Research Reveals the Mystery of How Early Animals Might Have Survived the Ice Age

A McGill University-led research group has discovered the primary direct proof that glacial meltwater supplied an important lifeline to eukaryotes throughout Snowball Earth when the oceans have been cut off from life-giving oxygen

In new research published within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, researchers studied iron-rich rocks that are left behind by glacial deposits in Australia, Namibia, and California to get a window into the environmental circumstances in the course of the ice age. Utilizing geological maps and clues from locals, they hiked to rock outcrops, navigating difficult trails to track down the rock formations.

By studying the chemistry of the iron formations in these rocks, the researchers have been in a position to estimate the quantity of oxygen within the oceans around 700 million years in the past and higher understand the consequences this is able to have had on all oxygen-dependent marine life, together with the earliest animals like simple sponges.

Around 700 million years ago, the Earth experienced the most extreme ice age of its history, essentially threatening the survival of a lot of the planet’s life. Previous research has instructed that oxygen-dependent life could have been restricted to meltwater puddles on the floor of the ice, however this research supplies new proof of oxygenated marine environments.

Lechte factors out that whereas the findings concentrate on the availability of oxygen, primitive eukaryotes would even have wanted food to survive the harsh conditions of the ice age. Additional research is required to discover how these environments might need to be sustained a food web. A place to begin could be modern ice environments that host complex ecosystems today.