However, the opposite may also occur – that new and more varied animal life arises following such a catastrophe, is shown by new research conducted by the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, and which is now attracting international attention.
Together with colleagues from Lund University in Sweden, two palaeontologists, Svend Stouge and Dave Harper, have discovered that the Earth in the so-called Ordovician period 490-440 million years ago was struck by more than 100 meteorites at one time, and that in the wake of this event, new and more varied life evolved in the oceans, which at that time were home to virtually all life on Earth.
“You could say that biological evolution experienced a serious boost within a relatively short period of time. And, as is the case with, for example, volcanic eruptions or large forest fires, the impacts initially had a devastating effect on all life, but from the ashes arose a much richer fauna than had existed previously. And another interesting aspect is that this situation occurred 40 million years after the so-called Cambrian explosion. It was during this explosion that the first complex multicellular creatures appeared, even though scientists are still discussing whether this evolution was a rapid explosion or whether it took place over a longer period of time,” says Dave Harper from the University of Copenhagen.
The conclusions of the two scientists are, among other things, based on computer analyses, chemical samples from meteorites, fossils and examination of different craters in Sweden, for example the large Lockne crater near Østersund in northern Sweden, which has a diameter of 7.5 km.
“So far, our research has shown that it was a regional phenomenon around Baltica, the Baltic Sea of that time. The area underwent an extraordinary change during a short period of time in terms of the evolution of new species, primarily shellfish, e.g. the so-called brachiopods, which resemble today’s mussels, but which already at that time were quite different. We will now be studying whether this was a global phenomenon. It will be really exciting for the entire history of evolution, especially as it does seem that there is some truth in it and in the impact theory. We have now found meteorites in southern China with the same chemical composition as those we have studied in Sweden. Consequently, we are going to be studying craters and meteorites in China and in the USA to establish whether it was a global phenomenon,” says Svend Stouge from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
The findings of the two scientists have been published in the British journal Nature Geoscience.
Svend Stouge | alfa
AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice
24.04.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Climate change in a warmer-than-modern world: New findings of Kiel Researchers
24.04.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Information Technology