Navigation Links
Earlier global warming produced a whole new form of life
Date:10/22/2008

Researchers from McGill University, along with colleagues from the California Institute of Technology, the Curie Institute in Paris, Princeton University and other institutions, have unearthed crystalline magnetic fossils of a previously unknown species of microorganism that lived at the boundary of the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, some 55 million years ago. Their results were published Oct. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research might help scientists understand more thoroughly the potential effects of significant changes in the Earth's climate.

Though they are only some four microns long, these newly discovered, spear-shaped magnetite crystals (magnetofossils) unearthed at a dig in New Jersey are up to eight times larger than previously known magnetofossils. Magnetofossils are remnants of magnetite crystals produced by a type of bacteria called magnetotactic bacteria that are capable of orienting themselves along the direction of the Earth's magnetic field.

The new fossils are "unlike any magnetite crystal ever described," the study's first author Dirk Schumann a graduate student at McGill's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences told Nature News.

"Previous reports suggested that the source of the magnetic signature in the boundary layer was a type of magnetite that was formed by the impact of a comet," said lead researcher and corresponding author Dr. Hojatollah Vali. "In our previous paper we proved that the magnetic signature comes from biogenic material.

"This is an entirely new class of organism that no one has reported before," explained Vali, a professor jointly appointed in McGill's Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences. "When my colleagues and I first discovered magnetofossils in deep-sea sediments in the mid-1980s, we knew already that magnetotactic bacteria produced magnetite and then we looked for the magnetofossils. In our new study, we discovered the magnetofossils first without knowing the organism."

This species of microorganism, explained Vali, lived during a period of abrupt global warming known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), when worldwide temperatures rose by 5 to 6 C over a period of 20,000 years.

"What's very interesting is that we know the very specific time frame when these organisms existed," he said. "If you go below it, we don't find them, and if you go above it, we don't find them. Five degrees warmer may not seem like much, but there was much more iron available due to increased weathering. The additional iron is required for the microorganism to produce the giant magnetofossils. It is clear that a similar abrupt global warming climatic event could have a severe impact upon our biosphere."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Shainblum
mark.shainblum@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New molecular clock from LLNL and CDC indicates smallpox evolved earlier than believed
2. Researchers detect hint of oxygen 50 to 100 million years earlier than first believed
3. Earlier bites by uninfected mosquitoes boost West Nile deaths in lab mice
4. Texas A&M scientists say early Americans arrived earlier
5. Alzheimers starts earlier for heavy drinkers, smokers
6. Shell-breaking crabs lived 20 million years earlier than thought
7. Sierra Nevada rose to current height earlier than thought, say Stanford geologists
8. Birds migrate earlier, but some may be left behind as the climate warms rapidly
9. Global Warming and the Habitability of Planet Earth, Sept. 26
10. Green skies: Engineers work may reduce jet travels role in global warming
11. Scientists in first global study of poison gas in the atmosphere
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... DALLAS , May 16, 2017   ... for health organizations, and MD EMR Systems ... certified development partner for GE, have established a ... Patient Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, ... Centricity EMR. These new integrations ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... Florida , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, ... technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on ... and Exchange Commission. ... on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of ... as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... International research firm Parks Associates announced today that Tom ... 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona ... and how smart safety and security products impact the competitive landscape. ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main Purchase Driver ... "The residential security market has experienced continued growth, and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by ... Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings ... mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell therapy ... limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ... of limbs saved as compared to standard bone ... molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in ... professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership ... the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery ...
Breaking Biology Technology: