Monday, 14 Sep, 2009 Science
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Life on Earth Existed 200 Million Years Before Oxygen Filled the Atmosphere

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Recently researchers announced that plant-like bacteria existed in the oceans of our planet 200 million years ago, when the air on Earth was not yet suitable to breathe. In their study, scientists demonstrated that life developed on our planet even before oxygen started to build-up in the Earth's atmosphere.

It is worth mentioning that throughout this period, called Archaean, our planet was covered by toxic smog that consisted of a mix of dangerous gases including methane and ammonia. Such conditions can be spotted today on Titan, one of the natural satellites of Saturn.

The new research carried out by American scientists from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, involved the analysis of ancient seabed rocks found on South Africa. Researchers believe that these rocks could date back to 3 billion years. They managed to discover chemical proof of nitrogen cycles, reports The Telegraph. Nitrogen represents the most abundant element in the Earth's atmosphere, constituting about 78-80 percent of it and is very important for any life on our planet. The nitrogen cycle represents the biogeochemical cycle that expresses the transformations of nitrogen in nature. You can find more interesting information about Earth here at www.InfoNIAC.com - please check the links at the bottom of the story.

According to Dr Linda Godfrey and Dr Paul Falkowski, organisms that generated oxygen as a by-product photosynthesis most likely evolved about 2.5 billion years ago, but the Earth's atmosphere started filling up with oxygen 200 million years later.

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