Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do Meteors Create Life? Explosion Of New Life Coincided With Hundreds Of Meteorite Impacts

Date:
March 14, 2008
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
Meteorite impacts are often associated with huge disasters, mass extinction and why the dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth some 65 million years ago. However, the opposite may also occur -- that new and more varied animal life arises following such a catastrophe, is shown by new research. In prehistoric times, the Earth was hit by a hailstorm of meteorites with a belt of dust that subsequently covered the planet. At this time new and more varied animal life arose.

The Alpha-Monocerotid meteor outburst in 1995. Meteors are actually pieces of rock that have broken off a comet and continue to orbit the Sun.
Credit: NASA

Meteorite impacts are often associated with huge disasters, mass extinction and why the dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth some 65 million years ago. However, the opposite may also occur – that new and more varied animal life arises following such a catastrophe, is shown by new research conducted by the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.

Related Articles


Together with colleagues from Lund University in Sweden, two palaeontologists, Svend Stouge and Dave Harper, have discovered that the Earth in the so-called Ordovician period 490-440 million years ago was struck by more than 100 meteorites at one time, and that in the wake of this event, new and more varied life evolved in the oceans, which at that time were home to virtually all life on Earth.

“You could say that biological evolution experienced a serious boost within a relatively short period of time. And, as is the case with, for example, volcanic eruptions or large forest fires, the impacts initially had a devastating effect on all life, but from the ashes arose a much richer fauna than had existed previously. And another interesting aspect is that this situation occurred 40 million years after the so-called Cambrian explosion. It was during this explosion that the first complex multicellular creatures appeared, even though scientists are still discussing whether this evolution was a rapid explosion or whether it took place over a longer period of time,” says Dave Harper from the University of Copenhagen.

The conclusions of the two scientists are, among other things, based on computer analyses, chemical samples from meteorites, fossils and examination of different craters in Sweden, for example the large Lockne crater near Ψstersund in northern Sweden, which has a diameter of 7.5 km.

“So far, our research has shown that it was a regional phenomenon around Baltica, the Baltic Sea of that time. The area underwent an extraordinary change during a short period of time in terms of the evolution of new species, primarily shellfish, e.g. the so-called brachiopods, which resemble today’s mussels, but which already at that time were quite different. We will now be studying whether this was a global phenomenon. It will be really exciting for the entire history of evolution, especially as it does seem that there is some truth in it and in the impact theory. We have now found meteorites in southern China with the same chemical composition as those we have studied in Sweden. Consequently, we are going to be studying craters and meteorites in China and in the USA to establish whether it was a global phenomenon,” says Svend Stouge from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

The findings of the two scientists have been published in the British journal Nature Geoscience.

Journal reference: Nature Geoscience 1, 49 - 53 (2008)  Published online: 16 December 2007. doi:10.1038/ngeo.2007.37 (http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n1/full/ngeo.2007.37.html)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "Do Meteors Create Life? Explosion Of New Life Coincided With Hundreds Of Meteorite Impacts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080314110406.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2008, March 14). Do Meteors Create Life? Explosion Of New Life Coincided With Hundreds Of Meteorite Impacts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080314110406.htm
University of Copenhagen. "Do Meteors Create Life? Explosion Of New Life Coincided With Hundreds Of Meteorite Impacts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080314110406.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins