Institute of Applied Geoscience (IAG)
Upcoming Earth and Environment seminars

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Geoscience Seminar - Oxygen’s role in the early rise of complex life

Date: Monday 25th September

Time: 12:00 to 13:00

Presenter: Timothy W. Lyons, University of California, Riverside

Location: SEE Seminar Rooms 8.119

Surges in biospheric oxygen were long assumed to have triggered the rise of animals about 700 to 600 million years ago. Over the past ten years, this idea has lost some traction to biological controls, namely the protracted evolutionary pace of genetic innovation required for complex life. More recently, however, fundamentally new reconstructions of Earth’s early oxygen history have surfaced, re-asserting the possible influence of environmental drivers. The latest evidence suggests a billion years of stifling conditions for life in the oceans, leading up to a dramatic rise in oxygen content of both the atmosphere and oceans around 800 million years ago, positioning biospheric oxygen once again as a strong contender for stimulating eukaryotic complexity, including the rise of animals.

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