have That’s really high! husks of certain palm trees as well as shellfish feathers on their heads and carrion. Bat hawks, unsurprisingly, exist and necks. This ensures Did you know that a Ruppell’s griffon that they do not get too on a diet of bats. dirty when they stick vulture can fly as high as 11,000 metres their heads into carcasses, (37,000 feet)? On 29 November 1973, which helps to prevent one of these birds crashed into an aircraft over the Ivory Coast! Q What is a raptor’s gizzard? infection. A A gizzard is a specially adapted stomach Try these too… North America (110- that helps a bird to grind food. Birds often 111), South America have stones inside their gizzards. Birds of prey (112-113), Africa (118- have a special gizzard, which makes pellets 119), Asia (120-121), out of whatever the bird cannot digest, like The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica (122-123) hair, bones and feathers. When it has finished eating, the bird spits the pellets out. 61
  • 63. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 62 The Living Planet Songbirds The crow and the nightingale have something in common — they are both songbirds. There are about 4,500 species of songbirds. These include crows, finches, larks, mockingbirds, nightingales, ravens, robins, sparrows, thrushes, weaverbirds and warblers. Quick Q’s: 1. When did the first Q What makes songbirds special? songbirds sing? The first songbirds A Songbirds have specially developed appeared about 50 vocal cords (syringes) which they use to million years ago. They produce sounds or ‘songs’. Some songbirds, were found in the like the wood thrush, can control both lands now known as Australia, New Zealand syringes independently and therefore sing and Antarctica in the two songs at the same time. Unlike other southern hemisphere. birds, songbirds have a special section in their brains that helps them to learn 2. Which is the their songs. Tree life largest songbird? Most songbirds have The raven, which is toes arranged in a way that part of the crow family, is the largest songbird, Q Why do songbirds sing? helps them to perch on trees. measuring about 60 centimetres (24 inches) in length. A Most male songbirds sing to catch Q How long do songbirds usually live? the attention of a female songbird. All members of the crow family are songbirds, though it Female songbirds are attracted to A Songbirds live for about five years. They males that are good singers. So, lay their first clutch of eggs when they are less may not seem so to us. males try to sing loud and for as than one year old. The eggs often hatch after long as they can. just ten days. The hatchlings are born blind 3. Do songbirds only live on land? and have no feathers. In contrast, the egg of an albatross, which is not a songbird, takes Most songbirds are found on land. The five species of dipper Q Do songbirds have to learn 80 days to hatch, so the hatchlings are much from their parents how to sing? more developed. are the only aquatic songbirds. A Scientists have found that a young songbird that has not learnt to sing from its parents can only sing a short song. Songbirds learn their songs when they are very young, by listening to their parents. Q Where do songbirds live? A Most songbirds live in trees and often feed on fruit, berries and insects. In most places, you just have to look out of the Wood thrush Copy cat The wood thrush sings a window to find a songbird – eight out of Starlings are strange birds. They copy the songs of other melodious flute-like song. every ten perching birds are songbirds! songbirds when they run out of their own songs. 62
  • 64. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 63 Waterfowl Waterfowl The waterfowl family is made up of ducks, geese and swans. Waterfowl can swim, float and even dive. Many waterfowl migrate long distances every year. Grace in feathers Q How have waterfowl adapted to life Black swans are found in Australia. They are in the water? excellent swimmers. They are also the fastest flyers A Waterfowl have webbed feet that help among waterfowl. them paddle. They have flat bills, and their feathers have a coating of oil that works like Q Why do waterfowl migrate? Try these too… waterproofing. The feathers of ducks, eider (sea ducks) and geese are soft and warm. A Most waterfowl are migratory. They Oceans (34–35), North America (110–111), South They are used to stuff pillows, quilts and migrate to avoid the heavy rains and America (112–113), sleeping bags. hot summers in the south and the bitter Africa (118–119), winters in the north. Waterfowl often travel Asia (120–121) long distances in search of pleasant weather. Q What makes a goose a goose? Snow geese nest in the Arctic tundra in the summer and fly south to spend the winter in A Geese live in the northern hemisphere. Mexico. In winter, bar-headed geese migrate They are long-necked migratory birds that from India to Tibet. They fly 1,600 kilometres love the water. The Canada goose is the (1,000 miles) a day over the Himalayas, the biggest goose in the world, while the rare highest mountains in the world. Flying at lesser white-fronted goose is the smallest 3,600–4,300 metres (12,000–14,000 feet), they goose in the world. The Abyssinian blue- survive winds that blow at more than 322 Big goose winged gander (male goose) tries very hard kilometres per hour (200 miles per hour) The Canada goose to win the female’s attention. It struts around and freezing temperatures. Although oxygen has a wide wingspan of with its head bent over its back, showing off is low at such heights, waterfowl are able 160 centimetres (5 feet). its blue wing patch. The nene, the official to absorb more oxygen with each breath bird of Hawaii, is a land goose. while flying. Is that a quack? Different waterfowl have different calls. Q What makes ducks different from other waterfowl? Female mallards honk loudly, but the male mallard’s sound is softer. The tundra whistling swan has a sharp whistle A Ducks are smaller than swans and geese. They have squat bodies, and are found in that can be heard up to 6 kilometres both freshwater and saltwater. They have big, (3.7 miles) away. Geese make a sound flat bills that help them to scoop food off the like a ‘honk’, while ducks quack. water’s surface or from just below it. Small, freshwater ducks are called teals. Another group of ducks, called wigeons, have lovely blue-grey bills. Dabblers are ducks that stand Tough customer and fish in shallow water. The eider is a large Geese can be very sea duck prized for its soft feathers. Most of aggressive if they the common domestic ducks are mallards. feel threatened. 63
  • 65. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 64 The Living Planet Flightless Birds Kiwi The kiwi is a small, shy, nocturnal bird. Not all birds can fly. Some, like the ostrich and penguin, have It has nostrils at the such short, weak wings that they just cannot take to the air. end of its long bill and a keen sense of smell. Most flightless birds are believed to have occupied islands The kiwi is the where there were no predators. In the absence of real danger, national symbol these birds did not really need to fly. of New Zealand. Q Where are flightless birds found? Q How do flightless birds defend themselves from predators? A Most flightless birds are found on small islands. New Zealand has the largest number A Many flightless birds became extinct of flightless birds, from kiwis and penguins, to because of their inability to fly. However, the now extinct moa. This country is also others have unique adaptations that Kakapo home to the kakapo – the world’s protect them from a similar fate. For The kakapo’s green colour helps it blend in with its only flightless parrot. example, ostriches can outrun most of their leafy surroundings. predators and can also deliver a fatal kick with their clawed feet. Others, like penguins, Quick Q’s: Q Why can’t flightless birds fly? are excellent swimmers. Most flightless birds 1. Which is the smallest have colours that help them blend in to flightless bird? A All flying birds have a keel, or their surroundings. The Inaccessible Island breastbone, to which powerful muscles rail, of the South that aid flying are attached. In flightless long featherless neck short tail Atlantic is the world’s smallest flightless bird. birds this keel is either very small or It is no more than 17 completely absent. This makes their centimetres (7 inches) wings weak, so they cannot fly. and weighs less than 30 grams (1 ounce). 2. Was there ever a Q Which is the world’s largest flightless bird that was flightless bird? larger than the ostrich? The aepyornis that lived on the island A The ostrich is not only the largest of Madagascar was flightless bird, but is also the biggest of all the largest bird ever living birds. It can grow to a height of to live on this planet. about 2.5 metres (8 feet) and can weigh up It was more than 3 metres (10 feet) to 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Ostriches tall and weighed may not be able to fly, but they run at about 500 kilograms speeds of about 65 kilometres per hour long legs (1,100 pounds). (40 miles per hour). Survival Danger, danger! 3. What do kiwis use The Inaccessible When in danger, the their beaks for? Island rail has ostrich lies flat on the Kiwis have nostrils ground with its neck survived because at the end of their stretched out. This there are few long beaks. They helps it to blend into thrust their beaks predators where it lives. its surroundings. into the ground in search of food. 64
  • 66. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:16 pm Page 65 Penguins Penguins Penguins are the most common flightless birds. There are about 17 different kinds of penguin in the world, most of which are found in the Antarctic region. Underwater, the wings of penguins act like flippers, helping these birds to swim at speeds of about 24 kilometres per hour (15 miles per hour). Royal looks The emperor penguins look majestic with their big heads, smart black hoods and patches of bright colour on their bodies and faces. Tough life Q Which is the world’s largest penguin? The Antarctic region remains frozen most of the year. Creatures living A The emperor penguin is the tallest and here have a layer of blubber and other the heaviest of all penguins. This species adaptations that help can grow to a maximum height of about them survive the cold. 1.1 metres (3.7 feet) and can weigh about Q How can penguins live in places as cold 41 kilograms (90 pounds). The smallest Try these too… as Antarctica? penguin is the fairy penguin which is barely The Poles – The Arctic 41 centimetres (16 inches) tall and weighs and Antarctica (122–123) A Like whales, penguins have a thick about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). layer of fat (blubber) that protects them from freezing temperatures. Their feathers Model dad are stiff and tightly packed together. A special Male emperor penguins make one of the best fathers in the structure near penguins’ tails produces animal kingdom. After laying a single egg the female penguin oil that coats their feathers and makes goes out to the sea in search of food. The male holds the egg them waterproof. on his feet under a warm layer of skin called the ‘brood pouch’ to hatch it. The egg takes about 60 days to hatch, and the male continues to guard the chick through the winter. He goes hungry Q Can penguins walk? until the female returns. A Penguins are very clumsy on land. Their feet are paddle-shaped and are better equipped for swimming than walking. When on land, penguins waddle about slowly. Sometimes they even slide across the ice on their bellies. Q What do penguins eat? A Most penguins feed on krill, fish and squid. They catch and swallow their prey as they swim. Penguins can dive almost 500 metres (1,640 feet) in search of food. 65
  • 67. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 66 The Living Planet Smart moves Fish Do you know how the male seahorses win over females? They display Fish are cold-blooded vertebrates (animals with a backbone), their pouch, where they will carry eggs. They open that live in water and mainly breathe through gills. Some, like and close the pouch and the lungfish, have lungs to breathe with. Most fish have scales even fill it with water to for protection and fins to help them swim. Fish were one of show off. Male seahorses the earliest creatures to inhabit the Earth. They appeared about also have tail pulling competitions to impress 500 to 475 million years ago. the females and also snap at and wrestle with one another. Quick Q’s: 1. Do fish look after Q What were the earliest fish like? pouch to carry eggs their eggs? Most fish lay their A The first fish were jawless and finless. eggs and then swim There is one such fish, the lamprey, that still tail away. But not the exists. It looks like an eel, with a mouth like a seahorse. Seahorses sucker, sharp teeth and no fins. The hagfish is make very caring parents. The female another early fish that can still be seen today. Q How many species of fish seahorse lays eggs in It lives in saltwater and feeds off the insides of are there? a pouch on the male’s dead fish. It defends itself by secreting slime. stomach, and the male then carries these eggs Today, most other fish have jaws and fins. A There are over for three weeks until 40,000 species of fish. they hatch. The male Most fish live either in stickleback fish builds a nest of algae and Q Do all fish have bones? freshwater or in saltwater, but not both. Some other aquatic plants fish which live in the sea, like salmon, move for its eggs. It also releases a sticky glue- A Most fish do have bony skeletons. There into rivers to breed. Some freshwater eels do like substance to hold are two groups of bony fish – lobe-finned and the opposite and breed in the sea. the nest together. ray-finned fish. Their fins have different shapes. Lobe-finned fish include lungfish and 2. Do fish go to sleep? the prehistoric coelacanth. Other commonly Some fish enjoy a nap. known fish, including herring, tuna, salmon, All members of the sunfish and flatfish, are ray-finned fish. parrotfish family sleep at night. They make a bed out of their own saliva that covers them fully. Then they go to Q What about the boneless fish? sleep on the sea floor. But most other types A Sharks, rays and skates are all fish that Bones and all Killing saw of fish continue to have no bones at all. Their skeletons are This is a ray-finned fish. The sawshark belongs to swim slowly even made of cartilage, which is a rubbery tissue Its fins are adapted for the family of fish without when they are resting, softer than bone. These fish have strong jaws swimming. bones. It has a unique so it’s difficult to tell if blade-like snout that is they have gone and sharp teeth. Their mouths are on the edged with teeth. It uses to sleep. lower part of their heads, while their eyes are this to kill its prey. on top. This means they can’t see dorsal fin 3. What are fins? second caudal fin what they are eating. dorsal fin Fins are thin skin eye stretched over fan-like bones. A fish usually has pectoral, dorsal and caudal (tail) fins long blade - like snout mouth pectoral fin that help it to swim. 66
  • 68. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 67 Friends and Enemies at Sea Friends and Enemies at Sea Symbiosis means ‘living together’. In a symbiotic relationship, two creatures can help each other to survive. This help can be with finding food, protection, cleaning or transportation. The larger creature is often the host, with the smaller creature living on it. Sometimes, both creatures live independently and still help each other. Q Can fish live in symbiosis with other Q Can a host be harmed? Marine parasite The pearlfish – found in water creatures? tropical and subtropical A The pearl fish is a parasite which enters a waters around the world A The clownfish lives among the stinging sea cucumber to feed on it. The sea cucumber – is responsible for more sea cucumber deaths than tentacles of sea anemones. This keeps it safe gets irritated by this and tries to rid itself of any of the cucumbers’ from its enemies. When other fish come to the pearl fish by expelling it with its digestive other predators. eat the sea anemone, the aggressive clownfish waste. Sometimes, the sea cucumber expels drives them away. It also cleans algae off the most of its digestive tract with the effort. This Try these too… anemone. The clownfish is not harmed by the can seriously affect its health. This relationship Oceans (34–35), Whales stinging tentacles of the anemone because it is called parasitism – one member benefits at (56–57), Other Marine has a protective mucous layer surrounding it. the expense of the other. Mammals (58–59), Fish (66), Sharks and Rays This relationship is called mutual symbiosis (68–69), Life of a Fish because both members benefit from it. (70–71), Origin of Life Q Do hosts and guests share their food? (88–89), North America (110–111), South Line up for a scrub! There are a number of fish and A Sometimes, two animals share a home America (112–113), Australia and Oceania (114–115), Europe and food. Crabs dig holes in the seabed and invertebrates, like shrimp, that act as (116–117), Africa the arrow goby fish burrows inside these (118–119), Asia cleaners. These animals clean their hosts holes. The fish plays housekeeper by feeding (120–121), The Poles – of parasites and dead skin. They clean The Arctic and off the crabs’ waste. Another example is the the teeth, skin, gills and mouth of the Antarctica (122–123) hermit crab, which picks up and places a tiny hosts. Different types of fish and even sea anemone on its back. The anemone, with sharks and stingrays come to the cleaners Another housekeeper its stinging tentacles, protects the crab from for their services. In exchange, the The spotted goby also has other animals. In return, the anemone gets a symbiotic relationship cleaners, some of which even enter the free food when the crab eats. with crabs. mouth of the host, are not attacked, and get a good feed! 67
  • 69. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 68 The Living Planet Sharks and Rays Sharks, skates and rays all have the same ancestors and are among the oldest fish on Earth. They were here even before the dinosaurs! These fish have cartilage or tough tissue instead of bones, and they breathe through gill slits. They don’t have scales; instead their skin is covered with small tooth-shaped growths called denticles. The denticles give these fish a rough, sandpapery texture if rubbed the wrong way. Quick Q’s: 1. Which is the earliest Q How big are sharks? Ouch, what a stinger! shark we know of? The cladoselache is A There are over 350 species of shark The sting ray has a sharp stinger on its tail. When attacked it lifts its tail and stings its enemy. in the ocean, and not all are large killers. the earliest shark-like fish we know of. It Of these, less than 50 species grow longer Q What is a ray? grew to over 2 metres than 2 metres (6 feet). One of the biggest (6.5 feet) in length. It lived during the sharks is the gentle whale shark, which is A There are thousands of species of rays, Devonian period, 15 metres (50 feet) long and eats plants which belong to the same family as sharks. well before the age and small shellfish. The smallest shark is Rays look like sharks that have been flattened of the dinosaurs. the pygmy ribbontail catshark at just out. They have flat, kite-like bodies that help 24 centimetres (9.5 inches) long. them to glide through the ocean. 2. Are all sharks aggressive? No. The horn shark, which is 1.2 metres Q How does a shark find its prey? Q Can rays be dangerous? (4 feet) long, hides under rocks during the day and comes A Sharks and rays have a strong sense of A Rays come in all different sizes, and out at night. It is a smell and can sense blood in the water some are dangerous. The giant manta is timid shark that eats hundreds of metres away. They usually find enormous, but harmless. Other rays can sting only small fish and their prey through their sense of smell. They or produce an electric shock to stun their crustaceans. have a sharp sense of hearing. They also move prey and enemies. The lesser electric ray can very fast through the water. While attacking, transmit a powerful electric shock between 3. Do sharks ever an average shark can reach a speed of 19 14 and 37 volts. attack whales? kilometres per hour (12 miles per hour). The cookie-cutter dorsal fin shark attaches itself to gill slits a whale and then bites Size matters out a bit of its flesh The great white shark is 3.7–3.75 metres (12–16 feet) with its razor-sharp long. The biggest great white shark on record was teeth. However, 7 metres (23 feet) long. These huge creatures are because cookie-cutter ferocious predators. They eat fish, rays and other sharks are small, the sharks, as well as feeding on carrion (decaying whale is only slightly bodies of fish and animals). wounded by this. eye 4. How long do sharks normally live? Sharks can live for many years. The great white shark can live up mouth to one hundred years. pectoral fin 68
  • 70. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 69 Sharks and Rays Q What is a ghost shark? A The chimaera or ghost shark belongs to the same family as sharks, and its skeleton is also made of cartilage. Chimaeras have long tails, which they use to prod the muddy seabed for shellfish and other small prey. Most chimaeras have a poisonous spine on the upper part of their body that they use to defend themselves. They have three pairs of tooth plates: two pairs in their upper jaw and one pair in their lower jaw. Q What is the difference between a chimaera and a shark? A The chimaera is similar to the shark, but it has a bit of skin covering its gill slits called an operculum, whereas sharks do not. Most chimaeras have a poison-filled spine in front of their dorsal fins. The upper jaws of chimaeras are fused to their skulls, while Deadly teeth Sharks may have up to 3,000 teeth at one time. Various species of sharks have teeth of those of sharks are not. Sharks have different shapes and sizes. This great white shark has sharp, wide, wedge-shaped and replaceable teeth, but chimaeras have serrated teeth that allows it to catch and tear its prey. permanent tooth plates. Chimaeras always hatch from eggs. The female chimaera lays Try these too… Not quite a devil large eggs in a leathery egg case, and the case Oceans (34–35), Whales The manta ray is the largest type of ray. It lies at the bottom of the ocean for anywhere (56–57), Other Marine Mammals can grow to more than 5 metres (15 feet) between six months and one year before the (58–59), Fish (66), wide. It is sometimes called the devil ray eggs hatch. Some sharks lay eggs and others Friends and Enemies because of the horny cartilage on its head, give birth to live young. Sharks can lay up to at Sea (67), Life of a Fish (70–71), Origin but it has no sting and does not attack 100 eggs, while those that give birth to live of Life (88–89) humans. These horns are actually fins young have one or two young at a time. that guide plankton and small fish into On the floor the mouth of the manta ray. Chimaeras live on temperate ocean floors. They are related to sharks and rays. 69
  • 71. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 70 The Living Planet Life of a Fish A fish might have a nervous system and a brain, but it does not have a cerebrum – the part of the brain that guides thought. Q Can fish perform tricks? Most fish cannot see very far but they can distinguish between colours. Flatfish have both eyes on the same side of their head. A Some fish can fool their enemies with The four-eyed fish has a piece of tissue separating each eye in to their appearance. The sabre-toothed blenny two which helps it to spot its enemies better. looks like the wrasse, which is trusted by sharks and other fish because it cleans them of parasites. The blenny imitates the wrasse to Quick Q’s: 1. How do pufferfish Q Do fish have senses? trick sharks and larger fish. It swims up close to them and then it bites off a piece of flesh. get their name? Pufferfish defend A Fish can smell and feel. They can taste themselves by puffing with their mouths and tongues. They also their bodies up with have an extra sense called electroreception water until they are that allows them to sense light, chemicals and round and look much bigger and more scary vibrations. Fish do not have ears outside their than they actually are. body, but sound vibrations travel to their inner ears so they do have a sense of hearing. 2. Is size enough to scare an enemy off? If that doesn’t scare their enemies, the Q Can fish fly? pufferfish poison them. The poison, tetrodotoxin, is A Some fish use large fins to help them leap across the water, so that they look also found in the blue-ringed octopus like they’re flying. Flying fish can cover and is 1,200 times 30–50 metres (98–164 feet) in one stronger than cyanide. glide, travelling through the air at up to A pufferfish’s poison can kill 30 people! 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour). Hatchetfish, which live in the Amazon, have All blown up The pufferfish, also known as a blowfish, has an wing-like pectoral fins which they beat as elastic stomach which it fills up with water in order 3. How can deep-sea fish see in the dark? they fly short distances. to inflate itself. Fish that live in Hatchetfish the deepest part wing-like pectoral fin of the oceans are Hatchetfish are found in bioluminescent, upward dorsal fin seas worldwide but are meaning they glow pointing most commonly seen in in the dark. Certain eyes the western Pacific. They chemicals in the body are small and have large of these fish produce tubular eyes. Their eyes a glowing light that point upwards allowing helps them find their them to see fish in the way through the dark lighter waters above. waters. They also have Hatchetfish live at great large eyes and feelers, depths, between 200 and which help them to 600 metres (660 and 1960 locate prey. In fact, feet). Their bodies are it is because of these compressed and covered glowing fish that the in delicate silvery scales. deepest part of the The large eyes gather the ocean is known as caudal fin faintest traces of light the ‘twilight zone’. that is available. 70
