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Sufficient oxygen for animal respiration 1,400 million years ago

Zhang, Shuichang; Wang, Xiaomei; Wang, Huajian; Bjerrum, Christian J; Hammarlund, Emma U LU ; Costa, M Mafalda; Connelly, James N; Zhang, Baomin; Su, Jin and Canfield, Donald E (2016) In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(7). p.6-1731
Abstract

The Mesoproterozoic Eon [1,600-1,000 million years ago (Ma)] is emerging as a key interval in Earth history, with a unique geochemical history that might have influenced the course of biological evolution on Earth. Indeed, although this time interval is rather poorly understood, recent chromium isotope results suggest that atmospheric oxygen levels were <0.1% of present levels, sufficiently low to have inhibited the evolution of animal life. In contrast, using a different approach, we explore the distribution and enrichments of redox-sensitive trace metals in the 1,400 Ma sediments of Unit 3 of the Xiamaling Formation, North China Block. Patterns of trace metal enrichments reveal oxygenated bottom waters during deposition of the... (More)

The Mesoproterozoic Eon [1,600-1,000 million years ago (Ma)] is emerging as a key interval in Earth history, with a unique geochemical history that might have influenced the course of biological evolution on Earth. Indeed, although this time interval is rather poorly understood, recent chromium isotope results suggest that atmospheric oxygen levels were <0.1% of present levels, sufficiently low to have inhibited the evolution of animal life. In contrast, using a different approach, we explore the distribution and enrichments of redox-sensitive trace metals in the 1,400 Ma sediments of Unit 3 of the Xiamaling Formation, North China Block. Patterns of trace metal enrichments reveal oxygenated bottom waters during deposition of the sediments, and biomarker results demonstrate the presence of green sulfur bacteria in the water column. Thus, we document an ancient oxygen minimum zone. We develop a simple, yet comprehensive, model of marine carbon-oxygen cycle dynamics to show that our geochemical results are consistent with atmospheric oxygen levels >4% of present-day levels. Therefore, in contrast to previous suggestions, we show that there was sufficient oxygen to fuel animal respiration long before the evolution of animals themselves.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Animals, Atmosphere, Biological Evolution, Oxygen, Respiration, Water, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
volume
113
issue
7
pages
6 pages
publisher
National Acad Sciences
external identifiers
  • scopus:84959020454
ISSN
1091-6490
DOI
10.1073/pnas.1523449113
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
e63bd6c2-1a3f-48b6-a5ab-aec242fe13fd
date added to LUP
2017-05-17 11:20:15
date last changed
2017-11-05 05:17:28
@article{e63bd6c2-1a3f-48b6-a5ab-aec242fe13fd,
  abstract     = {<p>The Mesoproterozoic Eon [1,600-1,000 million years ago (Ma)] is emerging as a key interval in Earth history, with a unique geochemical history that might have influenced the course of biological evolution on Earth. Indeed, although this time interval is rather poorly understood, recent chromium isotope results suggest that atmospheric oxygen levels were &lt;0.1% of present levels, sufficiently low to have inhibited the evolution of animal life. In contrast, using a different approach, we explore the distribution and enrichments of redox-sensitive trace metals in the 1,400 Ma sediments of Unit 3 of the Xiamaling Formation, North China Block. Patterns of trace metal enrichments reveal oxygenated bottom waters during deposition of the sediments, and biomarker results demonstrate the presence of green sulfur bacteria in the water column. Thus, we document an ancient oxygen minimum zone. We develop a simple, yet comprehensive, model of marine carbon-oxygen cycle dynamics to show that our geochemical results are consistent with atmospheric oxygen levels &gt;4% of present-day levels. Therefore, in contrast to previous suggestions, we show that there was sufficient oxygen to fuel animal respiration long before the evolution of animals themselves.</p>},
  author       = {Zhang, Shuichang and Wang, Xiaomei and Wang, Huajian and Bjerrum, Christian J and Hammarlund, Emma U and Costa, M Mafalda and Connelly, James N and Zhang, Baomin and Su, Jin and Canfield, Donald E},
  issn         = {1091-6490},
  keyword      = {Animals,Atmosphere,Biological Evolution,Oxygen,Respiration,Water,Journal Article,Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {6--1731},
  publisher    = {National Acad Sciences},
  series       = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  title        = {Sufficient oxygen for animal respiration 1,400 million years ago},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523449113},
  volume       = {113},
  year         = {2016},
}