September 27, 2012

Extreme Climate Change Linked To Early Animal Evolution

UC Riverside geoscientists help tie spike in ancient oceanic oxygen levels to ‘Snowball Earth’ event

An international team of scientists, including geochemists from the University of California, Riverside, has uncovered new evidence linking extreme climate change, oxygen rise, and early animal evolution.

A dramatic rise in atmospheric oxygen levels has long been speculated as the trigger for early animal evolution. While the direct cause-and-effect relationships between animal and environmental evolution remain topics of intense debate, all this research has been hampered by the lack of direct evidence for an oxygen increase coincident with the appearance of the earliest animals — until now.