  • 72. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 71 Life of a Fish That’s some red herring! Q Can fish change colour? Herring have a strange way of keeping in touch with each other at A Some fish use camouflage to stay safe. night, when they can’t see each other because of the dark – they break wind. The noise, called ‘fast repetitive tick’, is the herrings’ The cuttlefish has yellow, red, black and way of finding each other without their enemies catching on. The brown pigment sacs under its skin. When herring gulps air at the surface of the water, and then lets it out it feels threatened, it sends a signal to the through a hole in its rear end. colour sacs and they spread the colour of the rock or sand the fish is next to through its body. The fish blends into its background, so that threatening predators cannot see it. Q Do fish defend their young? A Most fish are happy to eat any fish eggs and young they can find, even their own. But in the case of some fish, like the bubblenest builders, the male looks after the eggs and the young, defending the nest from other Q How do fish survive in freezing water? Try these too… Oceans (34–35), Whales fish. With cichlids, both parents guard their young and take it in turns to fan and blow A Fish that live in the freezing seas of (56–57), Other Marine Mammals (58–59), Fish fresh water onto the eggs. They protect Antarctica have an anti-freeze chemical (66), Sharks and Rays their eggs and young from other fish and kill (glyco protein) in their blood that prevents it (68–69), Origin of Life (88–89), Australia and any predators that come too close. Some from freezing. This allows them to live in icy Oceania (114–115), cichlids keep the young from one batch of water. This is the ice fish and cod’s survival Europe (116–117), eggs close by to guard their siblings trick. Other Antarctic fish like barracuda, Africa (118–119), Asia (120–121), The Poles – from the next batch. skates, krill and lantern fish have blood that The Arctic and circulates very slowly. This means that they Antarctica (122–123) can save their energy and use it to stay alive. Big mouth The shape of a fish’s mouth is a good clue to what the fish eats. The larger the mouth, the bigger the prey it can consume. Fish have a sense of taste and are known to taste something before swallowing it if it is not an obvious prey item. Colour me up Cuttlefish are also known as chameleons of the sea because they can change their colour at will. 71
  • 73. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 72 The Living Planet Reptiles The word reptile means ‘to creep’. Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates (animals with a backbone). Most reptiles are covered with scales or plates to keep their skin moist. They breathe through lungs. Quick Q’s: 1. Which are the largest Q Why do reptiles like the sunshine? Egg talk Snakes search for a moist, warm and safe spot to lay and the smallest reptiles? A Reptiles are cold-blooded animals. This their eggs. Snake egg shells are soft and leathery, not hard and brittle like birds’ eggs. Baby snakes are born The estuarine means that they need to bask in the sun and with a tooth, which they use to break out of the eggs. crocodile is more warm up to get energy. Although reptiles love They make a slit in the leathery shell with their tooth to than 7 metres (23 feet) slither out. the sun, they can overheat, and then they long. The smallest have to move in to the shade and cool down. reptile is the British Virgin Islands gecko. It is just 18 millimetres If it gets too cold out, reptiles become slow Q Fish are scaly. Are they reptiles? and need to sleep or hibernate until the (0.7 inches) long. weather is warmer. Even in sub-tropical areas, A A reptile’s scales are different to those many snakes hibernate right through the on a fish. A reptile’s scales are attached to 2. Can I outrun winter. The population of reptiles falls off as each other, and they are actually thick skin. a reptile? one moves to colder regions. Fish scales, in contrast, are stuck to the top Tortoises may be very slow on land but some of the skin. Blood vessels run through the Lizard of the Americas reptiles are very fast. The green iguana is lower layer of a reptile’s skin, but not a fish’s. The spiny-tailed As they grow, reptiles regularly moult, or between 1.2–1.8 metres iguana can run at 35 kilometres per hour (4–6 feet) long. shed their outer layer of skin. Snakes and (21 miles per hour). worm lizards shed this layer of skin in one piece. Other reptiles shed it in several 3. How many eggs do smaller pieces. reptiles lay? Some tortoises lay only one egg in a season. Turtles lay about 150 Q Which was the first reptile? eggs several times each season. Snakes can lay anything from three A The oldest known reptile was hylonomus. It was around 25 centimetres (10 inches) to 100 eggs, while crocodiles lay between Q Where are baby reptiles born? long. Reptiles developed from amphibians, 20–90 eggs at a time. and the first true reptiles had a solid skull A Some lizards and snakes give birth to with holes only for nose, eyes and a spinal 4. Would I find live young, but most reptiles build nests cord. These early reptiles gave rise to another reptiles at the North and lay eggs in them. Most reptiles are not line called synapsids, which had another pair and South Poles? caring parents, and they leave the nest once of holes in their skulls behind the eyes. Most reptiles are found in warm, moist areas. they have laid the eggs, though the eggs Synapsids developed into mammals. Being cold-blooded, contain sufficient food for the baby reptile. they cannot live in the Fortunately, their hatchlings are born with the freezing temperatures of the polar regions, ability to look after themselves, and when they Q I’m feeling cold! Am I a reptile? with their long nights. hatch, they already look like adults. Some Reptiles need regular sunlight to warm reptiles, however, do make good parents. A Reptiles include crocodiles, alligators, themselves up. Alligators guard their eggs and help the caimans, lizards, snakes, worm lizards and hatchlings when they come out. turtles; but not humans! 72
  • 74. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 73 Lizards Lizards Colourful character Chameleons have an amazing Lizards make up the largest group of reptiles. There are over ability – they can flush their 4,300 species of lizards. They have four legs, a long tail and skin with coloured pigment. movable eyelids. A lizard’s lower jaw is This helps them to take on the fixed to its upper jaw, while a snake’s colour of their background jaws are separate. so they can hide from Open frill their enemies. Some Q How do I know a chameleons can move each eye lizard if I meet one? separately, so they can see two things at one time. A Lizards have dry, scaly skin and clawed feet. When they are in danger, many types of lizards can shed their tail to distract an enemy. A new tail grows back. Scary frill Q What do lizards eat? The opened frill of the lizard makes it look much larger. A Most lizards eat insects. Some, like the green iguana, are vegetarians. Bigger lizards, Q Is that lizard wearing a bib? Multipurpose tongue Lizards use their tongue like the gila monster, eat eggs and small to catch insects for animals. The biggest lizards of all, the A The frilled lizard of Australia has food. They also use their tongue to wipe clean monitors, eat small animals. two large frilly pieces of skin on both their mouths and eyes. sides of its neck. When in danger, its frill fans out around its head and measures about Try these too… Q Are lizards poisonous? 30 centimetres (12 inches) in diameter. Origin of Life (88–89), A The gila monster of North America and Dinosaurs (90), North America (110–111), the beaded lizard of Mexico and Guatemala Q Which is the biggest monitor lizard? South America (112–113), Australia are poisonous. Some of the other larger lizards can bite, but they are not poisonous. A The fierce komodo dragon is the biggest and Oceania (114–115), Africa (118–119), Turtles (74), Snakes (75) The komodo dragon’s bite poisons the victim’s monitor in the world. It weighs about 135 kg blood. Most lizards are not dangerous to (300 pounds). Its mouth is full of poisonous humans. In fact, they help us by eating insects. bacteria, and when it bites, the bacteria Child eater Komodo dragons are poisons the blood of its prey, killing it. huge and fierce. They Poisonous have even been known The beaded lizard to eat small children. found in Mexico is a venomous lizard. 73
  • 75. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 74 The Living Planet Turtles Turtles and tortoises form another group of reptiles which includes terrapins. Turtles usually live in the sea, and although Q What does a turtle eat? tortoises belong to the same family, they prefer to live on land. Freshwater turtles are often called terrapins. The back of a turtle A Most sea turtles eat fish, crabs, shrimps is covered with a bony shell, and they have beaks but no teeth. and jellyfish. The adult green turtle eats only seaweed and algae, grazing in the sea like cows do on a field. Quick Q’s: 1. How large can a Q Why do tortoises have a shell? Protective shells turtle become? The leatherback turtle A A turtle’s upper shell or carapace is Some tortoises and turtles can fold their can grow up to like armour. The flat lower shell is called necks under their 2.4 metres (8 feet) the plastron. A turtle can draw its head, spine. But those living and weigh up to legs and tail in to its shell whenever in the southern 870 kilograms threatened. Other animals cannot break hemisphere fold their (1,900 pounds). necks to one side. open the shell and get to the turtle. 2. How long does a turtle live? Q How does a turtle breathe? Q Can a tortoise swim? The common snapping turtle lives for about A Turtles breathe using lungs like humans, 40 years, whereas the giant tortoise would A Tortoises have stubby, strong feet and but they can survive for hours without need a huge birthday a heavy shell, which is why they move about oxygen. When they are swimming, they cake to fit about slowly. They live entirely on land. Although need to come up to the surface to breathe 170 candles! a few species of tortoise can swim, most periodically. Some, like the Fitzroy River of them cannot. Turtles, however, are turtle, have a pair of air sacs near their 3. Can I be friends advanced swimmers, with webbed feet that rear end, in which they store air when with a turtle? help them to paddle through water. Smaller they are underwater. Most turtles are harmless. But the turtles do the most swimming. Larger turtles, Box turtle common snapping like snapping turtles, prefer to walk along The box turtle has turtle that lives in ponds the floor of the river. a dome shaped shell and rivers can attack with hinges at the people. Their bites, bottom that closes however, are rarely fatal. tightly for protection. 74
  • 76. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 75 Snakes Snakes Snakes are reptiles that developed from lizard-like ancestors. However, unlike most lizards, snakes do not have legs. They have transparent scales that cover their eyes to protect them. They breathe with only one lung located on the right side of their New clothes body. In most snakes, the left lung does not develop or is absent. Look at the snake shedding its skin starting from the mouth. Snakes Q How do snakes eat if they do not Q How does a snake hear a shed their skin when they have grown too large for their old skin. Just as you have teeth? snake charmer? buy new clothes when A Snakes have a flexible lower jaw. They A If you were a snake you would not have your old ones are too tight, snakes too grow can open their mouths very wide and swallow any ear ache or trouble with cleaning ear wax. a new, larger skin. prey that is bigger than they are. After a big This is because snakes don’t have external meal, a snake moves very slowly, so that the ears, so they cannot hear like we do. However, Try these too… prey can be digested. Digestion needs so they have an inner ear that can feel vibrations Reptiles (72), Lizards much energy that some snakes, like the on the ground and in the air. When the snake (73), Venomous Snakes Mexican rattlesnake, increase their sways to a snake charmer’s instrument, it is (76–77), Constrictors (78–79), North America temperature by 14 °C (57 °F). Once actually reacting to the vibrations of the (110–111), South digestion is complete, a snake excretes charmer’s movement, not to the sound the America (112–113), the hair and claws of its prey. Snakes instrument is making. A sleeping snake might Australia and Oceania (114–115), Africa cannot digest plants. not wake up if you called it, but it would be (118–119), Asia sure to feel the vibration in the ground if (120–121) you walked close by. Q Do snakes shed their skin? One giant leap A As they grow, snakes shed Some snakes, like the Singapore paradise all of their skin. The skin comes tree snake, can glide as far as 137 metres off like a sock, beginning at (449 feet) through the air. These snakes the mouth. Snakes can only jump off branches and can even turn 90 shed their skin when the air degrees in the air to chase their prey or is moist. If the air is dry, the to move from tree to tree. This has led to skin does not come off. the legend that snakes can fly. This is dangerous for the snake, since the old skin can get infected. Skin left attached to the tail can cut off the supply of blood to the tip which can cause it to drop off. Snake charming Snake charmers usually remove the snake’s fangs before trying out their tricks with them. 75
  • 77. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 76 The Living Planet Venomous Snakes There are over 2,500 types of snakes in the world. Of these, only about 450 varieties are venomous, or poisonous. These include vipers, cobras, mambas and sea snakes. Even poisonous snakes will only attack if they feel threatened. Quick Q’s: 1. Which snake has the Q Are fangs important to snakes? longest fangs? The gaboon viper has A Venomous snakes inject poison into their the longest fangs, which victims through their fangs. All venomous can grow to lengths of snakes have a venom sac that is connected about 5 centimetres to their fangs. When they strike the prey, the Fang (2 inches). venom sac is squeezed to release the venom, which then travels through a hollow passage 2. Which is the most venomous snake in in the fangs into the victim. the world? The inland taipan, Poison teeth a venomous snake found in Australia, Q Why are the fangs of the cobra shorter Vipers, one of the most poisonous snakes, have only one pair of fangs. Their fangs are longer than those of other than those of the viper? is the most venomous snakes. snake in the world. Its venom is 400 times more powerful than the A Cobras and all the other snakes in their Spitting snake Notice (left) the cobra’s most recognizable feature – its family have short fangs. Unlike vipers, these venom of a rattlesnake. hood or flap of skin muscle that it can extend to scare Cobras, however, kill snakes cannot fold their fangs out of the way its enemies. The image on the right shows a cobra more people, because when they are not being used. If the fangs spitting venom. The cobra produces neurotoxic venom they live near were too long, a cobra would injure itself to kill its victims. populated areas. when it closed its mouth. 3. Which snake is the fastest in the world? The black mamba found in Africa can travel at speeds of 19 kilometres per hour (11.8 miles per hour. This makes it the fastest snake in the world. 4. How does the spitting cobra get its name? When threatened, spitting cobras spray venom into the eyes of the enemy, causing temporary blindness. This gives the snake enough time to escape. Spitting cobras are known to spit venom to distances of about 2.5 metres (8 feet)! 76
  • 78. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 77 Venomous Snakes Marine reptile Dark brown or Sea snakes are found in black upper part Oar-like tail that warm waters, mainly helps it to paddle around the coasts of Asia Bright yellow in water and South America. They lower part have flatter heads than other snakes, which help them to swim. Q How many kinds of venom do snakes produce? A There are two types of snake venom. Snakes like the cobras produce neurotoxic venom. This affects the nervous Q How are sea snakes able system, paralyzing the victim and leading to to live in water? a quick death. Vipers produce hemotoxic venom that affects the blood and organs but A Sea snakes have paddle-like tails that does not kill immediately. As a result, doctors help them to swim in water. They also have a Try these too… sometimes have a chance to treat the victim. large lung that is almost as long as their body. Reptiles (72), Lizards This enables them to stay underwater for long (73), Snakes (75), periods. Sea snakes eat fish and other small Constrictors (78–79), Q How is a pit viper different from a marine animals. North America (110–111), South true viper? America (112–113), Rattle Australia and Oceania A Both true and pit vipers belong to The rattle is made up of hard scales from the tip of the tail. Each time a rattlesnake sheds its skin a new rattle (114–115), Africa (118–119), Asia the same family. However, pit vipers have segment is added. (120–121) specialized heat-detecting organs, or ‘pits’ that are located between their eyes and nostrils. These sensors help pit vipers identify Venom to the rescue the differences in the temperature between Snake venom is rich in proteins, so their prey and the surroundings, thereby it is used to make different kinds of allowing the snake to hunt even in the dark. medicines, including painkillers. Most medicines used to treat snake bites are Q Is the rattlesnake poisonous? actually made from snake venom. A The rattlesnake is a highly poisonous pit viper found in parts of North America and Mexico. Most species of rattlesnakes produce the hemotoxic kind of venom, which is extremely poisonous. The snake usually warns its enemies and victims that it is going to attack by shaking the rattle at the end of its tail. The rattle is made up of a series of hard, ring-like scales that are connected. Every time the snake shakes its ‘rattle’, these scales move across each other to produce a loud rattling sound that scares most animals away. 77
  • 79. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 78 The Living Planet Constrictors Some non-venomous snakes, like boas and pythons, have a unique way of killing their prey. They coil their bodies around the prey and squeeze it until the prey suffocates to death. The snake then opens its jaws wide and swallows the prey whole. Snakes that kill their prey in this manner are known as constrictors. Quick Q’s: 1. Are there diffeerent Q Is the anaconda a constrictor? kinds of python? There are 25 different A The anaconda is a type of boa. In fact, species of pythons in it is the only boa that lives in water. For this Deadly coils the world. They are reason, the anaconda is also known as the It is almost impossible for prey to escape once a found in Africa, Asia python has coiled around it. water boa. Like all boas, the anaconda also and Australia. All kills its prey by suffocating it. It usually lies species of pythons are constrictors, and none of them is poisonous. still in streams or swamps waiting for its prey Q What is special about the green to come near. The snake then grabs the anaconda? Some pythons have unsuspecting victim with its powerful jaws patterns on their scales. and pulls it underwater to drown it. A The green anaconda is the heaviest 2. Is it true that boas snake in the world. An average green Heavy and pythons can go anaconda that is about 6 metres (20 feet) Green anacondas are found in the rainforests of the without food for long, usually weighs a hefty 250 kilograms several days? Amazon and Orinoco basins, and also in Trinidad. (551 pounds). Some green anacondas are After a big meal, boas and pythons do not eat believed to weigh more than 500 kilograms for several days. This (1,100 pounds)! is because the digestive juices in the snake’s stomach take a long time to digest the food. 3. Which is the longest snake in the world? The reticulated python is the longest snake in the world. An adult reticulated python can grow up to 10 metres (33 feet) in length. 4. Why are royal pythons also called ball pythons? The royal python is a type of python found in Africa. When in danger the royal python coils itself tightly into a ball. This ability has earned it a second name – ball python. 78
  • 80. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 79 Constrictors Q How are constrictors able to swallow prey as big as monkeys and deer? A The jaws of constrictor snakes are like rubber bands. They might look small but they can be stretched to a large extent. This is because the upper and lower jaws are attached to ligaments instead of the skull. This helps the snake to open its mouth wide enough to swallow a monkey or a deer whole. Q Do all pythons have red eyes? Patient killer A Albino pythons have red eyes and Green tree pythons tongues. This is due to a condition called Q Why are newborn emerald tree boas spend hours or even days perched on a branch and hardly making a albinism, when the snake lacks melanin – red or orange in colour, while the adults single movement. But a pigment that gives the snake its natural are green? when any potential prey colour. Albino pythons can be white, yellow, is within reach, this snake orange or brown, but they all have red eyes. A When they are growing, emerald tree can move very quickly and coil itself around boas change colour several times. They are the victim. usually born red or orange. Within a year, the young emerald tree boa turns golden yellow, before finally becoming green. As the snake Try these too… grows older the green colour gets darker. Reptiles (72), Lizards (73), Snakes (75), Adult emerald tree boas spend most of their Venomous Snakes lives draped around branches during the day, (76–77), North America and hanging down from the branches at night (110–111), South America (112–113), to hunt their food. This snake spends its Australia and Oceania All the colours entire life in trees. Their dark green colour (114–115), Africa Different species of the rainbow boa come in a wide helps to camouflage them. Emerald tree boas (118–119), Asia range of colours. They live on the ground in the forests (120–121), Ancient are among the few snake species that do not Americas (132), Incas of South America. The name is also used for the slender boa, which has colourful markings on its body and is lay eggs but carry their young inside their and Aztecs (141) kept as a pet in some countries. bodies until the time of birth. Snakes with legs? Scientists believe that snakes evolved from lizard-like creatures. Over millions of years, these creatures lost their legs Spur until they began to slither on their bellies like snakes. Pythons are living proof of this theory. All pythons have two tiny spurs (claws) towards the back of their long bodies. These spurs are thought to be the remains of hind feet. 79
  • 81. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 80 The Living Planet Crocodilians It’s an alligator There are two species of alligators – American and Chinese. The longest alligator ever measured was Crocodiles and their relatives are together known as 5.8 metres (19 feet) long. It was found in Marsh Island, crocodilians. This group of reptiles includes alligators, Louisiana, in the USA. The Chinese alligator is an endangered species and lives only in the Yangtze caimans and gharials. Crocodiles, alligators and caimans River valley. are found in the rainforests. Quick Q’s: 1. What is crocodillin? Q Is that a crocodile or an alligator? Crocodillin is a substance that is found A Crocodiles and alligators might in crocodilian blood. look a lot like each other, but they Scientists believe that are in fact very different. The snout this substance could of a crocodile is longer and cure some diseases that cannot be treated V-shaped, while the alligator with antibiotics. has a broader, U-shaped snout. Another way to tell the two 2. Which is the largest reptiles apart is to look at their crocodile species? teeth. The crocodile’s lower The saltwater crocodile teeth are visible even when the animal’s is not only the largest mouth is closed. Crocodiles also have of all crocodiles, but also the largest reptile special glands that help them live in the world. This huge in saltwater, while alligators can reptile can be more survive only in fresh water. than 6 metres (20 feet) in length and weigh Narrow-jawed crocodilian over 1,500 kilograms The gharial is the second-longest of (3,307 pounds). all crocodilians – a large adult can be 7 metres (23 feet) long. Their long 3. Which is the smallest narrow jaws are adapted to a diet crocodile? of small fish. The dwarf crocodile is exceptionally small. Adult dwarf crocodiles do not grow more than 2 metres (6.5 feet) in length. 4. How many kinds Q Why do crocodilians have of caiman are there? eyes on top of their heads? There are six types of caiman. The largest is the black caiman of A All crocodilians spend a great deal of time in water. They usually lie submerged the Amazon, which can grow up to a length of so that their prey cannot spot them. But 6 metres (20 feet). The they can keep a lookout for prey as they commonest is the cruise through rivers and streams, since spectacled caiman, which grows to an their eyes are placed on top of their heads. average length of Incidentally, crocodiles do shed crocodile 2.1 metres (7 feet) tears, as the saying goes. They do this to and can be found all over Latin America. clean their eyes, and not because they feel sad for their victims. 80
