Saturday, April 29, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Did prehistoric worms save the world ?


Posted on Monday, 11 August, 2014 | Comment icon 5 comments

Did prehistoric ocean worms make our existence possible ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Vix_B
Burrowing worms may have had a profound impact on the development of life over 500 million years ago.
Modern humans and other complex life forms may never have existed at all if it hadn't been for a specific series of circumstances hundreds of millions of years ago that helped regulate the concentration of oxygen in the world's oceans.

At the dawn of the Cambrian period 570 million years ago, when multicellular organisms were just beginning to emerge, the amount of oxygen present in the water would have been of vital importance.

Scientists now believe that the key factor in maintaining this balance would have been the behavior of worms and other organisms that burrowed in to the sea floor exposing layers of bacteria-containing sediment. As this bacteria became exposed to oxygen it began to absorb increasing amounts of phosphate which is needed for algae and other photosynthetic ocean life to grow.

The resulting chain of events meant that the more the worms burrowed in to the sea floor, the less algae was grown and the less oxygen was released in to the ocean. Lower oxygens levels meant fewer worms and so the cycle repeated - regulating the ocean's oxygen levels.

"Although we are still far from knowing to what extent worms and their ilk influenced the geochemical history of our planet, this is a novel and testable hypothesis, which will inspire novel thinking," wrote biogeochemist Filip Meysman.

Source: ScienceMag.org | Comments (5)

Tags: Life, Earth


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by qxcontinuum on 11 August, 2014, 11:40
I think there is something wrong in the statement; it should have been bacteria have started releasing oxygen while consuming phosphates and nitrates. This bacteria is still present in modern times, called cyanobacteria From wiki By producing oxygen as a gas as a by-product of photosynthesis, cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms. According to endosymbiotic theory, the chloropla... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by John Wesley Boyd on 11 August, 2014, 23:57
Bless the Maker and His water. Bless the coming and going of Him. May His passage cleanse the world. May He keep the world for His people
Comment icon #3 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 on 12 August, 2014, 15:34
Actually, this makes a lot of sense... I wonder if they're still helping with this even today.
Comment icon #4 Posted by magikgoddess on 14 August, 2014, 1:40
Never underestimate the usefulness of the little guys. Neat article.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jmccr8 on 23 August, 2014, 10:09
Unfortunately I an not a bacteria and my gas may not incite life as we know it


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Time travel is 'mathematically possible'
4-29-2017
According to Professor Ben Tippett, traveling through time is not outside the realms of possibility.
Distant 'ice ball' exoplanet discovered
4-28-2017
Scientists have announced the discovery of a freezing Earth-mass world 13,000 light years away.
DNA of prehistoric humans found in caves
4-28-2017
Scientists have found a way to identify extinct species of human by analyzing the sediment inside caves.
Bermuda Triangle 'bubbles' theory debunked
4-28-2017
Physicist Helen Czerski has cast doubt on one of the most popular theories about the Bermuda Triangle.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Giant Rolo
Posted 4-29-2017 | 0 comments
Barry and James create the world's largest Rolo using piles and piles of chocolate.
 
Gliding leaf frogs
Posted 4-28-2017 | 0 comments
These remarkable amphibians use their webbed feet to help them glide through the air.
 
Venus flytrap anemone
Posted 4-27-2017 | 0 comments
A look at one particularly unusual creature which lives down at the bottom of the ocean.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Is the Boar Man real ?
4-26-2017 | Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma
 
Possessed boom box 1988
4-26-2017 | Santa Ana
 
Grandpa's visit
4-14-2017 | Portugal
 
Mysterious dog
4-14-2017 | Utah
 
A night to remember
4-14-2017 | Philippines
 
 
Am I going crazy ?
3-30-2017 | South Africa
 
 
Sleep paralysis or my father ?
3-30-2017 | Los Angeles
 
My nightly occurrences
2-28-2017 | Manchester, UK
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