The algae that terraformed Earth

The algae that terraformed Earth

The algae that terraformed Earth

In a statement released on Thursday, associate professor Jochen Brocks from the Australian National University (ANU) said his team "crushed" ancient sedimentary rocks into a fine powder in order to closely analyse their contents, reports Xinhua news agency. How did living things turn from dinky capsules of genetic material into the intelligent, complex organisms that do things like fart and type curse words into posts on the internet?

Co-lead researcher Dr Amber Jarrett said traces of phosphorus, a key mineral nutrient, were also found, which the scientists believe helped the algae "go wild" after the Snowball Earth era.

"This new timeframe offers a network of explanations for a Neoproterozoic/Paleozoic rise in atmospheric oxygen levels, establishment of more modern nutrient and carbon cycles, and the evolution of an increasingly complex biota [life]". Scientists all across the world agree to the snowball Earth event.

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The bacteria that once dominated the oceans found themselves being squeezed out by more complex life-forms.

By painstakingly analyzing the molecular signal and separating fossil fuel contaminants, the team found algae populations rose dramatically around 650 million years ago.

Researchers said this period saw the appearance of complex, multicellular animals - and they say their appearance is linked to algae that resulted from the shifting and complicated conditions in the Cryogenian period. The researchers say there are clear signs of a revolution of ecosystems 650 million years ago.

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Experts are divided into two main camps on the origin of complex organisms, said Mr. Brocks, whose own findings pushed him from one camp to the other. This makes them very stable and when ancient algae decomposed, these fat molecules were absorbed by sediments where they remained trapped for eons.

"Our study presents the first real evidence that it was not oxygen that was lacking, but an abundant, nutritious food source", he said. "Thus, we propose that cyanobacteria persisted in the tropics as dominant primary producers, and algae were only able to radiate once temperatures dropped after several million years". The origin of complex life on Earth remains one of the most puzzling events in science, as the evolutionary jump between single-celled microbes and multi-cellular, nucleus-bearing, mitochondria-powered organisms is simply enormous.

"The Earth was frozen all over for 50 million years". "The close temporal connection between the melting of the Snowball, rising nutrient levels in the oceans, the rise of algae and the evolution of animals immediately suggest that these events must be linked". Known as the Sturtian glaciation, this event is more informally dubbed "Snowball Earth" and it's thought to be the most extreme, and long-lasting, ice age the planet ever experienced.

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