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Scientists are closer to solving the mystery of strange complex creatures that appeared on Earth more than 500 million years ago

Maria ShevchukNews
Many millions of years ago, life on Earth looked strange. Source: Earth

Scientists have discovered that the destruction of the magnetic field, the protective dome above the atmosphere, may have played a key role in the development of complex organisms on Earth. This happened more than 590 million years ago.

The paradox is that the magnetic field protects the Earth from radiation, cosmic radiation, etc., but it was almost destroyed at that time. The relevant research results were published by scientists in Earth & Environment Communications on May 2.

"In general, the field is protective. If we didn't have the field at the beginning of the Earth's history, the solar wind (the flow of energy particles from the Sun to the Earth) would have taken water from the planet," said John Tarduno, a professor of geophysics at the University of Rochester in New York and senior author of the new study.

Scientists are closer to solving the mystery of strange complex creatures that appeared on Earth more than 500 million years ago

"But in Ediacaran, we had a fascinating period in the development of the deep Earth, when the processes that create the magnetic field... became so inefficient after billions of years that the field almost completely collapsed," the scientist adds.

The Earth's magnetic field is created by the movement of molten iron in the outer core. It has been much weaker than it is now for at least 26 million years. The discovery of a steady weakening of the Earth's magnetic field also helped solve a long-standing geological mystery about when the Earth's solid inner core formed.

This time period is consistent with the period known as the Ediacaran, when the earliest complex animals appeared on the seafloor as the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean increased.

Scientists are closer to solving the mystery of strange complex creatures that appeared on Earth more than 500 million years ago

These strange animals barely resembled modern life - soft plowshares, tubes and doughnuts, and disks, such as Dickinsonia, which grew up to 1.4 meters and looked like a Kimberell slug.

Until now, life has been mostly single-celled and microscopic. The researchers believe that the weak magnetic field may have led to an increase in the oxygen content of the atmosphere, allowing early complex life to evolve.

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