As Life Evolved, Earth Becomes More Unfriendly—A new study from the University of Leeds reveals that conditions are more hostile in Earth as life evolved. According to new computer simulations, during the long part of the last 2.4 billion years, Earth may be more ‘inhospitable’ to life than scientists previously thought.

Using state-of-the-art climate models, researchers now believe the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the surface Earth could be underestimated, with UV levels up to ten times higher. UV radiation is emitted by the sun and can damage and destroy important biological molecules such as proteins.

The last 2.4 billion years have been an important milestone in the development of the biosphere. Oxygen levels increased from almost zero to significant amounts in the atmosphere. With fluctuating concentrations but eventually reaching modern concentrations about 400 million years ago.

During this time, more complex multicellular organisms and animals began to colonize the land. The new findings have been published in Royal Society Open Science by title “A revised lower estimate of ozone columns during Earth’s oxygenated history“.

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Gregory Cooke, a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds who led the study, said the findings raise new questions about the impact evolution UV radiation because many life forms are known to be negatively affected by intense doses of UV radiation.

“We know that UV radiation can have adverse effects if life is exposed to too much. For example, it can cause skin cancer in humans. Some organisms have effective defense mechanisms, and many can repair some of the damage caused by UV radiation,” Cooke said in a release. University of Leeds media.

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The last 2.4 billion years have been an important milestone in the development of the biosphere

Cooke explains, while high amounts of UV radiation will not prevent the appearance or occurrence of evolution life, but it can act as a life selection pressure in Earth. Organisms that are better able to cope with greater amounts of UV radiation will benefit more.

The amount of UV radiation that reaches Earth limited by ozone in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is described by researchers as “one of the most important molecules for life” because of its role in absorbing UV radiation as it passes through the atmosphere Earth. While ozone is formed as a result of sunlight and chemical reactions and its concentration depends on the level of oxygen in the atmosphere.


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