Amazon is the world’s largest rain forest consisting of more than 5.5 million square miles in South America and Brazil. Amazon is the core of all existence on our planet. To understand our world and the future, we should know essential facts about the Amazon. Amazon is such a great place that many things about it remain a mystery to us. Efforts have been made to unfold the great mysteries further. Here is what scientists have found out;
Layers of the Amazon
The size of the Amazon is not just about its landscape. Its countless Flora has a great depth that covers both the ground and space above. It is beautiful! Trees in the Amazon are of different species having various heights. They range between 80-100 feet tall. The different levels are ideal for the existence of a variety of animals and plants. The different canopies have different heights, new humidity, density, and various creatures with varying ways of life.
The Earth’s Lungs
The amount of trees and plants in the Amazon has a significant effect on the planet. Flora in the Amazon has a ‘breathing’ role hence the name ‘the Earth’s lungs.’ Trees can absorb carbon dioxide at high levels and pump out oxygen for all creatures on Earth. The Amazon pumps out oxygen so effectively that it accounts for around 20% of the world’s oxygen. So, life on Earth is basically joined to the Amazon.
The Story of Percy Fawcett
There are many incredible places to explore, but Amazon is not one of them! Many people have lost their lives in an attempt to explore the Amazon depths. Percy Fawcett went missing with his son in 1925 when they tried to dive deep into Amazon to explore. The mystery of the Fawcetts was never solved. There were speculations that he succumbed to illness or accident, but it was never confirmed.
The Mystery of the Humpback Whale
The carcass of a humpback whale was found in the mouth of the Amazon River in February 2019. Scientists were hugely surprised as it was difficult to know how it got there. Typically, Humpback Whales migrate north and south to and from the poles, and this means that this whale was about 4,000 miles off course. Scientists never had an explanation for this incident. They tried to think that the whale might have gotten separated from his mother and in its attempt to find its way home, the unfortunate happened.
Amazon is perfect for Medicine
It is a wonder that many tribes have access to western medicines, but how do these communities access Amazonian treatments? Many drugs used today originate in the Amazon. 70% of the plants that can fight cancer in humans come from there. Scientists believe that one day, the cure for cancer will be found and it will most likely come from Amazon.
Amazon’s tree canopy
The tree canopy is among the most active layers in the Amazon. It serves as the covering of the forest at 80 feet above the ground. The tree canopy is home to thousands of animals. Its thickness is around 20 feet, incomparable to any other layer. Every creature lives in the Amazon. There are monkeys, birds, toucans, sloths, spiders, and every type of insect. Due to the density of plant cover, sunlight does not reach the ground quickly.
An Amazon Monster?
Tribes in the Amazon have reported that there could be a giant monster that roams the forest. Strangely enough, these tribes report on the same seven-foot monster, yet they have never spoken to each other. The beast is said to have an overpowering stench. Every time scientists visit the Amazon search for this monster, but they have never found it. No one knows the truth, and it is believed to be an Amazon legend.
Amazon is not all forest
So, what comes to your mind when you hear about Amazon? People tend to think that the Amazon is all a sizeable dense rainforest. Well, here is something to think about. Millions of miles are not forested, and humans farm this land. Some of the areas are for farming, ranching, and cropping. Symbols called geoglyphs reveal that the Amazon has been under cultivation for over 2000 years.
There are many reports of how Percy Fawcett operated as an explorer. He sought attention from the British tabloid press by writing about Maricoxi. Percy described the Maricoxi as a tribe of sasquatch-type animals. However, there is no existing evidence that these creatures truly existed.
Levels of Biodiversity
Humans have a curious nature. They are always seeking to learn new things each day. Between 1999 and 2009, a new species was discovered every three days. As we learn of new creatures, there are many others in the Amazon that we know nothing about. Millions of diverse plant and animal species coexist with each other. Here are some examples;
The Amazon River is home to the rare Pink Dolphins. These dolphins swim in waters along Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. These creatures are estimated to be around 10,000 in total. If you are lucky, you can swim alongside these creatures.
The Silkenge is a small silk structure made by an unknown creature in the Amazon. Despite the efforts made by scientists to uncover this strange creature, their efforts are still fruitless. People speculate that spiders might have made these silk items, but the species is not confirmed. Silkenges are found all over Amazon.
The Green Anaconda is the world’s largest snake. It lives in the swamps and streams of the Amazon. Anacondas can weigh more than 500 pounds and can also grow to a length of 29 feet. Green Anacondas mostly live in water; their noses and eyes are on top of their heads. This strategic location of body parts makes it possible for these snakes to hunt while in water. Anacondas eat pigs, birds, and giant jaguars. Whenever Anacondas have a proper meal, they can go for months without food.
Origins of a Name
So, how did the name ‘Amazon’ come about? Historians trace it back to a Spanish soldier called Fransisco de Orellana. Fransisco was the first European to explore the Amazon in 1541. During his exploration, he came across gold and cinnamon, which he began to collect. A tribeswoman who was set to protect her property attacked him, and Fransisco named her an Amazon, which is a name for female warriors based on the Greek mythology. Surprisingly, the name stuck, and it has been used widely to date.
The Amazon size is shrinking
Deforestation is on the increase in the Amazon. It has shrunk by 17% in the last 50 years. People are changing the landscape and using it for farming activities. We should maintain the balance of the ecosystem to reap its benefits. Humans are busy searching for gold and oil, ignoring the fact that the world is at risk. If we want to maintain a healthy and functional ecosystem, then we should strive to save the Amazon.
Increased Forest Fires
Forest fires are common in all forests. The Amazon has recently had increased cases of forest fires which have adverse effects on people living nearby. Uncontrollable fires in Amazon have had residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil breathing black smoke for months. Statistics from the Washington Post the number was at an increase of 84%.
How many people live in the Amazon?
People hear that many tribes are living in the Amazon, but there has not been an exact number known. There have been stories of crazy tribes and monsters living in this rain forest. Estimates show that around 1 million people live in the Amazon. This population consists of 400 different tribes that have maintained their traditions. People in the Amazon can hunt and fish. Surprisingly, they have access to western education and healthcare.
The issues on climate and global warming are very delicate. Any small change can bring about devastating effects on our planet. The temperature on Earth is very vital for the survival of all creatures on Earth. Any slight change, even by as little as three degrees has the potential to destroy about 75% of the Amazon rain forest. The destruction of the Amazon means the destruction of all life on Earth. We should maintain healthy living for a healthy ecosystem.