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New findings regarding the connection between the increase of oxygen in the atmosphere and the development of complex life

Hebrew University researchers have revealed new findings regarding the connection between the increase in oxygen in the atmosphere and oceans on Earth, and the development of complex life. The study indicates that the rise of oxygen occurred after the development of complex life, contrary to previous assumptions

The concentration of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere and oceans has increased throughout geological history, in parallel with the development of life. Many studies have tried to understand the connection between the increase in oxygen and the development of complex life, but there is still disagreement regarding the timing and interdependence between the two phenomena. While some suggested that the increase in oxygen concentrations in the oceans, to concentrations similar to today's about 800-500 million years ago, allowed the development of complex life during this period, others argued that the increase in oxygen concentrations in marine environments was late for the development of complex life - and suggest that it probably resulted from it.

A new study, led by Dr. Michal Ben Israel and Dr. Uri Riv from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University, in collaboration with international researchers, examined the relationship between the increase in oxygen and the development of complex life by developing a new approach based on uranium-lead dating of marine sedimentary rocks ancients. The study found that the increase in oxygen occurred in marine environments about 400 million years ago; Hundreds of millions of years after the development of complex life, such as animals. This finding supports the possibility that the development of life is what caused the significant increase in the concentration of oxygen in the oceans.

In their study, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, the team of researchers developed a new approach to reconstructing the oxygen concentration in marine environments where the first complex animals evolved. According to them, the challenge in such a reconstruction stems from the ancient age (millions to billions of years) of the rocks. Between the time of the formation of the rocks in ancient environments and the present day, concentrations of elements, which are sensitive to oxygen concentrations, may change and evidence of the presence or absence of oxygen on the ancient surface may disappear. Riv and Ben Israel's method, based on the measurement of uranium-lead ages in dolomites (common sedimentary rocks), makes it possible to examine the relationship between elements sensitive to oxygen concentration in the initial stage of the rock's formation - and therefore indicates an increase in oxygen concentrations in the marine environment where the rocks were formed.

"Our study confirms a new belief about the connection between these two processes and rules out a previous belief that the increase in oxygen was a prerequisite for the development of complex life. Now, we show that complex life could exist even in low-oxygen environments," explains Dr. Ben Israel.

Dr. Reeve summarized the significance of the research: "Understanding the connection between the increase of oxygen in the atmosphere and the sea, and between the development of complex life, reflects on the question of life in the universe. The research findings contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the increase in oxygen and the development of complex life, and therefore also have important implications for the field of astrobiology, which deals with the search for life in the universe. Our findings indicate that high oxygen concentrations, to the extent that they are discovered in the atmosphere of distant planets, are not necessarily a prerequisite for the existence of complex life."

More of the topic in Hayadan:

3 תגובות

  1. Third time I ask,, what caused the earth's magnetic field to decline??, at that time

  2. Hello Felix, not the strong survive but those who adapt to changes, every living thing has its own strategy to survive.

    P.S. One of the reasons for the current extinction - man-made is that the changes in the environment are so great that most species are unable to adapt to them, in my opinion even man.

  3. Hello. I would like to ask a question that is indirectly related to the article. According to the most basic theory of evolution, the strong survive and the weak die out. What was nature's motivation to develop weaker and weaker strains over millions of years. After all, the single cell is much more vestigial than what evolved later. The bacteria are much more fossilized than insects and insects are much more fossilized than mammals. Why did all these evolve? After all, this goes against the assumption of evolution. Mammals are the weakest. They are much less resistant to temperature changes, radiation, etc.

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