January 24, 2014

Scientists reveal why life got big in the Earth's early oceans

Why did life forms first begin to get larger and what advantage did this increase in size provide? UCLA biologists working with an international team of scientists examined the earliest communities of large multicellular organisms in the fossil record to help answer this question.

The life scientists used a novel application of modeling techniques at a variety of scales to understand the scientific processes operating in the deep sea 580 million years ago. The research reveals that an increase in size provided access to nutrient-carrying ocean flow, giving an advantage to multicellular eukaryotes that existed prior to the Cambrian explosion of animal life, said David Jacobs, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and senior author of the research.