Quantcast

Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day by Highlighting Six Unique Species

Animals
Wandering Albatrosses on Prion Island, South Georgia Island, Antarctica. Paul Souders / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images Plus

The theme for today's Earth Day is "Protect Our Species," so Google has gotten in on the celebration with a doodle that celebrates the amazing biodiversity of life on earth.


The doodle presents illustrations and facts about six unique species that represent a variety of different life forms.

"The last thing I wanted to do was feature animals based on their cuteness or how they might appeal in some way to my mammalian sensibilities," lead artist Kevin Laughlin said. "We tried to focus on having a good range of organisms from around the globe that all had an extra special unique quality or earthly superlative."

The featured species are:

  1. The wandering albatross, which has the widest wingspan of any bird.
  2. The coastal redwood, which is the tallest tree in the world.
  3. Paedophryne amauensis, which is both the smallest frog and the smallest vertebrate in the world.
  4. The Amazon water lily, which is one of the world's largest aquatic plants.
  5. The coelacanth, a rare type of fish that is one of the oldest living creatures in the world, dating back to 407-million years ago.
  6. The deep cave springtail, a hexapod that is one of the deepest-living animals on earth.

Laughlin said he learned a lot about earth's amazing species while researching the doodle.

"Apparently scientists were able to coax deep cave springtails with a bit of cheese," Laughlin said. "So we're not so different from these little hexapods, after all!"

Laughlin said he hoped his work would inspire a sense of wonder about the earth and its creatures.

"How often does one take a moment to contemplate a tiny critter that lives in the bowels of a cave in Georgia? All life is incredible and worth celebrating," he said.

The reason for this year's Earth Day theme, however, is that so much of that incredible life is disappearing.

"Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago," the Earth Day Network wrote. "But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity."

Since Earth Day 2018, some alarming studies have revealed the extent of human destruction. Scientists calculated in October, 2018 that 60 percent of bird, reptile, mammal and fish populations had been killed offt by human activity since 1970. Another study released in February of this year warned that more than 40 percent of insects could go extinct within a few decades and 100 percent could be lost within a century.

Major factors driving extinction are climate change, habitat loss including deforestation, pollution, pesticide use, unsustainable agriculture and poaching, according to the Earth Day Network.

"The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action," the group said.

Here are the actions they recommended:

  1. Educate yourself and others about the rate and causes of extinction.
  2. Work towards policies that protect species.
  3. Organize a global movement to protect nature.
  4. Promote individual actions that protect wildlife like going vegan or gardening and farming without pesticides and herbicides.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coral restoration in Guam. U.S. Pacific Fleet / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Erica Cirino

Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.

Read More
Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. Jacob W. Frank / NPS / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.

Read More
Sponsored
Augusta National / Getty Images

By Bob Curley

  • The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
  • Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
  • The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.

McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Read More
Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More