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By Ingalis A.G. (ed.)

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An animal responds to external conditions in such a way as to preserve life, but this is because it has instinctive responses “hardwired” into its brain. ” Earth Systems Homeostasis and Cycles Nonetheless, Lovelock, Margulis, and other supporters of the Gaia hypothesis have pointed to a number of anomalies that have yet to be explained fully and for which the Gaia hypothesis offers one possible solution. For example, it would have taken only about 80 million years for the present levels of salt in Earth’s oceans to have been deposited there from the geosphere; why, then, is the sea not many, many times more salty than it is?

This discipline, or set of disciplines, The branch The upper part of is concerned with the geologic, geophysi- Earth’s continental crust or that portion of cal, and geochemical properties of other GEOSPHERE: S C I E N C E O F E V E RY DAY T H I N G S VOLUME 4: REAL-LIFE EARTH SCIENCE 41 Studying Earth KEY TERMS planets but also draws on aspects of astronomy, such as cosmology. SCIENTIFIC METHOD: A set of prin- ciples and procedures for systematic study that includes observation; the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws; and continual testing and reexamination.

D. 100–170) rejected it in favor of a much smaller, much less correct figure. Thus, Ptolemy may deserve some of the credit for discovering the New World: if Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) had known just how far it was around Earth, he might not have been so confident about sailing off into the seas to the west of Europe. 38 VOLUME 4: REAL-LIFE EARTH SCIENCE Ptolemy’s rejection of Eratosthenes’s measurement was far from his only negative contribution to the history of science. Influenced by highly misguided concepts handed down from Aristotle himself (see Earth, Science, and Nonscience), he developed a complex cosmology that depicted Earth as the center of the universe.

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