The development of bone structures in alligator eggs raised under varying oxygen concentrations creates a link to fossil records of the evolution of vertebrates and prehistoric atmospheric oxygen concentrations, according to a paper to be presented at the Earth System Processes 2 meeting in Alberta, Canada.
Alligator eggs hatching"
Harvesting alligator eggs
"Alligator eggs are an ideal self-contained unit for studying the effects of oxygen on development – they have a limited food source in the yolk and they are incubated in their nesting material at a constant temperature of 89°F and 100 percent relative humidity," said John Vanden Brooks, a graduate student in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. He noted that large-scale changes in atmospheric partial oxygen pressure would have had wide-ranging effects on vertebrate evolution and development throughout geologic time.
Understanding the environments effect on vertebrate evolution and development is essential to the study of ecology, paleontology and evolutionary theory. Oxygen is the most important component in the atmosphere for all vertebrate animals, and while the rise in oxygen level during the Precambrian era has been widely studied, little attention has previously been paid to continued fluctuations throughout the Phanerozoic.
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
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