Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New evidence shows mobile animals could have evolved much earlier than previously thought

Date:
May 18, 2011
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Billions of years before life evolved in the oceans, thin layers of microbial matter in shallow water produced enough oxygen to support tiny, mobile life forms.

Microbial mat. Researchers have discovered that billions of years before life evolved in the oceans, thin layers of microbial matter in shallow water produced enough oxygen to support tiny, mobile life forms.
Credit: Courtesy of Murray Gingras

A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that billions of years before life evolved in the oceans, thin layers of microbial matter in shallow water produced enough oxygen to support tiny, mobile life forms.

The researchers say worm-like creatures could have lived on the oxygen produced by photosynthetic microbial material, even though oxygen concentrations in the surrounding water were not high enough to support life. The research was conducted in shallow lagoons in Venezuela where the high salt content is comparable to oceans older than 500 million years.

The link between biomats and animals is demonstrated by the trace-fossil record, which are tracks left behind by the movements of the worm-like creatures. The trace-fossil records for these animals date to at least 555 million years ago.

These findings suggest that the appearance of animals was not dependent on an oxygenated ocean. Rather, the earliest animals could have live within photosynthetic biomats and derived life-sustaining oxygen from that source.

Scientists believe that complex animals started on Earth roughly between 700 and 600 million years ago, when the oceans were just becoming fully oxygenated.

The researchers say their work opens the door to the search for life in early periods of Earth's history when it was believed there was absolutely no oxygen and no chance of finding life.

The research was led by U of A geologist Murray Gingras and geomicrobiologist Kurt Konhauser. The research was published May 15 online in Nature Geoscience.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Murray Gingras, James W. Hagadorn, Adolf Seilacher, Stefan V. Lalonde, Ernesto Pecoits, Daniel Petrash, Kurt O. Konhauser. Possible evolution of mobile animals in association with microbial mats. Nature Geoscience, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1142

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "New evidence shows mobile animals could have evolved much earlier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516102255.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2011, May 18). New evidence shows mobile animals could have evolved much earlier than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516102255.htm
University of Alberta. "New evidence shows mobile animals could have evolved much earlier than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516102255.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. 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