Research

Scientists: complex life forms were formed thanks to tiny predators

Speaking of the Ice Age, we immediately think aboutlarge-scale cooling that happened about 110 thousand years ago. However, scientists have a theory that long before the well-known period, our planet was faced with such a strong decrease in temperature that it looked like a huge snow globe. The theory is called "Earth-snowball", and scientists still did not understand how after such a global cataclysm life on Earth came to a normal state. Fossil fats helped answer the question.

They were found in the molecules contained inBrazil’s rock formations are over 635 million years old - around this time the “snowball” era ended. Their chemical structure was studied using nuclear magnetic resonance. As a result, scientists have discovered traces of ancient fat, which was named 25.28-bisnormal gammaceran (BNG).

All higher forms of animal life, including humansproduce cholesterol. Algae and bacteria also produce characteristic fatty molecules. Such fatty molecules can survive in the rocks for millions of years as the oldest chemical residues of organisms. Now they can tell us what type of life flourished in the most ancient oceans, ”explained Lennart van Maldegem, the main author of the study.

To find out exactly what the creature wasthe BNG molecule was produced, the scientists looked for its traces in other places. It was very common - especially many traces were found in the Grand Canyon. After studying the distribution of steroids and carbon isotope structures, the researchers concluded that the molecule belongs to heterotrophic plankton, one of the first predatory forms of life.

Scientists believe that after an icy stateplanets that planets engaged in eating the bacteria, which led to the emergence of even more complex organisms. After warming, the oceans were saturated with nutrients washed away from the mountains, which contributed to the development of algae. Tiny predators launched the food chain, which ultimately led to the emergence of large animals and subsequently intelligent people.

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