  • 82. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 81 Crocodilians Q Do crocodilians chew? A Crocodilians cannot chew their food. They usually tear off huge chunks of flesh or swallow their prey whole, if it is small. Once they have killed their prey with their vicious jaws, crocodilians toss their heads back so that the food falls in to their throats. Latin American cousin Q What is special The caiman is the major crocodilian found in about the Egyptian Central and South plover? America, especially in the Amazon rainforests. A The Egyptian plover is a bird that Try these too… is believed to share a special bond with Reptiles (72), North the crocodile. The plover feeds on America (110–111), South America parasites that live in the crocodile’s (112–113), Australia mouth. The reptile is said to open its and Oceania (114–115), mouth and allow the bird to clean its teeth Africa (118–119), Asia (120–121) without harming the plover in any way. It’s a crocodile The Nile crocodile is one of three Sunbathing crocodile species found in Africa. For Crocodilians are cold-blooded creatures, so they can often be centuries, it has been both feared as a man-eater and worshiped for its strength. Recently, a notorious spotted basking in the sun. This helps them to raise their body crocodile named Gustav, was living in the rivers near temperature and get energy. Most crocodilians bask more after a Lake Tanganyika in Burundi, Africa. This crocodile, meal as heat helps them to digest the food faster. held responsible for killing hundreds of people, was last seen in 2005. Q Do crocodilians make good parents? A Crocodilian mothers are extremely protective. They build nests to lay their eggs. Unlike other reptiles, the female crocodilian does not abandon her eggs. Instead, she settles nearby her nest to keep predators away. After the eggs hatch, the mother takes her young along for a swim. Nearly all crocodilians carry their young about in their mouths. The mother looks after her babies for about a year. Crocodile mothers can be very aggressive if their babies are in danger. 81
  • 83. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 82 The Living Planet Amphibians Amphibians live on land and in water. Of the 6,000 species of amphibians, most begin their life in water. The skin of an amphibian is thin and moist and helps the amphibian to breathe, so they need to live in moist, damp places. Quick Q’s: 1. What do frogs and Q How do amphibians give birth? toads eat? Frogs catch live prey A Most amphibians are born in water, (mostly insects) by where the eggs are laid. Although some frogs, darting out their toads and caecilians give birth to live young Long tongue long, sticky tongues. that look like adults, most frogs lay eggs in a Frogs have a long tongue hinged at the front of the The marine toad eats blob of jelly and most toads lay eggs in long mouth. They flick this tongue out quickly to catch food. plants as well as other dead animals. strips of gel. Some caecilians lay eggs in burrows. Male frogs call loudly to attract Q Is it a frog or a toad? 2. Do toads have long females to suitable water bodies such as ponds tongues like frogs? At the start of the mating season, male frogs A Frogs have longer legs than most Toads have shorter eggs are a favourite food of other animals in toads, which help them to take long leaps. tongues than frogs the water. So frogs lay enough eggs to ensure The hind feet of a frog are webbed, to help and have to use their wide mouths to catch that some survive. it swim. Toads hop around and have their prey. dry, thick, warty skin. Unlike most Worm lookalike Caecilians are amphibians that look amphibians, toads like to live in dry 3. Why do some frogs like giant earthworms or small places. Both frogs and toads have bulging and almost all toads snakes. They live hidden in the eyes covered by a transparent piece of skin secrete poison? ground most of the time. Most species have smooth, to keep their eyes moist. When frogs Frogs and toads secrete poison for safety. Most dark skin. Their eyes are eat, they close their eyes and poison-arrow frogs covered by skin for protection push the food down and mantella frogs are underground. They have two their throat. brightly coloured to tentacles on their heads. There warn their enemies. are 171 species of caecilians. Some harmless frogs Most of them live in hot and copy this colouring moist places around the world. to protect themselves from predators who mistake them as poisonous! Q What are the changes that happen to amphibians as they grow? 4. Can toads help out in the garden? Frogs and toads help A All amphibians are born from an egg and grow into a to keep insects in the garden under control. tadpole. As the tadpole grows, its eyes They eat snails and grow eyelids and the creature learns to slugs, which destroy see both in and out of water. But until plants. They are also an important part of the they become adults, they spend all their food chain. Rats, foxes, time in water. Tadpoles of frogs and toads crows and hedgehogs lose their tails before they move eat them. on to land and become adults. 82
  • 84. GrBigBk_Q_A 060-083.qxd 21/5/07 12:17 pm Page 83 Amphibians Q Are amphibians safe to touch? A Most toads and some salamanders secrete a poison through their skin to defend themselves against predators. Most frogs are not poisonous, although rainforest frogs like the poison-arrow frog are so poisonous that some people tip arrows with its poison to use for hunting. Highly poisonous Q How big are amphibians? Most of the 220 species of the poison-arrow frog A Amphibians range of Central and South America are brightly in size from the tiny coloured to scare away 9.8 millimetre (0.38 inch) potential predators. Brazilian gold frog to the Japanese giant salamander, Try these too… which is 1.5 metres Reptiles (72), Lizards (60 inches) long and (73), Turtles (74), Dinosaurs (90), North weighs 25 kilograms America (110–111), (55 pounds). Amphibians South America The familiar frog (112–113), Australia are found almost With over 5,000 species, frogs are among the most and Oceania (114–115), common animals in the world. They are found from everywhere on Earth, Europe (116–117), the warm tropics to the cold sub-arctic regions, but even in the Arctic. Africa (118–119), most species are found in the tropical rainforests. Adult Asia (120–121) frogs are equally comfortable in land and water. Sing a song for her Male frogs and toads have a special pouch in their throat that helps them to croak. The sound is amplified by one or more vocal sacs, which are membranes of skin under the throat or on the corner of the mouth. Croaking loudly is a good way to attract females in the mating season. Some frogs and toads croak loudly to scare other males away and can even puff themselves out to look bigger. 83
  • 85. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 84 The Living Planet Insects Long jump champion There are more than 11,000 species of Insects make up the largest group of creatures on Earth. grasshoppers. Some can Eight out of every ten animals are insects. There are about jump 20 times the length of their 925,000 species of insects. Of these, there are about own body! 5,000 species of dragonflies, 110,000 species of bees and ants and 3,500 species of cockroaches. Quick Q’s: 1. How many insects Q What is an insect? am I standing on? If you are in a field, A Insects are arthropods – animals there could be dozens that have a protective cover or an of insects under your exoskeleton (a skeleton outside the body). feet. One acre can be home to more than The exoskeleton supports the body and keeps Q What is an insect’s body like? the soft inner organs safe. Since the skeleton 400,000,000 insects. 100,000,000 collembola (springtails) can live in can’t grow with the insect, the insect has to A In Latin, the word insect means ‘cut in shed or moult the skeleton regularly, and a sections’. An insect’s body has three parts: a a square metre! new one grows back. Insects are the only head, a thorax, and an abdomen. The head invertebrates (animals without backbone) has a pair of antennae, eyes and a mouth. 2. Can I eat an insect? that can fly. Some insects such as cockroaches The head is used for eating, to feel around Some insects can be and some types of ants grow wings when and to gather information. Some insects have poisonous. However, in certain parts of the they are adults. All insects have six legs. simple eyes like ours, but most have complex world, people do eat Scorpions, spiders and centipedes are not eyes made up of six-sided lenses. The second non-harmful insects, insects, since they do not have six legs. part of the body, the thorax, supports the six such as ants, crickets and grasshoppers, since True insects also have external mouths legs and wings. The last part, the abdomen, they are a cheap source and 11 abdominal segments. digests the food and helps the insect breathe, of protein. But they since insects do not have separate noses have to be cooked in a certain way before they Digging up the soil like we do. are safe to be eaten. Many insects, such as ants, make their homes by digging up the soil. In the process, they move the soil around and allow air to pass underground, which improves the Lady on a leaf 3. How long have fertility of the soil. Using chemical insecticides doesn’t There are over insects been around? only kill pests, it kills these beneficial insects as well. 4,500 species of ladybirds, One insect fossil, found in Russia, dates which are back to more than 100 also known million years before as ladybugs the first dinosaurs. and lady Cockroaches are also beetles. They older than dinosaurs. help us by eating pests. 4. How many babies can one pair of houseflies have? In five months, one pair of houseflies can grow into a family of 191 x 1018 if all their young live and multiply. That is 191 followed by 18 zeros! 84
  • 86. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 85 Insects Not at prayer Try these too… The praying mantis is easily recognized by thorax Amphibians (82–83), its resemblance to a leaf Insect Life (86–87), and the way it holds its Origin of Life (88–89), antennae together, as if Plant Life (96–97), it has its hands joined North America in prayer. (110–111), South America (112–113), abdomen Australia and Oceania proboscis (114–115), Europe (116–117), Africa Q How do insects breathe? (118–119), Asia (120–121) A Insects have spiracles (little holes) on the sides of the thorax and abdomen. Air enters through these spiracles and then breathing tubes carry the oxygen all over the body. The spiracles close when the insect is in water, ensuring that the insect doesn’t drown. However, insects have to come up for air regularly when they are underwater. Major pest The mosquito is one of our biggest pests. It has a painful Q Why do we need insects? bite, and carries the germs of major diseases like malaria. A There are many insects that help us. Long and short Butterflies, ants, bees and wasps pollinate flowers and help to grow new plants, One of the longest insects is the stick insect, which is about including fruit trees. Insects give us honey, 36 centimetres (14 inches) long. It belongs to the orthoptera medicines, silk, lacquer and wax. Some insect family, which includes crickets, grasshoppers, praying beetles eat dead animals. Some insects eat mantids, leaf insects and cockroaches. Most stick insects are other insects. Grasshoppers lay so many eggs females and they can lay fertile eggs without the help of a male. that if all of them were to hatch, they could When the eggs hatch, out come more females. The smallest insect eat up most of our crops and plants. This of all is the fairy fly, which is 0.17 millimetres does not happen because there are other (0.007 inches) long and can fly insects that eat up most of the grasshopper through the eye of a needle. eggs. Agricultural scientists have been breeding insects to keep pest populations under control. This is better than using chemical insecticides, which are poisonous not only for insects but also for humans. Scientists have also been using insects as an ingredient for vaccines, for example in a new trial vaccine against cervical cancer. However, there are many insects that are undoubtedly pests. Mosquitoes, bedbugs and lice drink our blood and spread diseases. Others, like the housefly and the tsetse fly, can make us ill. Locusts chew up our crops. Termites and borers eat up wooden homes and furniture. 85
  • 87. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 86 The Living Planet Insect Life Most insects go through various stages of life. They are born from eggs, and grow into a nymph or larva. The larva then becomes an adult insect, also called an imago. Sometimes there is a fourth stage in which the larva becomes a pupa before finally becoming an adult. The changes an insect goes through are known as metamorphosis. Q Do all larvae snooze in a cocoon? A The butterfly larva is one of the few that makes a chrysalis or cocoon around itself to rest in, while it grows into an adult. Deep sleep Short life The larva stops For most insects, the adult Most other insects move straight from the feeding and stage of life is the shortest. larva to the adult stage. undergoes drastic physical changes during Quick Q’s: the pupal stage. This 1. How does a bee Q Do insects lay their eggs in a nest? stage occurs only in insects like butterflies become queen of that undergo complete the colony? Worker bees produce A Some insects lay their eggs inside plant metamorphosis. stems. Walking stick insects scatter their eggs royal jelly. When a bee about on the ground, while certain beetles lay larva is fed a diet of royal jelly, it grows into a queen bee. All the their eggs on dead animals so that their larvae Q What is the have food when they hatch. A tarantula wasp life cycle of a others in the colony are fed royal jelly only lays one egg on a tarantula spider. mosquito? for about two days. Then, they are given pollen and nectar or Laying eggs Insects such as butterflies lay their eggs on the A Mosquitoes lay honey instead. underside of leaves. their eggs in water. The larva is born in water and feeds on tiny organisms just below the 2. Why are dung surface of the water. It comes up periodically beetles so called? for a breath of air. Mosquito pupae do not Dung beetles use the feed but are more active than other insect dung from plant-eating pupae. After a few days, an adult mosquito animals by rolling it emerges from the pupa, and spends the rest into balls. This is where these beetles lay their of its life on land. eggs. The larvae feed Growing up fast on the dung. The The life cycle of a mosquito usually lasts for about beetles bury each ball. two weeks. 3. Are all insect eggs round and smooth? Some species of assassin eggs larva pupa adult bugs lay eggs that have spines. These eggs hatch into larvae, which are almost like adults, but do not have wings. 86
  • 88. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 87 Insect Life Try these too… Q Do insects live with their parents? Amphibians (82–83), A Most insects lay their eggs in batches Insects (84–85), Plant Life (96–97), South America (112–113), and then fly away. The young, when they Africa (118–119), hatch, live close to each other and feed Asia (120–121) together. They find safety in numbers even though their parents are not around to protect them. Some adult insects meet up only when it is time to breed, and move on after that. Q How many insects live together? A Many insects live in groups, swarms, colonies or nests. A colony of ants can have just 50 ants. One big nest in Japan had 1,080,000 queen ants and 306,000,000 Food for the young workers in 45,000 smaller nests, each of Ladybirds mate in spring or summer. Adult females which was connected with the others. Some then lay several eggs near a colony of plant-eating insects, like locusts, live in swarms. One pests like aphids, or greenfly. When the larvae hatch, they feed on these insect pests. swarm can hold 28,000,000,000 locusts. When a locust swarm attacks a field, it’s bad news for the farmer. Each locust weighs only about Q Why do social insects have such 2.5 grams (0.09 ounce). But an average large families? swarm has a weight of 70,000 tons! A Insects that live in colonies are Click and roll known as social insects. Like with bees, the members of ant and termite Most beetles struggle to roll over when colonies also have different functions. they are upside down on their backs. With these insects, the queen lays eggs. But not the click beetle. When it is Other members of the colony are upside down or needs to get out of a known as workers. They go out to jam, it bends itself until a special spine gather food, while the soldiers protect on its thorax snaps into place. Then the the colony. Laying eggs is important beetle shoots into the air with a ‘click’ work in a termite colony – one sound. This usually does the trick, since queen termite can produce almost when it falls back down, it lands the right 30,000 eggs every day. A queen way up! bee can lay more than 1,000 beetle on its back eggs a day. ready to jump Leading the way Worker ants usually hunt for food and then leave a trail of scent leading the other ants in body- the colony to the arching food source. muscle 87
  • 89. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 88 The Living Planet Origin of Life Early Earth The Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. But the Artists impression of how the Earth earliest fossils found show that life on Earth only began about looked in the early days – mostly water, 3.5 billion years ago. a few volcanic islands, and dinosaurs roaming the land, seas and sky. Quick Q’s: 1. Why is the coelacanth Q What was the Earth like in the early days? called a living fossil? The coelacanth is one A When the earth began, it was hot, dry of the earliest known and dusty. There was no oxygen. According fish that has survived to some scientists, the blue-green algae were until today. It grows to the first living things to appear. They a length of 2 metres (6.5 feeet). Until a produced their own food and oxygen using coelacanth was caught sunlight – a process called photosynthesis that by a fisherman off the plants use today. Slowly, the oxygen in the east coast of South Africa in 1938, it was atmosphere increased, and larger organisms thought to be extinct. were able to develop. 2. What are the different ages in which Q Did life definitely start on Earth? life formed? Q What was the first animal with a spine? Life began in the A Some scientists believe life didn’t begin Precambrian age. Then came the on Earth, but came from outer space. They A The first animal with a spine was called Palaeozoic age, which believe that a comet hit the Earth, carrying the pikaia. It looked like a flat worm and was saw the first plants, the proteins from which living things are about 5 centimetres (2 inches) long. It swam most invertebrates, the first vertebrates, formed. There are a number of theories close to the sea floor, by twisting its body back fish, amphibians, and regarding the origin of life on Earth (or and forth and using its tail fin to steer. The reptiles. The Mesozoic in space), but none of them have been pikaia is now extinct. age or the Age of Reptiles was when proven yet. dinosaurs ruled the Earth. This was also Q When did the first fish appear? when flowering plants, birds, and some Q When did the mammals developed. Humans only appeared first animals appear? A The pikaia was followed by fish without jaws, so their mouths had to much later, in the Cenozoic period. A Between about 600 remain open to catch plants and animals million years ago and 517 million as they swam by. Then, about 475 million 3. Is there any new clue years ago, the first animals appeared years ago, the coelacanth on how life began? in the oceans. They had soft bodies. developed jaws and Scientists have found These flat creatures were the teeth. Since they could some animals among ancestors of sea anemones, sea eat more effectively, the mixture of gases that come out of urchins, jellyfish and worms. They these fish with jaws volcanoes. Much of were all invertebrates – animals grew faster. Amazingly, Earth was like this without a spine. coelacanths are still when life began. So any animal that can around today! First spine live here may hold a Artist’s impression of how the Pikaia probably clue to the origin of looked. This seahorse lookalike is important as life on Earth. it was the very first vertebrate. 88
  • 90. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 89 Origin of Life Studying those that died ages ago Scientists called palaeontologists study the lives of prehistoric plants and animals by looking at fossils. When these animals and plants died, soil settled on top of them. Over time, this soil gradually hardened into rock. This happened again and again till there were several layers of rock, with the oldest layer at the bottom. The print of the dead animal or plant that died during a certain period can be seen clearly on the rocks. These prints are called fossils. Fossils have helped us to discover what life was like before humans were around. Clues to early forms of life Try these too… Q When did the first land creatures appear? Stromatolites are stone structures that may have been formed by organisms such as the blue-green algae, when Oceans (34–35), Fish (66), Amphibians A As the seas filled with more animals they cemented the sediments at the bottom of the sea. Scientists have found fossilized remains of some very (82–83), Insects (84–85), Plant Life (96–97) feeding on one another, some marine early life inside stromatolites. creatures (including some fish) began to move to land to escape their predators and to get food more easily. Some of these creatures developed into insects like mayflies and dragonflies. They grew lungs and their fins changed to legs. These were the very first amphibians – animals that could live either on land or in water. A typical animal of this period was the acanthostega. It had four stubby feet and looked like a lizard. It spent most of its time on the shores of lagoons. Ancestor of amphibians This armoured fish may have been the ancestor of amphibians who first left the sea and started to move on to land. Fins below the body may be the precursor to legs. 89
  • 91. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 90 The Living Planet Dinosaurs Q Were dinosaurs always large? Dinosaurs get their name from the Greek words deinos, which means large and scary, and sauros or lizard. These A Early dinosaurs of the Triassic age were fearsome reptiles ruled the Earth during the Mesozoic not very large. Even the biggest did not grow era, which lasted from 248 to 65 million years ago. larger than 4 metres (13 feet) long. During the Jurassic period, dinosaurs grew much larger. The giant plant-eating dinosaurs of Quick Q’s: 1. What did the Q How did the first reptiles this time, called sauropods, were 30–45 evolve on Earth? metres (98–150 feet) long. dinosaurs eat? Despite their reputation as violent A About 300 million years ago, Flying reptile The pteranodon was one monsters, 65 per cent amphibians evolved into reptiles. of the largest flying of the dinosaurs were These reptiles continued to adapt reptiles, with a wingspan vegetarian. They lived of up to 9 metres (30 around the same time to their environment. They feet). Its sharp beak as the first flowering developed a better way of breathing was toothless. plants were developing than amphibians – amphibians breathe on the Earth. But most of the plants around by moving their throat muscles, but the them were like ferns. dinosaurs moved the muscles below the Some types of dinosaurs, such as the rib cage and abdomen, just like us. As a Q What happened turanoceratops, had result, they could take in more air. to the dinosaurs? special parrot-like beaks with which they A Nobody is sure. But could bite off the needles from ferns. Q Did the Earth look the same as it many scientists think does today? volcanic eruptions led to such a thick cover of dust over the Earth 2. Were the meat-eating dinosaurs special? A At the time of the reptiles, the Earth that sunlight could not get through. This Most meat-eating was hot and dry. There was just one landmass meant that plants could not make food, so the dinosaurs were smaller since the continents had not yet formed, dinosaurs had nothing to eat, and they died. than their prey! But they were faster, with and there was no polar ice since it was too Age of dinosaurs bigger and stronger hot. Reptiles – some of them as long as The age of dinosaurs was so long that it is divided into jaws, sharp teeth and 6 metres (20 feet) – roamed the land. These three periods by scientists. deadly claws that could kill and then tear apart primitive reptiles evolved into dinosaurs, MESOZOIC ERA the thick skin of about 210 million years ago, towards the another dinosaur. end of the first part of the Mesozoic era. TRIASSIC JURASSIC CRETACEOUS 248-175 million 175-130 million 130-65 million 3. Why is the years ago years ago years ago tyrannosaurus rex so famous? Q Aren’t dinosaurs from the Jurassic period in time? Tyrannosaurus rex, also known as T-rex, was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs. A The Mesozoic era was so long that it is divided into three periods. The first is called It could stand up to a height of 12 metres the Triassic period. It occurred 248–208 (40 feet). It weighed million years ago. Then came the Jurassic between 5 and 7 tons; period, 208–146 million years ago, when huge that is five to seven times the weight of an meat-eating dinosaurs were in charge. Finally average elephant. came the Cretaceous period, 146–65 million years ago, which saw the end of the dinosaurs. 90
