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Name: Mary
Status: Student
Age: 13
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
The Earth's circumference at the equator is greater than at the poles because of its rotation. Will Earth continue to become more and more epliptical, causing an even greater difference in gravity between the poles and the equator? And if this does happen, will evolution be able to keep up with our planet's changes?



Replies:
The earth will not become any more oblate unless its speed of rotation increases. As it is, the difference in gravity or apparent gravity between the poles and equator is inconsequential. Of much more interest to organisms is the differentce in temperature between the poles and the equator.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


Mary,

The Earth is not likely to become more elliptical as it is fairly rigid and becoming more so if we assume that the Earth's core is very slowly cooling.

Any minor change in the shape of our globe would be so small that our climate, animals and vegetation would not be affected. Adaptation of species would not likely occur (Evolution is a theory, not a proven fact, and has come under great scrutiny lately, particularly because of fossil finds in China; I personally find the theory of Intelligent Design to be more plausible).

David Cook
Argonne National Laboratory



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