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Late-Neoproterozoic Deep-Ocean Oxygenation and the Rise of Animal Life

Science  05 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5808, pp. 92-95
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135013

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Abstract

Because animals require oxygen, an increase in late-Neoproterozoic oxygen concentrations has been suggested as a stimulus for their evolution. The iron content of deep-sea sediments shows that the deep ocean was anoxic and ferruginous before and during the Gaskiers glaciation 580 million years ago and that it became oxic afterward. The first known members of the Ediacara biota arose shortly after the Gaskiers glaciation, suggesting a causal link between their evolution and this oxygenation event. A prolonged stable oxic environment may have permitted the emergence of bilateral motile animals some 25 million years later.

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