Evolution: a giant nutrition step (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2017, 00:38 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

Snowball Earth set up a huge nutritional supply when it melted:

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/researchers-solve-one-of-the-greatest-mysteries-of-scie...

"He set the stage for how algae had such an impact by describing an event called Snowball Earth which took place 700 million years ago. It resulted in Earth being completely frozen over for 50 million years. But once the ice started to melt, a tremendous amount of nutrients was released:

"'The Earth was frozen over for 50 million years. Huge glaciers ground entire mountain ranges to powder that released nutrients, and when the snow melted during an extreme global heating event rivers washed torrents of nutrients into the ocean," elaborated Brocks.

"The rush of nutrients and the cooling of global temperatures created the right conditions for the growth and rapid propagation of algae. The ocean was no longer just full of bacteria, moving towards hosting more complex life forms. This set of an evolutionary chain reaction that resulted in you and me.

"'These large and nutritious organisms at the base of the food web provided the burst of energy required for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where increasingly large and complex animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth," proposed Brocks.

"The research team's co-lead Dr. Amber Jarrett, who found the ancient rocks that were dated to just after the Snowball Earth period, called their discovery "ground-breaking" --

"'In these rocks we discovered striking signals of molecular fossils," said Dr Jarrett. "We immediately knew that we had made a ground-breaking discovery that snowball Earth was directly involved in the evolution of large and complex life.'"

Comment: the usual overblown description, which assumes evolution just plowed ahead once nutrition appeared. It does not tell us how multicellularity appeared, but certainly the event supplied nutrients.


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