Effects on life[edit] Life timeline view • discuss • edit -4500 — – -4000 — – -3500 — – -3000 — – -2500 — – -2000 — – -1500 — – -1000 — – -500 — – 0 — water Single-celled life photosynthesis Eukaryotes Multicellular life Land life Dinosaurs     Mammals Flowers   ← Earliest Earth (−4540) ← Earliest water ← Earliest life ← LHB meteorites ← Earliest oxygen ← Atmospheric oxygen ← Oxygen crisis ← Earliest sexual reproduction ← Ediacara biota ← Cambrian explosion ← Earliest humans P h a n e r o z o i c P r o t e r o z o i c A r c h e a n H a d e a n Pongola Huronian Cryogenian Andean Karoo Quaternary Axis scale: millions of years ago. Orange labels: ice ages. Also see: Human timeline and Nature timeline The concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere is often cited as a possible contributor to large-scale evolutionary phenomena, such as the origin of the multicellular Ediacara biota, the Cambrian explosion, trends in animal body size, and other extinction and diversification events.[9] The large size of insects and amphibians in the Carboniferous period, when the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere reached 35%, has been attributed to the limiting role of diffusion in these organisms' metabolism.[citation needed] But Haldane's essay[12] points out that it would only apply to insects. However, the biological basis for this correlation is not firm, and many lines of evidence show that oxygen concentration is not size-limiting in modern insects.[9] There is no significant correlation between atmospheric oxygen and maximum body size elsewhere in the geological record.[9] Ecological constraints can better explain the diminutive size of post-Carboniferous dragonflies - for instance, the appearance of flying competitors such as pterosaurs, birds and bats.[9] Rising oxygen concentrations have been cited as one of several drivers for evolutionary diversification, although the physiological arguments behind such arguments are questionable, and a consistent pattern between oxygen concentrations and the rate of evolution is not clearly evident.[9] The most celebrated link between oxygen and evolution occurs at the end of the last of the Snowball glaciations, where complex multicellular life is first found in the fossil record. Under low oxygen concentrations and before the evolution of nitrogen fixation, biologically-available nitrogen compounds were in limited supply [13] and periodic "nitrogen crises" could render the ocean inhospitable to life.[9] Significant concentrations of oxygen were just one of the prerequisites for the evolution of complex life.[9] Models based on uniformitarian principles (i.e. extrapolating present-day ocean dynamics into deep time) suggest that such a concentration was only reached immediately before metazoa first appeared in the fossil record.[9] Further, anoxic or otherwise chemically "nasty" oceanic conditions that resemble those supposed to inhibit macroscopic life re-occur at intervals through the early Cambrian, and also in the late Cretaceous – with no apparent effect on lifeforms at these times.[9] This might suggest that the geochemical signatures found in ocean sediments reflect the atmosphere in a different way before the Cambrian - perhaps as a result of the fundamentally different mode of nutrient cycling in the absence of planktivory.[7][9] Oxygen in the atmosphere can cause phosphorus and iron to be freed from rock, and these elements can then be used for building new species which require these elements.[2]

References[edit] ^ http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1470/903.full.pdf ^ a b Zimmer, Carl (3 October 2013). "Earth's Oxygen: A Mystery Easy to Take for Granted". New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.  ^ Dutkiewicz, A.; Volk, H.; George, S. C.; Ridley, J.; Buick, R. (2006). "Biomarkers from Huronian oil-bearing fluid inclusions: an uncontaminated record of life before the Great Oxidation Event". Geology. 34 (6): 437. Bibcode:2006Geo....34..437D. doi:10.1130/G22360.1.  ^ Anbar, A.; Duan, Y.; Lyons, T.; Arnold, G.; Kendall, B.; Creaser, R.; Kaufman, A.; Gordon, G.; Scott, C.; Garvin, J.; Buick, R. (2007). "A whiff of oxygen before the great oxidation event?". Science. 317 (5846): 1903–1906. Bibcode:2007Sci...317.1903A. doi:10.1126/science.1140325. PMID 17901330.  ^ Dole, M. (1965). "The Natural History of Oxygen". The Journal of General Physiology. 49 (1): Suppl:Supp5–27. doi:10.1085/jgp.49.1.5. PMC 2195461 . PMID 5859927.  ^ Frei, R.; Gaucher, C.; Poulton, S. W.; Canfield, D. E. (2009). "Fluctuations in Precambrian atmospheric oxygenation recorded by chromium isotopes". Nature. 461 (7261): 250–253. Bibcode:2009Natur.461..250F. doi:10.1038/nature08266. PMID 19741707. Lay summary.  ^ a b Butterfield, N. J. (2007). "Macroevolution and macroecology through deep time". Palaeontology. 50 (1): 41–55. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2006.00613.x.  ^ Freeman, Scott (2005). Biological Science, 2nd. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson – Prentice Hall. pp. 214, 586. ISBN 0-13-140941-7.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Butterfield, N. J. (2009). "Oxygen, animals and oceanic ventilation: An alternative view". Geobiology. 7 (1): 1–7. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4669.2009.00188.x. PMID 19200141.  ^ Berner, R. A. (Sep 1999). "Atmospheric oxygen over Phanerozoic time" (Free full text). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 96 (20): 10955–10957. Bibcode:1999PNAS...9610955B. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.20.10955. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 34224 . PMID 10500106.  ^ Emsley, John (2001). "Oxygen". Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 297–304. ISBN 0-19-850340-7.  ^ J.B.S. Haldane in "On Being the Right Size" paragraph 7 ^ Navarro-González, Rafaell; McKay, Christopher P.; Nna Mvondo, Delphine (Jul 2001). "A possible nitrogen crisis for Archaean life due to reduced nitrogen fixation by lightning". Nature. 412 (5 July 2001): 61–64. doi:10.1038/35083537. PMID 11452304. 

External links[edit] First breath: Earth's billion-year struggle for oxygen (subscription required) New Scientist, #2746, 5 February 2010 by Nick Lane. The Mystery of Earth's Oxygen New York Times, 3 October 2013 by Carl Zimmer. Out of Thin Air, Dinosaurs, Birds and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere Joseph Henry Press, ISBN 0-309-10061-5 2006 by Peter D. Ward. Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Geological_history_of_oxygen&oldid=817107111" Categories: OxygenHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statementsArticles with unsourced statements from June 2015Articles with unsourced statements from May 2014Pages containing links to subscription-only content

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