  • 92. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 91 Armoured Dinosaurs Armoured Dinosaurs Some dinosaurs had armour-like plates on their bodies that protected them from predators and harsh weather. Dinosaurs like the stegosaurus also had a double row of plates on their back. The plates were mainly used to keep dinosaurs cool, although they were also useful for scaring off predators. Some other dinosaurs had spines sticking out of their bodies to scare other animals away, or to help during a fight. Q What was unique about the ankylosaurus? A The ankylosaurus family were plant- eating armoured dinosaurs that existed during the Cretaceous period. But although Q Were there any other armoured these animals did not eat meat, they could dinosaurs around? Three horns still be vicious. They had club-shaped tails This fossil of the skull and with spikes at the end, which they used to A The ceratops family were plant-eating ribcage clearly shows two of the three horns with defend themselves. By swinging their heavy dinosaurs with beaks, one or more horns and which triceratops used to tails, an ankylosaurus could seriously injure muscular frills around their necks. The frills defend themselves. any enemy that tried to attack it. may have been useful in supporting the neck in earlier species, but later might have been Try these too… used to defend the neck while fighting. The Origin of Life (88–89), Q Which was the spiniest triceratops and protoceratops were the best- Plant-eating dinosaurs (92), Meat-eating armoured dinosaur? known ceratops. From our point of view, the Dinosaurs (93), North funniest thing about the ceratops was that America (110–111), A Kentrosaurus, which means spiked these huge dinosaurs had beaks like the South America (112–113) lizard, had plates and spines sticking out of parrots of today. its back. Instead of jaws, it had a spiky beak. Kentrosaurus grew up to 5 metres (16 feet) Protected to the eyelids long and weighed about 2 tons, but its brain was as small as a walnut. Q Why was the pachycephalosaurus special? A The plant-eating pachycephalosaurus, which means the thick-headed lizard, gets its long name from its strange head. The pachycephalosaurus had a dome-shaped head that made it look as if it was wearing a tight cap. Its skull was about 25 centimetres (10 inches) thick and housed a tiny brain. The pachycephalosaurus probably used its thick head as a weapon when defending itself from other dinosaurs. 91
  • 93. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 92 The Living Planet Plant-eating Dinosaurs Meat-eating dinosaurs like tyrannosaurus rex may be the best-known dinosaurs. But plant-eating Q Were sauropods the only plant-eating dinosaurs were more numerous and included some dinosaurs? of the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived. The most gigantic of these, known as sauropods, were very tall A Apart from sauropods, there were with long necks. several other groups of plant-eaters. Orbithopods had bird-like feet, beaks and long, stiff tails. Ceratops had beaks, Quick Q’s: 1. When did Q Which was the largest plant- one or more horns and muscular frills eating dinosaur? around their necks. Stegosaurs had sauropods live? armoured bodies with thick scaly skin Sauropods were plentiful during the A Argentinosaurus, a sauropod, and spikes or plates along the back. Triassic and Jurassic was not only the largest plant-eating Ankylosaurus had hard armour-like skin periods. Very few of dinosaur, it was probably the largest and a club-shaped tail, which was used these gigantic creatures survived into the dinosaur to have ever roamed the to drive its enemies away. Cretaceous period. Earth. This dinosaur is believed to Largest land animal ever? have grown to a length of about Argentinosaurus may be the largest land animal 2. What did the 40 metres (130 feet). It might ever, but there are others that may have been stegosaurus use the have weighed about 80–100 tons. even bigger. No one knows for sure. plates on its back for? It had a long neck and tail, and a The stegosaurus small head. probably used its plates to scare away its enemies. Many scientists think these plates also helped the Q What unique features did dinosaur to regulate its sauropods have? body temperature. A All sauropods were plant-eaters. 3. How big were They had huge bodies, small heads, long the plates on the necks and strong legs. Sauropods had stegosaurus? chisel-shaped teeth that helped them to The largest plates on the back of the grind leaves and other plants. Sauropods stegosaurus were were most noted for their size. Even the at least 60 centimetres smallest of sauropods were 6 metres (2 feet) tall and wide. (20 feet) long. 4. What was unique about the maiasaura? Maiasauras were Q Which is the most famous sauropod? duck-billed, plant- eating dinosaurs that lived in herds of A Brachiosaurus is the best- known member of the sauropod 10,000 or more. Unlike all the other dinosaurs, group. Until recently this gentle maiasauras were giant was considered to be the believed to have largest dinosaur ever. This record looked after their offspring, just like has now been broken by the modern mammals. discovery of the argentinosaurus fossil in South America. 92
  • 94. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 93 Meat-eating Dinosaurs Meat-eating Dinosaurs All carnivorous dinosaurs fell into the group called Theropods. Some theropods were omnivorous, meaning they ate both meat and plants. The theropods walked upright on their hind legs and had short front limbs with sharp claws. Of all the theropods, tyrannosaurus rex is the most famous. Q Which was the largest meat-eating Try these too… Dinosaurs (90), dinosaur we know of? Armoured Dinosaurs (91), North America A Theropods were not as large as their (110–111), South America (112–113), Deadly claws plant-eating cousins. However, some, like Africa (118–119), Velociraptors had a sharp, hook-shaped claw on each tyrannosaurus rex and giganotosaurus, grew Asia (120–121) foot. This claw was drawn into the toe when not in use. to a length of about 12.5 metres (41 feet). Scientists have recently discovered the Pricey fossil remains of what is now considered to be the largest meat-eating dinosaur to have ever In 1990, Susan Hendrickson, a fossil hunter, discovered the lived – mapusaurus. This dinosaur is believed largest fossil of a T-rex near Faith in South Dakota, United States. to have been over 13 metres (42 feet) long. The fossil was named ‘Sue’ after the person who discovered it. Soon after its discovery, Sue was at the centre of a legal battle. The bones were found on land that was owned by a private rancher. Q Did T-rex really hunt down its prey? The land was held in trust by the United States government. The rancher claimed that the fossil belonged to him since he owned A T-rex was built like a true predator. It the land on which it was found. This started a dispute over the walked upright on two powerful legs, and had ownership of Sue. After a five-year-long legal battle, a judge ruled a narrow snout that gave it a good view of its in favour of the rancher, who later sold the fossil at a Sotheby’s surroundings. Like most predators, T-rex auction for a whopping 8.4 million dollars (about 4.6 million had small eyes that faced forwards pounds) – the largest amount ever paid for a fossil. giving the dinosaur a sharp view of its prey. It also had a good sense of smell. Despite these features, many scientists believe that T-rex was mainly a scavenger that hunted only when it was necessary. Q What made the velociraptor a good hunter? A Velociraptor grew to a height of about Big bite! 1 metre (3 feet) and was 2 metres (6 feet) T-rex had 60 razor- long. Its small frame made velociraptor fast sharp teeth that and agile. This dinosaur could chase its could grow up to victims at speeds of about 60 kilometres per 23 centimetres (9 inches) hour (40 miles per hour). Velociraptor may long! Its huge jaws could break the also have hunted in groups, helping it to take backbone of down even the largest dinosaurs of the time. its prey. 93
  • 95. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 94 The Living Planet Other Prehistoric Animals Prehistoric animals are those that existed in the prehistoric age, the time before recorded history began. Several animals, including the woolly mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros, roamed the Earth during these times. Some of these prehistoric animals lived at the same time as the dinosaurs. Most of what we know about them is from the study of their fossils. Quick Q’s: 1. What is a Q What animals other than dinosaurs sabre tooth brontotherium? lived during the Jurassic period? Brontotherium means thunder animal. It was A The sabre-toothed cat, or smilodon, Teeth as sharp as knives a large mammal similar was about the same size as an African lion. to a rhinoceros, with The smilodon was a sabre-toothed cat with protruding Bones of almost 2,000 of these animals were canines. There were six species of this extinct killer. a forked horn on its snout. Many fossils of found near Los Angeles in the United States. They could weigh up to 200 kilograms (450 pounds), this animal have been The smilodon had strong front legs and a about the size of an average lioness. Smilodon fossils found in South Dakota have been found in North and South America. The fossils short tail. Its long teeth, from which it gets its and Nebraska in the of other sabre-toothed cats have been found in other USA. Often, they were name, came in handy for hunting. The sabre- parts of the world. The earliest of these fossils have been found after the soil toothed cat became extinct about dated to 33.7 million years ago, while the most recent covering the fossil had sabre-toothed cat became extinct about 9,000 years ago. 11,000 years ago. been washed away by a big rainstorm. That is how the prehistoric beast came to be known as the thunder animal. Father of elephants There were many types of 2. What is a glyptodont? mammoths, some larger and Glyptodont was one some smaller than the modern of the earliest forms elephant. Most mammoths had of the armadillo. curving tusks. The fossils of many These curious animals woolly mammoths have been weighed over 1,000 found in the Arctic regions. kilograms (2,200 pounds) and their bodies were covered with armour about 5 centimetres (2 inches) thick. Q What is a 3. Were there mammoth? any prehistoric flightless birds? Phorusrhacos was a A A mammoth is an ancestor of the Asian fierce giant bird that elephant. Scientists think the first mammoths could not fly. It stood developed in northern Africa around 4.8 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) million years ago. They had long, curved tall and some adults probably weighed over tusks and some types were covered with long 130 kilograms (287 hair during the last Ice Age. Mammoths pounds). It was one of migrated from Africa to Europe, Asia and the largest birds ever. even as far as North America. 94
  • 96. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 95 Other Prehistoric Animals Half bird half dinosaur Try these too… The mysterious archaeopteryx lived in the late Jurassic period, about 155-150 million years ago. The fossil Seasons and Climate of this animal, which may have been the first ever (28–29), Oceans (34–35), animal capable of true flight, has been found in Volcanoes (36–37), Germany. It was the same size as the magpie. Earthquakes and Tsunamis (38–39), Big Cats (46–47), Elephants Q Could archaeopteryx fly? (52), Seabirds (60), Birds of Prey (61), Flightless Birds (64), Origin of Life A No one knows for sure if archaeopteryx (88–89), Dinosaurs (90), Armoured Dinosaurs could fly. Some scientists argue that the fossil (91), Plant-eating of archaeopteryx, first described in 1862, is a Dinosaurs (92), Meat- fake. They believe that someone added the eating Dinosaurs (93), North America impression of feathers to a small reptile (110–111), South skeleton. But recent research has supported America (112–113), the theory that archaeopteryx was a genuine Australia and Oceania (114–115), Europe link between dinosaurs and birds. Fossils of (116–117), Africa other feathered dinosaurs found in the Gobi (118–119), Asia Desert of Mongolia and China are very (120–121), The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica similar to the archaeopteryx fossil. Q Were all mammoths woolly? (122–123) Is that a human? A The mammoth had to grow a woolly The first humans appeared about 2.4–1.5 million years ago. coat when the world began to get colder, Called the Homo habilis, these people were only 1.3 metres about 700,000 years ago. But by the end (4 feet 3 inches) tall. But they were much more intelligent than of the Ice Age, even the woolly mammoth the other animals. They made tools from stone, which they used was extinct. The only survivor was the dwarf to hunt for food. Then about 130,000 years ago, the Neanderthal mammoth, which died out about 3,500 years man arrived in Europe. Neanderthals were about 1.7 metres ago. Some people believe that woolly (5 feet 6 inches) tall and very muscular. mammoths survived the Ice Age, but died from disease or were hunted down for food. Q Was archaeopteryx a bird or a dinosaur? A Archaeopteryx means ancient wing. It was a prehistoric creature that had the features of both dinosaurs and birds. It had broad rounded wings and a long tail. Its feathers were just like those of modern birds. But archaeopteryx had a long jaw filled with sharp teeth. Modern birds do not have any teeth at all. Its claws were very different from the claws of any bird we know of, they resembled the claws of a dinosaur. Its tail was bony like that of a dinosaur, not feathery like that of a bird. Because archaeopteryx had half the features of a bird and half the features of a dinosaur, it is called a transitional creature. 95
  • 97. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 96 The Living Planet Plant Life Plants, of which there are about 350,000 species, are one of the Q What kind of environment is best for biggest groups of living things. They include trees, shrubs, vines, plants to grow in? ferns, grasses, mosses and lichen. Green plants can produce their own food using a combination of water and nutrients from A Different plants have different needs, the soil, and sunlight. but all plants need food. Most plants need soil, air, water and sunlight to produce food. Plants that grow in the water need lots of water and Quick Q’s: 1. Do ferns have Q What are the Leaf little, or no soil. Plants that grow flowers? different groups in the desert are used to little or no water, of plants? and would die if they were taken to A fern has neither a rainforest. Moss and lichen that flowers nor seeds. Ferns grow from spores on the leaves that are A There are two grow in the Arctic region would major groups of not survive in warmer climates. scattered by the wind. Each fern leaf can hold plants – those that 750,000 spores. produce flowers and those that don’t. Both types Stem Q How do plants live in 2. Do some plants can be broken down into a desert? Root eat insects? many different groups, The leaves of the venus flytrap snap shut when including climbing plants A Plants that grow in the desert an insect touches them. and water plants. have to adapt to the scarcity of The plant then digests water. So, to conserve water, the trapped insect Growing from a seed desert plants like cacti have few slowly, using enzymes A seed first sends out its roots from its leaves. It underground, and then its stem above. or no leaves. They store water takes each leaf about Leaves that grow on the stem produce food. in their fleshy stems. A ten days to digest layer of wax, called a one insect. cuticle, covers these 3. What are stilt roots? Q Do all plants grow from seeds, or are stems and does not there other ways too? allow the water to Mangroves, tropical evaporate. Some desert plants that grow near the coast, are partly A Some plants grow from a part of the plants, like the ocotillo, covered by the sea parent plant, or from spores on leaves that are make the most of the water every time the scattered by the wind. But most plants grow short rainy season to grow tide flows in. To keep themselves above water, flowers, which are pollinated by insects. Then as much as possible, and they have stilt roots a seed forms at its base. These seeds are then then rest during the dry which prop them up. scattered and grow into new plants. season. Some desert plants grow These roots can breathe through very long roots that reach down special pores. Salt can deep into the ground be dangerous to the in search of water. plant, but the roots filter the salt out. Slow-growing saguaro The saguaro cactus can take up to 75 years to develop a side shoot. Deadly trap Insects are attracted to the bright colours in the leaves of the venus flytrap. Once they are inside, the leaf snaps shut. 96
  • 98. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 97 Plant Life Q How do plants protect themselves from their enemies? A Since plants cannot run away from their enemies, they devise their own protection. Plants like the cactus have spines that protect them from animals. The roots of the conifer are often attacked by beetle larvae. But the conifer has chemicals in its roots to attract Sharp roots worms that eat up the larvae. The wild The stilt roots of the tobacco plant uses the same tactic when it is mangrove have attacked by the hawkmoth. Its leaves release needle-sharp points, making it difficult to chemicals, attracting killer bugs that eat up walk near the plant. the moths. Plants like the bleeding heart and the Dhatura contain deadly poisons to kill Try these too… their attackers. Some, like the rose and Seasons and Climate Himalayan blackberry, have thorns that stop (28–29), Food for Plants any animal that wants to eat it. Other plants, (98), Trees and Shrubs like the stinging nettle, are covered with hairs (99), Aquatic Plants (100), Climbers and and release a chemical that irritates or ‘stings’ Creepers (101) the mouth of the animal that eats them. What’s that smell? The voodoo lily has a flower that smells like rotten meat. This attracts flies to the plant. The flies and beetles carry pollen from one flower to another and help fertilize the flowers so that new Deadly dhatura voodoo lilies can grow. Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest flower The dhatura plant, common in Asia, contains a poison of any plant in the world – it is over 1 metre (3 feet) across. It uses strong enough to kill humans. the same strategy as the voodoo lily to attract flies for pollination. Q Can plants survive in the Arctic? A Plants that grow in the Arctic tundra (treeless plains), where the ground is permanently covered in frost, have to survive strong winds and snowstorms. The ground in the tundra contains few minerals, so there is not much food, either. The plants that grow here lie low and are much smaller than plants in other regions. While most other plants grow best when the weather is warm, plants in the tundra have had to adapt to an environment where the temperature is often below 10 °C (-50 °F). The dark colour of their leaves helps tundra plants to absorb maximum heat from the Sun. Some plants even grow hairy leaves to stay warm. 97
  • 99. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 98 The Living Planet Food for Plants Plants usually have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds. The roots, stems and leaves help the plant produce food. The flowers, fruit and seeds help the plant reproduce. Root vegetables Potatoes are the roots of the potato plant. The plant stores its energy in them. Q What are the various functions of the roots? A Plants grow from seeds or spores. With most plants, the roots grow first. They Quick Q’s: hold the plant down and keep it steady. 1. Are the venus flytrap They also absorb water and minerals from and the pitcher plant the soil and transport them up so the plant the only plants that can produce food. In some plants, like the Another carnivore eat insects? banyan, aerial roots (roots in the air) grow The pitcher plant has a deep cavity filled with a liquid There are more down from the branches to hold the plant that attracts insects. The walls are built so that insects than 500 species of can climb down but cannot climb up again. Slowly, they carnivorous plants that up. They grow thickly and look like a stem eat animals, including drown in the liquid and are digested by the plant. or a trunk. butterwort and the corkscrew plants that grow in water. Q How do plants make their food? Q Where do the roots send the water to? 2. How is the A Leaves and green stems are the plant’s slobbering pine different from A The part of the plant that first grows ‘kitchen’. They are green because they other plants? above the ground is called the stem. The stem contain a substance called chlorophyll. When carries water and nutrients sent by the roots sunlight touches the leaves, chlorophyll The slobbering pine grows in dry, rocky up to the leaves. converts carbon dioxide and water into a Food factory places. It has sticky Leaves are the food sugar called glucose. This is the basic food slimy leaves that factories of plants. for a plant. As plants produce food, they give secrete so much mucous that insects They use chlorophyll, out oxygen, which all living things need to a green pigment, to drown in it! breathe. There would be no life on Earth make food. without plants providing food and oxygen. 3. How do other carnivorous plants attract insects? The sundew family Q Why do plants grow flowers and fruit? of plants have stalks on their leaves that secrete nectar in order A Plants grow flowers and fruit to reproduce. The flowers contain pollen, to attract insects. The insects are tricked into which are carried by insects or the wind slurping up this nectar. to other plants for reproduction. The fruit Then the insects get contains seeds of new plants, which are stuck to the leaves and are digested. carried by animals, wind or water to other places where a new plant will grow. 98
  • 100. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 99 Trees and Shrubs Trees and Shrubs A tree is a large, woody plant that has one straight central stem, called a trunk. It has branches that grow out of the trunk at different heights. There are more than 50,000 species of trees. A shrub is a woody plant that has lots of stems growing close to the ground. Rhododendron, rose and hydrangea are common types of shrubs. Q How tall can a tree grow? Autumn beauty Many trees, called A Some trees grow extremely tall. In deciduous trees, have leaves that change colour 1885, a eucalyptus was found in Australia in autumn and then fall that measured 143 metres (470 feet). The off. The tree has to store tallest tree alive today is a redwood called food for the winter until the Stratosphere Giant. It was found in the it grows new leaves in the spring. Deciduous trees USA in 2000, and it is 112.7 metres (370 feet) are common in temperate tall. That’s about as tall as a building 31 regions, and the beauty of storeys high. The second tallest tree is in the multicoloured leaves the same place and is called the Federation draws many visitors. Giant. At 112 metres (368 feet) tall, it is not far behind the leader. Q Why do some trees shed their leaves? Try these too… A Trees like birch, maple and oak and Seasons and Climate (28–29), Plant Life Q How long do trees and shrubs live? shrubs like hydrangea that shed their leaves (96–97), Aquatic Plants (100), Climbers and every winter are called deciduous trees. Their A Both trees and shrubs are perennial leaves are too weak to survive extreme cold. Creepers (101), North America (110–111), South America plants, which means they live for more than But other trees stay green all year. Evergreen (112–113), Europe two years. Shrubs live for at least three years. trees like pines and firs and shrubs like yew (116–117), Africa But trees usually live a lot longer. The oldest do not shed their leaves in winter. This is (118–119), Asia tree in the world is a bristlecone pine, because the leaves of evergreen trees are (120–121), The Poles – The Arctic and nicknamed Methuselah, which is 4,767 years coated in a wax-like substance that prevents Antarctica (122–123) old. It is named after Methuselah in the Bible, them from freezing. who is said to have lived for 969 years. Strangling to survive Pretty shrub The dwarf willow is a hardy shrub that lives in very cold The strangler fig, or banyan tree, produces Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. It does not grow more than figs. Birds eat the figs and pass the seeds 6 centimetres (2.4 inches) above the ground. out with their droppings on to the branches of other trees. These seeds stick on to the branches of a tree (called the host tree) and send down roots. The roots of the strangler fig grow thicker and soon encircle the poor host tree. Then they tighten around it, cutting off its flow of nutrients. The host tree eventually dies, while the strangler fig grows. 99
