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Geological History Of Oxygen
Before photosynthesis evolved, Earth's atmosphere had no free oxygen (O2). Small quantities of oxygen were released by geological and biological processes, but did not build up in the atmosphere due to reactions with reducing minerals. Oxygen began building up in the atmosphere at approximately 1.85 Ga. At current rates of primary production, today's concentration of oxygen could be produced by photosynthetic organisms in 2,000 years. In the absence of plants, the rate of oxygen production by photosynthesis was slower in the Precambrian, and the concentrations of O2 attained were less than 10% of today's and probably fluctuated greatly. The increase in oxygen concentrations had wide ranging and significant impacts on life. Most significantly, the rise of oxygen caused a mass extinction of anaerobic microbes and paved the way for multicellular life. Before the Great Oxidation Event Photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms that produced O2 as a waste product lived long before ...
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Cambrian
The Cambrian Period ( ; sometimes symbolized Ꞓ) was the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, and of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cambrian lasted 53.4 million years from the end of the preceding Ediacaran Period 538.8 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Ordovician Period mya. Its subdivisions, and its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established as "Cambrian series" by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for 'Cymru' (Wales), where Britain's Cambrian rocks are best exposed. Sedgwick identified the layer as part of his task, along with Roderick Murchison, to subdivide the large "Transition Series", although the two geologists disagreed for a while on the appropriate categorization. The Cambrian is unique in its unusually high proportion of sedimentary deposits, sites of exceptional preservation where "soft" parts of organisms are preserved as well as their more resistant shells. As a result, our understanding of the Cambrian ...
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Biogeochemistry
Biogeochemistry is the scientific discipline that involves the study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment (including the biosphere, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere, the atmosphere, and the lithosphere). In particular, biogeochemistry is the study of biogeochemical cycles, the cycles of chemical elements such as carbon and nitrogen, and their interactions with and incorporation into living things transported through earth scale biological systems in space and time. The field focuses on chemical cycles which are either driven by or influence biological activity. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, iron, and phosphorus cycles. Biogeochemistry is a systems science closely related to systems ecology. History Early History Early Greeks established some of the core ideas of biogeochemistry, such as nature consisting of cycles. ...
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The New York Times
''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid digital media, digital subscribers. It also is a producer of popular podcasts such as ''The Daily (podcast), The Daily''. Founded in 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones (publisher), George Jones, it was initially published by Raymond, Jones & Company. The ''Times'' has won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any newspaper, and has long been regarded as a national "newspaper of record". For print it is ranked List of newspapers by circulation, 18th in the world by circulation and List of newspapers in the United States, 3rd in the U.S. The paper is owned by the New York Times Company, which is Public company, publicly traded. It has been governed by the Sulzberger family since 189 ...
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Metazoa
Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and go through an ontogenetic stage in which their body consists of a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described—of which around 1 million are insects—but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from to . They have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The scientific study of animals is known as zoology. Most living animal species are in Bilateria, a clade whose members have a bilaterally symmetric body plan. The Bilateria include the protostomes, containing animals such as nematodes, arthropods, flatworms, annelids and molluscs, and the deuterostomes, containing the echinoderms an ...
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Nitrogen Fixation
Nitrogen fixation is a chemical process by which molecular nitrogen (), with a strong triple covalent bond, in the air is converted into ammonia () or related nitrogenous compounds, typically in soil or aquatic systems but also in industry. Atmospheric nitrogen is molecular dinitrogen, a relatively nonreactive molecule that is metabolically useless to all but a few microorganisms. Biological nitrogen fixation or ''diazotrophy'' is an important microbials mediated process that converts dinitrogen (N2) gas to ammonia (NH3) using the nitrogenase protein complex (Nif). Nitrogen fixation is essential to life because fixed inorganic nitrogen compounds are required for the biosynthesis of all nitrogen-containing organic compounds, such as amino acids and proteins, nucleoside triphosphates and nucleic acids. As part of the nitrogen cycle, it is essential for agriculture and the manufacture of fertilizer. It is also, indirectly, relevant to the manufacture of all nitrogen chemical ...
