Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Researchers show that cyanobacteria promoted complex life on Earth

See also

Cyanobacteria are responsible for the production of oxygen and nitrogen that were necessary for the development of multicellular life on Earth about 541 million years ago according to new research published in the Feb. 27, 2014, edition of the journal Current Biology by Dr. Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo and Professor Andy Ridgwell from the University of Bristol in Britain.

More Photos

Cyanobacteria existed on Earth as early as 800 million years ago. Cyanobacteria are capable of photosynthesis and produce oxygen. These bacteria were the source of the oxygen needed for higher level organisms to develop cellular processes.

Cyanobacteria are also capable of converting nitrogen from the atmosphere into bioavailable nitrogen. Nitrogen is necessary for the production of the building blocks of amino acids.

Cyanobacteria existed on Earth as far back as 2.3 billion years ago according to the fossil record but did not exist in sufficient quantities in the world’s oceans to produce enough oxygen to create an oxygen atmosphere on Earth until around 800 million years ago.

This is the first research that ties the genetic data that is known about ancient cyanobacteria to known geological events like global glaciations and the appearance of the first mammals.

Recent research has shown that early mammal life did not require the high volume of oxygen to survive and thrive that present mammal life does.

All life on Earth may be the result of the natural cellular functions of simple cyanobacteria.

Advertisement

News

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
    Video
    Video
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
    Politics
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
    Gaza
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
    Space
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here
    Comic-Con

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/O4KxesvbiMU?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318477&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zGNryrsT7OI?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>