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Dr.Tim Lenton, an earth systems scientist at the University of Exeter, suspects that 700 million years ago, sponges living on the sea floor played an important role in oxygenating the oceans. This allowed more complex organisms to evolve.giving rise to the animal kingdom as we know it today.
“This story is about the first animals bootstrapping the environment into one where more complex animals could evolve,” said Dr. Lenton. “This is essentially the birth of the modern world.”
Dr. Lenton and his colleagues describe their hypothesis in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Credit Steve Payne for The New York Times