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Friday, March 16, 2018

Geologists told about the turning point in the history of life on Earth

A group of American specialists from the University of Washington, found that increasing the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere of the Earth over 400 million years ago led to the “flourishing” of life on the planet. Scientists have discovered the relationship between changing atmospheric composition and increasing of biodiversity during this period.

photo: pixabay.com

Having studied carbonate rocks formed 485-443 million years ago, experts noted that during this time the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere has increased from 14 to 24 percent, it was 80 percent more than previously. The end of this period was marked by an almost threefold increase in the number of species, a phenomenon I call the great Ordovician biodiversification, since the time in which it was observed, denoted as ordowski period. According to experts, the emergence of new species and increasing the number of oxygen linked in a very direct way.

Scientists remind us that, according to the geological shortly before the considered period, there was another similar event – the so-called Cambrian explosion, during which the oxygen content is also increased considerably, which has led to the emergence of the main types of modern animals.

It is worth noting that the most “striking” in Earth’s history a case where a sharp change in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere has determined the further history of life on the planet occurred much earlier. We are talking about so-called “great oxygen catastrophe” about two and a half billion years ago. As a result of this event biosphere “turned inside out” — if not originally the Land was almost no suitable places for organisms unable to survive without oxygen, then with that, on the contrary, faced life forms for which oxygen was poisonous. While flame breath is more “energetically favorable” compared with the anaerobic digestion that largely determined the appearance of the most complicated of currently existing organisms.

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