  • 101. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 100 The Living Planet Aquatic Plants Plants that live in water have developed special ways to survive. They have grown so different from other plants that they cannot live on land. Plants that live in water are called hydrophytes. These plants are supported by water pressure. So they need a less rigid structure than plants on land. Quick Q’s: Q Why don’t water plants sink? 1. Don’t any aquatic plants have woody trunks? A Water plants like lotus, water hyacinth and lily have large, flat leaves that help them Aquatic plants do not need hard, woody stay afloat. All aquatic plants have fine hairs stems. They let the on their leaves that trap air, and air sacks that water around them keep them buoyant. The water crowfoot has support their soft stems. large leaves on top, plus thin thread-like leaves and feathery roots under water that 2. Are aquatic plants of any use to us? spread out and help the plant to float. Aquatic plants are very useful. The seeds of the lotus can be eaten. The leaves can be used Q Do water plants have the same roots to wrap food in, rather as land plants? than plastic or aluminium foil. A part of the water chestnut A Since the main purpose of roots is to Beautiful and useful Most parts of the lotus plant are useful. In Asia, it has can be made into flour. send water up to the leaves, aquatic plants, been cultivated as a food plant for centuries. The Some aquatic plants, whose leaves are always touching the water, flowers, seeds, young leaves and stems are all eaten. like the common have smaller roots. In fact, aquatic plants have mare’s tail, are used to very light, feathery roots since the roots do make medicine for healing wounds. Water plants absorb methane, not support the plant. These roots can take Q Are aquatic plants special in other ways? in oxygen. which is a greenhouse gas. They also release A Since aquatic plants are always oxygen into the air surrounded by water and do not need while making food. to store it, their leaves only have a thin skin (waxy coating) or none at all. 3. Are water plants All plants have ‘breathing’ holes always good for under their leaves that release the pond? excess water, but aquatic plants The water hyacinth can grow too fast, and have lots of these holes, and they completely fill a pond are always open. or small lake. It can double in size in 12 days. At this rate of Dangerous plant growth, it can prevent sunlight and oxygen The water hyacinth grows so fast that it can from reaching the choke most of the other life out of a pond. water, which can cause It also provides an ideal environment for fish and other plants mosquitoes to breed in. Originally from South and animals to die. America, it has now spread all over the world. 100
  • 102. GrBigBk_Q_A 084-101.qxd 21/5/07 12:18 pm Page 101 Climbers and Creepers Climbers and Creepers Climbing plants, also called vines or climbers, have developed special ways of looking after themselves. They latch onto trees or other supports and pull themselves up to reach the sunlight at the top of the forest, which they need to make food. Green cover Q How do climbers and creepers grow? People often grow climbers to cover walls A Climbers have different ways of getting with their beautiful green leaves. The ivy is the most popular plant for this around. Some make a few leaves grow into purpose. Many large thread-like coils or tendrils. Other climbers, houses have had their like roses, have hooks or thorns. These thorns outer walls covered by ivy clasp the tree they are growing on (called the for centuries. But we have host) and pull the rose plant up. Most to be careful and ensure that the climber does not climbers have pretty flowers, which is why push deep roots in to the they are often grown in gardens. Creepers or wall, which can damage ramblers do not even grow tendrils. They just the structure. spread themselves over other plants or on the ground. Some plants like bittersweet and Try these too… poison ivy grow as shrubs, and if they find Q Do climbers have any enemies? Seasons and Climate a host, they turn into climbers. (28–29), Origin of Life A In a rainforest, about 40 per cent of the (88–89), Plant Life (96–97), Food for Plants canopy can be covered by climbers. This robs (98), Trees and Shrubs Q Do all climbers reach out towards light? the trees of sunlight. Some climbers are so (99), North America (110–111), South heavy that trees can fall under their weight. A A few rare vines climb away from light. Trees have their own ways of keeping climbers America (112–113), Australia and Oceania This is so that their tendrils can find the dark away. Some trees secrete unpleasant juices. (114–115), Europe (116–117), Africa bark of trees easily, and climb up them. All Palm trees drop their heavy, prickly fronds, (118–119), Asia climbers have softer stems than trees and do and the vines below are ripped off. Some, like (120–121), The Poles – not waste their resources in growing strong, the gumbo-limbo tree, shed their bark so that The Arctic and Antarctica (122–123) woody stems or branches. That is why they the creepers fall off with the bark. can grow much faster than trees. Long lianas Itchy plant The poison ivy There are more than 2,500 species of is notorious lianas or woody climbers. Most are found for inducing an itchy rash in rainforests. Once a liana reaches the top among most of the canopy, it spreads from one tree to people who another. Some lianas are so thick, they touch it. In almost look like trees. Others grow more severe cases, poison ivy rash than 914 metres (3,000 feet) long. Animals has to be of the rainforest use lianas to move from treated by a tree to tree. Lianas twist upwards around doctor. This versatile plant their host, or grow tendrils and thorns to can be a shrub, help them climb. Some even grow sticky a creeper or hairs to hang on! a climber. 101
  • 103. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 102 The Human Body External Body Parts skin surface hair sweat gland The human body is operated by sensitive organs that are kept safe inside the body. The parts that can be seen outside, including hands, feet, skin, hair and nails, all have their own uses in keeping us safe and healthy. follicle Q Why do we need hands? A The human hand has five digits, four of which are called fingers, and one thumb. The thumb helps us grip things better. The hand Skin deep also has a wrist, which links it to the arm. We Skin is made of layers of cells that contain nerves, blood can move and bend our fingers because each vessels, hair follicles and glands. Colours of the world is made up of three separate bones. But the A pigment called melanin thumb is not as flexible, since it has only two decides the colour of our skin and our hair. Those bones. The fingertips have sensitive nerves Q What is skin? who have more melanin that tell us what we are touching. They warn are darker. us when we are about to touch something A The skin is the largest organ of the that might harm our skin. body. It holds all our other organs together. Quick Q’s: The layer of fat underneath the skin keeps 1. How long does it our insides safe from injury. When the skin take a nail to grow? On average, nails Q What are feet for? is broken, germs can attack us. Skin secretes an oil that keeps it soft and helps keep water grow 2.5 millimetres (0.1 inches) in a month. A Feet help us to balance and move. The out. Under the skin are sweat glands, which It takes one nail cell human foot is made up of the heel, instep, get rid of poisons that could otherwise harm 3–6 months to grow sole, ball and toes. The ankle connects the us. Skin is made of layers of cells. Every from the bottom to the tip of the finger. foot to the leg. The toes help us to get a minute, we lose 30,000–40,000 dead skin cells balance and a good grip while we walk. They which are replaced by new ones. New skin 2. What is a lunula? also push the foot off the ground at every grows from below and old, dry skin flakes off. The lunula is a step we take. The ball of the foot is the On average, almost all of our skin is replaced crescent of pale skin spongy part just behind the toes. The arch every month. It is because skin replaces itself at the base of the nails. and the heel absorb the shock of our feet that cuts can heal so quickly. hitting the ground while we walk. 3. How much skin do we have? An adult has more Q What about hair and nails? than 2 square metres (20 square feet) of A Hair and nails are made of a protein skin. This is almost called keratin. Hair grows from a tiny opening the size of a bed sheet! in the skin called a follicle. Nails grow from the nail root, which is hidden under the skin 4. How many hair at the base of the nail. We have nails on our follicles do I have? fingers and toes even before we are born. The head has about Under the nails are blood vessels that keep 100,000 hair follicles and the body has about the nails pink. Nails are hard and they five million. All about balance prevent the soft skin on the tips of our fingers Our toes help us to keep balanced while we skip. and toes from getting hurt. 102
  • 104. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 103 Bones and Muscles skull Bones and Muscles The skeleton is like a scaffolding of bones inside us. It allows muscles that shoulder blade us to sit, stand, walk, run and do everything else that we do. move the arm Without it, we would be squishy, like jellyfish. The skeleton gives our body a definite shape. It protects our organs, such as ribcage the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, spinal cord and liver. It also abdominal supports our muscles. muscles spine pelvis Q How many bones do we have? Q What are muscles? A A human baby is born with 270 bones. Some of these join together as we grow and A Muscles are tissues by the time we are adults we only have 206 that can contract and bones. The central part of our skeleton has return to their normal 74 bones, including 26 bones in our spine, length. A muscle is made Muscles muscles 22 in our skull and 25 in our ribs. of thread-like proteins in that Muscles connect our body. We have about bones to one move tough outer layer another and help 650 muscles. These muscles the leg move the bones in compact bone are connected to bones, the direction we soft tissues such as cartilage want. They follow commands sent sponge bone and ligaments, and to skin. to them by the The muscles in our arms and legs brain through our are long. Our chest muscles are nerves. Different blood vessels broad and flat. Our facial muscles carry out different muscles allow us to show our movements. Bone structure feelings through expressions. We have more Bones have a tough outer layer to protect them. The hard compact bone is connected to a sponge bone. facial muscles than any other animal. Muscles Try these too… are voluntary or involuntary. The voluntary Digestion and Excretion Our arms and legs have 126 bones – 62 in muscles move when we want them to. The (104–105), The Brain our legs and 64 in our arms. Our ears have involuntary muscles, such as the cardiac and the Senses (107) six bones each. Bones are hard outside and muscles in our hearts, move on their own. spongy inside. This is what makes them light. Different parts of our body have different Building muscles types of bones. All together we have have outer layer of a Muscles increase in four kinds of bones: long, short, flat and bundle of fibres size if you exercise irregular bones. In some parts of our them regularly. In body, there is cartilage instead of bones. fact, strong muscles The cartilge is a rubbery connective biceps show through the contracts, tissue. It is elastic and fibres skin in bumps. lower arm helps in movement. raised If they are not exercised for a long Muscle talk even smaller fibres and threads time, muscles can Our muscles are made up of layers of fibres, one inside the other. The thicker shrink in size and fibres protect the thinner ones from any grow weak. triceps contracts, finest lower arm lowers damage when muscles are used. It looks muscle fibres like thin wires inside thicker wires. 103
  • 105. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 104 The Human Body Digestion and Excretion inside space Ever wonder what happens to all that food we eat? Where does it go, and how does our body gain energy from it? Food goes through an incredible journey from the moment we take outer layer a bite. This process is called digestion and involves several organs in the body. muscle layers inner lining Quick Q’s: 1. What role does Q Why is it important to chew food? the tongue play in our digestion? A An adult human has about 32 teeth. The tongue has Some of these are used for biting and millions of tiny taste tearing food, while others help grind it up. buds that help us to The more we chew the easier it is for the body identify whether the glands food is salty, bitter, to digest the food. As we chew, the mouth sweet or sour. releases saliva that moistens the food so that it Expanding stomach passes through the digestive system without An adult stomach is only as big as two fists, but it 2. What is the scraping any of the organs. stretches to twice its size when filled with food. alimentary canal? The alimentary canal, also called the digestive tract, is a long tube Q What happens to the food once we Q Why do we sometimes choke on that starts at the mouth swallow it? our food? and ends at the anus. It includes organs, such as the stomach, small A Once swallowed, the food moves A The throat consists of two tubes – one and large intestines down the oesophagus, or food pipe, into for food, and one for air. A small flap called and rectum. the stomach. The food pipe is a long tube an epiglottis closes the windpipe the moment that connects the mouth to the rest of the we swallow, preventing the food from 3. How does the digestive tract. Wave-like motions of the entering the windpipe. However, sometimes liver work? muscular walls of the food pipe help to the food accidentally enters the windpipe, The liver is not a part push the food down the long tube. causing us to choke. This usually happens of the digestive tract, when we laugh or talk while eating, or swallow but it plays a vital role in digestion. It releases food without chewing properly. a substance called bile that helps to break down fat. The liver also stores excess entrance to nose from Q Is the food digested in the stomach? fat for later use. the mouth A The stomach walls churn and break 4. What does the the food into tinier pieces. The acid in the pancreas do? stomach kills harmful bacteria, while other The pancreas is located tongue chemicals speed up digestion. Water, sugar behind the stomach. This organ releases and salt are filtered into the blood through salivary glands chemicals that help the stomach walls. The undigested food, break down proteins, called chyme, passes into the small intestine fats and carbohydrates. Early start It also helps maintain for further digestion. The food is completely The process of sugar levels in the body oesophagus digested in the small intestine. Small finger- digestion begins the and prevents diabetes. like projections, or villi, in the small intestine moment we put food in to our mouths. pass the nutrients into the bloodstream. 104
  • 106. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 105 Digestion and Excretion Q What happens to the undigested food? Down the pipe Food takes about eight seconds to enamel A Undigested food like fibre moves go down the food pipe into the gum through the small intestine into the large stomach. intestine. The water in the undigested food is absorbed by the large intestine. Bacteria present in the large intestine change the waste material into faeces. The faeces are sent into the rectum where they are finally expelled through the anus. blood mouth vessels nerve Q What is urine? Inside the tooth A Urine is actually liquid waste. It contains Our teeth are made up of soft tissues and a hard bony exterior. water and a harmful chemical called urea. A pair of bean-shaped organs called kidneys filter the urine from the blood. The urine food pipe then passes into the urinary bladder through (oesophagus) two thin tubes, known as ureters. The bladder stores the urine until it is passed out through the urethra. blood vessels liver A vital organ stomach Any problem in the urinary system pancreas can prove fatal. kidney small intestine ureter large intestine bladder urethra rectum Long way to go! The alimentary canal is about 10 metres (30 feet) in length. Of this the small intestine alone makes up for almost Try these too… 5 metres (16 feet). Most of the food that External Body Parts we eat takes about 20–30 hours to travel (102), Bones and Muscles from one end of the canal to the other. (103), The Heart and This means that what we eat today is not Circulation (106), Reproduction and Birth digested completely until tomorrow. (108), Falling Sick (109) 105
  • 107. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 106 The Human Body The Heart and Circulation The heart is a muscle about the size of a fist that pumps blood to every part of our body. It is inside our ribcage, a little to the left Q What is the circulatory system? of the centre of our chest. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients the body needs. It also carries waste away that the body does not A The heart, the lungs and the blood need. This movement of blood is called circulation. vessels are part of the circulatory system. Humans have about 100,000 kilometres (62,000 miles) of blood vessels in their Quick Q’s: 1. How many times Q How is the heart structured? body. This is enough to circle the Earth two and a half times! Blood does the heart beat? The heart beats about A The heart has four chambers, vessels are made up of arteries, 100,000 times in one two on each side, one above the other. veins and capillaries. day. It begins beating The two top chambers are called from before a child is the left atrium and right atrium. veins born and does not stop until the person dies. The two lower chambers are the (blue) Q What is blood? left and right ventricles. A wall 2. Does everyone have of muscle separates the left and the A Blood is sometimes the same kind of blood? right sides of the heart. The right called ‘the river of life’ There are different atrium receives unclean blood and it accounts for types of human blood, full of carbon dioxide from the heart about eight per cent so it has been divided body. When the atrium is full, of our weight. Blood into four groups – A, B, AB and O. Most a valve opens and blood flows contains two types people have a blood into the right ventricle below. of blood cells. Red protein called rhesus From the right ventricle, the blood cells give blood factor. This makes their blood positive. People unclean blood is sent to the its colour and also who do not have this lungs. The lungs breathe help to carry protein have ‘rhesus out the carbon dioxide carbon dioxide negative’ blood. contained in the blood arteries and oxygen to and breathe in oxygen (red) and from the 3. What is bone marrow? which the body needs. lungs. White Bone marrow is the The blood, now full blood cells soft tissue inside our of oxygen, enters the help to fight bones. It produces left atrium. When the infection and blood cells. Since red blood cells only live left atrium is full, the blood they also help the for about 120 days flows into the left ventricle blood to clot if we are and white blood cells from where it is wounded. The red and only for a few days, the bone marrow pumped to all white cells are suspended works constantly. parts of the in a fluid called plasma. body. This is Food is also distributed 4. Are there more red known as the in the body by blood. blood cells than white cardiac cycle. ones ? Veins and arteries Heart beat Blood vessels are made up of Red blood cells make Our heart beats arteries, veins and capillaries. up about 45 per cent because Arteries carry blood away of our blood. There it is pumping from the heart. Veins bring is only one white blood blood. Normally blood back to the heart. cell for every 600 red it beats 72 times Capillaries connect blood cells. in a minute. arteries to veins. 106
  • 108. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 107 The Brain and the Senses The Brain and the Senses brain The brain, millions of nerves and the spinal cord make up the spinal central nervous system of the human body. All the information cord gathered by sense organs like the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin is processed in the brain. Q What is the brain? Brainy stuff The brain processes A The brain is an organ inside the skull. the basic information that it gets from the It forms only about two per cent of our sense organs helping bodyweight, but it controls our feelings, us to see, hear, taste, feel, smell and react. movement, skills and every function necessary to live. The human brain is divided into three major parts; the cerebrum, the cerebellum, Q How do we actually see? and the brainstem. The cerebrum gives us intelligence. It makes up 85 per cent of the A We see through our eyes, brain and operates voluntary muscles that we of course, but it is due to our brain that have control over. The cerebrum is the area we know we are seeing this page and not of the brain that allows us to dance, jump something else. When light enters our eyes, or solve puzzles. It also stores information, special nerves inside the eyes carry a message which we call memory. The cerebellum or to the brain. Then the brain understands ‘little brain’ is below the cerebrum and is what we are seeing. In the same way, it is nerves just one-eighth of the size of it. The the brain that understands what we hear, cerebellum controls balance and tells the smell, taste or feel. muscles how to move. The brainstem connects the rest of the brain to the spinal The brain grows on cord, which runs down the neck and back. The brainstem controls involuntary muscles Human brains are still growing. In that work without us thinking about it, like 1860, the average weight of a male brain the heart, the lungs and the stomach. was 1.36 kilograms (3 pounds). Today, a male brain weighs about 1.44 kilograms (3.17 pounds). Would you believe that Q What are the uses of smell? the human brain is also getting smarter! What nerves! A Smell is an important sense that our cerebellum skull Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves connect the spinal nose helps to detect. Smell helps us to cord to the rest of the examine the environment around us. Our body. They help to deliver messages from the spine nose continuously tests the air we breathe and to the rest of the body. alerts us accordingly. It warns us in case of potential dangers like smoke or poisonous gas or tells us about the presence of other people Try these too… External Body Parts or objects. Most importantly smell serves as a (102), Bones and recognition function. Each of us has a unique cerebrum Muscles (103), smell and often we recognize one another by brainstem Reproduction and Birth (108), Falling Sick (109), smell. This is how even a new born baby Electricity (186–187) recognizes his mother! 107
  • 109. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 108 The Human Body Reproduction and Birth uterus wall Like all other living creatures, human beings reproduce. Human Into the world beings are mammals, so they give birth to live children. The baby develops in the womb which backs fallopian up against the uterus placenta uterus wall. It comes out tube Q When can a human being reproduce? through the vagina at the time of birth. It is A It takes several years before a human still connected to the mother through the vagina being can reproduce. The body of a child umbilical cord, which ovary goes through changes between the ages of has to be cut. umbilical about 8 and 15. This period is called puberty cord and it makes a person ready to produce children. Girls develop breasts and The miracle of pregnancy their hips widen. Boys grow hair The fertilized egg grows inside egg on their faces and their voices grow the mother’s womb for about deeper. Other changes take place 40 weeks. This growth period is The female egg called pregnancy. During Once puberty begins, the in the reproductive organs. pregnancy, the baby gets food ovaries produce one egg placenta and blood from the mother (shown enlarged here) through the umbilical cord roughly every 28 days. This egg travels into the Q What are reproductive organs? attached to its belly button. The baby, or foetus, lies curled uterus through the fallopian tubes. The uterus is connected to the vagina A Male reproductive organs are up inside the womb in a position known as the foetal position. outside the body. They include the through the cervix. penis, and a pair of testes inside a umbilicial cord cover called a scrotum. The testes Quick Q’s: produce sperm and the male uterus 1. How many eggs does hormone testosterone. During a woman have? sexual intercourse, sperm travels vagina (baby comes The ovaries hold thousands of eggs. down the penis. The female out from here) These are released reproductive system is also in once a month for the pelvic region, but it is about 30 years during menstruation. When inside the body. It is made Q How is an egg fertilized? a woman is between up of two ovaries, a uterus, two 45–50, menstruation stops and eggs are no fallopian tubes, the cervix and the A Each of us starts from longer released. This vagina. The ovaries produce a hormone a tiny cell. Millions of sperm change is called the called oestrogen. They also make eggs cells are suspended in a mixture menopause. to join with the sperm to produce a baby. called semen. The male body head of sperm has to produce lots of sperm, 2. For how many Sperm cell since many of them die inside years can the male the uterus. One sperm cell from The sperm cell reproductive system is either male the father joins an egg cell from the produce sperm? or female. Unlike females, males mother. These form a new cell in the This factor can produce sperm determines mother’s fallopian tube. This is called thoughut their life. the sex of fertilization. The fertilized egg then attaches However, their fertility the baby. declines a lot when tail itself to the uterus wall and prepares they are old. itself for growth. This is the beginning of a baby. 108
