Crop Biotech Update

Paleobiologists Uncover How Sun and Sex on Land Emerged Earlier than Thought

April 20, 2011

A journal article by a team of scientists from the University of Sheffield, University of Oxford in the UK and Boston College, USA reports new evidence that life which was thought to begin 500,000 years ago actually began 1 billion years ago. The paper published in the journal Nature provides evidence on how life on earth evolved from simple bacterial cells to the more complex nature that could photosynthesize and make sexual reproduction possible. The researchers studied the bottom of an ancient lake bed in Loch Torridon, Scotland where they found remains of organisms that lived 1 billion years ago.

"This suggests that life on land at this time was more abundant and complex than anticipated," Dr. Charles Wellman, Reader in Palaeobiology, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield and co-author of the paper said. He added that, "the findings could provide insight into how major events in the early history of life could have occurred on land and not completely within the marine realm."

Details of this news can be seen at http://cordis.europa.eu/fetch?CALLER=EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN=33316.