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Science

Seahorses have one of the coolest origin stories of all life on Earth

One of the ocean's worst swimmers has managed to adventure across the world.

seahorse
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

How did seahorses spread across the globe if they can't swim well?

We all know that seahorses are some of the most unique and fascinating creatures that Mother Nature has to offer.

For one thing, they’re gorgeous. Who has ever looked at a seahorse, with all its vivid colors and delicate, otherworldly shapes and gone, meh? No one, I tell you.

Plus they’re basically the mascot for cool, supportive dads everywhere. Not every creature in the animal kingdom can say that.

Yet, for as much as we know about the seahorse, there are even more thrilling stories swimming around—particularly when it comes to how it got here in the first place.

A video published by PBS Eons explains that today, seahorses are found in all of the world's oceans. And yet, they are pretty terrible swimmers. So how on Earth could they have traveled such far distances to spread across the globe?

As it turns out, the answer is possibly hiding even further below the surface.


Throughout at least the last 55 million years, the ocean floor around southeast Asia has been whirling with tectonic plate activity, with the most important shift happening at the end of the Cenozoic era.

As deep channels between continents became more shallow and surfaces were thrust upward toward the sun, more aquatic plant life was able to grow and expand. Experts think that meadows of seagrass in particular helped ancient seahorses travel away from the waters of the Indonesian region (where they likely originated) and across the world. Yep, just like land horses, seahorses wildly gallop into unknown terrain. Actually, they prefer to simply hold onto traveling seaweed and raft into unknown terrain. Still majestic though.

You can watch the full video here:

How Plate Tectonics Gave Us Seahorses

The surge in seagrass might have even caused seahorses to trade in the long, horizontal shape of most traditional fish for their signature upright posture. As the video explains, the grass beds might have supported their ambush hunting technique, allowing them to obtain a longer reach and blend in with the grass blades before striking. Ambush hunting seems OK for a seahorse, but kind of terrifying if you think of land horses doing the same thing. Thank goodness the latter are herbivores.

PBS Eons is a virtual treasure trove of lesser known evolutionary stories. Its YouTube channel covers everything from the domestication history of cats to why we have 10 toes. If you’re looking to go down the coolest educational rabbit hole ever, you can check out its videos here.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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