Oxygen should be on the stock market; the numbers go up and down all the time.
Geologists are using new direct methods to measure the Earth’s oxygenation. They identified, for the first time, exactly how much oxygen was in Earth’s atmosphere 813 million years ago — 10.9 percent. This finding, they say, demonstrates that oxygenation on Earth occurred 300 million years earlier than previously concluded from indirect measurements.
“Diversity of life emerges right around this time period,” Benison said. “We used to think that to have diversity of life we needed specific things, including a certain amount of oxygen. (The findings) show that not as much oxygen is required for organisms to develop.” More. Paper. (paywall) – Nigel J.F. Blamey, Uwe Brand, John Parnell, Natalie Spear, Christophe Lécuyer, Kathleen Benison, Fanwei Meng, Pei Ni. Paradigm shift in determining Neoproterozoic atmospheric oxygen. Geology, 2016; 44 (8): 651 DOI: 10.1130/G37937.1
But how do we know that diversity of life emerged right around that time period? That figure might be wrong too. It’s a clue in search of other clues. Good hunting.
See also: Oxygen deficit delayed evolution
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