How did life as we know it begin on Earth? If your answer is “an intense meteorite bombardment resulting in a large explosion of marine animal and plant life diversification 471 million years ago” you’re not only a very well spoken individual, but you may be wrong.
New research out of Sweden shows the oft-mentioned meteorite strike occurred 3 million years too late to be to blame.
The “Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event” (GOBE) represents an explosion in global marine animal and plant life diversification and a major evolutionary step for life on Earth.
Dr Anders Lindskog and team compared zircon crystals from meteorite-bearing sediments in Sweden and compared them with published cosmic-ray exposure ages of associated meteoritic material to find the date disparity.
“This research rules-out meteorite bombardment as the cause of the initiation of the GOBE,” the study “thereby reopening the question of what was the cause of the explosion in diversification of marine life at this time?”
The project was funded by the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Swedish Research Council, and the VILLUM Foundation’s Young Investigator Programme and Geocenter Danmark.