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Snowball Earth
The Snowball Earth hypothesis proposes that, during one or more of Earth's icehouse climates, the planet's surface became entirely or nearly entirely frozen. It is believed that this occurred sometime before 650 M.Y.A. (million years ago) during the Cryogenian period. Proponents of the hypothesis argue that it best explains sedimentary deposits that are generally believed to be of glacial origin at tropical palaeolatitudes and other enigmatic features in the geological record. Opponents of the hypothesis contest the geological evidence for global glaciation and the geophysical feasibility of an ice- or slush-covered ocean, and they emphasize the difficulty of escaping an all-frozen condition. A number of unanswered questions remain, including whether Earth was a full snowball or a "slushball" with a thin equatorial band of open (or seasonally open) water. The snowball-Earth episodes are proposed to have occurred before the sudden radiation of multicellular bioforms kno ...
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Pterosaur
Pterosaurs (; from Greek ''pteron'' and ''sauros'', meaning "wing lizard") is an extinct clade of flying reptiles in the order, Pterosauria. They existed during most of the Mesozoic: from the Late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous (228 to 66 million years ago). Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight. Their wings were formed by a membrane of skin, muscle, and other tissues stretching from the ankles to a dramatically lengthened fourth finger. There were two major types of pterosaurs. Basal pterosaurs (also called 'non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs' or 'rhamphorhynchoids') were smaller animals with fully toothed jaws and, typically, long tails. Their wide wing membranes probably included and connected the hind legs. On the ground, they would have had an awkward sprawling posture, but the anatomy of their joints and strong claws would have made them effective climbers, and some may have even lived in trees. Basal pterosaurs were i ...
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Carboniferous Period
The Carboniferous ( ) is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic that spans 60 million years from the end of the Devonian Period million years ago ( Mya), to the beginning of the Permian Period, million years ago. The name ''Carboniferous'' means "coal-bearing", from the Latin '' carbō'' ("coal") and '' ferō'' ("bear, carry"), and refers to the many coal beds formed globally during that time. The first of the modern 'system' names, it was coined by geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips in 1822, based on a study of the British rock succession. The Carboniferous is often treated in North America as two geological periods, the earlier Mississippian and the later Pennsylvanian. Terrestrial animal life was well established by the Carboniferous Period. Tetrapods (four limbed vertebrates), which had originated from lobe-finned fish during the preceding Devonian, became pentadactylous in and diversified during the Carboniferous, including early amphibian line ...
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Cambrian Explosion
The Cambrian explosion, Cambrian radiation, Cambrian diversification, or the Biological Big Bang refers to an interval of time approximately in the Cambrian Period when practically all major animal phyla started appearing in the fossil record. It lasted for about 13 – 25 million years and resulted in the divergence of most modern metazoan phyla. The event was accompanied by major diversification in other groups of organisms as well. Before early Cambrian diversification, most organisms were relatively simple, composed of individual cells, or small multicellular organisms, occasionally organized into colonies. As the rate of diversification subsequently accelerated, the variety of life became much more complex, and began to resemble that of today. Almost all present-day animal phyla appeared during this period, including the earliest chordates. A 2019 paper suggests that the timing should be expanded back to include the late Ediacaran, rather than just the na ...
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Avalon Explosion
The Avalon explosion, named from the Precambrian fauna of the Avalon Peninsula, is a proposed evolutionary radiation in the history of the Animalia, about 575 million years ago in the Ediacaran Period, with the Avalon explosion being one of three eras grouped in this time. This event is believed to have occurred some 33 million years earlier than the Cambrian explosion. Scientists are still unsure of the full extent behind the development of the Avalon explosion.The Avalon explosion resulted in a rapid increase in organism diversity. Many of the animals and plants from the Avalon are found living in deep marine environments and the Flinders Ranges.The first stages of the Avalon explosion were observed through comparatively minimal species. History Charles Darwin predicted a time of ecological growth before the Cambrian Period, but there was no evidence to support it until, the Avalon explosion was proposed in 2008 by Virginia Tech paleontologists after analysis of the morphol ...
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Fossil Fuel
A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon-containing material formed naturally in the Earth's crust from the remains of dead plants and animals that is extracted and burned as a fuel. The main fossil fuels are coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels may be burned to provide heat for use directly (such as for cooking or heating), to power engines (such as internal combustion engines in motor vehicles), or to generate electricity. Some fossil fuels are refined into derivatives such as kerosene, gasoline and propane before burning. The origin of fossil fuels is the anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, containing organic molecules created by photosynthesis. The conversion from these materials to high-carbon fossil fuels typically require a geological process of millions of years. In 2019, 84% of primary energy consumption in the world and 64% of its electricity was from fossil fuels. The large-scale burning of fossil fuels causes serious environmental damage. Over 80% of t ...
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