Low level of oxygen in Earth's middle ages delayed evolution for two billion yea
Low level of oxygen in Earth’s middle ages delayed evolution for two billion years
A low level of atmospheric oxygen in Earth’s middle ages held back evolution for 2 billion years, raising fresh questions about the origins of life on this planet
February 2, 2017
University of Exeter
A low level of atmospheric oxygen in Earth’s middle ages held back evolution for 2 billion years, raising fresh questions about the origins of life on this planet.
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Professor Tim Lenton and Dr Stuart Daines of the University of Exeter Geography department, created a computer model to explain how oxygen stabilised at low levels and failed to rise any further, despite oxygen already being produced by early photosynthesis. Their research helps explain why the ‘great oxidation event’, which introduced oxygen into the atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago, did not generate modern levels of oxygen.
In their paper, published in Nature Communications, Atmospheric oxygen regulation at low Proterozoic levels by incomplete oxidative weathering of sedimentary organic carbon, the University of Exeter scientists explain how organic material — the dead bodies of simple lifeforms — accumulated in the earth’s sedimentary rocks. After the Great Oxidation, and once plate tectonics pushed these sediments to the surface, they reacted with oxygen in the atmosphere for the first time.Spanish Devil, 7wo7rees, jdpriestly and 2 otherstwenty, elias39 like this
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