  • 110. GrBigBk_Q_A 102-109.qxd 21/5/07 12:19 pm Page 109 Falling Sick Keep the doctor away Falling Sick Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of essential vitamins. Eating at least When we feel good and the body and the mind are working as five portions of fruit and vegetables per day they should, we are in good health. When we have trouble with gives us the vitamins any part of our body, we usually feel ill. and minerals we need to stay healthy. Q Why do people fall ill? Q What food does the body need? A The human body is made up of many A The body works best when it is fed a organs and systems. The organs include balanced diet with food from each of the the brain and the heart, the liver, the lungs five basic food groups – carbohydrates, and the kidneys. If even one of these organs vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids. does not do the work it is supposed to We get carbohydrates and starch from do, we can fall ill. To work well, the body grains and cereals, potatoes and beans. needs the right kind of food in the right They give us energy. We get vitamins from quantities. It also needs exercise and a fruit and vegetables. Milk, cheese, yoghurt clean environment. Any imbalance in and other dairy products give us calcium, these factors can cause us to fall ill. a mineral that strengthens bones and teeth. Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and pulses give us protein for building up our bodies. Exercise for health Butter, oil, chocolate and sugar give us Modern diagnosis Physical activity, which includes jumping, fatty acids that contain the important vitamin A modern CAT scan machine can map the running, playing games, dancing and E to protect our internal organs. Healthy oil electrical impulses within other kinds of exercise, keeps our bodies comes from fish, nuts and vegetables. the brain. It is used to and minds healthy. It builds up muscles locate any disease in the and strengthens bones. Physical activity brain or in the nervous makes us breathe deeply, and our lungs Q What are germs? system. Similar modern methods have made the get more oxygen. It keeps the heart doctor’s job easier. healthy and our weight in check. If you A Germs are tiny creatures that we can eat more food than you use up with only see through a microscope. These include Try these too… exercise, the body stores this extra bacteria and viruses. Harmful bacteria cause External Body Parts energy as fat. Too much fat can be infections like sore throats and stomach (102), Bones and Muscles (103), Scientific harmful to our health. upsets. Viruses are germs that can cause Revolution (150–151), chickenpox, measles and influenza. We catch The World after World germs from people who are unwell, from stale War II (160–161), The New Millennium – 21st and unhygienic food or water, or from our Century (163) surroundings. They produce poisons that make us sick. Some of these diseases, like cholera, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS can even kill us. The fighter The image shows white blood cells (centre) surrounded by red blood cells. The white blood cells are the fighters we have within us. When germs attack, the body raises its temperature to kill them. The white blood cells attack the germs, surround and eat up the germ cells, and help us to get healthy again. 109
  • 111. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 110 Continents, Countries and People North America North America lies north of the equator in the western hemisphere. It is connected to the the continent of South America by the narrow strip of land called the Isthmus of Panama. North America has the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west. It covers an North America area of 24,480,000 square kilometres (9,450,000 square miles), which is a little less than 5 per cent of the Earth. Quick Q’s: 1. What languages Q Which countries make up are spoken in North America? North America? The United States has A North America is made up of three no official language countries. Canada, the largest, is in the north, but most people speak followed by the United States of America in North America English and many speak Spanish. In the middle and Mexico in the south. The third largest continent after Asia and Africa, North Canada, the two America had a population of 514.6 million in 2006. official languages are English and French. But Spanish is the Q What are the main geographical regions Q What are the types of animals that live in official language in North America? North America? in Mexico. 2. Where is A There are four principal geographical A Animals found in the prairies include regions in North America. These include cougars, coyote, badgers, bobcat, prairie dogs, Niagara Falls? the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern foxes and American bald eagles. The tundra Niagara Falls is on the river Niagara, between United States and the Great Plains, which (cold plains) is home to a few animals like the Canada and the United stretch from the Gulf of Mexico in the south grey wolf and snowshoe rabbit, while birds States. It is really three to the northern parts of Canada. The other visit the taiga (subarctic forests) to nest in the falls – the American Falls, the Canadian or regions are the West, where the Rocky summer. The lynx, minks, red deer, elk, and Horseshoe Falls and Mountains are found, and beyond the moose can also be found in these regions. the Bridal Veil Falls. Rockies, the low-lying Great Basin. The desert in the south is home to a variety In one minute, more than 168,000 cubic of insects, snakes, antelope and kangaroo rats. metres (6 million cubic Grizzly bears and rattlesnakes are also found feet) of water falls over its crest. Q Who discovered America? in different parts of North America. 3. Where are the A Native Americans have been living in Feared and hated The rattlesnake is highly poisonous but warns its enemy the continent for thousands of years. Viking by rattling a special set of bones in its tail. Great Lakes? sailors may have reached there around The Great Lakes include Superior, 1000 AD, but no proof of this has yet been Huron, Erie and found. Most historians credit the discovery Ontario, on the border of America by Europeans to Christopher of Canada and the United States, and Columbus, who sighted land on 12 October Lake Michigan in the 1492 while sailing west from Spain across the USA. Together, these Atlantic Ocean. Columbus thought he had lakes make up the largest freshwater reached the shore of India, and that was why surface in the world. he named the locals Indians. The island he first sighted was San Salvador in the Bahamas. 110
  • 112. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 111 North America Q Who are the various people who live in North America? A The first humans in North America could have been there as long as 50,000 years ago. They were probably related to the prehistoric Kennewick Man, the name given to a 9,000- year-old skeleton found in Kennewick, Washington in 1996. Different Native American tribes have claimed the remains as theirs to prove that they were the first Rocky road Americans. The populations of these tribes The Rocky Mountains run from north to south through dwindled and after the arrival of the much of the North American continent. Europeans, some were completely wiped out because of war, disease and losing their homes. When the Europeans had made North America their home, they began bringing African slaves, many of whom remained in Popular food North America after they Tortilla, or Mexican bread, were freed. Today North is now popular all over America is home the world. to people from all over the world. Try these too… Earth’s Atmosphere Cat with many names (26–27), Seasons and Cougar, mountain lion, Climate (28–29), puma – these are just Mountains, Valleys and some of the many names for Caves (30–31), Other this large, solitary cat found Landforms (32–33) all over North America. A grand creation The Grand Canyon is a steep gorge in Arizona in the United States. It has been shaped over two billion years by wind and water, where the Colorado River cuts through the Colorado Plateau. It is almost 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) deep in some places. It is about 446 kilometres (277 miles) long, and between 0.4 and 24 kilometres (0.25 and 15 miles) wide. 111
  • 113. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 112 Continents, Countries and People South America Most of the continent of South America is in the southern hemisphere, and the equator passes through it in the north. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean, and to the north and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. It is 17,840,000 square kilometres (6,890,000 square miles) – almost 3.5 per cent of the Earth. South America This makes it the fourth largest continent. It is about two and a half times the size of Australia. Quick Q’s: 1. Which is the highest Q How many countries make up South America? peak in South America? The Aconcagua peak rises 6,960 metres A The 12 countries in South America are (22,834 feet) in the Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Andes range in western Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Argentina. It is the highest peak in the Uruguay and Venezuela. French Guiana is western and southern controlled by France. The Galapagos islands hemispheres, the in the Pacific Ocean are a part of Ecuador. highest in the world outside Asia. 2. Which is the Q What are the main geographical regions Varied geography highest waterfall in in South America? South America contains tropical rainforests, high South America? Angel Falls on Auyan Tepui river in A In the north and west are the Andes, the mountains, temperate grasslands and sub-polar regions. Chile is home to the world’s driest desert – the Atacama. The Andes mountains are home to the highest lakes second highest mountain range in the world. Venezuela falls 979 in the world. metres (3,212 feet). It On the eastern coast are the lower mountains is the highest waterfall of the Guiana plateau, the Brazilian massifs in the world. It is named after James and the Patagonian plateau. The most Q What types of climate are found in Crawford Angel, who important lowland is the Amazon Basin, with South America? first saw it from his the world’s largest rainforest. aeroplane in 1933. The local name is Churún World Heritage A With the equator passing through the Merú, which means continent, much of South America has a The historic centre of Salvador Devil’s Mouth. de Bahia in Brazil is a UNESCO warm and tropical climate, with wet summers World Heritage Site. and dry winters. The northern coasts of 3. Which is the longest Venezuela and Colombia are dry and prone mountain range in to droughts. The Pacific coasts of Colombia South America? and Ecuador have a tropical climate, but the Stretching for 7,000 coastal regions in Peru and northern Chile kilometres (4,400 miles), the Andes is are very dry. The cold currents off these the longest mountain shores do not carry moisture. In the high range in the world. Andes mountains there is an alpine climate, It starts near the equator and goes on and the areas around them are cool. South almost to Antarctica. In of the tropic of Capricorn, the climate is some places, it is temperate – summers are cool and winters are 500 kilometres (300 miles) wide. cold. Patagonia in southern Argentina has an almost polar climate. 112
  • 114. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 113 South America When it’s that huge, it’s Amazonian! Q What vegetation grows in South America? In terms of the amount of water it carries, the Amazon is the A South America has the largest rainforest largest river in the world. It starts in Peru in the Andes and flows into the Atlantic Ocean after crossing into Brazil. Tributaries from in the world, which lies along the equatorial region. Palms, tall trees, ferns, bamboos, and Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador join it. Along its banks are 6,000,000 lianas (vines) grow there. There are also large square kilometres (2,300,000 square miles) of rainforests. These areas of savannah, where tall grass grows. forests contain about 2,000 species of birds and mammals, several This gives way to the brushlands along the thousand varieties Venezuelan coast. Brazil has both deciduous of plants and almost and evergreen forests as well as prairie (grassy 2.5 million types of plains). The Pampas of Argentina are the insects. It was given largest grasslands in South America. its name after a battle that Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana Q What are the main animals found in fought with a tribe of Tapuyas women. They South America? reminded Orellana A South America has animals that of the ancient female warriors or Amazons are special to the continent. These include bloodsucking bats, the spectacled bear of Greek mythology. and the tapir. South America is famous for its alpacas and llamas. It also has jaguars, anteaters and coati. The rainforests are home Tango in harmony Various styles of the tango dance developed in different to hundreds of species of birds, including parts of Argentina and Uruguay. It is now popular all macaws and 500 types of hummingbirds. over the world. The more unusual birds include the rhea and the flamingo. Rainforests are also home to snakes like the anaconda and other types of boas, as well as iguanas and crocodiles. The green anaconda, the largest boa, can grow up to 10 metres (33 feet) long. The Galápagos Islands, near the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, are known for their unique animals like the Galápagos tortoise. Delicious food World’s largest Shrimp stew in a mud pot tortoise – a typical dish of Brazil. An adult Galápagos People from all over tortoise can weigh the world brought their 300 kilograms cuisine to South America. (661 pounds) or more. Try these too… Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), Mountains, Valleys and Caves (30–31), Other Landforms (32–33), Oceans (34–35), Volcanoes (36–37) 113
  • 115. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 114 Continents, Countries and People Australia and Oceania Oceania is a group of about 10,000 islands that lie in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and America. It includes the continent of Australia. Unlike the other continents, Oceania is a region linked by water rather than land. It was given its name in 1831 by Australasia French explorer Dumont d’Urville. Quick Q’s: 1. How crowded is Q Other than Australia, what are the islands Australia? included in Oceania? Australia is the sixth largest country in the A Oceania has four regions: Micronesia, world, but it has the Melanesia, Polynesia and Australasia. These lowest population regions are divided into thousands of islands. An unknown continent density, with only two people living in every Fiji, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are The early inhabitants of Australia are believed to have come from Southeast Asia about 48,000 years ago. square kilometre. in Melanesia. Micronesia is a chain of tiny islands that forms the Federated States of 2. What is special about Australian sheep? Micronesia. The Cook Islands, Samoa and Q What is the Australian climate like? Tonga are in Polynesia. Australia, New Australia has more than 101 million Zealand and Christmas island are part of A Australia is the driest and flattest sheep. Most of them Australasia. Hawaii, in the middle of the continent inhabited by people. Most of it are merinos which Pacific ocean, is also part of Oceania. is desert, arid land or hummock grasslands. produce an excellent The north has a warm, tropical climate with light wool. They give us rainforests, mangrove swamps and grasslands. more than 70 per cent of the world’s wool. Q Why is Christmas Island so-called? The south-east and south-west have a cool and temperate climate. Australia is an island 3. What is a dingo? A Christmas Island was given its name by with an area of 7,686,850 square kilometres The dingo is a wild dog the British captain William Mynors of the ship (2,967,909 square miles), surrounded by the of Australia. The dingo the Royal Mary, because he arrived there on Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has a coastline fence, which keeps Christmas Day in 1643. This small island in of 25,760 kilometres (16,007 miles) where sheep safe from dingoes, is the longest the Indian Ocean is so far from any other nearly 90 per cent of its population lives. continuous fence in landmass that its plants and animals are quite the world. It is 1.8 Natural beauty unique. People did not live there earlier, so metres (5.9 feet) high New Zealand (left) is known for the beauty of its and runs through there has been no human interference. As a mountains and lakes. The beaches of Australia (right) Queensland for result, it is of immense interest to scientists. are very popular with surfers. 5,531 kilometres (3,437 miles). 4. What is special about Hawaii? Except for Easter Island in the South Pacific, Hawaii is furthest from any other body of land. These volcanic islands are still expanding as more lava pours into the seabed. 114
  • 116. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 115 Australia and Oceania Q How long have people lived in Australia? A Humans began to live in Australia about 48,000 years ago. They were hunter-gatherers. Their descendants are Aborigines and Torres Straight Islanders. There were about 350,000 Aborigines when the Europeans first landed in 1606. Today, most Aborigines live in the desert-like central part of Australia called the ‘outback’, having been pushed out of the more fertile areas by the European settlers. Sports crazy Try these too… Q Who discovered Australia? Australians are reputed to be a nation of sports lovers. Whether it is Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), Seasons and A The first European to find Australia Corroboree An Aboriginal word, cricket, Australian-style football, tennis, swimming, Climate (28–29), Mountains, Valleys and was the Dutch navigator Willem Jansz, who Corroboree means dance, surfing or athletics, stadiums Caves (30–31) sighted Cape York Peninsula in 1606. On music and theatre. are almost always full. 26 January 1788, the British established a penal colony in New South Wales to house That’s some barrier convicts whom they could no longer lock up The Great Barrier Reef, the longest coral reef in the world, in the overcrowded British jails. After 1864, stretches for over 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) in the Coral they stopped shipping convicts to Australia. Sea off north-eastern Australia. It is made up of 3,000 reefs and The Aborigines were forced off their land by 900 islands. The Great Barrier reef is a precious environmental the Europeans and several died in their new site because it is home to many thousands of species of fish homes. Today, they make up 2.2 per cent of and marine animals. In 1981, it was made a World Heritage the total population. Many of the 20.6 million Site. However, life on the reef is still under threat from Australians are immigrants from Great Britain over-fishing and pollution. and Ireland. Q Why do koalas live only in Australia? A Australia and the islands of Oceania are ancient lands that have been isolated from other continents for millions of years. That is why 84 per cent of Australia’s mammals and plants and almost half of its birds cannot be found anywhere else in the world. These include the koala, kangaroo, platypus, echidna, brush-tailed possum and wombat, and birds like the emu and the kookaburra. Other native animals include reptiles like crocodiles, snakes and lizards. The saltwater crocodile of northern Australia is the largest reptile in the world. The tuatara, the most ancient reptile, is found in New Zealand. It can live for up to 100 years. 115
  • 117. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 116 Continents, Countries and People Europe Europe is the sixth of the seven continents in terms of size. It covers 10,390,000 square kilometres (4,010,000 square miles), which is 2 per cent of the surface of the Earth. To the north Europe of Europe lies the Arctic Ocean, and to the west, the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, Europe is separated from Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. To the east, the boundary is not clear, but it is around the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea. Northern Scotland Ireland Q What is the landscape of Europe like? Temperate land The Gulf Stream that flows in from the Atlantic Ocean keeps north-western Europe warmer than other places England A Europe is more mountainous towards at the same latitude. the south, which also has some of the best Wales beaches, on the Mediterranean coast. The Q When did people start living in Europe? Alps cover parts of Austria, Slovenia, Italy, British Isles Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France and A Neanderthal man reached Spain by The United Kingdom is Germany. Although the Alps sailing, floating or swimming across the Strait made up four countries: have high peaks like Mont of Gibraltar from Africa. They disappeared England, Scotland, Wales Blanc and Piz Bernina, the mysteriously about 30,000 years ago when and Northern Ireland. highest peak in Europe is homo sapiens (modern man) began to arrive. Mount Elbrus in Russia, The first humans probably came to Europe Quick Q’s: 5,642 metres (18,510 feet), in about 10,000 years ago. Although Europe 1. Is the Vatican City the Caucasus range. is relatively small, more than 710,000,000 a country? Moving beyond the Alps, people – about 11 per cent of the world’s Vatican City, which is an enclave in Rome, the Pyrenees and the population – live here. Only Asia and Africa is the world’s smallest Carpathians, the land rolls have more people. independent country. into the Great European It is the seat of the Flamenco dancer Roman Catholic Plain. The British Isles are The flamenco of Spain is one of the many Church. It is ruled separated from the rest traditional dance forms popular in Europe. by the Pope. of the continent by the City of canals English Channel and Venice, a city off the coast of north-eastern Italy, 2. Why is Norway the North Sea. has canals instead of roads. called the land of the midnight Sun? One-third of Norway lies north of the Arctic Circle. From May to the end of July, this region has continuous daylight. 3. Where is Istanbul? Istanbul is in north-west Turkey. It is the only city in the world to be in two continents – Europe and Asia. It is divided in to two by the Bosporus Strait. 116
  • 118. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 117 Europe One Europe Q What languages are spoken in Europe? Europe has about 47 countries, some A As many as 41 languages are spoken of which, like Liechtenstein, are among in different parts of Europe. Some of the the smallest in the world. Of these 47 languages, such as English, French, Spanish, countries, 27 are part of the European German and Russian, are spoken by millions Union (EU). The EU is the largest political of people in many countries all over the world. and economic group in the world. It has its own currency called the euro. Q Does Europe have forests? A Centuries ago, about 90 per cent of Europe was covered in forest. Now, more than half of this has been felled. However, in countries like Finland, 72 per cent of the land is still covered by forests. Evergreen and deciduous forests cover most ground. Conifer forests are found in Scandinavia and parts of Russia and Ukraine. Further north is the taiga region with forests of spruce, birch and pine. The Mediterranean region has cork oak forests, cypress trees and olives. Q Are the forests full of animals? Traditional food Steak (left) and Yorkshire pudding (above) are A Europe’s forests are home to brown among the traditional foods of Europe. bears and wolves, which are now protected Switzerland is famous by law. Smaller animals include lynx, badgers, for its dairy products, hedgehogs, wildcats, jackals and foxes. Snakes especially cheese. The cuisines of all like the viper and birds like the vulture, eagle countries on the and owl are also found here. The northern Mediterranean coast are parts of Scandinavia have herds of reindeer, famous around the world. some of whom have been domesticated for centuries. The forests of Scotland are famous Try these too… for the red deer. Europe is home to many Earth’s Atmosphere bird species that spend their winters in (26–27), Seasons and warmer Africa, and return to their Climate (28–29), Mountains, Valleys and European homes Caves (30–31), Oceans every spring. (34–35), Volcanoes (36–37), Ancient Greece (128–129), Ancient Rome (130–131), Medieval Europe (136–137), The Renaissance (142–143) Prickly spines Wild cat The little hedgehog with its The lynx is the largest wild cat found in Europe. Apart prickly spines is common from the bear, it is the prime predator in the forests of but shy, nocturnal and the continent. tough to spot. 117
