Speaking of Ice age, we immediately think about the massive cold snap that occurred about 110 thousand years ago. However, scientists have a theory that long before the well-known period of our planet is faced with so strong a decrease in the temperature that it was like a huge snow globe. The theory is called “Earth-snowball”, and scientists still don’t understand how after such a global cataclysm life on Earth came to normal. To answer the question helped minerals fats.
They were found in molecules contained in rocks of Brazil, older than 635 million years — around this time, and ended the era of “snowball”. Their chemical structure was studied using nuclear magnetic resonance. In the end, scientists found traces of ancient grease, which was named 25,28-Binghamton (BNG).
All the higher forms of animal life, including humans, make cholesterol. Algae and bacteria also produce typical fat molecule. These fat molecules can survive in the rocks for millions of years as the oldest chemical remains of organisms. Now they can tell us what type of life flourished in the ancient oceans, explained Lennart van Maldegem, lead author of the study.
To find out what kind of creature was produced molecule BNG, scientists looked for traces of it in other places. It was very common — especially a lot of footprints was discovered in the Grand Canyon. After examining the distribution of steroids and isotope structure of carbon, the researchers came to the conclusion that the molecule belongs to the heterotrophic plankton is one of the first predatory life forms.
Scientists believe that after the frozen status of a planet it is this plankton has been eating bacteria that led to the emergence of more complex organisms. After warming the oceans have eroded from the mountains filled with nutrients that promoted the growth of algae. Tiny predators has launched a food chain that ultimately led to the emergence of large animals and, subsequently, reasonable people.
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