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:10/30/2014)... UT Arlington bioengineering professor has received a $1.04 ... to regenerate cartilage tissue and reduce osteoarthritis using ... injection of microscaffolding made of biodegradable polymers., Liping ... the bioengineering department, said the research is primarily ... on the battlefield., "We,ve found that if we ...
(Date:10/30/2014)... Philadelphia, PA, October 30, 2014 – Bacteria in ... are critical for digestion. Yet, these same bacteria ... system if they penetrate the gut and enter ... natural response to protect the body, chronic or ... diseases. Prior research has established the involvement of ...
(Date:10/29/2014)... by unconventional oil and gas production are well over ... the open access journal Environmental Health . High ... The study is the first to be based on ... and could be used to supplement official air-quality monitoring ... that do not readily flow to the surface. This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):UTA researcher uses microscaffolding injections to mend cartilage, prevent osteoarthritis 2Breakdown in gut barriers to bacteria may promote inflammation and craving in alcoholics 2Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites 2Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites 3
(Date:10/30/2014)... 30, 2014 Whitehouse Laboratories has formally ... Stability Testing and Package Test Capacity. Responding to growing ... a dramatic increase in environmental chamber storage space that ... and aging samples to be securely held on site ... capital expenditure has already taken place with the recent ...
(Date:10/30/2014)... , Oct. 30, 2014 Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... today announced that management will present a company overview at ... 8:30 a.m. ET in Boston, MA. ... available on the "Investors & Media" section of the Company,s ... the Isis website within 48 hours and will be archived ...
(Date:10/30/2014)... of the key challenges in the development of quantum ... , In a paper published today (28 October) in ... show how to make a new type of flexibly ... such as high-precision sensors and specialised superfast computers, often ... the methods for trapping these tiny particles are hugely ...
(Date:10/27/2014)... The new research report, “Gas ... Medium), Sub-type (Primary & Secondary), and End-User (Transmission ... & Power Generation) - Trends and Forecasts to ... analysis and forecasting of the market size. , ... 52 Figures spread through 146 Pages and in-depth ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Whitehouse Labs Announces Major Capital Investment in Stability and Storage Testing Capacity 2Whitehouse Labs Announces Major Capital Investment in Stability and Storage Testing Capacity 3Isis Pharmaceuticals to Present at the Nomura Biotechnology Conference 2Gas Insulated Switchgear Market worth $21,951.9 Million by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 2Gas Insulated Switchgear Market worth $21,951.9 Million by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 3Gas Insulated Switchgear Market worth $21,951.9 Million by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 4
Cached News: