The way of the Universe to observe itself
13.7 billion years ago, with a ‘Big Bang’ began the enigmatic journey of existence itself. The universe expanded, energy transformed into matter and amid this bewildering dance of energy, matter and explosions was born the planet we call home. Mother earth (aged 4.5 billion years) cooled over millions of years before first life spawned in the cradle of its oceans through multitudes of permutations-andcombinations of organic molecules.
Life, a product of dumb trial and error, had to undergo no less than another three billion years of evolution to give rise to its finest creation-Kingdom Animalia! No, the first animals (sponges) were not roaming the earth, as they remained attached to sea rocks. But soon enough some of these sexually reproducing cell-wall devoid multi-cellular complexes evolved into motile forms having specialized tissues like nervous system and muscles (unique to animals). Animals faced five mass extinction events over 500 million years and diversified into 35 known phyla with a total of 2.13 million known species.
Lo and behold, in this ever diverging tree of animals appeared human—the flag-bearer of intelligence, a salient feature of the animal kingdom. Progenitor of the single largest existential crisis looming large on the whole of Animal Kingdom—the Sixth mass extinction. An exceptionally advanced cerebrum capacitating it with an unprecedented ability to alter ecosystems at a breakneck speed, gone wayward!
This power tempts it to disrupt nature itself, but effectively obfuscates the impossibility of its own aspirations. Let’s not forget that nature has an unflinching habit of penalizing unsustainable (read: unwise) geniuses.
Classes in this kingdom
Vertebrates – Bony skeleton
A legacy to maintain and a success-story worth telling
Birds have always captivated mankind’s imagination because of their mastery of the skies
Dependent on rapidly diminishing clean freshwater bodies invaded by invasive species, half are threatened with extinction
If they bite you and you die, they are ‘venomous’; if you bite them and you die, they are ‘poisonous’
Home for over half of all living vertebrate species
Showcases remarkable adaptations allowing them to thrive on land and sea
Ancient lobe-finned fish, characterized by muscular buds within the fins
Vertebrates – Cartilaginous skeleton
Vertebrates – Jawless fish
Invertebrates – Arthropods (exoskeleton)
Tiny earth’s aviation pioneers are big impactors
Web weavers and fang bearers
The largest of the six classes of crustaceans
Silently carries out a vital role as nature’s recyclers
Their venom, speed, and meat-eating habits make them efficient hunters
Undergo molting to grow and reproduce
One of nature’s living fossils
Invertebrates – Molluscs
One of the most diverse group of organisms and is home to over 90,000 species
Intelligent creatures that can change their colors and patterns in milliseconds!
Widely distributed class of invertebrates found in aquatic habitats throughout the world