  • 119. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 118 Continents, Countries and People Africa Africa is the second largest continent in the world. The Romans named it ‘Africa terra’, which means land of the Afri, after a tribe who lived in North Africa. Africa has around 840,000,000 people. It covers about 30,300,000 square kilometres (11,700,000 square miles) including the islands. Africa This is roughly 6 per cent of the total surface of the Earth. Quick Q’s: 1. Which is the highest Q Where can I find Africa on the globe? point in Africa? Kibo on Mount A Africa is the only continent straddling Kilimanjaro is the the tropic of Cancer, the equator and the highest peak. It is 5,895 tropic of Capricorn. It lies to the south of metres (19,341 feet) Europe and the Mediterranean Sea and to tall. Although close to the equator, the peak is the west of Asia, beyond the Red Sea. To its so high it is covered west is the Atlantic Ocean and to its east is Many climates with snow. the Indian Ocean. It is a long continent, Africa has several different climate zones. The Sahara stretching 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) keeps the north hot and dry. The centre has the 2. Does Africa have any rainforests, the south-east the savannah. from the tip of Tunisia in the north to its big lakes? most southern point in South Africa, the Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Albert, Cape of Good Hope. It is widest at the centre, Q How long have humans lived in Africa? with 7,400 kilometres (4,600 miles) between Edward and Kivu are the Great Lakes of Africa, in the Great Rift its most eastern point in Somalia and its A The first human life on Earth started in western coast. Africa’s coastline is 26,000 Africa more than 7 million years ago. Our Valley. Lake Victoria covers 69,500 square kilometres (16,100 miles) long. ape-like ancestors lived there. The ‘cradle of kilometres (26,836 humankind’, a series of limestone caves near square miles) and is Johannesburg in South Africa, is the oldest the world’s second largest freshwater lake. Q How many countries are there in Africa? sign of human civilization that we know of. People who live north of the Sahara desert 3. Does Africa have A Africa is home to 54 countries. The largest are called North Africans and people who live major rivers? is Sudan and the smallest is the Seychelles, a south of the Sahara are called sub-Saharan The Nile River, at 6,825 cluster of islands to its east. Of all the islands, Africans. One of the earliest tribes, the kilometres (4,241 miles) Madagascar is the largest, covering 587,000 Berbers, were pushed into the Sahara and the long, is the longest river in the world. square kilometres (226,658 square miles). Sahel (the area bordering the Sahara) in the Other rivers in Africa seventh century by the Arabs, who settled on Tribal dance include the Congo, the the northern coast. Other tribes still found in Zambezi and the Niger. Different tribes in Africa have different traditional dance forms. This is a dance in Nigeria, western Africa. sub-Saharan Africa include the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Masai of Kenya, the 4. Is the Sahara the Twa pygmies and the Tutsi of west and central only desert in Africa? Africa. Europeans, people from the Middle Three major deserts cover one quarter of East and Asians have also settled in Africa, Africa. The Sahara where they colonized several countries. In the covers 11 countries. last century, most European countries handed The Kalahari desert and the Namib desert these colonies back to the local people. There are in the south. are now people from all over the world who live in Africa. 118
  • 120. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 119 Africa What-a-fall! Q Is there poverty in Africa? Victoria Falls, locally called Mosi-oa-Tunya (meaning ‘smoke A Africa is the world’s poorest continent. that thunders’), is on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Of the 175 countries ranked in the 2003 Zimbabwe. The falls are about 1.7 kilometres (1 mile) wide and United Nations Human Development Report, 128 metres (420 feet) high – the largest single sheet of water in 25 African countries ranked lowest. Sixty per the world. In 1855, David Livingstone named the falls after cent of the people depend on agriculture, Queen Victoria. They are a World Heritage Site. and they have been getting less and less money by exporting their crops. The situation has been worsened by poor rainfall since the 1980s in many countries south of the Sahara. Q What plants and animals might I see on an African safari? A Cypress, pine, oak, orange and olive trees grow along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. The date palm is the common plant in the Sahara oases. Rainforests in north-west and central Africa have hundreds of species of plants and animals, including elephants, gorillas, snakes, okapi and crocodiles. The baobab and the acacia are common trees in the mixture of grassland, desert and mountains that cover much of eastern and southern Africa. This is home to the lion, elephant, cheetah, rhino, zebra and many kinds of monkeys, apes, deer and antelope. Haven for animals The African savannah – now a series of national parks – is home to a huge variety of wild animals. Try these too… Earth’s Atmosphere (26–27), Seasons and Climate (28–29), Mountains, Valleys and Caves (30–31), Other Landforms (32–33), Oceans (34–35), Volcanoes (36–37) Traditional decoration A woman of the Himba tribe in Namibia, south- western Africa, wears a traditional headdress and jewellery. The decorations have cultural significance. 119
  • 121. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 120 Continents, Countries and People Asia Asia is the largest continent in the world. It spreads over an area of 44,390,000 square kilometres (17,139,000 square miles). This is 8.7 per cent of the total area on Earth, or 29.8 per cent of the total landmass. Over 3.5 billion – six out of every ten – people Asia live in Asia, in some of the most populated countries in the world like China and India. Except for a few of its islands, Asia is in the northern hemisphere – north of the equator. Quick Q’s: 1. Which are Asia’s Q Who are Asia’s neighbours? largest cities? Seoul, Mumbai, Jakarta, A To its west, Asia borders Europe. If Tokyo and Shanghai you drew an imaginary line along the Ural are some of the largest mountains to the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea cities, not only in Asia, Large and populous and the Aegean Sea, it would be the western but in the world! The continent of Asia accommodates about 60 per cent border of Asia. Asia has the Arctic Ocean in of the world’s total population. the north, the Indian Ocean in the south, 2. What languages are and the Pacific Ocean in the east. They include the valleys of the Yangtze spoken in Asia? and Hwang Ho rivers in China; the Ganges, There are more Brahmaputra and the Indus rivers in south languages spoken in Asia than on any other continent – over 100 in Q What is the landscape of Asia like? Asia; and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in west Asia. The Yangtze is the longest river in the Philippines and more than 500 in A Asia is home to Mount Everest, the Asia, covering 6,380 kilometres (3,964 miles). Indonesia alone. highest point on Earth and to the Dead Sea, The highest mountain ranges in the world are Chinese, Hindi, Arabic the lowest surface on Earth. Along the coast in Asia – the Himalayas, Hindu Kush, Kunlun and Bengali are among the languages spoken and in river valleys are fertile plains. and Tien Shan mountains. by over 100 million people. Chinese will soon be spoken by Modern cities more people than any Many Asian cities such as Dubai other language. (seen here), Tokyo, Shanghai, People in most Asian Hong Kong and Singapore are countries speak more full of high rise buildings. than one language. 3. What are the most famous architectural structures in Asia? There are old cities, forts and monuments all over Asia. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from the moon! The Taj Mahal in India and the Angkor Wat in Cambodia are among the world’s famous monuments. 120
  • 122. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 121 Asia Sitting on a seabed Q What kind of plants grow in Asia? During the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, 570 million to 65 million A Asia is so large, it contains various years ago, the Tethys Sea covered most of what is Asia and parts of Europe. The Indian subcontinent broke off from Africa and biomes (climate areas with similar plants and wildlife). In the northern sub-polar regions, drifted towards the north-east. As the land pushed north, it grasses and moss grow. Away from the coast, crumpled and folded to form the Himalaya mountains. Gradually, the coniferous forests form the taiga. Central the islands of eastern Asia, such as Japan and Taiwan, began to Asia has vast grasslands known as the steppe. grow. The plates that make up Asia are still moving and settling, South-west Asia is arid and desert-like. Further which makes this region prone to volcanic activity, earthquakes south and east, in countries such as India, and natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia, tropical many countries around the Indian Ocean. rainforests abound. Q Do people live all over Asia? A Most people live along the river valleys and grow crops like rice and wheat. Many others work in mines, since Asia is rich in petroleum, iron and bauxite. Asia is the world’s largest producer Try these too… of bananas, cotton and Earth’s Atmosphere tea. With such a long coastline, (26–27), Seasons and Climate (28–29), fishing is also an important Mountains, Valleys and source of income. In Caves (30–31), Other China and India, where Landforms (32–33) industry is booming, many people are moving International tastes away from rural areas to The cuisines of China, India and Japan are live in densely famous all over the world. populated cities. Tradition of dance Tea ceremony Many countries in Asia Asian countries like Q Does Asia have a well-developed tradition of dance, music Japan have very formal traditions like that of have a lot of and literature. the tea ceremony. wildlife? A There are some animals in Asia that are not found anywhere else in the world. The giant panda of China, the orangutan of Borneo and Sumatra and the komodo dragon of Indonesia are all unique to the continent. The tiger, the Asiatic lion and the rhino are all under threat of extinction. 121
  • 123. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 122 Continents, Countries and People The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica The North and South Poles are at the two ends of the Earth’s axis. The North Pole is the northernmost part of the Earth, and the most southern tip of the Earth is the South Pole, in Antarctica. The Arctic and the Antarctic are the most arid (dry) places on Earth. Antarctica Quick Q’s: 1. Why is 21 June an Q What is the Arctic? important day around the Arctic Circle? A From the air, the Arctic would look like On 21 June or the a blob of ice surrounded by ocean and rock, summer solstice, the with a scattering of islands. The Arctic Circle Sun does not set north is an imaginary line around the Earth which of the Arctic Circle. That is why this area is represents the southern limit of the Arctic called the land of the region. The average summer temperature Discovering the south pole midnight sun. For the For centuries, people kept searching for the ‘Southern north of the Arctic Circle does not rise above local residents, this is a Continent’. Antarctica was finally discovered in 1819. time to celebrate. On 10 °C (50 °F). the other hand, on 21 December – the winter Q Does it rain in the Arctic? solstice – the Sun does Q Which countries are in the Arctic? not rise at all. A The climate in the Arctic is polar. It has 2. What lies below the A Parts of Canada, Alaska (the largest a short, cool summer and long, freezing ice and snow? state in the USA), Russia, Norway, Sweden, winter. In the outer edges of the Arctic – the Many minerals have Finland, Iceland and Greenland lie within tundra – the average summer temperature is been found in the the Arctic circle. The Arctic landmass is made between 0 and 10 °C (32–50 °F). Among the Arctic, although mining is difficult. Russia and up of mountains, plateaus and tundra plains. ice caps, it is below 0 °C (32 °F) throughout the US have found The tundra is flat and marshy and covered by the year, and there is a permanent cover of deposits of coal, copper, permafrost (permanent ground frost). The snow. Most of the precipitation (rainfall) is nickel, gold, uranium, tungsten, diamonds, sea in the Arctic, known as the Arctic Ocean, frozen and falls as snow, but it does natural gas and oil. is frozen over for much of the year. occasionally rain. Antarctica may also be rich in minerals. Continent of ice Huge cliffs of ice are found at the edge 3. Do people live in the of the Antarctic continent. Arctic? Hunters from Siberia were the first people to live in the Arctic, arriving about 5,000 years ago. The Inuit of North America, the Greenlanders, the Lapps of western Europe, and some groups of people in Russia and Siberia live in the Arctic. They hunt, fish and keep herds of reindeer. 122
  • 124. GrBigBk_Q_A 110-123.qxd 21/5/07 12:20 pm Page 123 The Poles – The Arctic and Antarctica Q Who lives in Antarctica? Maximum distance Every year, the Arctic tern migrates from the Arctic A Antarctica has no local population. to Antarctica and back! This is the longest regular It is the least populated continent. In 1819 migration by any animal William Smith discovered a landmass which that we know about. For he called the South Shetland Islands. He its effort, the Arctic tern does get to enjoy two believed it to be a group of islands, but in summers every year. 1840 it was declared a continent. Hole in the ice The Arctic ringed seal is Q Are the polar ice caps melting? the only seal that can make a breathing hole in ice and live under it A Polar ice caps have been melting at an throughout the year. increasing rate since the 1990s due to the increasing level of greenhouse gases like Try these too… carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. In Earth’s Atmosphere 2005, 221 cubic kilometres (53 cubic miles) (26–27), Seasons and Climate (28–29), of the Greenland ice cap melted and fell into Mountains, Valleys and the sea, compared to 92 cubic kilometres Caves (30–31), Other (22 cubic miles) in 1996. One cubic kilometre Landforms (32–33) is three times the amount of water used in a large city in a year. This water is raising sea levels, threatening coasts all over the world. Night light Icebreaker The aurora is a coloured glow seen in polar regions at night. In Many ships have been surrounded and immobilized by ice the Arctic, it is called the aurora borealis or northern lights, and in Arctic and Antarctic seas in the past. Modern ships that in the Antarctic, the aurora australis, or southern lights. These sail in these waters are specially built to ram their way through thick sheets of ice. colourful lights are caused by magnetic fields, when high-energy particles from the Sun react with atmospheric gases. 123
  • 125. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 124 World History Ancient Mesopotamia A large part of ancient Mesopotamia is now covered by the country of Iraq. The fertile land near the Euphrates and Tigris Location of the ancient rivers is known as the ‘Cradle of Civilization’, and it was here civilizations in Egypt and that the first ever Mesopotamian civilizations were born. Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was home to the ancient cultures of the Watering the land Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians. Mesopotamians were very clever. They built elaborate canals and dams to irrigate their dry farm lands. Q What did the Mesopotamians do for a living? A A large part of the Mesopotamian society consisted of farmers. The Sumerians were the world’s first farmers. They cultivated a variety of crops including wheat, barley and flax. The climate in Mesopotamia was dry, so the people living there had to depend on the rivers for irrigation. They built canals to carry water from the rivers into large reservoirs, Symbols of the past where it was stored. The farmers also built The cuneiform is the dykes to protect their houses from floods. oldest script in the world. Quick Q’s: 1. Which was the oldest Q Why did the Mesopotamians build boats? Mesopotamian civilization? A Apart from farming, Mesopotamians The Sumerians settled also traded in goods like stone and metal. in Mesopotamia about They realized that these materials could be 4000 BC, making them transported easily along the rivers and across the first civilization in the world. the sea using boats. So the Mesopotamians built different types of boats. They had Down the river wooden boats with triangular sails, a wooden Boats were used for transport and trading goods in 2. Who ruled ancient Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia? raft called a kalakku, and a tub-like boat made Every Mesopotamian of reeds and covered with animal skin known city was ruled by a king, who was thought as a guffa. Q Were the Mesopotamians really the first to have been chosen people to develop writing? by the god of the city. Q What is a ziggurat? A The Sumerians were the first to develop a written language. Their script is known as 3. Were there wars in ancient Mesopotamia? A The Mesopotamians believed that their cuneiform and was composed of a series of Mesopotamians fought cities and towns were protected by gods. symbols. These were carved on to clay tablets with each other over They built temples to these gods on top of using a reed called a stylus. They used the land, water and power. The first ever war large, pyramid-like structures called ziggurats. tablets to keep records of trade and land probably took place These were made of mud bricks and had ownership. There were some religious texts between the cities of between three and seven storeys. The ziggurat too. The Sumerian script was adapted by the Lagash and Umma. was often built at the centre of the city. later civilizations including the Akkadians. 124
  • 126. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 125 Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt The civilization of ancient Egypt on the banks of the Nile lasted for more than 3,000 years and was the longest continuous civilization in the world. During this period there were many political and economic changes, but the basic culture, religion and lifestyle remained the same throughout. Massive effort Deciphering sacred carvings Q Why is the Nile River known as the Many people were needed to build a pyramid. lifeline of Egypt? The ancient Egyptians used a form of writing that was made up of pictures. A It was the fertile banks of the Nile that This was known as hieroglyphics. The attracted early settlers to Egypt. These settlers word hieroglyphic means sacred carving formed two different kingdoms – Upper in Greek. For years, no one could read Egypt in the south, and Lower Egypt in the these strange-looking symbols. Then in north, with the Nile Delta. People fished in 1799, the famous Rosetta Stone was the Nile and farmed on its banks. discovered at Rashid (Rosetta), in Egypt. This stone contains an order issued by the priests of Ptolemy V in 196 BC. The Q Why did ancient Egyptians order is written in a mixture of Egyptian build pyramids? hieroglyphics, Greek and other ancient scripts. With the help of the Greek texts, A Ancient Egyptians built pyramids as experts were soon able to decipher the a final resting place for their kings, called hieroglyphic script. pharaohs. They believed that their pharaohs continued to look after the affairs of the kingdom even after death. It was therefore necessary to make their souls comfortable. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, made out of stone, is the grandest of all pyramids. This Comfortable afterlife amazing monument is over 146 metres Ancient Egyptians buried (480 feet) tall and has survived for more food, furniture, jewellery than 4,000 years! and everything else that was thought necessary for the afterlife along with the mummies. It was Q What is a mummy? believed that the dead had to be well-provided A The ancient Egyptians believed in life for if they were to perform their duties after death. They thought that each person effectively after death. had three souls – ka, ba and akh. It was said that the body had to remain intact even Try these too… after death for akh to exist happily. So, the Africa (118-119), ancient Egyptians preserved dead bodies by Discovery of New Lands (144-145), Architecture a process called embalming. The process was (164-165), Art and known only to some priests. The embalmed Artists (166-167), World body is called a mummy, and some have Religions (176-177) survived until today! 125
  • 127. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 126 World History Ancient India and China Most ancient civilizations developed in river valleys. The Indus Valley civilization, from 3000 to 1500 BC, covered Afghanistan, Indus Valley Chinese Pakistan and western India. The Chinese civilization developed civilization civilization along the banks of the Hwang-ho River in about 2100 BC and was governed by various dynasties, or ruling families. Q What did the people of the Indus Valley do for a living and for recreation? Q What was special about the ancient Indus Valley civilization? A Farmers grew barley, peas, melons, wheat, cotton and dates and herdsmen kept sheep, A The Indus Valley civilization grew up pigs, cows and water buffalo. Fishermen caught around 3000 BC along the banks of the Indus fish using hooks like modern fishermen do and Ghaggar-Hakra rivers. Before this, people today. Grain was stored in a large town granary. generally lived in the forest or in small Specialized writers kept records of trade and villages. When the civilization developed, land ownership on the terracota seals. The Unknown script great cities were built, with populations of people were expert artists and potters, and A seal of the Indus Valley civilization, with its up to 35,000 people. These cities were very could weave. They could work metal to make unknown script. advanced and carefully planned with straight jewellery, statuettes and weapons. There were roads. The people knew how to make baked market days every week, to which people came Quick Q’s: bricks out of mud and they built homes two from far away. Colourful clothes and jewellery 1. What is storeys high. Each home had a well and were sold in the markets. The women wore Mohenjo-Daro? a bathroom from which waste drained in to lipstick made out of vegetable dyes. The men Mohenjo-Daro was the sewers through clay pipes, some of which went hunting, sometimes with falcons. largest city in the Indus were covered and were high enough for a Children played with different toys like small Valley and means mound of the dead. It man to walk through. The sewers drained carts, whistles shaped like birds, and monkeys had been abandoned in to a river or the sea. that slid down a string. for many centuries. Then in 1924, while Ancient priest Swimming pool or religious bath? a railway line was Scholars think The great bath of Mohenjo-Daro may have been used for under construction, this is the statue ritual bathing before prayers. But some scholars think it workers started digging of a priest from was also used for recreation. near the mound. When the time of the archaeologists saw the Indus Valley ancient bricks the civilization. workers were digging up, they realized they had hit upon an important ancient site. 2. Who was Empress Xi Ling-Shi? Empress Xi Ling-Shi is said to have discovered silk when a cocoon fell into her cup of tea and the silk unravelled. By 3000 BC, silk was worn by Chinese royalty. 126
  • 128. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 127 Ancient India and China Teatime Q What are the early Chinese dynasties known for? The ancient Chinese knew all about tea. Tea, which they called tu, was grown in China from at least 1000 BC. It was often used A The Xia dynasty is the earliest known in religious ceremonies. For a long time, the leaves were eaten Chinese dynasty (2100–1600 BC). It lasted for like vegetables. Gradually, from the time of the about fourteen generations. During the Western Han dynasty around 207 BC, Shang dynasty (1600–1027 BC), a written people began to use tea as a language began to take shape and history medicine and as a royal drink. started to be recorded. At this time, people But it wasn’t until the Tang also learnt to make things out of bronze. dynasty that began in 618 AD that drinking tea became an important part of Chinese life. River valley Destroying knowledge An aerial view of part of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Try these too… the Yangtze river and its ordered the burning of Asia (120–121), valley, where the ancient most books in the country Discovery of New Lands Chinese civilization was in 213 BC, destroying very (144–145), Architecture developed over many valuable information about (164–165), Art and centuries. ancient China. He believed Artists (166–167), World that those who wrote Religions (176–177) The Shang dynasty in China was followed books were spreading dissent against him. by the Zhou dynasty (1027–221 BC), when the Chinese learnt to use iron. The rulers during this period encouraged their people to grow crops, spin silk, make pottery, build boats and carts, and hunt with bows and arrows. In 221 BC, Emperor Qin Shi Huang became the first king to rule over the whole of China. He made sure that all Chinese people spoke the Qin language. A written language with over 3,000 characters was developed. Q Who was Confucius? A Confucius was born in 551 BC during the rule of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. He was a teacher and a philosopher. He travelled widely, giving advice to different rulers and trying to convince them to be more caring towards their people. He believed in the family and in peace, truth and cooperation. He also believed that the king should be just and fair. The years of Confucius are known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy. His teachings were followed by generations of rulers and officials who governed China. 127
