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Volcanic mayhem drove major burst of evolution


knocker
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

     

    OUR planet is home to a glorious variety of animals, but it might not have been. Were it not for the birth pangs of a mega-continent, the evolution of animals could have stopped at its earliest stages.

     

    We now have the best evidence yet that an enormous wave of volcanism, caused by several continents crashing together to form the even greater landmass known as Gondwana, was the reason for a sharp rise in global temperature. This change was the driving force for evolutionary explosions that made life more diverse and laid the foundations for all future animal species.

     

    Volcanoes can cause global warming because eruptions often spew huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Now a study of volcanic rocks from early in life's evolutionary story shows that such eruptions coincided with a change in the climate from frigid chill to sweltering heat.

     

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129522.600-volcanic-mayhem-drove-major-burst-of-evolution.html#.Ut92ffvLfct

     

    Courtesy New Scientist

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    Edited by knocker
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