Scientists have discovered the world's largest plant off the Australia coast- a seagrass meadow that has grown by repeatedly cloning itself. Genetic analysis has revealed that the underwater fields of waving green seagrass are a single organism covering 180 sq.km. through making copies of itself over 4,500 years.

Scientists confirmed that the underwater meadow was a single organism by sampling and comparing the DNA of seagrass shoots across the bed, wrote Jane Edgeloe, a study co-author and marine biologist at the University of Western Australia.

A variety of plants and some animals can reproduce asexually. There are disadvantages to being clones of a single organism. such as increased susceptibility to diseases- but "the process can create hopeful monsters" by enabling rapid growth, the researchers wrote.

The scientists call the meadow of Poseidon's ribbon weed "the most widespread known clone on Earth", covering an area larger than Washington, the US.

Though the seagrass meadow is immense, it's vulnerable. A decade ago, the seagrass covered an additional seven square miles, but cyclones and rising ocean temperatures linked to climate change have recently killed almost a 10th of the ancient seagrass bed.

Did you know?

  • The species is commonly found along parts of Australia's coast, and grows "like a lawn" up to 35 cm a year, Which is how they arrived at this plant's age.
  • This specific plant is believed to have spread from a single seed.
  • The plant is hardy, growing in different types of conditions within its present location - from a variety of temperatures and salinities to extreme high light conditions, all of which would have been very stressful to most other plants.
  • A place in the Guinness World Records

The Poseidon's ribbon weed has entered the Guinness World Records as the "largest single living organism based on area". The weed has claimed its title from a honey mushroom, which is spread over 2,385 acres in the U.S. The mushroom is still "the world's largest fungus".

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The geographic South Pole in Antarctica is the only place on earth where you can time travel! All lines of longitude converge at this exact point, so you are literally standing in all 24 time zones. You can step from today into yesterday and back into tomorrow! Since Antarctica is largely uninhabited, the continent is not officially divided into time zones. Research stations use the time zone of the country that operates them, while others observe the local time of countries nearby officially divided into time zones. Research stations use the time zone of the country that operates them, while others observe the local time of countries nearby.

What is a time zone?

A time zone can be described as a region of the Earth that observes a standard time for several purposes, including commercial, legal, and social. Time zones often follow the boundaries of a country and its subdivisions since it is convenient for places in close proximity to observe the same time. Time zones on land are usually offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Earth’s rotation means that time zones are determined by the lines of longitude that connect the North and South Poles, and divide the globe into different time zones. A country or region may have multiple time zones. For example, the United States is spread across six time zones. However, since all lines of longitude converge at the poles, it means that the poles are technically located within all time zones simultaneously. 

Time at the geographic poles.

In most parts of the globe, lines of longitude determine the local time, such that the specific time is synchronized to the position of the Sun in the sky. However, this does not apply at the North and South Poles, where the rising and setting of the Sun occurs only once a year. At the North Pole, the sun is continuously above the horizon in the summer and below the horizon during winter. The Sun rises during the March equinox and reaches sunset around the September equinox. The South Pole does not receive any sunlight from March until September, while the Sun is continuously above the horizon from September until March, meaning that the pole experiences one of the coldest climates in the world.

How is time determined at the geographical poles?

While there are no permanent human settlements at the poles and no specific time zone has been assigned to either pole, explorers and polar expeditions choose to follow any time zone deemed convenient. Therefore, a group of explorers may choose to observe the same time zone as their country of origin or may opt to use Greenwich Mean Time. For example, a group working at the McMurdo Station in the South Pole followed the local time in New Zealand local time (UTC+12 or 13).

Credit : World atlas 

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Which is world's longest trail?

At 24,000 km long, the Great Trail in Canada is the world's longest recreational trail network of roadways, greenways and waterways. It has individual sections for walking, cycling, paddling. horseback riding and cross-country skiing.

Twenty-five years ago, Great Trail founders Pierre Camu, Bill Pratt and Paul LaBarge came up with the idea of linking Canada’s various trail networks into one mega-trail to celebrate the nation’s 125th birthday. Since then, tens of millions of dollars have been spent on trail building, signage and negotiations with landowners and local governments. Four hundred and seventy-seven groups helped to create the trail’s 432 sections, which pass through 15,000 communities.

In September of 2016, the trail was only 85 to 90 percent connected,  Over the last year, however, organizers made a monumental push to work with counties and municipalities to negotiate interim solutions for the missing bits of trail.  Not everyone is impressed by the Great Trail, former known as the Trans-Canada Trail, however, according to Jason Markusoff at MacLean’s. Reportedly, the route falls significantly short of its original goal of being an off-road trail, with only around 4,900 miles of the route, or 32 percent, composed of off-road trails. About 5,340 miles of the trail are along roads or the shoulders of highways, while 3,770 miles are water trails and 1,110 miles share the trail with ATVs.

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The northern half of Africa stretches down from the fertile coast bordering the Mediterranean Sea, through vast areas of desert and savanna, into the forests of the west and central Africa. Apart from the Atlas Mountains, the Ethiopian Highlands and Saharan ranges, much of the region is a level plateau.

In the far north of Africa, the countries bordering the coast benefit from natural resources of oil and gas. They also rely on tourism and the manufacture of textiles and carpets. The population is mostly Arabs. Berbers, an ancient native people, live in the uplands of Morocco.

South of the Sahara, agriculture is the primary industry of many countries. Rivers such as the Nile, Niger and Senegal provide essential water with which to irrigate crops. However, in many countries such as Mauritania and Mali, drought is a recurrent problem. In the driest areas, nomadic cattle-herders travel vast distances in search of good grazing.

There are many different peoples living in Northern Africa. Conflict between them often leads to long and devastating wars. The combination of war, drought and widespread poverty has led to terrible famines in Ethiopia and Sudan.

West Africa has a wetter climate, and crops such as coffee, bananas, cocoa, groundnuts and citrus fruits are grown. For many years, timber has been an important product of countries such as the Cote d’Ivoire, but this was carried out at such a rate that vast areas of the forest have now disappeared. Mining of oil and metal ores is a rich resource, but due to poor government and frequent wars, many countries are still impoverished.

Many people in Northern Africa live in small towns or villages, producing just enough food and goods for themselves. Others crowd into the cities, looking for work. They often have to live in very poor conditions on the outskirts of the city.

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The Congo basin covers much of central Africa. Here, the mighty Congo River winds through dense rainforest, where animals such as the rare mountain gorilla and a host of bird species live.

 To the south and east are high plateaux, with a cooler, drier climate. Much of the land is flat grassland, called savanna, where animals such as giraffes, elephants and lions roam. In the southwest, the savanna gives way to areas of hot, dry desert. In the east, deep valleys, high volcanic mountains and huge lakes have formed along a split in the Earth’s crust, known as the Great Rift Valley.

Southern Africa is rich in natural resources such as oil, metals (particularly copper and gold) and diamonds. Mining is therefore a vitally important industry. Tourism is also important to the savanna regions, where large national parks have been set up to protect the wildlife. In the eastern highlands, crops of tea and coffee are grown for export. Cattle are farmed for their meat and dairy products.

Outside South Africa and the Copper Belt (southern Congo and northern Zambia), large industrial areas are scarce. Countries such as Angola and Mozambique, with fertile land and rich resources, are nevertheless poverty-stricken due to years of civil war. Many people are farmers, and produce only enough food for themselves.

There are many hundreds of different tribal groups in Southern Africa, with many different languages and customs. Violent clashes between rival groups are frequent. In the worst affected regions, millions of people have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the conflicts.

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