  • 129. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 128 World History Ancient Greece The ancient Greek civilization is the oldest in the western world. This civilization thrived about 3,000 years ago. One of the earliest cultures to flourish in the Greek islands was Location of the ancient the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, which began Greek civilization. around 2700 BC. The ancient Greek civilization we know today emerged around 800 BC. Quick Q’s: 1. Did ancient Greeks Q What are city-states? know about democracy? Democracy – a form of A Ancient Greece was divided into many government elected small, self-governing communities. This was by the citizens of a largely because of the geography of Greece, country – was first where every island and many cities are cut off introduced in Athens. from their neighbours by mountain ranges or sea. These smaller independent communities 2. Who was Homer? formed what were known as city-states. Each Homer is one of the city-state had its own customs and laws. The best-known Greek writers. He wrote the most important city-states were Athens, two famous epic Sparta, Corinth and Thebes. poems – The Iliad and The Odyssey. 3. What is the Q What caused the Peloponnesian war? Pottery class Ancient Greeks had a system of training in all the arts. Parthenon? The Parthenon is the A Around the fifth century , the Athenians BC The city of Sparta became jealous and, most famous building of became very powerful. They began to dominate supported by Corinth, went to war against ancient Greece. It was a all the other city-states, especially in war. Athens in 431 BC. The Peloponnesian War temple to Athena, the Greek goddess of war lasted for 27 years. Athens was defeated. It and wisdom. The was stripped of its navy and lost its colonies. Parthenon has been renovated many times. The latest round started in 1975, and has been going on since then. Q Were ancient Greeks good at art? A The Statue of Zeus at Olympia by Phidias 4. Did ancient Greeks was one of the seven wonders of the ancient make pottery? world. The statues made in ancient Greece Ancient Greeks made showed detailed knowledge of the human pottery for their daily use. Some of the most anatomy. Ancient Greek architecture commonly used vessels consisted mainly of temples. They had simple included amphora square or rectangular shapes, surrounded by (wine jars), hydria (water jars) and tall columns. Greek art has had enormous krater (mixing bowls). influence on the cultures of many countries. These vessels were often painted with War beautiful scenes from The ancient Greeks were well-known for the many wars famous Greek legends. they fought on land and sea. City-states fought one another, then united to fight Persian invaders. 128
  • 130. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 129 Ancient Greece Q What did the ancient Greeks do for fun? Ancient Olympics A discus thrower takes part in a competition in A Ancient Greeks enjoyed watching plays. ancient Greece. Almost every city had open-air theatres where drama festivals took place. Awards were given to the best playwright. Greek tragedy and comedy have had a lasting impact on western drama and culture. Q When were the first Olympic Games held? A The ancient Greeks were keen sportsmen. The Olympic Games were an athletic and religious celebration held in the town of Olympia. The first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC, in an attempt to bring all the city-states together in friendly Try these too… competition. Europe (116–117), The Renaissance (142–143), Architecture (164–165), Q Did girls in ancient Greece go to school? Art and Artists (166–167), Theatre (170–171), World A Only boys went to school in ancient of Sports (172–173) Greece. Girls were not sent to school. They were taught housework and married by the Living in slavery age of 13. Women were not allowed to go out Slaves in ancient Greece had no rights at all – they didn’t even to work, or even to vote. Only men took part have their own names! They used the names their masters gave in the affairs of the state. them. People became slaves in many ways; some were children of Birth of democracy slaves, some were abandoned as infants; some were children sold In the city-states of ancient by their families for money. Prisoners of war also became slaves. Greece, men openly debated and voted on many issues. 129
  • 131. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 130 World History Ancient Rome The ancient Roman civilization was the most powerful of all ancient civilizations. In the beginning Rome was a small city-state that was under the control of the Etruscans. It soon grew to become the largest empire in the ancient world. Ancient Rome Location of the ancient was greatly influenced by the ancient Greek culture. Roman civilization. Quick Q’s: 1. What was special Q When was Rome founded? about the Colosseum? The Colosseum is a A According to legend, Rome was founded huge open-air theatre on 21 April 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, in Rome. It was built by who were twins born to Mars, the Roman Emperor Vespasian and god of war. A fight broke out between the his sons. It held 50,000 people. Gladiatorial two brothers regarding the exact games and mock naval location of the city of Rome, and battles were the main Romulus ended up killing events held in it. Remus. Romulus then completed building the city that was later 2. Did all ancient Romans wear togas? named Rome after him. A toga was a long piece of cloth worn by men in ancient Rome. It was usually draped over the Q Was ancient Rome Roman soldiers Roman soldiers were the best trained, ruled by kings? tunic. The toga was a the most disciplined and the most symbol of the person’s position in society. Therefore, slaves and A Romulus was the first feared in the ancient world. of the Seven Kings of Rome most poor men did not wear togas. to rule the city. Around Q Who were the Five 509 BC, Tarquin, the last of Good Emperors? the Seven Kings, was made 3. What are insulae? The poor people in to step down from the A The Five Good Emperors ancient Rome lived throne and the Roman ruled ancient Rome between in small, crowded Republic was established. AD 96 and 180. They were apartments known as insulae. These Under this system, Rome Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, apartments had only was ruled by magistrates Antoninus Pius and Marcus 2–3 rooms, and large and other representatives Aurelius. The Five Good families lived in them. who were elected by the Emperors were so-called people. The Republic of because ancient Rome 4. Who were the Rome dominated all of prospered the most under bestiarii? western Europe. However, by them. They were known for Sometimes, criminals who had been 30 BC, Rome once again came their fair policies and good rule. sentenced to death and under the rule of kings and prisoners of war were became known as the Roman Army officer forced to fight wild An army officer was an important citizen in Rome, animals with their bare Empire. The Roman Empire especially during the time the Roman Empire was hands in the Roman was later divided into expanding. They held titles that showed the arena. They were two parts – eastern number of soldiers they commanded. For example, called bestiarii. a centurion commanded a hundred soldiers. and western. 130
  • 132. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 131 Ancient Rome Q Were the ancient Romans good at engineering? A Ancient Romans were brilliant architects and engineers who constructed magnificent buildings throughout the Empire. However, they are best known for their amazing public baths, roads, aqueducts and drainage systems. Baths were a very important part of life in ancient Rome. Both men and women visited the baths at least once a day. The water in the baths was channelled through aqueducts. Q What did ancient Romans do Roman banquet Roman banquets went on for recreation? for hours. A Ancient Romans loved dance and music. Try these too… The rich held elaborate feasts in which they Europe (116–117), served exotic food like oysters, pork and Architecture (164–165), snails and entertained their guests. All the World of Sports (172–173) people were very fond of gladiatorial games. The scribe The scribe was an Paving the way Roman bath important part of ancient The Roman bath had many rooms, with water at various Apart from baths and aqueducts, ancient Rome. He wrote down all temperatures and facilities for exercise. the laws and the debates Romans also built roads, some of which in the senate. still exist today. Roads in ancient Rome Q Why did ancient Romans had multiple layers. The bottom layer, called pavimentum, was made of mortar. build aqueducts? This was covered with a layer of stones A The Romans built aqueducts to and cement. A layer of concrete and slabs of stone was added to this. Finally, the carry water to the cities. Sometimes, upper layer of concrete and smooth the water would be carried from pebbles was laid. This method of rivers or streams as far as building roads is known as paving. 95 kilometres (59 miles) away! They used natural gravity to carry the water over such long distances. Wherever there was a depression, walls or arches were built over it to keep the water flowing. The water was stored in a large tank, or castellum, in the city, from where it was distributed to public fountains and baths. 131
  • 133. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 132 World History Ancient Americas Middle America, also called Mesoamerica, is the region that stretches from central Mexico to northern Honduras. In ancient times, it was home to some highly developed civilizations like the Maya and the Olmec. These civilizations prospered until the arrival of the European settlers in the sixteenth century. Location of Mesoamerica. Quick Q’s: 1. What type of gods Q How did the various civilizations in Q Who were the Olmec? Mesoamerica develop? did Mesoamericans believe in? A The Olmec were the first group of Ancient Mesoamerican A Farming in Mesoamerica goes back to people to arrive and settle in Central gods were part human 5000 BC. Various tribes knew each other and America. They made the area their home by and part animal. They traded in food, animal skins and jewellery. 1200 BC. They had a calendar and calculated represented natural elements like the Sun Sometimes their armies raided each other’s time by studying the stars and a written and the Moon, rain, villages. Gradually, large cities with big palaces, language which they engraved on stone. Later lightning and the temples and flat-roofed pyramids were built civilizations learnt many things from them, various planets. for the rich. The rulers were also the priests. such as how to build houses. This is why they The workers grew crops, built houses for the are the mother culture of Mesoamerica. 2. Who discovered the cocoa that we all love? rich and fought as soldiers. The Maya loved to drink hot cocoa. They believed cocoa was a gift from their snake Q Besides farming, what were the other god Quetzalcoatl and kinds of work in Mesoamerica? that it could cure them of illness. Chocolate is made from cocoa. A People wove cloth and made rope, baskets and fishing nets. Traders took their wares to other villages. Huge temples, 3. Why did the pyramids and tombs were built. Artisans Mesoamericans bury jewellery with carved and painted designs on their walls. their dead? Big heads Stepped pyramid Enormous statues of helmeted heads are the best-known The Mesoamericans The huge stepped pyramid examples of Olmec art. Some were 3 metres (10 feet) tall. believed in life after built by the Maya at death. They buried Chichen Itza (Mexico). their dead with jewellery, vases and toys they thought were Q Why are the Maya special? needed in the afterlife. The Mayans believed A The Maya took the study of that ordinary people astronomy and mathematics much went to the underworld further than the Olmecs had done. when dead, but when kings died, they went They built huge observatories to heaven and were to study stars. They were reborn as kings in excellent artists and built another world. When rich people died, they grand structures like were buried under palaces and ceremonial their own homes, platforms. They made while kings had elaborate tombs. tools and weapons from volcanic glass. 132
  • 134. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 133 Native Americans Native Americans People have lived in North America for more than 12,500 years, since before the end of the last Ice Age. Scholars believe that Migration these people moved from Asia to America through the Bering routes of Native Land Bridge during the last Ice Age. Americans. Q Where did these people come from? Q Did people live in other Try these too… parts of North America? North America A Most people believe that the early (110–111), Incas and Americans crossed the Bering Land Bridge A The Delaware, Mohegans, Aztecs (141), Discovery of New Lands (144–145) from central Asia. This bridge now lies Mohawks and Abenaki lived in the underwater. Gradually people spread out north-east of America. They were Classic teepee across North America. The people of good hunters and used spears, bows Native Americans in the different regions developed different and arrows and clubs. They fished Great Plains designed ways of life. with spears, hooks and nets and a wigwam that lit flares to attract fish to the could be put up and dismantled surface. They knew how to Q Who were the Mississippians? make two types of homes – very quickly. the longhouse covered A The Mississippians were hunter-gatherers with bark, and the who lived in the south-eastern part of what is wigwam covered with now the United States. They began to grow reeds and animal skins. crops about 5,000 years ago. About 2,400 years ago, they learnt how to grow maize The story of Hiawatha crops. They also grew beans, squash and The Iroquois people were constantly fighting among themselves. sunflowers. They buried their dead under After the death of his family a heartbroken chief, Hiawatha, was huge mounds. They knew how to bake wandering in the forest when he met the Peacemaker, who helped pottery and they built four-walled homes of him to overcome his grief. The Peacemaker took Hiawatha and clay and thatch. Some of them lived in a city visited all the Iroquois tribes and convinced them to live in peace. called Cahokia. The tribes got together to form the Iroquois Confederacy. This Warrior Confederacy continues and is one of the oldest political groups in Native American warriors often dressed to look like the North America, far older than the government of the United States. animals with which they felt a spiritual bond. 133
  • 135. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 134 World History Q Who were the Apache Indians? A The deserts of what is now the south-western United States were occupied by nomadic hunter-gatherers and farmers. The people who lived here included the Apache and Navajo. The farmers grew maize, squash and beans. They often lived in pueblos or terraced stone and adobe brick homes built around a square. They were good farmers God of fertility who could grow enough crops in a dry place Cave dwellings Kokopelli is a fertility god to support entire villages. Each clan had a The cave dwellings of Mesa Verde (Colorado) in which who was worshipped by the Pueblo lived in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. headman. Most Apache lived in a wickiup, a Native Americans in the hut shaped like a dome or a cone of grass and south-western part of the United States. reed mats over a frame. Each wickiup had a Q Were the Native Americans religious? fire pit and a smoke hole. Navajo lived in Quick Q’s: cone or dome-shaped hogans which had six or A Religion was an important part of daily 1. Why are Native eight sides. The doors of hogans always faced life for Native Americans. Priests called Americans also called east. A hogan was almost a sacred place shamans practised medicine and American Indians? since the Navajo believed the roof performed rituals. There were rituals Columbus believed he symbolized Father Sky and the for planting and harvesting. The had landed in India when he reached floor was Mother Earth. Green Corn Ceremony was a America. He called the Cherokee thanksgiving festival. locals Indians. Nothing was taken for granted. 2. Why did their Q Why did the Navajo Most Native Americans were paint sand? forgiving people and population fall? pardoned all crime except Europeans carried diseases which the A The Navajo made murder. The Navajo native Americans had beautiful sand paintings believed in ghosts, who not known. They were depicting their gods they thought were the unable to fight smallpox, measles, as part of a healing spirits of their ancestors. bubonic plague, ceremony. The paintings cholera, typhoid fever, were done with coloured scarlet fever, pleurisy, mumps, diphtheria, powder made from Q Who are the Inuit? pneumonia, whooping grinding stones and other cough, malaria and yellow fever. Some objects they found around A Inuit means ‘the groups were wiped out. them. They used five shades: people’. The Inuit people white, black, red, yellow and settled in the Arctic zone in blue. The colours were dribbled the extreme north of America. 3. Were they prepared for Europeans? on to sand. The sand painters These people, who probably Battles with the better- were guided by the Navajo migrated to America from armed Europeans killed priests, called shamans. The central Asia, adjusted well to many Native Americans. paintings were done at dawn the extreme cold conditions. As the Europeans wanted more land, the and wiped out at the end Since they could grow little tribes were pushed of the day. food, they became expert back. Many could not hunters. They also became adjust to their new The shaman homes and died. Native American priests, called shamans, experts at building igloos, were often the local doctors as well. houses made with blocks of ice. 134
  • 136. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 135 Native Americans Q How did the Inuit hunt? A For fishing, the Inuit learnt how to use a harpoon, or a spear with a strong line attached to it, that could be hauled back from the water. They also fished with hooks, lines, or spears with three prongs. In summer, they dug out roots and berries, the only plant food in their diet. For meat, they ate whales, walruses, polar bears and musk oxen. They often ate meat raw, since there was little fuel to cook with. The Inuit trained packs of dogs to work for them, An Inuksuk Newspaper Rock pulling their sledges and helping them to An Inuksuk is a direction On Newspaper Rock in Utah (USA), people have been hunt. They used the skins of the animals they marker used by the Inuit. recording their activities on stone for 2,000 years. hunted to make kayak boats, sleds, tools, clothes and even homes. The Central Inuit Frozen home group or the Caribou Inuit, only hunted land For centuries, the Central Inuit people animals and caught freshwater fish. have lived in a igloos or snow homes. The igloo was made of blocks of ice Q Who is the Kennewick man? laid in a circle like a dome. The ice bricks were covered with soft snow to A In 1996, the skeleton of a man was keep out the freezing wind. Stale air went out through a hole at the top. The found on the shores of the Columbia River people inside could look out through near Kennewick, in the state of Washington, a window made of clear ice. The bed USA. Radiocarbon dating showed that the was a platform of ice on which the Kennewick man was at least 8,500 years old. residents piled fur sheets. People could His is one of the earliest human skeletons to enter and leave through a covered have been found in North America. Five passage. Most igloos had a smaller Native American tribes, led by the Umatilla room for storage. What most of us do of the Columbia River Basin, have argued not know is that the igloo was just the Dreamcatcher that scientists have no right to disturb the The dreamcatcher is a winter home of the Inuit. In summer, dead. They want the Kennewick man to be cultural object among they lived in tents made of caribou hide many Native Americans. buried once again. and in huts made of earth and grass. It has a willow hoop and a net, decorated in A new monument different ways. There The Crazy Horse was a belief that it Memorial, a mountain would protect children monument being built in from nightmares. South Dakota to honour Native Americans. Try these too… North America (110–111), Incas and Aztecs (141), Discovery of New Lands (144–145), The American Revolution and Civil War (152–153) 135
  • 137. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 136 World History Medieval Europe Europe in the Middle Ages. Western Empire The Middle Ages fell between the time of the ancient Romans Brandenburg House of Luxemberg and the Renaissance, lasting from about AD 500 to 1450. House of Austria By AD 500, the western parts of the Roman Empire had begun Swiss Confederation to break away. It was a time of endless battles, bloodshed and England struggles for power. During this period, Christianity began House of Savoy France spreading throughout Europe. The keep Q How did the spread of Christianity affect Most forts had a high and strong keep to which defenders medieval Europe? could retreat if A Although other religions existed in necessary. Many of the keeps had secret Europe, the Catholic Church ruled the lives tunnels for of most people. It laid down its own laws, escape. Keep Joust owned land and levied taxes. The Church Duels between armed was based in Rome and headed by the Pope, knights, known as jousts, were common during the but it also ruled from monasteries located in Middle Ages. different parts of Europe. The Church was all-powerful, and people who openly spoke Quick Q’s: out against it risked being branded heretics 1. What was a castle? and burned alive at the stake. A castle was the home The power of religion Q How were the various and fortress of a lord kingdoms governed? or king. They had The Catholic Church ruled every aspect of life in medieval Europe. It decided who lived where and how. ramparts from which soldiers could attack It also controlled marriages and burials. A Much of western Europe was ruled by the enemy if the castle the feudal system. The king distributed land was besieged. Many among noblemen in return for services and people besides the lord lived in it, including loyalty. Poor peasants rented this land from servants, soldiers, the nobles, and often paid them with cooks, blacksmiths livestock, eggs, firewood or wine. The nobles and falconers. Cows, horses, pigs and lived in a castle or a manor house. chickens were also kept there for food. 2. What did people Q How did the Crusades begin? wear? Knights wore sleeveless A The Crusades were a series of battles coats decorated with fought between Christians and Muslims. In their coat of arms. Rich AD 1095 Pope Urban encouraged Christians men wore cloaks. Rich to free Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Several women wore tunics that reached to their unorganized groups set off before they could ankles. Married women be formed in to an army. Most of them died tied their hair in a bun along the way. The main Crusaders left for and wore tight caps and nets over it. Jerusalem in late 1096. They captured Unmarried women Jerusalem and other cities. This started a could leave their hair series of wars that went on for over 300 years, loose or braided. known as the Crusades. 136
  • 138. GrBigBk_Q_A 124-163.qxd 21/5/07 12:21 pm Page 137 Medieval Europe Heroic thief Q Did King Arthur exist? Try these too… Europe (116–117), Robin Hood is a legendary hero whose story began in medieval England. He and A Historians are not sure whether King Ancient Greece (128–129), Ancient his band of 140 men lived in Sherwood Arthur was a legend or based on a real king. Rome (130–131), The Forest in Nottinghamshire. They fought Some think he may have been a Celtic warrior Renaissance (142–143), Architecture (164–165) against the poverty and injustice of the who fought the invading Anglo-Saxons in the feudal system by robbing the rich and late fifth century. Stories about him have giving what they stole to the poor. been popular since the twelfth century. Q Who were the Vikings of Scandinavia? A The Viking Age occurred between the eighth and eleventh centuries. The Vikings came from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Most Vikings were farmers who were also great travellers and explorers. They travelled in winter when they could not farm. They were fierce warriors who attacked the coasts of Europe in their longboats, capturing new Couple from the Middle Ages lands to farm. Many of these attacks were very Rich people wore long violent and earned the Vikings a reputation and heavy cloaks. for being barbaric. The Vikings settled in Garbage disposal colonies in Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, The habit of throwing Newfoundland in Canada, and