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News About The Primordial Earth
August 18, 2016
Humble moss helped create our oxygen-rich atmosphere
Exeter, UK (SPX) Aug 17, 2016
The evolution of the first land plants including mosses may explain a long-standing mystery of how Earth's atmosphere became enriched with oxygen, according to an international study led by the University of Exeter. Oxygen in its current form first appeared in Earth's atmosphere some 2.4 billion years ago, in an incident known as the Great Oxidation Event. However, it was not until roughly 400 million years ago that this vital compound first approached modern levels in the atmosphere. This shift s ... read more

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Unearthed: The cannibal sharks of a forgotten age
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Moss boosted Earth's oxygen 400 million yrs ago: study
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Understanding the feeding ecology of Pleistocene proboscideans
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University of Leicester discovery sheds light on how vertebrates see
New research led by the University of Leicester has overturned a long-standing theory on how vertebrates evolved their eyes by identifying remarkable details of the retina in the eyes of 300 million ... more
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New fossil evidence supports theory that first mass extinction engineered by early animals
Newly discovered fossil evidence from Namibia strengthens the proposition that the world's first mass extinction was caused by "ecosystem engineers" - newly evolved biological organisms that altered ... more
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'Ecosystem engineers' responsible for first mass extinction
Some 540 million years ago, the first animals disappeared. It's an event known as the end-Ediacaran extinction. New research suggests another group of early animals, known as Metazoans, were responsible. ... more
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Before animals, evolution waited eons to inhale
A couple of times in four billion years, evolution has slowed to a crawl. And an eon or so has passed before more complex life forms, such as simple animals, could arise. Evolution may have been wai ... more
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Paleontology: Aftermath of a mass extinction
A new study of fossil fishes from Middle Triassic sediments on the shores of Lake Lugano provides new insights into the recovery of biodiversity following the great mass extinction event at the Perm ... more
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Ancient rocks reveal how Earth recovered from mass extinction
Scientists have shed light on why life on Earth took millions of years to recover from the greatest mass extinction of all time. The study provides fresh insight into how Earth's oceans became ... more
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After the age of dinosaurs came the age of ant farmers
A group of South American ants has farmed fungi since shortly after the dinosaurs died out, according to an international research team including Smithsonian scientists. The genes of the ant farmers ... more
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For ancient deep-sea plankton, a long decline before extinction
A new study of nearly 22,000 fossils finds that ancient plankton communities began changing in important ways as much as 400,000 years before massive die-offs ensued during the first of Earth's five ... more
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Queen's researcher examines the evolution of flight
Research by post-doctoral fellow Alexander Dececchi challenges long-held hypotheses about how flight first developed in birds. Furthermore, his findings raise the question of why certain species dev ... more
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Soot may have snuffed out the dinosaurs
Because there weren't enough already, scientists in Japan have offered a new theory for how dinosaurs met their demise. ... more
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Winged flight may be an accident of evolution
New research undermines the ways scientists have previously attempted to explain the evolution of flight. Wings may have evolved for purposes other than flight, argues researcher Alexander Dececchi. ... more
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The success of the plant-eating dinosaurs
There has been a long debate about why dinosaurs were so successful. Say dinosaur, and most people think of the great flesh-eaters such as Tyrannosaurus rex, but the most successful dinosaurs were o ... more
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New dinosaur had 'T. rex arms' that evolved independently
Scientists aren't sure why Tyrannosaurus rex grew such small, stubby arms, but the short, stunted, two-clawed limbs were useful enough to evolve multiples times. ... more
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Study reveals origins of the turtle shell
No other animal grows armor quite like the turtle. Despite its obvious protective benefits, new research suggests the adaptation was originally adopted for burrowing. ... more
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Bird research suggests calling dinosaurs may have been tight-lipped
Dinosaurs are often depicted in movies as roaring ferociously, but it is likely that some dinosaurs mumbled or cooed with closed mouths, according to a study published online in the journal Evolutio ... more
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Scared out of its skin, ancient insect escaped sticky doom
Fifty million years ago, one lucky - and frightened - insect avoided amber entombment. Though the stick bug wasn't embalmed, the remnant of its close call was. ... more
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Testing ideas about the evolution of long-necked sauropod dinosaurs
Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest land-dwelling animals of all time, with highly elongated necks and tails that were held suspended above the ground. Holding up such massive body parts would have ... more
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Ancient supernovae buffeted Earth's biology with radiation dose
Research published in April provided "slam dunk" evidence of two prehistoric supernovae exploding about 300 light years from Earth. Now, a follow-up investigation based on computer modeling shows th ... more
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Evolution may have moved at a furious pace on a much warmer Earth
Early life forms on Earth are likely to have mutated and evolved at much higher rates than they do today, suggests a new analysis from researchers at the University of North Carolina. In a stu ... more
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Weathering of rocks by mosses may explain climate effects during the Late Ordovician
During the Ordovician period, the concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere was about eight times higher than today. It has been hard to explain why the climate cooled and why the Ordovician gl ... more
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The secret to an Oesia life: Prehistoric worm built tube-like 'houses' on sea floor
The fossilised remnants of tube-like "dwellings" which housed a primitive type of prehistoric sea worm on the ocean floor have been identified in a new study. According to researchers, the long, per ... more
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Recreating ancient vertebrate's first step on dry land
Could a tail have allowed ancient vertebrates to make the transition from water to land? Reporting in Science today, researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Cle ... more
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Study: Dinosuars may have been cooers and mumblers, not roarers
New research suggests closed-mouth sounds made by modern birds may be analogous to dinosaur vocalization. ... more
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Robot helps study how first land animals moved 360 million years ago
When early terrestrial animals began moving about on mud and sand 360 million years ago, the powerful tails they used as fish may have been more important than scientists previously realized. That's ... more
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