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:1/20/2016)... 20, 2016 A market that just keeps ... from the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about ... A range of dynamic trends are pushing market growth ... medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation ... - greater understanding of the role of genetic material ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., ... that simplifies the use and access of ubiquitous ... go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives ... integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/7h6hnn/india_biometrics ... the  "India Biometrics Authentication & Identification ...  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "India Biometrics ... & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, a public-private partnership ... and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings together leading pharmaceutical ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a leading custom stainless ... Mountain Chapter 21st Annual Vendor Exhibition on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The Rocky ... its annual event, which will run from 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... a new agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and its affiliate ... and Singapore in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. , Through ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... , Location: Baruch S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks ... Institute and The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: