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.

Related Articles


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 March 5, 2015 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 March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What An Ancient Jawbone Could Tell Us About Human Evolution

What An Ancient Jawbone Could Tell Us About Human Evolution

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) A 2.8 million-year-old jawbone could represent the most ancient member of our genus ever discovered. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Billionaire Paul Allen and Team Find Sunken Japanese Warship Off Philippines

Billionaire Paul Allen and Team Find Sunken Japanese Warship Off Philippines

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) A team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen finds a sunken Japanese World War 2 warship off the coast of the Philippines. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has discovered the wreckage of the battleship Musashi in the central Philippines. 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