Free western civilization Essays and Papers - 123helpme
Free gilded age Essays and Papers - 123helpme
An important evolutionary principle is organisms' developing a new feature for one purpose and then using that feature for other purposes as the opportunity arose. As complex life evolved in the newly oxygenated seafloors, several immediate survival needs had to be addressed. To revisit the , if an oxygen-dependent animal did not have access to oxygen, it meant immediate death. Obtaining oxygen would have been the salient requirement for early complex life that adopted aerobic respiration , which is how nearly all animals today respire. While animals in low-oxygen environments have adapted to other ways of respiring (or perhaps in the first place), they are all sluggish creatures and would have quickly lost in the coming arms race. , which is a critical connective tissue in animals, requires oxygen for its synthesis, and was one of numerous oxygen-dependencies that animals quickly adopted during the Cambrian Explosion.
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What was most relevant to humans, however, was the almost-complete extinction during the Kellwasser event of the tetrapods that had come ashore. Tetrapods did not reappear in the fossil record until several million years after the Kellwasser event, and has even been referred to as the Fammenian Gap (the is the Devonian’s last age). The Kellwasser event also appeared to be a period of low atmospheric oxygen content, and some evidence is the lack of charcoal in fossil deposits. Recent research has demonstrated that getting wood to burn at oxygen levels of less than 13-15% may be impossible. Because all periods of complex land life show evidence of forest fires, it is today thought that oxygen levels have not dropped below 13-15% since the Devonian, but during the “charcoal gap” of the late Devonian, when the first landlubbing tetrapods went extinct, oxygen levels reached their lowest levels since the , which must have impacted the first animals trying to breathe air instead of water. During the , there is no charcoal evidence at all, which leads to the notion that oxygen levels may have even dropped below 13%. This drop may be related to severe climatic stresses on the new forests, which are probably related to the ice age that the forests helped bring about due to their carbon sequestering. That is an attractively explanatory scenario, but the continues. The first seed plants probably appeared before the Kellwasser event, but it was not until after the Fammenian Gap that seed plants began to proliferate.