Friday, September 04, 2015

mommy toldjah that playing around with your own PISS and SHIT doesn't end well...,


vanderbilt |  In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions.

But the world’s first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself.

“People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction,” said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University. 

“But our comparative study of several communities of Ediacarans, the world’s first multicellular organisms, strongly supports the hypothesis that it was the appearance of complex animals capable of altering their environments, which we define as ‘ecosystem engineers,’ that resulted in the Ediacaran’s disappearance.”

The study is described in the paper “Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota” published Sept. 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

There is a powerful analogy between the Earth’s first mass extinction and what is happening today,” Darroch observed. “The end-Ediacaran extinction shows that the evolution of new behaviors can fundamentally change the entire planet, and we are the most powerful ‘ecosystem engineers’ ever known.”

The earliest life on Earth consisted of microbes – various types of single-celled microorganisms. They ruled the Earth for more than 3 billion years. Then some of these microorganisms discovered how to capture the energy in sunlight. The photosynthetic process that they developed had a toxic byproduct: oxygen. Oxygen was poisonous to most microbes that had evolved in an oxygen-free environment, making it the world’s first pollutant.