Photo: Günter Lenz / Globallookpress.com
Scientists Exeter and Edinburgh universities have identified a new possible cause of the Cambrian explosion — the sudden appearance of various forms of complex living organisms 500 million years ago. It turned out that rapid speciation was facilitated by the movement of tectonic plates that caused the increase in the level of oxygen. About it reported in a press release on EurekAlert!.
According to researchers, during the formation of the supercontinent Gondwana, there was a significant increase in the number of eruptions in volcanic arcs — chains of volcanoes thousands of kilometers, formed in the zone of collision between continental and oceanic tectonic plates. This, in turn, led to the release of large quantities of carbon from ancient sedimentary rocks that sank into the mantle, bending down under the tectonic plates.
Increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has served as a trigger for processes of weathering of continental rocks. The oceans were phosphorus, stimulating photosynthesis and oxygen production.
It is known that living organisms after its inception several billion years remained at the level of unicellular (bacteria and archaea). The last part of this period scientists call the “boring billion”, as evolution then seems to stop. Then (in the late Precambrian) began to appear multicellular forms, and then came the Cambrian explosion, characterized by ultra-fast development of the fauna with a skeleton.
Video, photo All from Russia.