HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
The Milky Way shaped life on Earth

Frenzied star-making in the Milky Way Galaxy starting about 2400 million years ago had extraordinary effects on life on Earth. Harvests of bacteria in the sea soared and crashed in a succession of booms and busts, with an instability not seen before or since. According to new results published by Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center in the journal Astronomische Nachrichten, the variability in the productivity of life is closely linked to the cosmic rays, the atomic bullets that rain down on the Earth from exploded stars. They were most intense during a baby boom of stars, many of which blew up.

'The odds are 10,000 to 1 against this unexpected link between cosmic rays and the variable state of the biosphere being just a coincidence, and it offers a new perspective on the connection between the evolution of the Milky Way and the entire history of life over the last 4 billion years,' Dr Svensmark comments.

Dr Svensmark looked at the long record of life's bounty given by counts of heavy carbon atoms, carbon-13, in sedimentary rocks. When bacteria and algae in the ocean grow by taking in carbon dioxide, they prefer the ordinary carbon-12 atoms. As a result, the sea becomes enriched in carbon-13, which is acceptable to sea creatures building their carbonate shells. Variations in carbon-13 therefore record how much photosynthetic growth was in progress when the shell-makers were alive in other words, how productive the biosphere was at that time.

To his surprise, Dr Svensmark noticed that the biggest fluctuations in productivity coincided with high star formation rates and cool periods in Earth's climate. Conversely, during a billion years when star formation was slow, cosmic rays were less intense and Earth's climate was warmer, the biosphere was almost unchanging in its productivity.

This reveals a link more subtle than any straightforward idea of, say, a warm climate being life-friendly or a cold climate
'"/>

Contact: Dr Henrik Svensmark
hsv@spacecenter.dk
452-063-4740
Danish National Space Center
14-Nov-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Facial attraction -- choice of sexual partner shaped the human face
2. Why is the heart heart-shaped?
3. Whats shaped like a pear and has two genomes? Check the pond
4. Three at MIT conceive cell-shaped building
5. Evidence human activities have shaped large-scale ecological patterns
6. A sea otter-shaped rubble pile in space
7. First high-flex knee replacement implant shaped specifically to fit womans anatomy
8. Why are letters and other human visual signs shaped the way that they are?
9. MicroRNAs have shaped the evolution of the majority of mammalian genes
10. For two primates, patience takes different forms, shaped by ecology
11. Evolution of taste receptor may have shaped human sensitivity to toxic compounds

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: The Milky Way shaped life Earth

(Date:7/31/2014)... tuna movements in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean led by ... at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found among other ... with pronounced north-south movements from Georges Bank to the ... Cape Hatteras southwest of Bermuda for foraging. , This ... one of the most important commercial tuna species in ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... by the National Science Foundation (NSF), counters a ... atmospheric warming, indicating instead that certain Arctic lakes ... the atmosphere. , The study, published this ... on thermokarst lakes, which occur as permafrost thaws ... fresh water, converting what was previously frozen land ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... By tracing nearly 3,000 genes to the earliest ... Florida scientists have created an extensive "Tree of ... next-generation DNA sequencing. , Among the study,s ... to small moths than to large ones, which ... The study also found that some insects once ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Study of bigeye tuna in Northwest Atlantic uses new tracking methods 2Study of bigeye tuna in Northwest Atlantic uses new tracking methods 3Certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they release 2UF study advances 'DNA revolution,' tells butterflies' evolutionary history 2UF study advances 'DNA revolution,' tells butterflies' evolutionary history 3
(Date:7/31/2014)... July 31, 2014 Today BioSpace , the leading life ... map campaign spotlighting the life sciences community in Illinois ... Kansas , Michigan , Minnesota ... Ohio and Wisconsin . ... percent of all job postings on BioSpace originating in this region in ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... Nearly 20,000 medical professionals and healthcare leaders ... Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago ... diagnostic research and technology that will advance medicine and ... of Wednesday, July 30, more than 19,500 attendees had ... Lab Expo, with more than 10,000 of these attendees ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... reason people over 60 are not donor candidates for ... with time, making the elderly prone to life-threatening infection ... team now has discovered a reason why. , "We ... of blood-forming cells to maintain blood production over time ... that could be restored for rejuvenation therapies," said Emmanuelle ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... Alan Turing, the British mathematician (1912-1954), is famous for ... the 20th century. In 1936 he published a paper, ... first formal concept of a computer algorithm. He next ... designing the machines which cracked the German military codes, ... crucial battles. And in the late 1940,s he turned ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Midwest Biotech Leaders Featured On BioSpace Map 2Research on Digital Health, Alzheimer's, Ebola Draws Nearly 20,000 Attendees to 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 2Research on Digital Health, Alzheimer's, Ebola Draws Nearly 20,000 Attendees to 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 3Key to aging immune system is discovered 2A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers 2A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers 3
Cached News: